Big Break Indian Wells Competitor
Hometown: Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Current Residence: Jacksonville, N.C.
Home Golf Courses: Taiyo Golf Course, Okinawa, Japan; Banyon Tree Golf Course
Profession: Master Sergeant, United States Marine Corps.
The spirited battle cry in the Marine Corps will make its presence felt on Big Break Indian Wells. Russell Normandin, a Master Sergeant in the Marines based out of Camp Lejune in North Carolina, is the first Big Break competitor in the history of the series to be on active duty.
Russell has a decorated military record. He has toured all over the world, including Japan, Iraq and Afghanistan, where he is currently deployed as part of “Operation Enduring Freedom.”
“The military has taught me more about life than anything I have ever been involved in,” said Russell. “Mostly, it has taught me how to strengthen my mental focus. I have been able to transfer that tough mentality to the golf course.”
Russell took up golf at age 16 while growing up in Rhode Island. He grew up playing hockey, and found that golf had very similar characteristics. A self-taught golfer, he quickly fell in love with the game.
Russell enlisted in the military in 1993. While on his first tour in Japan, he began practicing regularly. Through the suggestion of his fellow Marines, he began competing when he was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, and soon realized how much of a passion he had for the game.
“I’ve been in the military for almost 20 years. Traveling the world and serving your country, you get a really good perspective on life and you learn how to overcome adversity. I want to accomplish more in life outside of the military, and I just felt that golf was my outlet to do just that.”
As a result, he continued to focus on his golf game as much as he could while in the service. When he began to break par consistently, he embarked on a new goal: To be the only current active-duty Marine to compete on the PGA Tour. In 2012, he might have that opportunity.
History could be in the making.