Keep on Tryon

By Mercer BaggsNovember 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- You could see it as he walked out of the scorers trailer off the 18th hole on the Magnolia Course at Disneys Funai Classic. There was something in his eyes, something in his stride.
 
He had just officially played his final round as a card-carrying member on the PGA Tour. But what was visible wasnt frustration. It wasnt anger or disappointment. It was a sense of urgency.
 
Ty Tryon really had to use to the restroom.
 
When he emerged from the locker-room facilities, all of two reporters were waiting to ask him about his future plans; to ask him about his state of mind, his emotions; to ask him what went wrong.
 
I tried my best, he said. Just wasnt meant to be, I guess.
 
It was a far different visual from two-and-a-half years ago, when he first exploded onto the PGA Tour scene. When everyone wanted to know everything about the 16-year-old kid with the spiky hair, the imperfect complexion, the big smile and the seemingly bigger game.
 
But that explosion proved more firecracker than big bomb. It was bright, loud and fascinating. And short-lived.
 
After Monday qualifying in the 2001 Honda Classic, he became the youngest player in 44 years to make the cut in a tour event. He also made the cut later that year in the B.C. Open.
 
Tryon then turned professional and made it through all three stages of the Qualifying Tournament to gain his PGA Tour status. He was still only 17, and the youngest player ever to earn his tour card.
 
That created quite a stir. Curiosity turned to criticism.
 
I think its a joke, Scott Hoch, whose son, Cameron, played with Tryon in high school, said at the time. I know Ty. Its a terrible decision.
 
PGA Tour officials didnt publicly agree with the derogatory sentiments -- that extended far beyond Hoch, but they reacted by implementing a rule that required a person to be at least 18 years of age to compete on their circuit.
 
I still dont understand why they care so much about me; it just blows my mind why they care so much, Tryon said of his critics after missing the cut at Disney. They wouldnt care about me if I went to college; they wouldnt even know who I was, probably. Because Im a pro, they all worry about me. Ive never really understood that, so I dont really care what they think.
 
Tryons performance over the last two years has given his pundits plenty of ammunition to support their disapproval: It was too much, too soon, for someone too young.
 
After finally turning 18 in June, he played six events in 2002 before battling a bout of mononucleosis that ended his season. He was awarded a Major Medical Extension for 2003, meaning he had 21 tournaments to win $515,000, equaling what No. 125 on the money list earned in 02.
 
He missed by a mile.
 
Tryon made four of 21 cuts this year, finishing 196th on the money list. The money he collected for his 10th-place showing at Bay Hill accounted for nearly 75 percent of his $125,875 yearly earnings.
 
Im not going to be discouraged, because I know Ive got the talent. And I feel at times that I got the game. Im just not there yet, he said. I think maybe another year or so, Ill get better, get a little older. Ill be ready.
 
That next year may be on the Nationwide Tour ' golfs version of Off Broadway.
 
Tryon is set to play in this weeks second stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. He will compete at Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla. If he makes it through to the finals, he will compete outside of his hometown of Orlando at Orange County National, where he shot 63 in the second stage in 2001.
 
Even if he fails to make it through to the finals this time, he will still have status on the developmental circuit by virtue of cracking the top 200 on the PGA Tours money list.
 
You might think that Tryon would be downtrodden by his failure to keep his card. That, at the immature age of 19, he might not see the benefits of playing outside of the spotlight, and inside of the shadows.
 
But thats not the case.
 
I think it (playing on the Nationwide Tour) would be very beneficial. Im going to go out there and be able to mature at my own pace a little bit more, be able to become my own person. I feel like I was under the microscope a bit out here and it will be a little less out there, he admitted.
 
Its kind of a fresh start, you know. Its been a great experience out here. But Im kind of happy ' its a lot to expect out here. Theres a lot of pressure on you, a lot of expectations, a lot of eyes, a lot of people [saying] what they think should work, while youre trying to grow up yourself.
 
Despite the disastrous on-course results, this experience was not a bust. In fact, it proved overwhelmingly positive in terms of self-discovery.
 
Aaron Baddeley knows Tryon will only continue to grow ' personally and professionally ' by taking a step back.
 
Baddeley turned professional on the heels of a highly successful amateur career and then surprisingly missed out on earning his PGA Tour card by failing to make it through the finals of the 2001 Q-School.
 
Instead, the then 20-year-old Australian was relegated to the minor league.
 
The best time of my life, said Baddeley, who finished 10th on the 2002 Nationwide Tour money list to gain his PGA Tour status, and then nearly won the Sony Open in his debut as a card-carrying member.
 
Out there, youre able to find out what works for you ' just the little things like how much you like to practice, where to go eat, how much to work out.
 
You have to find out what works for you, and its easier to do that when youre not in the spotlight.
 
Tryon doesnt lack confidence; he lacks consistency. And he knows that the best place to find that is not in locations like Pebble Beach or Westchester, but in Broussard, La., and Boise, Idaho.
 
I think I can do everything well, but I do it in streaks, he said. I just have to be more consistent, just sort of milquetoast, just sort of bland. More of just knocking the ball straight, with less flash.
 
And more of just golf.
 
Tryon admitted that he entered tour life nave. He wasnt prepared for peripheral overlaod: booking hotels; rental cars; agents; endorsements; the fans; the media; and on and on and on.
 
In the beginning it was definitely pretty overwhelming. Things just didnt turn out to be the way I thought it would be, said Tryon. It wasnt just golf; you had to focus on so many other things.
 
So now, assuming he doesnt again run the remainder of the Q-School table and regain his PGA Tour card, Tryon is off to the Nationwide Tour.
 
Its a demotion in status. Its something that could deflate the ego.
 
Its also something that could be the best thing for Tryons career.
 
Im going to go play wherever I play, if its in Europe or if its the Nationwide or the Hooters Tour or wherever and just hopefully keep having fun and playing golf, he said.
 
I came out here and I got down for a while, just wasnt having that much fun; I wasnt really enjoying it. I have a better outlook now.
 
And, as Baddeley points out: Hes not even 20.
 
Related Links:
  • PGA Tour Q-School - Stage 2 Results
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.