In his maturation years - the 30s - he was a minister. It was So-long golf, hello Good Book and flock. I put my golf clubs in the basement and took them out to play only a few rounds a year, he says.
Then, in a shocking turnaround, he decided in 1997 that he had made a wrong life choice. He gave up his pastor-ship, retrieved his clubs, and last week survived the first stage of the PGA Qualifying Tournament. He finished tied for third at suburban Tampa and lands a spot in the second stage while in his early 40s.
Its a people-person job where you take care of people and you shepherd people, Biancalana said of his church in a St. Louis suburb. Thats just not my personality. It took me awhile to figure that out. It was painful ' for everybody involved.
Biancalana, who now lives in Orlando, shot a pair of 68s to begin the opening stage, followed that with a solid 71 to advance to the next step. He played in front of his parents, who live in the Chicago area ' he himself was born and bred in the Windy City.
They make a little nervous, he said with a loud laugh. I can hear my mom moan in the background when I miss a putt.
His mother, Shirley, admitted that she has a difficult time watching, even in the best of times such as at Tampa.
Its sort of a tense situation for the parents, she said.
But Biancalana himself isnt nearly as difficult to watch as he was when he was younger ' pre-pastor years. Hes matured a lot over the years, Shirley says. He handles the pressure a lot better than when he was young and trying for the tour.
Actually, Biancalana has already tried and succeeded in trying for the tour. That was after starring in college at LSU, and after playing the mini-tours where he won more than two dozen mini-tour events, then finally clawing his way all the way to the PGA Tour for the 1988 and 1989 seasons. But he finished 180th and 199th on the money list those two years, and that was when he sat down to reassess his lifes priorities.
He had run a Bible study group on the tour, and he slowly but surely felt a gentle tugging in the direction of the church. Basically, I just lost my desire (for golf), he said. I burned out.
So Biancalana started the Windsor Crossing Community Church in Chesterfield, Mo. But he wasnt minister material. I was expected to be caring, nurturing and warm, he said. But really, I was still that competitive golfer with a fiery, kick-butt attitude that wasnt acceptable in church.
So he turned his church over to someone else and resumed his golfing career. Hes been on the Nike'Buy.Com Tour so far, but he once again has the chance to strike it rich in the big time.
And when hes on the course, does he utilize his natural skills and pray?
No, he doesnt.
I dont pray out there, he says. Im just trying to execute and play shots. I feel like Ive trained myself. The only thing is having faith in my own ability and what God has given me.