Advice to rookies at the Sony Open


Way back in 1995 I teed it up at Waialae as a wet-behind-the-ears rookie. It was my first PGA Tour event as a member and I was scared to death. Jim Furyk somehow got stuck with me. We started on the 10th tee at what seemed like 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I made birdie. He made par. That was the only time in my life I was ever ahead of Jim Furyk.

The third member of our pairing was a local qualifier who wasn’t Michele Wie. In fact, I’m not sure that she had even been born yet. Your first event as a rookie is really special. Everything seems so big. You can’t find anything and you are constantly worried about breaking a rule that no one told you about.

The practice area at Waialae is very small and it’s difficult to find a spot to warm up. (Advice to 2010 rookies:  Don’t take Vijay’s spot.) I can remember meeting Peter Jacobsen in what was the only practice bunker on the property. We climbed into the bunker together and he introduced himself. I couldn’t believe it! I was so nervous I forgot to tell him my name. He had to practically coax it out of me. We had a good laugh and have been friends ever since. He is an amazing guy.

I remember when I registered for the event that I got a nice goodie bag. When I got back to the room I dug into it and discovered a large box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. My standard policy is that I don’t eat foods that I can’t pronounce or spell. That box of chocolates was a double qualifier, but considering I was a rookie and you only get one shot at your rookie year I decided to give ONE a try. Mistake. The first dozen went down smooth and the box looked to be empty. That’s when I discovered the secret compartment underneath the first level. I fell asleep that night in the fetal position moaning and groaning. (Advice to 2010 rookies:  Politely decline the chocolate-covered macadamia nuts when you register at the Sony Open)

It was a great week and an experience I will never forget. I wish all of the PGA Tour rookies a great season and for the one’s teeing it up in Honolulu make sure you take plenty of pictures. You will treasure this week for the rest of your life.