Every year when the PGA Tour rolls into Las Vegas it brings back a memory from my rookie year. Back then (in the last century) I had been riding the top 125 bubble for the second half of the season. I was physically banged up with a sore wrist and mentally banged up with a sore head from having so many three-putts.
I managed a top 10 at Disney and that put me comfortably in the top 100 with just Las Vegas and the Texas Open remaining. I wasn't going to Q-School and that was quite a relief. I flew to Las Vegas and was feeling like I owned the world. After arriving at the airport I shuttled over to the car rental facility that handled the courtesy cars for PGA Tour players. Being in the top 100 I was now eligible to get a free car for the week, something I was not accustomed to and was fairly stoked about it.
Hal Sutton was in line just in front of me. The lady in charge of handing out the keys was very excited to see Hal and offered him a choice of the latest Cadillac models. He could have the SUV, the new sedan, or the sporty two-door. I was starting to get excited thinking about cruising Vegas in a brand new Escalade with a sign on the side of the door indicating I was a PGA Tour player. This was going to be a great week.
After much deliberation Hal made his decision. I knew I was in trouble when the nice lady didn't recognize me. Apparently she had no idea I had just finished seventh at Disney and was now 92nd on the money list. I told her my name and she scrambled around looking at different lists. After several minutes she located the name and gave me a pitiful smile. It was the same sort of smile my 8th-grade Algebra teacher would have when she returned my graded test.
The lady offered that I too would have a choice of vehicles. She even walked me outside so I could have a look. I couldn't pronounce the name and there was no way I could get me and my stuff in either one of those sub-compact beauties. My ego was destroyed. I wanted Hal Sutton's Cadillac. After wiping away the tears I politely declined the offer of a free car and took me and my seventh-place Disney check next door to the Hertz car rental counter.
I told them I wanted the biggest, baddest, coolest, and newest Cadillac they had. I wanted turbo leather digital and I wanted it now. And I didn't care how much it cost! They took care of me. It was almost like they saw me coming. And I got a great deal on it too. But that might have something to do with the fact that I turned it in early on Friday night as I was flying out.