My heroes growing up were definitely my grandpa, my mom and my dad. We were all very close.
Teeing it up with my parents.
My grandpa was the real reason I started playing golf. I absolutely loved being around him and thought he was the coolest guy I had ever met. I respected him for many reasons. I admired his sense of humor, work ethic and the way he loved and cared for my grandma. The easiest way to spend time with him were to either help him work in the yard or go out and play golf with him, so to me, it was a “no-brainer.” I picked up my golf clubs and played with my grandpa and his buddies any chance I got.
One of my favorite memories growing up was playing golf with my dad before church on Sunday morning. We would get up while it was still dark out, hop the fence and tee off before sunrise. It would be too dark to see the ball so I would lie down behind the first tee and watch my dad tee off and try to catch a glimpse of where it was heading. After he would tee off, he’d come and lie down and do the same for me. I grew to love the game from there.
As for athletic role models, I didn’t have many. Of course, I loved watching the guys like Freddy Couples, Nick Faldo and Payne Stewart. I also loved watching Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman. I really looked up to all of them.
Since I was huge into basketball, I loved watching the Portland Trailblazers along with Jerome Kersey, Buck Williams, Terry Porter and Clyde Drexler. The Trailblazers were arguably the best team, but we kept running into this guy named Michael Jordan. We kept losing to the Bulls and the Bad Boy Pistons in the NBA Finals. It was tough being a Blazer fan. Lots of heartache some years.
One of the fun things about being on the PGA TOUR is we get to meet a lot of famous athletes during Pro-Ams and tournament events. In 2012, I got to play in a Pro Am with Drexler and it was a total “pinch me” moment.