Tales from the PGA Tour – Good days, Bad days, and dreams of playing catch with my son

Pinehurst member Darron Stiles is the Web.Com Tour’s all-time career money-winner, which people who don’t know any better would say makes him the Crash Davis of golf. That isn’t accurate, of course, because Stiles has had five seasons on the PGA Tour, and the Web.com Tour success has translated to more than $1.8 million in earnings. Stiles has also earned more than $1.4 million in his five PGA Tour seasons.

Stiles has already seen his share of highs and lows this 2013 PGA Tour season. On occasion here at the Pinehurst Blog, he’ll recount those highs and lows – triumphs and cuts.

Read Stiles first two installments here and here.

After not getting into the event in Tampa, I headed off to Broussard, La., near Lafayette, for the Web.Com Tour event.

This was my 17th consecutive year playing in Lafayette. I know that sounds a little odd with having been on the PGA Tour for six years, but with the way the scheduling has taken place over the years, Lafayette has been opposite either the Players Championship, or in this case, the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I have not been fortunate enough to play in either one of those events, so off to Lafayette for great food and great people.

My week in Lafayette was a fairly good one. I have always loved the golf course and have had mixed results. This year was another decent result.

Thursday’s first round was a solid day, netting me a 4-under 67.

Friday, though, was something else.

Something even better.

Friday was one of the best days I have had on the course all year. I shot 7-under 64, a score that could have easily been at least three shots better, if not more. My total of 131 (-11) had me holding the 36-hole lead.

As has been the case lately, though, my prowess on the greens turned mediocre on the weekend for rounds of 71 and 72 for a 274 (-10) total, leading to a tied-for-13th finish.  In my defense, Sunday was played in 20-30 MPH winds, thus making shot-making much more difficult.

Upon finishing the round on Sunday, it was off to Houston for the Monday Q for the Shell Houston Open. With my number not getting in by the deadline on Friday, I was forced to yet again play my way in an event this year. No big deal really – I have played the qualifier course several times over the last few years, so I was familiar with it.

The problem, though, my golf game decide to stay in Louisiana and not travel the 3 1/2 hours to Houston.

I shot 78 and failed to qualify, but the good news was I moved up the alternate list to second by Monday afternoon.

Now the waiting began.

No movement Tuesday. The same for Wednesday – no change, and unfortunately, I was forced to spend all day Thursday on the range waiting as well. Alas, there were no withdrawals and I could not play tournament golf for the second time in three weeks.

At least there was a silver lining. A bright one, in fact.

The plus side in all of this, my family came out to Houston to spend the week with me. The kids were on spring break, and my wife managed to get the time off from.  Though I spent a lot of time at the course on Tuesday-Thursday, we managed to have a great week of fun.

Friday was spent at Johnson Space Center, home of NASA. It was very cool to see a little behind-the-scenes of training for the missions into space. The displays were very informative and told some great stories from various missions from the Mercury and Apollo days thru the Shuttle years, and the future Orion project.

Saturday was baseball day. We took the kids to the final spring training game for the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Watching my son’s enthusisam was a cool sight. He has been to other games before, but this is the first one that really clicked with him and what was going on down on the field. I am looking forward to the day he asks me to play “catch.”

After a great few days with the family, I put them on a plane back to N.C., and headed west to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open.

Awesome news! I get to play this week!