JOY and relief.
That’s the way I’d describe how it feels to win on the US PGA Tour when you’ve had as many starts as I had and not got the chocolates.
At 385 events and 18 years on the US PGA Tour, I’m told my victory at the Barracuda Championship in July was the longest winless streak of any active players. When you play that many events and don’t close it out, there are lots of questions. Not just from others, but in your own head: do I have what it takes to get it done when it matters?
To be leading on Friday and Saturday night and win the tournament, hitting the quality shots I did, put a huge smile on my face and made me feel great about my game. It made it so much more special to eagle that final hole, after a great second shot on that par 5, and made winning look more comfortable than it probably was.
I must say, though, the best thing about the victory is actually off the course – with my charity, MAXimum Chances. My win in Reno [Nevada] helps me to offset the costs of 30 families we help around the Dallas area, where my wife, Nicole, and I live.
MAXimum Chances is a charity Nicole and I started after our son Max was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at 20 months of age. At its peak, we were spending quite a lot of money on treatment – but we were fortunate we had it. Not everyone is so lucky, and that’s where Nicole really thought we could help others to pay for things like weekly speech, behavioural and occupational therapy, as well as all the doctor visits. The bills certainly pile up.
Max is now 13, highly intelligent and doing great. He’s just one of a myriad of amazing stories we’ve been able to contribute through MAXimum Chances.
We want that to grow, and my two-year exemption on the US PGA Tour – for winning an event – will certainly help. I’ve never had that job security in 21 years as a professional!
Winning called for a celebration, although I didn’t have time to soak it up that night due to commitments for the tournament sponsors. But being an Aussie, we made sure we had a couple of drinks at the airport before getting the red-eye back to Dallas.
I won on July 3, so when I got back to Texas the next day, my family and friends threw me a huge party at my golf club in Dallas. That was a Fourth of July I’ll always remember.