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Players who came from very modest backgrounds?


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Lee Trevino supposedly worked at a modest driving range and would watch Hogan.

 

Most of the post war/post Depression guys from Texas were pretty poor like Hogan and a few others.

 

It seems like it would be pretty hard for a guy to come from a modest background and get to the show these days.  Bryson and Keegan Bradley came from pretty modest backgrounds.  Keegan's dad was a single parent and they lived in a mobile home.  He was a pro in the NE but supposedly they were fairly poor.   Bryson said the family had some tough times. 

 

I can think of one guy out there who's dad is a billionaire and maybe another one as well.  I don't hold it against them.

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Finau was straight up poor.   Think him and his mom slept in the car and she spent like her last $2 to buy him McDonald’s.   Amazing.    Check it out....   “Proble

John Daly, Tony Finau, Boo Weekly, Gainey, and many many more.

Rory's parents worked multiple jobs.

  

16 minutes ago, FakeClubPro said:

Lee Trevino supposedly worked at a modest driving range and would watch Hogan.

 

Most of the post war/post Depression guys from Texas were pretty poor like Hogan and a few others.

 

It seems like it would be pretty hard for a guy to come from a modest background and get to the show these days.  Bryson and Keegan Bradley came from pretty modest backgrounds.  Keegan's dad was a single parent and they lived in a mobile home.  He was a pro in the NE but supposedly they were fairly poor.   Bryson said the family had some tough times. 

 

I can think of one guy out there who's dad is a billionaire and maybe another one as well.  I don't hold it against them.

 

Maverick McNealy.

 

I think most pro golfers come from fairly modest backgrounds.

 

Mickelson and Els came from an upper middle background.

 

Nicklaus' family were fairly well off.

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I don't think he grew up poor, but Harold Varner III folks sound like basic working class people. 

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You will find a lot more stories of hardship in the older players obviously- Snead, Hogan, Trevino, Seve, Langer, etc. There are still plenty of tour players who were decidedly middle class though - Gainey, Lanto Griffin, Chad Campbell, Streelman I think worked at several courses just for the practice privileges. Most tour players today play D1 college golf, so even if they weren’t well healed as juniors they certainly had every top notch practice and playing privilege available to them during 4 very important years developmentally. The ones who do not play college golf and come from less than affluent upbringings really are exceptional. The story of that fella from Mexico that had dirt floors and a bathroom in the trees is amazing. 

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10 minutes ago, caniac6 said:

The rich kids had advantages growing up, but they still had to earn their ways on tour.

Oh yes of course. Webb Simpson, Bill Haas, Maverick and the others put tons of time and work in. No matter a person’s background, the desire to put in the work and compete is what gets people to that level. 

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The thing is there is a massive difference between modest, well off, very well off, and like stupid rich. Or whatever other monikers we want to use. In the OP we're talking about guys living in cars and then about billionaires. 

 

Even an entry level "1 percenter" in Canada for example isn't bathing in money. You have to earn about 230K. You're hardly complaining at that point, and your kids can go to private school etc...But personal coaches, trips to florida 6 times a year, yachts and cigars, fanciest private clubs etc....Not exactly that lifestyle, especially with real estate where it is....and that's someone technically in the top 1 percent of earners. 

 

So for someone to get like full time coaching and golf trips and etc to the point that it's really almost an unfair advantage, you'd have to be like really top level rich. There's so few people out there really like that, it's like 10% of the 1%

 

So yea, most pros had to work their tail off and probably weren't handed much on a platter, beyond maybe being at a nice private club and going to private school

 

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Back in the day, most pros came from working class backgrounds (very much a class thing in US and especially GB and Europe), and the depression magnified that. Talking 30s-50s.  I think this is still true in Europe to a point, as the wealthy are ams, who would not be sullied by selling golf shirts.  Today Most of the Euro guys seem to be from more modest backgrounds than their US counter parts.  As the $$$ has improved more middle class and upper middle kids have found golf an excellent payday and have succeeded.  The supreme IRONY is the Tiger effect that was to bring more kids of color into the game has had the opposite effect.  Instead, you have less Afro americans out there today vs. the 60s-80s (Elder, Dent, Thorpe, Peete, Sifford were not only on PGA tour but winning!!!).  The white middle class kids AND international (Asian) took note and rushed into the game big time.

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13 hours ago, bscinstnct said:

Finau was straight up poor.

 

Think him and his mom slept in the car and she spent like her last $2 to buy him McDonald’s.

 

Amazing. 
 

Check it out....

 

“Problem was, there weren’t many outlets for kids in the gang-infested projects of Rose Park, near downtown Salt Lake City. Most of the Polynesians from that troubled area played football, but Gipper, then 5, started watching golf on Saturdays and persuaded his mom to ask Kelepi whether he could try that sport instead.

 

Kelepi was clueless – he said he had never swung a club, knew nothing about the game. A few of his wife’s cousins played, so he called them and asked questions. He drove to the Jordan River Par-3 course down the street and studied the golfers slashing away on the range. He quizzed the pro-shop attendant about prices.   

 

Back at home, he crunched the numbers: It was $7.50 a bucket … and they needed thousands of balls to hone their skills … and they needed clubs … and they needed to pay for green fees … and every cost was multiplied by two … and nope. The traditional route wasn’t feasible.

 

So Kelepi stopped by the local Salvation Army and bought a 6-iron for 75 cents, a putter for $1 and a little red bag for 50 cents. At the library, he checked out magazines, videos and golf books about the swing, none more influential than Jack Nicklaus’ “Golf My Way.”

 

To work on their full swing, he built his own driving range, in the family’s garage outside their cramped, three-bedroom duplex. The boys smacked balls off scraps of carpet into a nylon net. Behind the net was a mattress dotted with spray paint – targets to hit from about 5 feet away, so they could work on their trajectory and starting lines

 

https://www.golfchannel.com/article/ryan-lavner/family-sacrifices-fuel-finau

 

Amazing story.  I was watching Tony in the post round interview at Farmers (?).  Very happy, big smiles it is nice to see that he got to the show.   Hitting balls in the garage 4 hours per night.  Wow.   What is up with his brother?  I thought he was almost as good as Tony?

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Even billionaires can be "modest" by definition. I think what the OP meant to say was "Players who didn't have Mommy or Daddy's money to pay for new clubs, balls, shoes,belts,swing coaches, country club memberships, etc...

 

Real deal blue collar folks whose biggest daily struggle isn't which color of shoes or tie looks better.🍻

 

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15 minutes ago, ChronicSlicer said:

Even billionaires can be "modest" by definition. I think what the OP meant to say was "Players who didn't have Mommy or Daddy's money to pay for new clubs, balls, shoes,belts,swing coaches, country club memberships, etc...

 

Real deal blue collar folks whose biggest daily struggle isn't which color of shoes or tie looks better.🍻

 

I would say there are maybe zero tour players whose “mommy and daddy” did not pay for clubs, balls, etc. when they were kids. Even Finau’s very modest beginnings - his dad paid for those clubs, balls, net, mattress, etc. What kind of parent doesn’t provide enjoyment for their kids?  Who tells a kid “hey you want to play a sport? Go get a job you deadbeat 9 year old freeloader”?

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1 hour ago, golfandfishing said:

I would say there are maybe zero tour players whose “mommy and daddy” did not pay for clubs, balls, etc. when they were kids. Even Finau’s very modest beginnings - his dad paid for those clubs, balls, net, mattress, etc. What kind of parent doesn’t provide enjoyment for their kids?  Who tells a kid “hey you want to play a sport? Go get a job you deadbeat 9 year old freeloader”?


Didnt ya see The Greatest Game Ever Played?

 

Francis pop hated golf! 

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Lanto Griffin's parents weren't wealthy at all and his dad died when he was young. Others have already mentioned Finau, Day, Bubba...

 

Golf is a sport that the well-to-do tend to play, but a lot of the PGA tour guys were anything but. 

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Seve Ballesteros, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Manuel Pinero and Jose Maria Canizares all started to learn the game as caddies in Spain.

 

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During the Andalucían Golf Awards presentation you said you were the last of the generation of Spanish golfers who have won on the Tour and who began as caddies: Seve, Cañizares, Piñero… Was the difference, in some way, quite pronounced between those who came into the world of golf like you did and those who came from the amateur ranks such as Olazábal and those who followed them later?

It was different. We weren’t able to play in championships because we couldn’t be amateurs. Caddies were caddies and could play in tournaments as candidate-professionals. When you were a caddie-golfer you went on to become a candidate-professional and from there, completing your rounds and exams, you became a professional. There was demand for professionals in Spain, and the world of golf was fed by the caddie ranks, because there was no other source. Golf at the time was extremely exclusive, elite or however you want to describe it. Thankfully not so much now – it’s more accessible to people. I was the last of that generation of caddies, and Olazábal was the first of the new generation who came from the amateur game. These days everyone comes from there. The difference previously, between players with spending power and those without, no longer exists.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, tw_focus said:

TW earned every penny and grew up poorer than most posters on this forum. 

He played a lot of AJGA events in addition to a full slate of national amateur events when he was a junior. Easily $35K a year on entry fees and travel for the type of schedule he was playing - most people on this board could not have afforded that. 

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22 hours ago, golfandfishing said:

I would say there are maybe zero tour players whose “mommy and daddy” did not pay for clubs, balls, etc. when they were kids. Even Finau’s very modest beginnings - his dad paid for those clubs, balls, net, mattress, etc. What kind of parent doesn’t provide enjoyment for their kids?  Who tells a kid “hey you want to play a sport? Go get a job you deadbeat 9 year old freeloader”?

lol, well of course parents have to pay for their childs needs. I know you know what I meant.

Some kids do pay for their own sports gear, or hobbies. Not everyone is handed everything they want, I personally had to cut grass, wash dishes, rake leaves as a child to earn an allowance so I could buy baseball cards, new bicycle tires, my first aluminum baseball bat from K-mart. Of course the money was given to me by my parent (single mother) who worked for minimum wage to support us. But, she made me work for what I got. It sucked as a kid, but I know and understand the value of a dollar, and understand the struggles of "lower class" of peoples.

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