By Bob Arnett
TERRE HAUTE — It was back in 2007 when area golf fans were happy to learn that Chad Collins from nearby Cloverdale had earned his PGA Tour card for 2008.
Qualifying for that coveted card is definitely no small feat in itself. Collins secured that distinction by concluding the 2007 Nationwide Tour as one of its top 25 money winners. At that time, as it is for most professional golfers, there would be good news as well as bad, in the future.
Collins went on to win $339,959 in prize money. That landed him 174th among money winners. Add some endorsement checks to that and you have a nice income for a young man, however, it would take another $512,790 to tie Martin Laird for 125th in order to retain playing privileges for 2009.
In reviewing Chad’s statistics, I recalled that “figures don’t lie,” but sometimes it would seem that something is haywire. For example, Collins averaged 277.5 yards for tee shots whereas Greg Kraft’s figure was 273.6. Kraft won $1,204,559 to place 90th on the money list, but Chad’s driving distance ranked him 184th among tour regulars.
Everyone knows that the pros “drive for show and putt for dough” right? Well, Collins average of 28.4 putts per round placed him 11th on the PGA Tour. A player by the name of Vijay Singh averaged 28.7 and he took home more than six and one-half million greenbacks.
Chad also placed 31st in sand saves getting up and down 55.3 percent of the time.
From the stats you might conclude that the word “synergism” is flawed even though Mr. Webster of dictionary fame advises that synergism occurs when the total effect is more than the sum of individual effects. With Collins’ numbers it would appear that he should have more prize money than the amount credited to him, but this is where the plot thickens.
Even though the PGA Tour has in the past declared itself an “all exempt tour”, in actuality it has been anything but “all exempt.” Chad got to compete in 24 tournaments in which he made 12 cuts. There are more than 30 tourneys played on tour. Top 125 finishers are “in” for the upcoming season. Other categories include some medical exemptions, those who qualify with lifetime earnings on tour, winners of “Majors,” sponsor’s exemptions and of course the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour.
By the time Nationwide qualifiers get to play, it may be that two or three tournaments have been completed. Then there is the matter of reshuffling. That’s when players are moved up and down on the qualifying list depending on how they have fared in their opportunities to tee it up.
At any rate, that “Synergy” thing we mentioned did work out. Chad’s overall rating for a number of statistics combined, put him at 159 out of 200 players. His driving distance placed him 174th among his fellow competitors. Although Chad’s putts per round figure was outstanding, he ranked 183rd on greens in regulation which means he missed a few more greens than others which led to shorter and fewer putts per round.
All in all, Collins has proven that he has the necessary skills to not only play the PGA Tour, but also to be successful, but there is that fine line between succeeding and missing. Several of the players who finished behind Collins have been winners on the PGA Tour in the past.
With many buckets of gold out there for the winners, strong players like Collins need to go for it. The quest is not easy, but huge rewards are waiting. One hundred four players earned more than one million dollars on the PGA Tour in 2008.
With hard work and some luck, Collins might well see his name someday rising to the top of the PGA money list. Here’s wishing him plenty of luck, which is always an important ingredient in this wild and crazy game called golf.
Bob Clements was a marvelous athlete at Wiley High School and at Indiana State. In addition, he was an outstanding football coach at South Vigo High School. The Bob Clements Memorial Golf Classic honors his memory with proceeds from the event going to the Bob Clements Scholarship Fund as well as providing grants for classroom teachers.
The second annual event is slated for June 17 at Idle Creek with a lunch provided at 11 a.m.. and a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m.
Entry fee is $75 per player and hole sponsorships may be purchased for $100. A raffle will also be conducted. Awards for low gross and low net winners will be presented at the tourney’s conclusion.
Bob Olah was captain and No. 1 man on South Vigo’s golf team back in 1972 and 1973. At six feet in height and 155 pounds, Olah could hit the ball a proverbial mile. I recall when he hit a drive and a nine iron to the back of No. 8 at Rea Park. He also won a driving contest at Hulman Links when he blasted a drive 339 yards down number one fairway.
Bob wasn’t just a hitter. He posted a pair of 72’s in leading the team to a win in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference Tourney his senior year. The squad followed up with a regional championship and a trip to the IHSAA state finals where they finished 11th. His teammates were Stephen Cass, Terry Metheny, Fred Bonewell and John Moulton.
It seems that Olah hasn’t forgotten how to strike the little white sphere. On his yearly trek from Galt, Cailf. he recently pulled out his wedge on No. 5 at Hulman Links and deposited his 134-yard shot into the cup for a deuce. His witnesses were Gene Tanner, Jeff Fields and Mark Miklozek.
When asked what he shot, the reply was “I’ll be playing Hulman Links for the fourth time tomorrow.”
Aces have been plentiful at River Bend at The Landing. That’s the former Elks Fort Harrison Country Club. Don Albert reports that it has taken 60 years to record his first hole in one. He recently grabbed his trusty Ping wedge and performed his perfect shot on No. 8. Looking on were Ron Poore Sr. and Harvey Cabak.
Also draining their tee shots on the 95-yard par three were Shawn Sheffield and Will Pollock. Sheffield used his sand wedge for his ace, which was witnessed by Tim Snedeger and Bob Woods. Will Pollock, a member of North’s golf team, popped his 56-degree wedge into the cup and became one of the younger set to make an ace this season. His brother, Sam, witnessed the feat.
• Tip of the week — If you are “topping” your drives, place a tee about two inches past the ball you want to hit, and then try to make contact with the tee in front as you make your swing.
Also, have someone hold your head steady while you take a practice swing. Stand far enough from the path of the clubhead so you don’t get hit. Your head won’t remain perfectly still, but excess motion will ruin your shots.
Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.
Bob Arnett can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at the Tribune-Star, P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN 47808.