Sunday

The Inspiring Story Behind Scott Stallings' Rookie Win

Way back in March, when this was happening...  I wrote this:

c/o BNET/Chief Executive Golfer
March 17, 2011 - A couple of days ago I finally got a chance to check out  Chief Executive Golfer,  a blog written by PGA Tour rookie, Scott Stallings, for BNET, the CBS interactive business network.

The PGA Reshuffle: What Happens When You're Not Making Money was what caught my eye.  It was Scott's most recent post, and as I read it... then read his previous posts... I was captivated by the narrative.  It's Scott's personal story and it brings to life his dreams... and his disappointments... many of which are certainly shared by touring pros everywhere as they attempt to build sustainable golf careers.  I'd first heard about Scott... and his blog... via an interview he did for The Grill Room, with Golf Magazine senior editor Alan Bastable. 

Scott started the blog a couple of years ago and writes regularly.  His early posts find him grinding along on the Nationwide Tour.  He describes the frustration when he narrowly missed getting on the PGA Tour in 2009 and the joy of finally getting there in 2010.  He talks about the crazy travel schedule, the relationships he has with his caddie and swing coach, the money issues and missed cuts... and the sheer unpredictability of it all.   For the casual golf fan... and even for avid fans... I suspect many of the stories in Scott's blog would be a revelation.

c/o stallingsgolf.com
Scott is a preachers son, raised in Oak Ridge, TN.  His quintessential Middle American innocence and unaffected enthusiasm come through clearly in his writing.   He travels 300 days a year with Jennifer who he first met when they were both... in kindergarten. They started dating in seventh grade and she's now his wife.  Though she's as beautiful as any of the PGA Tour wives mentioned in the reality show story (of last March),  her look is decidedly more "winsome, storybook princess" than "fierce bad girl glamazon".

Jennifer manages the couple's complicated, constantly changing itinerary and acts as devil's advocate for her sometimes overly optimistic husband.  She's also a talented photographer... and a prolific blogger in her own right.  Life on the Road is where Jennifer chronicles the unconventional touring pro lifestyle from a partner's point of view.  Like her husband she describes the hardships as well as the joys and paints an engaging, eye-opening picture.

c/o PGATour.com
Scott missed the cut for the Honda Classic so right now he and Jennifer are in rain soaked Bogota, Colombia for the Nationwide Tour's Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open. Scott's currently in a tie for 22nd as the last group finishes their second round and the third round gets underway. Rules don't allow for play on Monday so the the tournament... and the next move for Mr. and Mrs. Stallings... will be decided this afternoon, on the completion, it's hoped, of 54 holes.  Theirs is far cry from the lifestyle of the top players.

c/o stallingsgolf.com
For Scott Stallings and other PGA Tour rookies... and for all of those trying to reach the PGA Tour through the Nationwide Tour or regional and developmental tours... the stakes, week-in and week-out, are arguably far greater than they are at the top, where players have status that allows them to worry much less about keeping their jobs.  To my mind, these rookies... and aspiring rookies... have a far more dramatic story to tell.  A good showing has got to mean more... and a heart break must be far more heartbreaking... when the specter of starting over at Q-school is hanging over one's head.

If these stories can be heard over the cacophony that surrounds the glamorous lives of top players, I'm sure they'll find an enthusiastic audience... even in this fragmented golf media landscape.   In fact, with the proliferation of new online golf platforms and multimedia golf entertainment networks, a well produced web series starring Scott and Jennifer Stallings might not be that much of a stretch.  In the meantime check out Chief Executive Golfer and Life on the Road for an ultra-engaging glimpse into the lives of the real rookies of the PGA Tour.

In a one-hole sudden death playoff today, Scott won the 2011 Greenbrier Classic.