ON THE FRINGE THOUSANDS DREAM OF REACHING PGA TOUR BUT GETTING THERE CAN BE COSTLY.Byline: Rich Hammond Rich Hammond
Los Angeles Daily News sports writer. Instrumental in bringing the Los Angeles Kings hockey organization closer to the fans. He is the atypical "what a guy" to Kings fans everywhere.
Rich Hammond on himself. Staff Writer
Golfer Kyle Kovacs can fill you in on all the details of his dream in just about 15 seconds.
``You start out on Monday qualifying for the Buy.com Tour,'' said Kovacs, 24, a 1993 graduate of Notre Dame Notre Dame IPA: [nɔtʁ dam] is French for Our Lady, referring to the Virgin Mary. In the United States of America, Notre Dame High. ``You've got two or three hundred guys going for 14 spots, but you get in, do well in the tournament and get some experience at that level.
``You keep playing well there and eventually you get a win. Then you get another, and another, and then you're in the top 15 on the money list and you've got an automatic spot on the PGA Tour The PGA Tour is an organization that operates the USA's main professional golf tours. It is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA. Its name is officially rendered in all caps as “PGA TOUR". . That's how quickly you can make it.''
Kovacs relays all this information without even as much as a snicker. He's serious, because he has to be.
For Kovacs, and thousands of other golfers who have yet to reach the PGA Tour or are struggling to get back, they must believe in themselves and their improbable dreams, even if few others do.
They exist on the fringes On The Fringe is a popular Pakistani television show on Indus Music. It is hosted and scripted by the eccentric television host and music critic, Fasi Zaka and directed by Zeeshan Pervez. of professional golf, some barely getting by on their meager mea·ger also mea·gre
1. Deficient in quantity, fullness, or extent; scanty.
2. Deficient in richness, fertility, or vigor; feeble: the meager soil of an eroded plain.
3. earnings from minitour events across the country but all holding on to the dream that their path to fame and fortune might soon be cleared.
``There's a lot of good players not on PGA (1) (Professional Graphics Adapter) An early IBM PC display standard for 3D processing with 640x480x256 resolution. It was not widely used.
(2) (Programmable Gate Array) See gate array and FPGA. out there, all over the country and all over the world,'' said Brad Gallagher, 35, a Saugus High graduate who now serves as an assistant pro at Robinson Ranch in Santa Clarita Santa Clarita, city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country, after a decade on various minitours and international circuits and 10 unsuccessful trips to PGA qualifying school In professional golf the term Qualifying school is used for the annual qualifying tournaments for leading golf tours such as the U.S. based PGA and LPGA Tours and the European Tour. .
``There's a lot of guys out there with a lot of hope.''
But, as Gallagher concedes, hope will only take a golfer so far. Once the money runs out, the dream is over, and life in the minors is never easy on the bank balance.
Chris Zambri, a graduate of Westlake High and USC An abbreviation for U.S. Code. , along with Alemany High alum alum (ăl`əm), any one of a series of isomorphous double salts that are hydrated sulfates of a univalent cation (e.g., potassium, sodium, ammonium, cesium, or thallium) and a trivalent cation (e.g. David Berganio, now play on the Buy.com Tour (formerly the Nike Tour), which is one significant cut below the PGA Tour and an even more significant cut above the minitours that Gallagher inhabited for several years.
In an average week, Zambri will spend $110 to register for the tournament, $300-$500 for a caddy A plastic container that holds a CD or DVD disc for added protection. The bare disc is placed in the caddy, and the caddy is inserted into the drive. A caddy is not a jewel case. A jewel case protects the disc for transportation. A caddy protects the disc while reading and writing. and $250-$500 for a hotel room.
``And that doesn't include one meal,'' Zambri said.
If a player misses a cut, there is no paycheck. In last weekend's Buy.com tour event in Lakeland, Fla., former PGA Tour player Bob Lohr Robert Harold "Bob" Lohr (born November 2, 1960) is an American professional golfer who has played on the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour.
Lohr was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. made the cut, finished last, won $1,060 and likely lost money on the week.
Zambri earned some breathing room last weekend when he tied for seventh place and earned a check for $12,050, by far his biggest of the year, but that only lifted him to 52nd on the tour's money list.
Zambri regularly drives his minivan to tour stops, saving on travel expenses, but he spends the majority of his time away from his wife, Kim, and their 2-year-old son in Westlake Village.
``I've been driving the whole tour,'' Zambri said. ``It's nice to have your car out on tour, because if you don't play well, you want to get the heck out of town. . . . If I miss a cut, then you have to change your flight and that costs money.
``The hard part is not seeing my family. If I didn't have a tie with home, I wouldn't mind it. Being away from California doesn't bug me. Being away from my family bugs me.''
Consider also that Buy.com Tour events pay considerably more than minitours, which means that for many players, golf is not a sport as much as it is a mechanism for survival. Gallagher estimated that only the top 10 percent of minitour players make money during any given week.
``The Buy.com Tour is one of the few places where you can play full-time and still be comfortable financially,'' Kovacs said. ``I've built myself a decent cushion on the minitours, but not many players in California can say that. It's not a lot of money, but it's enough to get by.''
It's enough for some, maybe, but not for all. Gallagher stopped playing the minitours and accepted the job at Robinson Ranch, which opened earlier this year.
Gallagher once had eight birdies in one round during a Canadian Tour event and also played in Asia and on several California tours, including the Golden Bear and the Teardrop tear·drop
1. A single tear.
2. An object shaped like a tear. . But he decided that he would be better off with the stability a full-time job.
Gallagher said he would like to get involved in the business end of the PGA Tour and continue to play local sectional sec·tion·al
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a particular district.
2. Composed of or divided into component sections.
n. events when possible.
``It's pretty tough out on the minitours,'' Gallagher said. ``You can play every week, but only if it doesn't eat up all your money.
``The money used to be pretty good, because the fields were at about 120 people every week. Now you might get 60 or 70, and where there is less guys, there is less money.''
The dream is still alive for some.
Kovacs recently signed a sponsorship deal and will attempt to qualify for Buy.com Tour events later this year, which is why he daydreams about a quick path to the PGA Tour.
It appears he has the youth, ambition and talent to realize his goal, but he understands that the opportunities are fleeting for golfers in his situation.
``Twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. ago, you could start out on the PGA Tour and learn while you were there,'' Kovacs said. ``Now, there is so much competition that it's a fight just to get up to the tour.
``I'm out here because I like to hit a golf ball. To make a lot of money out of it would be great, but if you go in expecting to make a lot of money out of the sport, it's probably not going to happen.''
2 photos, box
(1 -- color) Kyle Kovacs dreams of playing on the PGA Tour. Meanwhile, he hardly leads a glamorous life.
Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
(2) Brad Gallagher stopped playing the minitours and accepted a job as an assistant pro at Robinson Ranch.
John Lazar/Staff Photographer
Box: TRACKING THE PROS