I am not sure how closely everyone here follows the game of golf. While the weather is still uncooperative for the sport in the Southeast (we are still a couple weeks away from a comfortable leisurely tee time), there are many reasons that the Clemson family should be watching the sport over the course of this year. While I know the fever probably won't take hold until the par-3 tourney at the National in April, we will try to get you at least partially excited here in February.
Clemson has a nice golf tradition that keeps on building. Clemson currently has three Tour players who are very capable of securing a victory any given week. There are also a host of Tigers on the Nationwide and Hooters/eGolf tours who are potential future stars. We cannot promise the frequency of golf updates but do want everyone to realize that there is a nice crop of young players constantly moving through CU. This long list of Tiger professional golfers is a tribute to the golfing talent in this state and Clemson coach Larry Penley's ability to further develop talent once these guys get on campus.
This was a substantial list, so please let us know if there are any other former Tigers out there lighting it up on the links and we will adjust appropriately.
Jonathan Byrd (PGA Tour Profile, wiki article) is a Clemson favorite. The Clemson letterman has earned over $10 million over the course of his career on the Tour. The Anderson native has notched three (3) Tour victories (John Deere Classic in '07, BC Open in '04, and BuicK Challenge in '02) and a Nationwide victory at the Cliffs in 2001. Byrd's best finish on last year's schedule was 3rd place at the Memorial. Byrd was a member of the US Walker Cup Team in '99 and was the Tour Rookie of the Year in 2002. Byrd was a four time All-ACC selection at Clemson and a member of the '06 CU Hall of Fame class.
Byrd has a basic and simple golf swing that stays on plane throughout the stroke. I would encourage everyone to watch Byrd's swing as it is a repetitious thing of beauty--watch the slow mo below and notice how the club is in perfect position throughout the stroke. After an up and down '09 run, we hope he starts off the '10 campaign fast and possibly see JB in the Master's field come April.
Byrd scores and ACE at the 2006 Deutsche Bank Classic:
PGA Outside the Ropes Special:
Lucas Glover (PGA profile, wiki article, biography.com) is Clemson's most recognizable golf alumnus. Lucus, defending US Open champion, also won a Tour event in Orlando back in '05 and a Nationwide event at Wild Horse Pass Resort in '03. Lucus' win last year at Bethpage was celebrated by the entire Tiger Nation and was a real bright point for all of us last summer. Lucas secured this win by holding off past major winners Phil Mickelson and David Duval. Glover has earned well over $11 million in his PGA career, highlighted by a Top 10 finish on last year's Tour money list.
Lucas really gets off the tee box well, ranking 2nd on the Tour last year in total driving. Lucas also has great shot shaping ability and distance control, as displayed during his run last June. Swing-wise, Lucas is steep with his take-away then makes an adjustment at the top of his swing to get the club in the slot. Glover is almost always in great position at the POC and really gets through the ball well.
Lucas was inducted into Clemson's athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 and was honored for his professional accomplishments. While at Clemson, Lucas was 1st team All-America in '00 and '01 and was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team.
We are expecting a big year out of LG in 2010. With half a dozen top 10 finishes last year, a major victory, Top 5 finishes in 2 of the three majors played (won US, cut British, 5th PGA), and a top 10 at the Tour Championship, Glover has a nice springboard into this year.
What's in Lucas' bag (PGA Tour production piece)
D.J. Trahan (PGA profile, wiki) is a two (2) time Tour winner ('06 Farm Bureau Classic and '08 Bob Hope) and Nationwide winner at the Miccosukee Championship in '04. Trahan, from Dorman High School, finished 4th in the 2008 US Open. During his time at Clemson, Trahan was a 1st team All-American in 2002 and 2003 and a member of the Clemson National Championship squad in '03.
At 6'3", Trahan has along frame and really takes advantage of his body type with his swing. D.J. gets through the ball nicely and does not have a lot of wasted motion in his swing.
Nice piece after Trahan's Bob Hope Victory including other Former Tiger Golfers:
Trahan PeakPerformance Infomercial:
PGA Tour Promotions Clip
Charles Warren (PGA Profile, wiki) is a Clemson legend. Warren claimed the 1997 NCAA National championship while at Clemson. Warren became the first golfer in school history to be inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor during the fall of 2009. CW was previously inducted into the 2005 Clemson Athletic HOF in 2005. The Columbia native has three (3) Nationwide Tour wins ('02 at the Cliffs, Canadian PGA Championship in '04, and the Cox Classic in '04) and has been a Tour regular for years.
Warren has a classic swing and also gets through the ball well. In 2009, Warren finished in the top 25 in four (4) tournaments. Warren is talented enough to put together a nice run at any point this year, and we are hoping for a few top-10's n the Tour before it is all said and done in '10.
Eagle for Warren in '08 Turning Stone:
'08 FBR Highlights:
2008 Children's Miracle Network Highlights (with Bill Haas):
Kevin Johnson (PGA profile, Wiki) is a 2002 Clemson HOF inductee and Clemson's first three time golf All-American. Johnson had a great amateur career, notching a pro victory and participating in the Walker Cup in the '80's. KJ was part of the late '80's surge in Clemson golf and has moved forward successfully since.
Kevin is currently on the PGA Tour after quite a few years on the Nationwide Tour. KJ has eight (8) career professional tournament victories including a win at the Massachusetts Open as an amateur in '86. Last season Johnson win twice (and won over a quarter of a million dollars for the year) on the Nationwide Tour and is eager for a good year on the big circuit in '10. He has already participated in three tour events this year, making the cut in one event and earning over $20k so far on the year.
Kevin gets a wide turn on the ball and has really improved over the past few years on the Nationwide Tour. We are eager to see if he can carry over some of the recent Nationwide success onto the main Tour this year. There are a few clips showing the goofy PGA flicks and a preview of his jump from the Nationwide to PGA Tour.
PGA Tour Outside the Ropes:
KJ Overview Going into 2010
Michael Hoey (wiki, CBS Sports Profile) won a European Tour event last season and is poised for a big year on the links across the pond. Hoey was a member of the '99 and '00 golf team at Clemson and has begun to emerge as a legit contender on the European tour. The native Irishman has four (4) professional wins under his belt as well as a victory in the 2001 British Amateur Championship. We expect Hoey to play well on in Europe this season and hope to see more of him over the wire as the year progresses. So far this season Hoey has participated in six events and made the cut in five of them.
See the 1:08 mark for a nice shot by Hoey
Matt Hendrix (PGA profile, egolf profile) played in five Nationwide Tour events in 2009. Matt will play on the Hooters and eGolf tours in 2010. Matt had an exceptional amateur career, participating in various international events and helping the Tigers to a National Championship in 2003. He will also compete in Monday qualifiers for Nationwide events throughout the year and catch some of the momentum he had a few years back, making the cut in 7 events in '07 and making a serious run at the BC Open in '05. It should be noted that Matt got some momentum going with a good year on the EGolf Tour, making the cut in 11 of 14 events entered and earning almost $78,000 on the '09 schedule. Hendrix has a powerful stroke and can hopefully find his groove in '10 and get back to the premier circuit in the near future.
Kyle Stanley (PGA profile,wiki) is a recent addition to professional golf as he turned pro after the '09 US Open (of which he did make the cut as an amateur). Stanley had a great career at Clemson, earning first-team All-America honors in both '07 and '09. Kyle is originally from Washington state but chose to play golf at Clemson. Even though Stanley has no status going into this year, he will get the opportunity to play in at least seven (7) big event around the world
Brent Delahoussaye (PGA profile) was able to secure a spot on the PGA Tour this year with a 23rd place finish in Q-school after spending a few seasons on the developmental circuits. Delahoussaye, a Greenville native, has the distinction of participating in competing at both Clemson and South Carolina in various events (transferred to Clemson after two seasons at USC). BD was an all-ACC performer in both his junior and senior seasons at Clemson. The PGA rookie was able to play in a Tour event in 2006, making the cut and winning over $10 k in his lone Tour appearance prior to the '10 season.
See the 1:40 mark for Q-School highlights from Delahoussaye:
BD getting on the number with a birdie on 16 in his final Q-school round:
Stephen Poole (PGA profile) finished the eGolf Tour in 29th place, earning a shade over $40 K there and over $7 K on the Hooters Tour last season. Poole capped off a trip to Q-school with a 48th place finish, earning status on the Nationwide Tour for 2010. In his career (prior to '10) Poole played in two Nationwide Tour events and made one cut. In his lone PGA event, the Sparkle City native finished 36th in the Wyndham Championship and earned over $25,000 in the process.
Sam Saunders (PGA profile) left Clemson unexpectedly early to pursue a career on the PGA Tour. As you all probably know, Saunders is the grandson of "The King," Arnold Palmer. Saunders will receive a fair amount of sponsor's exemptions over the course of the year and really needs to gain as much experience as possible, especially after a quiet college career. Here is a pretty good question and answer segment by PGAtour.com prior to the Bob hope Classic discussing the upcoming year, his grandfather, and future goals. We really do not know what to expect out of Saunders this year. He is fresh out of school and has a lot to work on to get his game up to Tour level, particularly after an early exit from Q-School in '09. Saunders has a nice looking swing and needs more experience.
Interview from the Bob Hope Classic (similar to link provided earlier).
Brian Duncan (PGA profile, egolf profile) was part of the '03 National Championship team. Duncan has participated on development tours since his graduation in 2006. The Travelers Rest native has participated in three Nationwide events in his professional career (all last year) and we would like to see him become more of a fixture on this tour. Brian participated in 15 EGolf Tour events last year, made the cut in 10 of those events, and earned almost $24,,0000 on the '09 year. Brian will have limited status for the '10 season after finishing 130th in Q-School.
Ben Duncan (PGA profile, egolf profile) was also on the Clemson National Championship team in '03. The Brian/Ben brother combination is only the second such combo in school history with national championship rings (the other being the McSwain brothers of 1981 football glory). Duncan has played in a handful of Nationwide Events in his career, with most of these appearances coming at the annual pro-am at the Cliffs. In '09, Ben made 5 cuts on the EGolf Tour making over $8600 on the year.
Here is a pretty good recap of South Carolina golfers who are looking to compete on the Nationwide Tour this season. If you are from the state, check it out as you may know a few of these guys.