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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, May 26, 2005

Before life on Tour, pros had other jobs

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Tom Spousta
USA Today

When Tim Petrovic won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this month, he was hailed as the self-made pizza delivery man, a doughboy made good, an instant millionaire who could order a gourmet pepperoni pie rather than scour the frozen food section for one.

Working in the real world

Not every PGA Tour golfer has spent his entire life on the course. Some have had to take real jobs as they struggled to make it on the Tour. A look at a few (career golf earnings in parentheses):

• Joe Durant ($7,076,157): Hung up his clubs at the end of the 1991 Nationwide Tour season and got a license to sell insurance. He didn't sell a single policy and went to work in a golf retail house, filling orders and stacking boxes.

• Fred Funk ($16,947,506): University of Maryland golf coach. Was also a newspaper circulation supervisor.

• Skip Kendall ($7,046,448): Waiter at Olive Garden.

• Scott McCarron ($9,211,496): Quit golf after college and went to work in family clothing business for four years.

• Paul Goydos ($4,561,314): Substitute teacher before he won on Nationwide Tour.

• Tim Petrovic ($4,941,176): Delivered pizzas, sold car cellphones, delivered newspapers, bartender, YMCA counselor.

USA Today

But Petrovic had numerous other jobs during his 14-year odyssey from turning professional in 1988 to finally making the PGA Tour in 2002.

He was a bartender. He had a paper route with the Hartford (Conn.) Courant. He sold cellphones for installation in cars.

None, though, prepared him more for the pressures of facing the world's best players than being a counselor in a YMCA program for latchkey children.

"There were a few of us watching 90 kids every day," he says. "More than anything, it helped me with my patience in golf."

Indeed, Petrovic and others are among a tier of players who lived their own "The Big Break" reality series, working odd jobs and pounding range balls in odd places in hopes of reaching the PGA Tour's gilded fairways and greens.

They include grinders such as Skip Kendall, slow starters such as Scott McCarron and late bloomers such as Petrovic.

"The customer's always right ... I don't miss that," says McCarron, who early in his career left the game to work with his father in the family clothing business.

Instead of a fancy collared shirt and slacks, Kendall's uniform was an apron and bow tie while he worked as a waiter at an Olive Garden in Orlando in the late 1980s.

"It was great money," Kendall recalls. "The waiting part was good. The worst part was cleaning up and having to roll the silverware for the next day."