Harris English fulfills dream in 2012
As an amateur in 2011, Harris English won the Nationwide's Children's Hospital Invitational. The 22-year-old former University of Georgia star won four times in college. Earlier this month at Q-school in La Quinta, Calif., he earned his PGA Tour card. The south Georgia native talks quail hunting, quarters, Michael Irvin and attending a Beatles cover concert.
I grew up on the Sunset Country Club in Moultrie, Ga., which is about 20 minutes from my hometown of Thomasville, Ga. It's really the only course in town. It's a short, tree-lined course with really small humpback greens. Every green sloped from back to front. It was a really great, old-style golf course to grow up on, because it really taught you how to play golf.
A lot of these big clubs won't let juniors play until after 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon, but we could go out any time. During the summers my mom would drop me off about 8 a.m. and pick me up about 6 or 7 in the afternoon. I had a bunch of friends that played. We would play 9 or 18 in the morning and then go eat lunch in the clubhouse and then swim in the pool for about an hour.
Then in the afternoon we would go out and play some more. That was our daily routine.
I went to a Beatles cover concert recently with my parents in Tallahassee. My parents got some tickets a couple of months ago. I have never really listened to the Beatles that much before, but it was fun. I knew some of the songs, but there was a bunch that I didn't know were from the Beatles. The band was called Rain. They had performed the act on Broadway and now they are traveling across the country.
When I got from Q-school I went quail hunting with some friends on 600 acres of land in north Florida. My girlfriend went out with us. She doesn't know how to hunt, but she got to shoot a little bit. We learned a lot.
When the dog makes his point you have to know where the covey or the small flock of birds is so you can get ready with your feet set. At first the flock scares you a little bit, but you can't shoot right away. You have to let them get about 35 to 40 feet away from you and then you start shooting.
My caddie, Joe Etter, and I always talk about stuff that happened in random years or what different numbers mean. For example, we call my 47-degree pitching wedge Michael Irvin because that's the number that Irvin wore when he played at the University of Miami.
My caddie is also good about finding quarters from specific years for ball markers. I have used a 1989 quarter because that's my birth year. I've also used a '59 quarter. At Q-school I used a '95 quarter because that's when my caddie graduated high school.
Davis Love III was my favorite player growing up. I also liked Fred Couples. I always liked the way Couples carried himself on the golf course. It didn't matter if he hit a good or bad shot; he always seemed the same no matter what.
I was 10 or 11 during Tiger's heyday. It really inspired me to see what he did in the majors in 2000. That was really good for the game, especially for the juniors. We all tried to be like him.
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Some of the guys off the Nationwide Tour from my neck of the woods in south Georgia like Josh Broadaway and Paul Claxton have taught me that golf is really like a roller coaster. You're definitely going to have a mix of good and bad weeks on tour. But you definitely have to stay calm and focused.
Everybody has told me not to change what I'm doing. They say I shouldn't change my swing, my golf clubs or my mentality about the game. The key thing for me is to stay levelheaded.
In my freshman year at the NCAAs, I shot an 86 at Purdue. I couldn't get the ball in the hole. We all sit around and joke about how hard that golf course was that week. I remember on the third hole sky chunking a 3-wood way right into this 2-foot-tall hay. I ended up making an easy triple. It really opened my eyes to some things.
I'm very excited to get out to the PGA Tour and actually live my dream. When I was always asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a PGA Tour player. It's going to be so much fun traveling and having a chance to compete against guys I have looked up to all my life.
Brian Harman, my old Georgia teammate, also got his card. We'll probably room together on the road and play a bunch of practice rounds together. So that should be fun.
I moved to St. Simons Island back in August. It's been one of the best decisions of my life. There are great facilities and a lot of PGA Tour players that live in the area. Every once in a while we'll have big games with 12 to 15 players.
A couple months ago Gator Todd and I played in a match against Lucas Glover and Zach Johnson at the Brunswick (Ga.) Country Club. We beat them by a little bit, but maybe they were just letting us beat them. But you can never tell. Maybe they were trying to give us a little confidence. There were a lot of birdies thrown around that day.
Farrell Evans covers golf for ESPN and can be contacted at email@example.com.
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2012 SEASON PREVIEW
Masters: Augusta National Golf Club; April 5-8; Augusta, Ga.
U.S. Open: The Olympic Club; June 14-17; San Francisco, Calif.
Open Championship: Royal Lytham and St Annes; July 19-22; Lancashire, England
PGA Championship: Kiawah Island Ocean Course; Aug. 9-12; Kiawah Island, S.C.
Ryder Cup: Medinah, No. 3 Course; Sept. 28-30; Medinah, Ill.