Carlos Sainz, Jr., will make his Web.com Tour debut this year after earning his tour card in qualifying school. The Elgin native and former Mississippi State golfer remains a regular at Bull Valley Golf Club. Sainz credits the Woodstock course for being one of the first clubs that welcomed him and helped shape his game as he began his journey toward becoming a professional golfer.
There’s really no magical way of turning pro and being a professional golfer. You just start entering tournaments as a professional and you start accepting money for your good play. For me, it’s been quite a journey. I’ve been living in people’s houses and living out of my car. It’s kind of that cliche you hear every once in a while from these other pros. But I’ve been doing everything I can just to stay alive and make some money, pay bills and do what I need to do to play professional golf. Two years ago, I had to caddy all winter in Naples, Fla., just to make some money. I’m not downplaying it at all. It’s just an experience I had to do.
You’re kind of your own manager when you start playing this game because unless you’re a stud out of college and you have a sports management company behind you and you have your agent, you’re kind of in charge of your own (journey). For me, it has definitely been adding up. I’ve been improving every year a little bit and I would say the last two years, I’ve seen the most growth. I wouldn’t say I always knew I was going to make it. I’ve always wanted to play at a high level. You’re always reaching for that goal.
I knew I had the game starting last year to at least compete and stay out there a little bit, but I never really capitalized when I had the opportunity. At any level – at the NFL Combine, the NCAA Tournament – you only have certain windows where you can get to the next level. This (season), I kind of overcame that hurdle and when I had the opportunity I was able to capitalize. Getting to the PGA Tour is kind of the same deal. You have to play well or you have to win or you have to do something in the playoffs at the end of the year to try and kickstart your way onto the PGA Tour.
‘Q’ School is a long week but I would say it’s not as intense as some people make it out to be – as long as you’re prepared. If you’re not prepared, I’m sure there’s going to be stories that it’s an unbelievable week and that you’re under the most pressure you’ve ever been under in your life. But fortunately, I wasn’t under that much pressure. It was definitely a long week – six days days of golf is a lot, but it was a great learning experience that I can take on into future tournaments.
Getting my tour card was kind of like getting a monkey off my back. You’re one step closer to where you dream of being – and that’s the PGA Tour. Now, the key is obviously to keep it going and continue working hard because you can’t really settle for the Web.com Tour. It’s a nice place to be and a lot of people are trying to get there. But it’s not the ultimate goal. I’m looking forward to going to new places and gathering new experiences, playing in bigger tournaments and playing against better players. I don’t feel like you can ever have enough of just getting better.That’s what’s been motivating me.
I’m Just Saying is a regular Sunday feature. If there’s someone you’d like to see featured, write to me at email@example.com or send me a message on Twitter @NWH_JeffArnold.