Last Thursday morning, most of the golf world was busy paying attention to the Masters golf tournament.
And why not — history was being made in Augusta, Georgia with Tiger Woods making his move to be the undisputed greatest golfer ever. Tiger was going for his fifth Masters title and 15th major championship. By now, you all know the outcome.
At the same time, Shelter Island’s Jay (Jake) Card III was making news in other parts of the golf world with some unbelievable scores.
Young Jake, son of Jay and Judy Card, has made a gutsy decision in his life’s direction, deciding to see just how good he can become as a golfer. His choice is something I agree with 100 percent.
Up until a few months ago, Jake played only amateur golf and found himself on the top of the leader board in almost every tournament he entered. He was ranked second on the Player of the Year list for Long Island this past season. It only would have taken a few more rounds of golf and he would have been number one.
Of course, in amateur golf you can get a great reputation, but you don’t make any money. Jake is now playing professional golf, and this week the pros watched in awe as he made his entrance.
To declare your desire to become a professional, all you have to do is say you are one.
But to say that you’re a PGA professional is different. For that, you must put in time working in the business. You also need to pass written examinations and a “Playing Ability Test” (PAT) that shows you really know how to play the game.
Although you only must average 79 for two rounds of golf, this is the test all young professionals are most nervous about. I’ve had assistant professionals go out of the business because they couldn’t pass the PAT.
Last Thursday and Friday, April 11-12, the South Florida PGA had a PAT on Park Ridge Golf Club in Lake Worth, Florida. If Jake wants to increase the number of tournaments he can play in, he will have to work toward a PGA card.
Along with 50 other young professionals, Jake signed up. He only had to shoot two 79s to qualify as a player. The first round he fired a 31/31 for a 62. Running away from the pack, he followed that round with a 66.
Jake ended up 16 under par and 11 strokes better than the second-place finisher at 5 under par. In the 36 holes, he had only one bogey. This is the kind of golf we know he can play.
Great tournament Jake, just keep playing and good things will happen.