In December, enjoying their brief days home, a quartet of professional golfers took their own distinct paths while on vacation.
A day rarely passed when Lakewood’s Michael Putnam and Olympia’s Andres Gonzalez weren’t hanging out at Tacoma Country and Golf Club – doing as much hooting and hollering than hitting golf balls. They were clearly enjoying each other’s company.
Down a ways on the practice range – rain or shine – stood Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley. “Wasting time” was an activity for fools. He was hitting iron shot after iron shot – all before retreating to a nearby sand bunker to put in an hour of work.
And in Puyallup – or Lakewood where his home is nearly finished – Puyallup’s Ryan Moore relaxed. He deserved it. He spent much of the winter making swing adjustments in Dallas with swing coach Troy Denton.
Starting next week, these four will hit the PGA Tour for a season never seen around here. Four South Sound products will be playing golf at the highest level.
Next week, we will be starting our 2011 PGA Tour previews – with the highlight package featuring Moore, Putnam and Gonzales, who all finished in the top three at the 2001 Class 4A boys championships at Avalon Golf Club (Moore defeated Gonzales in a sudden-death playoff). The three have remained close friends – their careers crossing at crucial junctures.
Then there is Stanley, whose 317.7-yard driving average on the Nationwide Tour led all golf tours around the world in 2010.
Putnam and Stanley are in the field for next week’s Sony Open in Hawaii – the PGA Tour’s first full-field event. Gonzales is a high alternate, and has a decent chance of getting into the event.
Moore will debut at the Bob Hope Classic in California on Jan. 18.