by Jeff Skinner
This PGA Tour certainly has a different feel this season. Phil and Tiger, for one reason or another, haven’t had the tour presence that we have come to know for the past decade. That has opened the door for some players to win a few trophies and for others to make their mark on tour.
At the start of the season who would have thought that Bubba Watson and Mark Wilson would be two time winners? Could anyone have imagined that the list of winners would include names like D.A. Points, Michael Bradley, Brendan Steele, Gary Woodland and did anyone even know Johnny Vegas? Charl Schwartzel a Master Champion? Really? Yes, really. It has been a different year.
One player that is having a career year during this odd season is Tommy Gainey. Known for his distinctive two batting gloves he wears, not golf gloves, Tommy Two Gloves is living large with the big boys on The PGA Tour. Gainey earned a strong following after two appearances on The Golf Channel’s Big Break but this year he is making his own breaks.
He is coming off consecutive third place finishes and has for top tens so far. He is a 36 year old ironman on tour this season appearing in fourteen tournaments so far and only taking one week off. He got off to a difficult start with three missed cuts but since then he has made nine of eleven cuts and has five top twenty five finishes. For a guy that was just hoping to keep his card that’s pretty darn good.
Two Gloves, I love that nickname, is currently 23rd on the FedEx cup Points list and is 25th in earnings on tour with $1,250,497. That’s about twice as much as his combined earnings for his three other years he played on the tour. In fact he has earned more than many of the bigger names in golf. He has more than Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker, Adam Scott, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Y.E. Yang and yes, Tiger Woods. It is a strange season.
Gainey thinks he is playing the best golf of his life and he surely is spot on with that one. He is looking to earn a spot in The Players by another good finish this week at The Wells Fargo Championship. Gainey is one of the quirky personalities on tour that is fun to watch. His swing makes Jim Furyk look like Ben Hogan. He wears his heart on his sleeve, or should I say glove. It’s easy to see what kind of round Two Gloves is having by the smile, or lack of one on his face. He is affable, considerate and humble. He’s fun to watch and easy to listen to. He’s one of the emerging characters on tour in the 2011 season and we need more players like him.
Here are some quotes from his interview at The Wells Fargo Championship:
I feel like coming off of two 3rds I’m playing the best golf of my life right now. I feel like I’m ready to put it to use. I feel like I’ve got a chance to win, so that’s what it’s all about.
But if you look at the schedule, you know, I’m not in THE PLAYERS yet. I’m like first alternate right now. I mean, it could change — it’s probably a 99 percent chance of me getting in. I would have to say yes, I would get in next week. But there also is a chance that I might not get in, so if I don’t get in there, then I’ll just take next week off, and I’ll be ready for the two Texas tournaments, the Byron Nelson and The Colonial.
Well, I’ll tell you, man, nothing is easy out here. Nothing is given. You earn everything you get out here. Nothing is given. You’ve got to earn it. And that’s why I guess you can count me as one of the top players in the world being out here now. That’s why we’re all the best players in the world, because we’re good or really good at what we do. To be at a high level you’ve got to be on top of your game every day and every tournament because as soon as you slack off a little bit, that’s when you miss a cut, and that’s when you can start a downward spiral, so to speak.
I kind of like making cuts and making a lot of money and finishing in the top 5 and trying to have a chance to win a golf tournament. You know, I don’t want to miss cuts. I mean, who does?
The reason that I like to play golf is I love the game. I love what the game stands for, and I love that I’m part of being on the PGA TOUR. I love what the PGA TOUR stands for.
I mean, there’s nothing that I would rather do better than what I’m doing right now, and I feel like God has blessed me with all this talent and ability, and this is what is meant for me in His plan. Playing golf out here is everything to me. I love the game. I just love playing golf. I’m having fun with it.
Everybody out here can hit it. I mean, everybody out here is a good ball striker. It comes down to the putter. You make putts, you win. You miss putts, you miss cuts. So I mean, I’m just trying to get better every day.
You know, people have got their own opinion about how I play golf or how I swing at it, and Jim Furyk, because he’s another one, swings at it, but I’ll tell you something else: If you look at how I swing at it and how Jim Furyk swings at it, well, let’s talk about Bubba Watson; how does he swing at it? Look at him. I mean, look how he swings at it. Nobody talks about him wailing at it. I mean, if you look — the next time you see Bubba Watson swing at it, pay attention to his feet; they come off the ground and he still hits it 400 yards. Now, you don’t see Rory McIlroy do that, do you?
So I mean, I don’t worry about what people say about my swing. I know it’s unorthodox, I know it’s ugly, but it works. It’s comfortable for me, and that’s just something I’ve always done. You know, I was always told, and I’m sure all you guys know, and ladies, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.