PGA Tour aspirations take a hit for Tryon
Originally Published: October 23, 2008By Bob Harig | ESPN.com
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Once, this seemed easy.
Few here at the first stage of PGA Tour Qualifying -- one of 12 being played around the country -- would ever describe this tournament that way. But one guy sure made it appear that way many years ago. Ty Tryon breezed through qualifying during a period that must seem like a lifetime ago, even for someone who is just 24. He won at his first-stage site in 2001 and advanced through two more highly pressurized qualifying tournaments to earn his PGA Tour card. He was 17 at the time, the youngest golfer ever to qualify for the PGA Tour. His performance even forced a rule change that required members to be 18. Seven years later, with his wife, Hannah, and 2-year-old son, Tyson, tagging along while brother J.T. caddies for him, the process seems a whole lot tougher. The onetime phenom has had no PGA Tour status since 2003. He's bounced around golf's minor leagues, searching for the game that brought him fame and endorsements as a teenager. Tryon all but saw his chances to advance to the second stage get blown away in the wind Thursday at Crandon Golf Club. A disastrous third-round 87 pushed him to the bottom of the field and well outside the top 23 and ties. He had begun the day squarely on the bubble after opening with scores of 74-72 and now stands in 71st place out of 80 competitors through 54 holes. "Everything to be said is up on the scoreboard," Tryon said afterward. And that sums up his plight of the past few years. Tryon continues to carry a big Callaway bag, a reminder of the reported seven-figure endorsement deal no longer in place. He is far removed from those days. "I'm trying to get the ball in the hole still," he said earlier in the week. "Trying to find my formula. I'm trying to make the complicated simple again. I think it got really complicated for me. I need to make it simple. "When I was 17, I had all these people doing things for me, and I was just playing golf. It was simple. Now it's just me and my family. I definitely will appreciate it a lot more when I do well again. When I get in tournaments, I know I'm a lot happier to be there. Glad to be out there practicing all day. I don't take it for granted." "I don't think I wanted to be there for a while. I think I got burned out on the Nationwide Tour. I had just too many times where I was playing well and would blow up, and then it became a habit." William Tryon IV was nicknamed Ty by his father after Chevy Chase's character Ty Webb in the movie "Caddyshack." His family moved to Orlando when he was young, and Tryon began working with noted instructor David Leadbetter at age 7. Less than 10 years later, he stunned the golf world when, at age 16, he became the youngest player to make a cut in a PGA Tour event since 1957, when he tied for 39th at the 2001 Honda Classic. During the final round, he shot 68 while playing alongside Tom Lehman.
Stuart Hannagan/Getty ImagesWhen he was just 17, Ty Tryon earned his PGA Tour card. But medical issues derailed his first year as a professional in 2002. After getting a major medical extension to play in 2003, he made just four cuts in 17 starts.
As Erik Compton attempts to reach the next stage of PGA Tour qualifying school from Oct. 21-24, join ESPN.com for daily updates of his journey. ESPN.com Golf Index
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