LA JOLLA, Calif. – Michael Herrera is making his PGA Tour debut today at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. It’s the course where he first attended a tournament and watched Tiger Woods.
“After I saw it, I’m like I want to play,” he said. “I want to do this for a living and it inspired me.”
Herrera’s local-boy-makes-good story is an easy one to love but that barely scratches the surface of his story in golf. It turns out Herrera’s story has way more to it.
Ronnie Lott remembers the tee shot.
He was playing in Cedric the Entertainer’s Celebrity Golf Classic, a charity golf tournament, in August 2021 and Herrera was stationed at a tee box on a par 5 to hit drives for the various teams. Lott, the Hall of Fame defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers, and his group couldn’t believe the sound one of Herrera’s drives made and the distance it traveled. Lott recalls the moments that followed in cinematic detail.
“It was that moment, where I was like, hey, kid, come talk to me, I want to know your story,” Lott recalled during a phone interview.
Runner-up Michael Herrera on the fairway at No. 17 during the final round of the 2022 John Shippen National Invitational at the Detroit Golf Club. (Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press)
Herrera, 24, told Lott, about growing up in Moreno Valley, California, not far from where Lott, too, was raised (in Rialto), and how he gave up basketball, where he averaged more than 18 points per game in high school, to pursue making it as a professional golfer, primarily on the Advocates Pro Golf Association, a development tour designed to bring greater diversity to the game by developing African-Americans and other minorities for careers in golf. Lott was impressed and asked, “How are you paying for this? Who’s helping you?”
“Nobody,” said Herrera, who was working part-time at the cart barn of a golf course to pay tournament entry fees. “It’s just me and my Pops. We split everything.”
Lott couldn’t help but think of
By: Adam Schupak
Title: How NFL great Ronnie Lott helped this aspiring professional, who is making his PGA Tour debut this week
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2023/01/25/ronnie-lott-michael-herrera-pga-tour-apga-farmers-insurance-open/
Published Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2023 13:00:39 +0000