Schupak: On any given Monday, PGA Tour dreams come true

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Sam Burns took home the trophy and the seven-figure check, but Mike Visacki won the week.

The video of the Monday Qualifier’s teary-eyed phone call to his father after holing a 20-foot birdie putt to win a playoff for the last of four spots into the Valspar Championship has been viewed more than 12 million times.

The moment went viral because of its authenticity – a 27-year-old grinder who never gave up on his dream, even if it meant working at a driving range or living at home with his parents.

Visacki’s story came along at a time when the golf world was coming to terms with the PGA Tour’s Richie Riches getting even richer, divvying up $40 million in Player Impact Program money that pays for box-office buzz rather than how many birdies and bogeys they make. (Could a MQFer qualify for the PIP money grab because Big Mike is surging?)

Here was Visacki, whose father grew up in a home of mud and hay in Yugoslavia and bought his first pair of soccer shoes for $20 when his family immigrated to the U.S., giving voice to the little guy who’s trying to make ends meet on golf’s mini-tour circuit.

“I made it.”

Michael Visacki fights back tears as he tells his father that he's reached a lifelong goal of competing on the PGA TOUR.

He successfully Monday-Qualified for the @ValsparChamp.

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 26, 2021

William McGirt can relate. He remembers how it felt to cash a $16,000 payday at the Cabarrus Classic on the 2007 Tarheel Tour and pay off his credit card. His big splurge? A GPS. McGirt struck it big, winning the 2016 Memorial Tournament and more than $10 million in career earnings. But he’s never forgotten where he came from or how fortunate he is that he made it.

“There’s a hundred guys on the mini tours who can beat my brains out on the right course,” McGirt said.

The line between success and failure is razor sharp. The futility of McGirt’s quest is memorialized in lipped-out putts on the final green to miss advancing to the final stage of Q-School in 2007 and 2008.

“You look back at it and you’re kind of like, I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen,” McGirt said. “But you keep busting your butt and you grind and all you want is a chance.”

Monday Qualifying is a tough road that can seem the longest of long shots to acquiring status, but 2018 Masters champ Patrick Reed is the poster child for how the dream can be real.

Just four years ago, Keith Mitchell was plying his trade on the Korn Ferry Tour when he was one of four qualifiers into the 2017 Valspar Championship. He finished T-11 in his PGA Tour debut and it spring-boarded him to play well the rest of the year.

“It let me know I could play out here if I had my best stuff,” Mitchell

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By: Adam Schupak
Title: Schupak: On any given Monday, PGA Tour dreams come true
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Published Date: Mon, 03 May 2021 15:24:46 +0000

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