Gorman: Goodes living every amateur's dream
By Kevin Gorman
Published: Friday, June 28, 2013, 9:06 p.m.
Mike Goodes had his first pinch-me moment on the Champions Tour at the 2008 Regions Charity Classic in Birmingham, Ala.
Goodes shot a 65 for the first-round lead, putting him in the leader group the next day. On the third hole, he realized he was keeping the scorecard for Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters champion.
The next moment came at the 2008 Tradition, when Goodes played in a threesome with PGA Tour icon Tom Watson and Fred Funk, who would beat Goodes by three strokes for his first senior major.
Five years later, Goodes (pronounced GOOD-ees) can't believe he's a professional golfer. And he's still scared to place an inch of skin between his finger and thumb.
“I don't want to pinch myself,” Goodes, 56, said, “because I'm afraid I'll wake up.”
Goodes is living the life most golfers only dream about. After an amateur career that included two North Carolina titles, he turned pro at 50 and took a shot at the senior circuit.
“He's a great story and a great guy,” said Funk, his best friend on the tour. “He's such a genuine guy. That alone makes him so likable. Then the fact with his story, it's really unique. Not many can compete against guys that played PGA Tour golf for their whole career. A lot of guys think they can do it, and they just don't do it.”
Not only is Goodes competing, but he's also in contention after almost two rounds at the Constellation Senior Players Championship.
Goodes was at 6-under-par through 32 holes, tied for fifth place with Funk and Michael Allen, when play was suspended because of rain Friday afternoon at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
That was after making five birdies and despite three-putting for bogey on Nos. 1 and 4.
If Goodes has a gripe with his game, it's that his putter isn't on par with many of the guys who spent their career playing golf.
“That's not surprising,” Funk said. “If he just gets his putter going at all. ... He almost always is a great ball-striker. That's the strength of his game. He just needs to get it in the hole, just putt real solid, and he's going to be there.
“It's tough for him. He's made it, but he's got to do it every year. He's got to prove himself. He doesn't have that exempt status like I do, and other guys do who have the career money that they can just stay out here, so he's got to perform. That puts a lot more heat on him.”
Believe it or not, the difficult part for Goodes was abandoning his amateur status. He didn't golf in college, married young and followed his father into the textile packaging business. He also owns a recycling company, so he was taking a major risk.
“I loved amateur golf,” Goodes said. “It was a tough decision to give up my amateur status to come and play qualifiers. Losing my amateur status was big for me because it was a big part of my social life. I'm still in shock that I'm still playing out here, to be honest.”
Now in his seventh season, Goodes has one victory on the Champions Tour (2009 Allianz) and four top-10 finishes. He has almost $3.5 million in career earnings, an unimaginable amount of money to him.
“And I love it,” Goodes said Friday, while running on a treadmill after his round was stopped by the storm. “It's not work. It's what I did when I got off work. People say, ‘Don't you want to take a day off?' This is what I did when I took a day off.
“The great thing is, you get to travel around the country and the world and play golf — and just write it off! Before, everything was after taxes.”
Seriously, go ahead and name another sport where someone can turn pro at a time when his peers are planning retirement.
“I don't think there's any,” Goodes said. “That's one of the great things about golf.”
It's no wonder Goodes hears from aspiring amateurs, often in their late 40s, asking for advice on how to make the transition to the Champions Tour.
It's not as easy as Goodes makes it look. He had to qualify to qualify, so to speak, and earned $52,684 in his first season.
He found a partner to run his business, then went about working on his weaknesses.
“If I had a one-word statement to say how I did it, I'd write the manual,” Goodes said. “It's been incredible. People say, ‘You're living the dream,' but I never dreamt of this. This is way, way, way greater than anything I've ever dreamt.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Armstrong County crash
- Kovacevic: Bylsma’s moves — yes, moves — pay off
- Franklin Regional seeks waiver of days lost in knife attack; victim improves
- Former Steelers player appeals court ruling on Shadyside event venue
- Financially troubled August Wilson Center attracts four investment proposals
- Dick Industrial site in Jefferson Hills sold to road contracting firm
- Penn State researchers help identify planet similar to Earth
- Chelsea Clinton announces she’s pregnant with first child
- Connellsville starting early planning for Christmas
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- Penguins rally to escape with a victory in Game 1 against Columbus