PALM HARBOR, Fla. — A day after he certified for his first PGA Tour occasion and noticed an emotional video go viral by which he informed his father in regards to the feat, Michael Visacki nonetheless had problem greedy the truth of his scenario.
A longtime mini-tour participant who stated he has logged some 170,000 miles in a 2010 Honda Accord over the previous a number of years chasing his golf goals made it into the $6.9 million Valspar Championship when he holed a 20-foot birdie putt Monday in a sudden-death playoff to realize the final spot within the subject.
Visacki, 27, will tee it up Thursday morning at 9:07 a.m. on the Innisbrook’s Copperhead course about an hour north of his dwelling in Sarasota.
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Requested why he believed his story resonated a lot, he once more obtained emotional throughout a convention name with reporters.
“Simply lots of people surrender on their goals, most likely as a result of they can not afford it,” Visacki stated. “However I have been fortunate sufficient to be with my dad and mom and have the opportunity [for them] to assist me out generally to maintain dwelling it.”
Visacki gives a stark reminder that skilled golf is usually removed from non-public jets, swanky lodges and large endorsement offers.
A former school participant at Central Florida, Visacki has toiled on numerous mini excursions, that are glorified playing occasions. You set up an entry charge, with just a few spots getting paid sufficient to return out with a revenue. In essence, you’re taking part in on your personal cash.
Earlier than this week, Visacki’s solely different foray into PGA Tour golf was on the developmental Korn Ferry Tour, the place he Monday-qualified for the 2018 KC Golf Basic and tied for twenty seventh. His payday: $4,590, which was amongst his better of the yr.
Visacki stated he made roughly $68,000 that yr taking part in in numerous golf tournaments, however given $400 to $500 in entry charges, journey, meals, caddie charges … there wasn’t a lot left.
A prolific winner on the assorted mini excursions, Visacki has 37 victories alone on one thing known as the West Florida Tour. It’s a tour comprising tournaments on the West Coast of Florida, with the concept that gamers can drive to them and never go away dwelling. He completed eighth within the circuit’s final winter occasion, which ended on April 19, and received $250 within the final paying spot. The winner acquired $1,300. (The winner at this week’s Valspar will get $1,242,000; eighth place pays $215,625, with fiftieth place incomes greater than $17,000.)
“You barely break even, after which it is not like each week is a free entry charge and we’re simply taking part in for a prize,” Visacki stated. “For those who miss two or three cuts, you are down $1,500 in entry charges, not to mention working towards, paying hire, telephone invoice, electrical energy, gasoline … hopefully automotive’s not going to interrupt down. Even with all my success, it is nonetheless very, very arduous to make a dwelling.”
Two years in the past, Visacki missed getting Korn Ferry Tour standing by one shot. He misplaced a ball on the seventeenth gap of the ultimate spherical of an occasion that might have gotten him to the ultimate stage of the qualifying match, assuring him standing.
That was an extended drive dwelling, he stated.
On Monday, in a four-spot qualifier at close by Southern Hills Plantation Membership, Visacki was tied for the ultimate qualifying spot after capturing 67. That meant a sudden-death playoff for the ultimate spot. This time, he hit his tee shot right into a bush however was in a position to play the ball out into the green, and from 107 yards, get it up and down for par to outlive.
He then received with that 20-footer for birdie on the following gap, resulting in an emotional second together with his caddie, Kaylor Steger, after which later by way of FaceTime together with his father, Michael.
“It is nonetheless surprising. A dream come true,” Visacki stated. “To have the ability to tee it up in my first PGA Tour occasion.”