For David Lynn, the FedExCup points race is a joy, not a grind.
Lynn approaches life that way. His self-description on his Twitter account reads – general prankster, will probably never grow up.
That’s as accurate as Lynn’s best 8-iron. A 39-year-old Englishman, Lynn has embraced his first year on the PGA TOUR with the attitude of a 19-year-old college freshman on an adventure. He’s sightseeing across America, awed by places such as Niagara Falls and the Manhattan skyline. He’s enjoying new restaurants, making new friends, and in the process, playing the most consistent golf of his career. Lynn enters next week’s BMW Championship ranked 56th in the FedExCup standings, with a realistic chance to join the top 30 who qualify for the following week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
This is a tension-filled week for Lynn, and for everyone trying to reach Atlanta. However, don’t expect Lynn to show many nerves.
Pressure? What pressure? Lynn will be his usual self this week, talking to fans between holes, signing autographs after rounds, and getting an adrenaline rush from being one of the 70 players who has made it this far in the FedExCup race.
“I think the atmosphere at American events is fantastic, especially at big events,” Lynn said during a telephone interview recently. “The people behind the ropes are the ones that make the tournament. That’s one of the things that the (PGA TOUR) has going for it. The crowds really get into it. They cheer for you, ask you questions, appreciate it when you respond. That suits my personality.”
Lynn simply refuses not to enjoy life on TOUR. On his Twitter account picture, Lynn’s head is inside a washing machine, with his body suspended in midair, using a counter to prop up his legs.
“Seemed like a good idea at the time,” Lynn said.
Certainly, not everything works out for Lynn as he adjusts to living in America. At the PGA Championship, Lynn put the wrong grade of fuel in his courtesy car after his Niagara Falls visit. The car started sputtering, so Lynn pulled to the side of the road, and got a ride back to Oak Hill with friends.
That adventure gave Lynn a new nickname – “Lynn Diesel.” The next day on the driving range, somebody even wrote “Diesel” in pencil on his name placard.
That’s the kind of levity Lynn brings to the TOUR. As he recently tweeted, “Just been for a depression test, came back negative.”
However, when it comes to his game, Lynn has never been more serious. One of the beauties of golf is that a player can have his greatest success after age 40. Lynn hopes to do just that. He was having a very successful career on the European Tour, finishing in the top 100 on the Order of Merit every year since 2000. However, Lynn’s life changed at the 2012 PGA Championship. It was the first tournament that Lynn had ever played in the United States, and it was worth the trip. Rory McIlroy ran away with the victory, but Lynn finished second and earned $865,000, qualifying him to play on the PGA TOUR this year.
Not everyone makes a successful transition from the European Tour to the PGA TOUR, but Lynn’s steady game translates well anywhere. Lynn is seeing every course on the PGA TOUR for the first time, but is making the adjustment swimmingly. He nearly won the Wells Fargo Championship in May, losing to Derek Ernst on the first playoff hole. Having made 13 of 21 cuts, Lynn has already decided to play on the PGA TOUR again next season.
“I guess what I’ve done this year has made that decision pretty easy,” Lynn said. “I’ve always thought I can play pretty well when I’m on my game. Overall, I’ve done pretty well, and the weather is generally great all the time, which I enjoy. Pretty much all year, I haven’t had to wear more than a sweater. And even when I haven’t been at my best, I’ve figured out a way to get the ball in the hole, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The goal for Lynn this week at the BMW is obvious. Have a strong tournament, crack the top 30 in the FedExCup race, and secure a spot in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
No matter what happens, expect Lynn to enjoy it. For him, coming to America has been a great time, and a great career move.
Clifton Brown is a freelance columnist for PGATOUR.COM. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR.