Williams brothers exempt at Farmers
January 25, 2014
By Madison Hopkins, PGATOUR.COM
- Former Washington standout Chris Williams made his eighth TOUR start this week. (Dunn/Getty Images)
Chris Williams, formerly the world’s No. 1 ranked amateur golfer, earned a highly coveted sponsor exemption into the Farmers Insurance Open this week. Sponsor exemptions are hard to come by on the PGA TOUR as dozens of worthy golfers via for a limited number of spots. It did not hurt Williams’ cause that his brother, Pete, happens to be a Farmers Insurance agent.
Pete was able to take some time off from his real job to caddie for Chris this week at Torrey Pines. The combination appears to be working as Chris made his third cut in eight career PGA TOUR starts this week.
“There’s just a comfort level I have with him,” Chris said. “This is all still a new adventure for me, I’ve only been playing professionally for seven months now. I’m happy to have someone I trust with me.”
The two brothers grew up golfing in Moscow, Idaho and have worked together in five different tournaments to date. Pete, who played professionally from 2006-08, is 10 years Chris’ senior and someone who Chris claims he “always looked up to” professionally and athletically while growing up. The two played countless games together over the years, bonding over golf and sharing a love of the Jerky Boys and their Idaho roots.
“He knows me better than anyone else,” Chris said.
But when it comes to the game, both brothers approach their situation professionally and avoid seeing too much of each other off the course during the tournament. They’re staying in separate hotels and will not be spending much leisure time together, as they try to come to the course clear-headed as golfer and caddie first, brothers second.
“We keep it professional out on the course, but I try and loosen him up with some inside jokes,” Pete said. Apparently, some of these jokes may be a little too inappropriate to be repeated, but Pete claims it’s all in good fun. “I think he has more fun when I’m on the bag–at least I hope so,” he said.
Chris made his professional debut seven months ago at the Travelers Championship where he finished T30, but has made just two of five cuts since then. Chris will spend this season traveling the world trying to earn playing time on the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour.
From his own experience at professional tournaments, Pete worries that his younger brother may be in for a rough ride by choosing a professional golf career.
“It’s a very tough way to come up,” he said, adding that he doesn’t miss his past athletic career. He claims the world of professional golf can be difficult financially until a new golfer begins winning tournaments. Although, he sees this period of adjustment as only temporary before his brother starts making a name for himself in the professional community.”
“He’s way better than I ever was,” he said. “He’s got the skill; as soon as he believes that he belongs out there I’m sure we’ll see him winning some tournaments.”
Growing up, Chris proved talent was not an issue as he became one of the most decorated players all-time at the University of Washington. He won the 2012 Mark H. McCormack Award for the world's No. 1 ranked amateur, earned the Phil Mickelson Freshman of the Year award in 2010 and first team NCAA All-American status in 2011 and 2012. He is also the school’s all-time wins leader.