January 9 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Standing on the first tee in the veritable shadow of Diamondhead on the island of Oahu certainly isn't a bad place to start a new job.
And that's exactly what 23 pros will be doing this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club. All but seven members of the 2013 rookie class are on hand to begin their PGA TOUR careers as the $5.6 million event gets under way on Thursday.
All 14 rookies among the 25 players who graduated from the Web.com Tour are competing in the TOUR's inaugural full-field event of the season, along with eight of the 11 first-year players who earned their cards at q-school.
Included in that group are five players who have yet to hit a shot in a PGA TOUR event -- Donald Constable, Henrik Norlander, Robert Streb, David Lingmerth and Scott Gardiner. PGATOUR.COM takes a look at those players below.
Constable: This sociology grad from the University of Minnesota is one of four players who made it through all four stages of qualifying to earn his PGA TOUR card. Consable says if he weren't a golfer, he'd like to be a Navy Seal or a member of a SWAT team. Another interesting fact? The 23-year-old doesn't shave during the week of an event.
Norlander: Like Constable, Norlander made it to the PGA TOUR the hard way -- successfully navigating pre-qualifying and the other three stages of q-school. The 25-year-old Swede, who was a member of two NCAA title teams at Augusta State, played the European Challenge Tour last season. His dream foursome would include Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Johnny Cash.
Streb: One of this Oklahoma native's favorite TV shows is "Hawaii 5-0" so his TOUR debut couldn't come at a better place. He graduated from Kansas State in 2009 with a degree in marketing and finished seventh on last year's Web.com Tour money list as a rookie to earn his card. He always plays a ball that matches the round of the tournament and he carries a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in his bag.
Lingmerth: This 25-year-old Swede came to America to play collegiately at Arkansas and still makes his home in Fayetteville, Ark. Interestingly, he's not the only pro athlete from his family to play in the States -- his uncle Goran Lingmerth was a kicker for the Cleveland Browns in 1987. Lingmerth never uses a No. 2 ball in competition and while there is work to be done this week, Hawaii is his favorite vacation spot.
Gardiner: The Aussie is not only the oldest rookie at 36 years, Gardiner is the first aboriginal pro golfer on TOUR. He played in 195 Web.com Tour events in eight seasons as a member before graduating to the TOUR after finishing 15th on the money list last year. He never travels without his flip-flops and he always carries a quarter in his pocket. He threw the discus competitively when he was younger.