Player's Take: Brinson Paolini
May 05, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- May 05, 2018
- Get to know Brinson Paolini below.
After spending most of his career playing in Europe and Asia, Brinson Paolini is back in North America, having just qualified for the 2018 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season. Paoloini finished second at the fifth and final Mackenzie Tour Qualifying Tournament in Comox, British Columbia—the only of the Q-Schools in Canada. The former Duke golfer who was a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference Academic first-team selection, had a stellar amateur career, winning the Virginia State Amateur four times. Since turning pro, he’s played all over Europe, in the north and south of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with his lone triumph coming at the 2013 Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in Le Vaudreuil, France. When Paolini teed it up at the Qualifying Tournament in early May, it was his first professional event in Canada—another country he can cross off his list of countries where he’s played. With Laury Livsey
I lived in Boise, Idaho, until I was 12. I grew up playing golf with mountains in the background, poa (annua) greens, bent(grass) fairways and bent rough. I moved when I was in middle school, to Virginia Beach, when my dad changed jobs. I’m very proud of where I’m from, both Idaho and Virginia. They’re two great places, and I’m fortunate to be from both.
It was Hillcrest Country Club in Boise, Idaho, where I played my first round of golf. I was 4 or 5. I was young. That’s why we joined there because they let young kids play. All the other courses, they wouldn’t let you play if you were under 8.
Before turning pro, I was fortunate to win the Virginia State Amateur four times. All my wins in that tournament were memorable, but the third one was the most important of the four just because it was nice to win three in a row. So many legends of the game won the Amateur. I haven’t thought about that in a while, but with Virginia and its rich history of golf, to be spoken of in the same breath as Vinny Giles and Curtis Strange and Lanny Wadkins is wonderful.
Jon Scheyer is my favorite all-time Duke basketball player. He was playing there when I was a student at Duke, when we won the national championship (2010). I loved watching him play. I know most Duke fans would say someone like Kyrie (Irving) when asked who their favorite player is, but I liked Jon Scheyer. He was the guy. I always trusted him when he had the ball.
I grew up playing basketball. Right now, if there was no one guarding me, I would make a good amount of three-pointers. But if you put someone up on me, even within 10 feet of me, I won’t make any. I’m a good free-throw shooter, but I think I make more six-foot putts than I do free throws.
At this very moment, I have no money on me or in my golf bag. I have zero cash. I need to go get some because I have to pay my caddie.
I’ve played in Europe the last four years. I’ve tried Web.com Tour Q-School but haven’t made it through to the final stage. I’ve always just gone back to Europe to play. This year I wanted to try to get my foot in the door playing on the PGA TOUR, so I decided to try the Mackenzie Tour. Hopefully it works out. We’ll see.
In my career, I’ve played golf in 43 countries. Lucerne, Switzerland, is my favorite city. It hosted the European Challenge Tour’s Swiss Challenge. Lucerne reminds me a lot of where I played Mackenzie Tour Q-School, in Comox, British Columbia. Lucerne is the first place I went when I turned pro (tied for second, three strokes behind winner Victor Riu), and that’s probably part of why I like Lucerne so much. I do just love it there.
Almaty, Kazakhstan, was the site of the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The hotel was converted from an old psych ward. I slept with one eye open my one night there, and I was the only golfer staying in the place. That hotel decision was a huge, rookie mistake. I never should have stayed there. People claimed the place was haunted, and I had some guys tell me before I even got there that I would hear screams at night. I didn’t hear any screams, but I also didn’t sleep at all, and I checked out the next morning.
In all my travels, I really haven’t ventured out much when it comes to food. I’m afraid of what they might do to my stomach, so I really haven’t eaten anything too crazy. For my last meal, I would order this pasta dish from Blackfin Pub in Comok, I’d go with a Caesar salad, I’d drink a Blue Moon beer and I’m going with crème brulee for dessert. Oh, and Snickers is my favorite candy bar.
I’ve lost my clubs traveling too many times. I went to Scotland last year to play in the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge, a Challenge Tour event. I ended up getting into the tournament at the last minute, so I got there but played no practice round because my clubs didn’t show up. It’s 35 degrees in Aviemore and pouring down rain, and I had to play with this disassembled set of clubs I got from the pro shop. I had to buy shoes, balls and gloves. The head pro wouldn’t even let me borrow his clubs. So, I had this mis-matched set. The driver had a stiff shaft that I would hit 100 yards right every time. That meant I had to hit hybrid off every tee. It was one of the worst rounds of my life. I shot 79. I finally got my clubs the next day, but I had to drive and go pick them up because I had to cross the border. The airline wouldn’t deliver them. With my own clubs, I shot 69 in the second round. Still, I missed the cut. Yeah, it was awful.