Season 4 of ‘One Shot Away’ showcases raw reality of Korn Ferry Tour
4 Min Read
Episode 1 premieres at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS Sports
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
Chris Gotterup strolls into his bedroom, sporting a T-shirt with a big ‘O’ across the center – representing the University of Oklahoma, where he played his fifth collegiate season and earned the Fred Haskins Award as most outstanding U.S. collegiate golfer.
On the wall is a flag sporting two logos, one for the Sooners and one for Rutgers, where he played his first four collegiate seasons. The New Jersey native-turned-Oklahoman is proud to represent both schools on his path to the PGA TOUR; after concluding his college career in spring 2022, Gotterup has embarked on his first full Korn Ferry Tour season this spring.
The learning curve, Gotterup explains, is not limited to the golf course itself.
“I took 12 years of Spanish, and didn’t really understand much,” laughed Gotterup of early-season trips to Panama and Colombia, sharing these sentiments while cleaning through an athletic duffel bag on his bed. “To start the year traveling like that, it definitely takes a little bit of a toll.”
Gotterup is among the Season 4 cast of “One Shot Away,” a six-episode CBS docuseries chronicling the ups and downs of life on the PGA TOUR’s premier pathway circuit, through the lens of Korn Ferry Tour pros. Gotterup is joined in this season’s cast by twin University of Texas alums Pierceson and Parker Coody, the University of Alabama’s Wilson Furr, Sweden native and Campbell alum Pontus Nyholm, Texas A&M grad Chandler Phillips, and Grand Valley State alum Alex Scott.
Season 4, Episode 1 premieres at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS Sports and will be available for streaming Monday on YouTube.
One Shot Away, Season 4 schedule
|1||April 23||2:30 p.m.|
|2||May 28||2:30 p.m.|
|3||July 8||2:30 p.m.|
|4||July 29||2:30 p.m.|
“Go to even greater depths to reveal the human side of golf,” said One Shot Away producer Skyler Morton of the series’ ambition. “Not only do we hope to display the emotions surrounding a missed a cut or the passion behind a breakthrough victory, but we want to explore each player's 'why.' What is it that drives them? Is it the warm hug from a family member after a round? Or is it the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream?”
From the get-go in Episode 1, One Shot Away captures both the triumphs and disappointments of the Korn Ferry Tour’s reality. Pierceson Coody, who finished atop last year’s PGA TOUR University Ranking, is seen rallying from outside the top 20 with a final-round 66 in firm, crispy conditions at The Panama Championship, en route to a playoff victory -- a significant stride toward his first PGA TOUR card.
Then there’s conditional member Alex Scott, who finished outside the top 40 and ties at Final Stage of Q-School last November, meaning no guaranteed starts. For Scott, each start is critical in his hopes to build and maintain a schedule. Early in a season defined by near-misses, it hasn’t been easy.
“I’ve been struggling with my confidence and my game for a while,” admitted Scott, who missed back-to-back cuts by a shot in Panama and Bogota in February. “I don’t know when I’m going to be able to play again. I missed by one at Q-School …”
As Scott uttered this last sentence, his voice drifted off and he looked to the sky. Unfiltered angst radiated. He didn’t know when his next start would come. For most Korn Ferry Tour members, there’s a level of uncertainty, to varying degrees. That uncertainty might involve securing a TOUR card, or maintaining Korn Ferry Tour status for next season, or simply attaining a tee time next week.
That tension is at the heart of the Korn Ferry Tour, and at the heart of One Shot Away.
“This season will be the most cutthroat to date,” said One Shot Away host James Nitties, who has made 127 career Korn Ferry Tour starts, including a victory at the 2011 AdventHealth Championship, in addition to two full PGA TOUR seasons in 2009 and 2010.
Nitties has experienced both sides of the fine line that is Korn Ferry Tour competition; he fell one position shy of a TOUR card in 2011, but he also finished fifth at the 2014 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season finale to maintain status in dramatic fashion and avoid Q-School. It’s a career arc that makes him well qualified to dish on the circuit’s realities.
The 2023 season marks the introduction of a new Korn Ferry Tour structure, where the top 30 on the season-long standings at the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in October will earn 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership. In contrast to the previous structure – 25 cards via the Regular Season, 25 cards via the Finals series – greater urgency is placed on events through the spring and summer. Tension will build gradually, to be sure, but it’s there from the jump.
One Shot Away looks to document the Korn Ferry Tour’s authenticity and provide a mirror to life on the circuit, inside and outside the ropes, along the way.
“The relationships formed with these players will continue to give the unprecedented access we've seen in seasons past,” Morton said. “From the comfort of Chris Gotterup's couch, to Wilson Furr's favorite spot for blueberry pancakes, we hope to reveal the true characters behind each golf swing.”
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.