Did you know you can save your preferences across all your digital devices and platforms simply by creating a profile? Would you like to get started?
Not right now
No, never ask again
  • The first season

    On the 25th anniversary of the Web.com Tour's first event, players reflect on what life was like on the road in 1990

  • The first season of the Hogan Tour featured 30 events.
    The first season of the Hogan Tour featured 30 events.
  • The inaugural season of the Hogan (now Web.com) Tour harkened back to an earlier age in professional golf, when cars were the preferred method of transportation and players traveled in packs between events. Players drove through the night to arrive at the tour’s next stop and learned how to stretch a buck by sharing hotel rooms and finding affordable meals.

    The Tour’s first event, the Ben Hogan Bakersfield Open, was held 25 years ago this week. To commemorate the anniversary, we had players reflect on their favorite memories from that inaugural season.

    The 1990 Hogan Tour offered five PGA TOUR cards; now 50 cards come through the Web.com Tour. There were 30 events in that inaugural season. All of them were 54 holes and offered a $100,000 purses. Each winner received $20,000. Jeff Maggert was 1990’s leading money winner with $108,644.

    No. 17 on 1990 money list ($41,338)

    “No one was making any money, nobody was getting rich, nobody was saving anything, but it was all about playing for those five spots (on the PGA TOUR). Everybody began in the same boat. There was a great sense of camaraderie. There really was no pecking order. Everybody was at the bottom, trying to peck their way up.

    “I traveled with my wife. I was 30 years old. Our first child (Rachael) was born the first year. She was born during the season, in May.

    “(Lehman and his wife Melissa) shared meals. We always judged a player’s situation, whether they had a good sponsor or not, by how they ordered their dinners. My wife and I would share a steak and a Diet Coke. We shared everything. Those who had a great sponsor would order their own steak, their own appetizer. The idea of having an appetizer … was not part of the ordering lexicon. No one ordered appetizers. No one ordered dessert. That’s probably why we were all so skinny.

    “We travelled that whole first summer in a Volvo. And somewhere along the way, about May, the air conditioning stopped working. So we went to a Volvo dealer, he said you need a new this and that, it’s going to cost you $1,200. So of course we didn’t have $1,200 bucks. So we said we’ll just drive with the windows down. It’s 100 degrees everywhere. We were going through Chicago and we looked into another Volvo dealership. We asked him to look at the AC. He said you have a seal that’s broken. It’s going to cost you $5.

    “The point is this: everyone was in that situation, where you couldn’t afford $1,200 to fix your car. No one had the money for it.

    “When I got to the (Ben Hogan Reflection Ridge Classic, which Lehman won), I didn’t have a full-time caddie because I was a conditional member. I asked if there was a high school kid who was available. They said they had a kid who didn't play golf, he was a wrestler, but he wanted to make a few bucks. He never read a putt, he never helped with club selection, never helped with the wind. He was just always there on time. He was into it, loyal and encouraging when he said something. And so I won. So I’m thinking what a blessing this is for my wife and I. We’re $5,000 in the hole and $20,000 was the biggest check ever for me.

    “Two months go by, he writes me this letter. He never really talked much about himself while caddying. So he spills out his whole life story. A difficult upbringing, a father who abandoned the family. He got into trouble. Through the great mentoring of a wrestling coach, he ended up becoming a wrestler. Once he graduated, he wanted to go to this Bible college not far from Wichita. He didn’t have any money and his mom didn’t have any money. The tuition was $2,000 bucks. So the check that I sent him for caddying paid for the first year’s tuition. It truly may have been the highlight of my time on the Hogan Tour, that somehow we were together part of this plan where we were both blessed so much. That letter meant so much for me.”

    Tom Lehman wins 1990 Ben Hogan Reflection Ridge
    • Highlights

      Tom Lehman wins 1990 Ben Hogan Reflection Ridge

    No. 7 on money list ($73,251)

    “You got to know each other. You went out. It was low-key. Nobody had cell phones. It was just a very intimate, close-knit kind of group. Everyone was in the same hotel. We’d play money games and then all go to dinner together.

    “Sizzler was always a solid play for dinner. We at a lot of mom-and-pop places. There was the Black-eyed Pea. The pot roast with corn and fried okra, that was just about as good a meal as you could get. You could get in and out for $12 bucks.

    “The rodeo was in town the same week we were in Yuma, Arizona. We got so caught up in the rodeo. We couldn’t wait to finish our rounds so we could go to the rodeo. I bought this big old cowboy hat and Chris Kite dared me to wear it while I was playing, so I played in Yuma wearing a cowboy hat.

    “If I swung upright, I’d get my arm caught on the bill. I thought, ‘If I ever need to flatten my swing, I’ll just put on a cowboy hat.’ I made all these friends over at the rodeo. They would come over to watch me, and they were hooting and hollering every hole because I had a cowboy hat on. Then I’d finish and go hoot and holler and watch them.

    “I had played pretty well on the mini-tours when I first turned pro and bought a brand-new BMW 528e. I bet I put 60,000 miles on my dang car that year. I drove every event, and the Tour went from Bakersfield, all the way across the country (to Florida) and then up into Maine and then back over to the Northwest part of the world, Boise, Idaho, and Santa Rosa, California.

    “I remember I drank a lot of Dr. Pepper. I drank a lot of Jolt cola, took a lot of No-Doze to stay awake between drives. You had one of those Rand-McNally atlases. I made a lot of U-turns that year. I may have made more U-turns that year than anyone in the history of navigation. Invariably, you’re looking for the road and you pass it and you have to make a U-turn. You were always stopping and making phone calls, stopping and asking for directions, when you were going from place to place. You got lost a lot.

    “I remember playing at the Yale Golf Course (in the New Haven Open) and I missed the cut. The next event was in Maine (the New England Classic), and in between Yale and Maine, I had a couple of days to kill, so I went over to Newport, Rhode Island. I had a friend there who played the TOUR, P.H. Horgan III. Everyone knew P.H. His family owned a restaurant. I was in there having dinner and some guy in there told me he had a sailboat and he was happy to take me out on it. I spent three or four days on it just eating oysters, drinking beer and sailing, and not playing any golf.

    "All of a sudden, it was Wednesday, and I realized I had to drive to Maine. No practice round, no nothing, and I won the event. So I thought to myself, ‘I’m obviously preparing for these events the wrong way. There’s a lesson here, to have a little bit of fun between these events.’”

    No. 49 on money list ($20,943)

    "I remember having a car stolen. I was on my way home from the San Diego area, going back to Louisiana. I had stopped in El Paso, Texas. It was a brand new Thunderbird that one of the car dealerships in Shreveport had given me. It had all my stuff. The main thing I lost was all my music. I had like 60 or 70 CDs.

    “I remember just being lost and like, ‘What am I doing and how do I do this?’ I had always had either my grandfather or college coach getting me from Point A to Point B, because I didn’t play much amateur golf or big junior stuff.”

    Deane Beman reflects on the early days of the Web.com Tour
    • Interviews

      Deane Beman reflects on the early days of the Web.com Tour

    No. 50 on money list ($20,864)

    “I got married May 13. We got married in Cocoa Beach, at the Cocoa Beach Hilton. I remember we left the next day (for the Elizabethtown Open) because we had a bunch of family and friends there and we were like, ‘Oh, gotta go.’

    “Our so-called honeymoon was the Pittsburgh event. We went from getting married to staying in private housing. The people were so gracious and so nice to host us. When they found out we had just gotten married, they took us to a lovely meal overlooking the river.

    That was the best part about private housing. They were so excited to have you. They’d say things like, ‘Oh, dinner is at 6. Make sure to get your practice round done in time for dinner.’”

    No. 16 on money list ($42,227)

    “Bakersfield Country Club, the whole course was dormant Bermudagrass, except the holes that came to and led away from the clubhouse. So we had four green holes around the clubhouse and the rest of them were yellow. The greens were perfect. They were lightning fast.

    “My wife (Pam) is an attorney. She had a job. She and (son Olin Jr., who was born in July 1988) would come out a couple of times a year. It was tough. My brother (Jeremy) caddied for me those first few years out there, so we got in the car and drove around the country. It was a Ford Taurus station wagon. We threw all our stuff in there, including our fishing rods, and hit the road. The conversations you have while you’re driving from here to there and all around creation, you cover pretty much every topic. I’m always thankful to my wife for holding down the fort while I was on the road, and thankful to my brother for his commitment to help me getting better.

    “I made, I think, $43,000 that first year and had a club contract that paid me a decent amount of money. I played every pro-am I could get my hands on. They’d give you $100 to play one day, or $200. That pays your food bill for the week. You did the little things, and everybody did. You tried to stay in (pro golf) and outlast the guys who couldn’t."

    No. 26 on money list ($33,550)

    “The most guys we ever put in a hotel room was three, and whoever had the worst round would go on the cot. Everybody was young and it was like fast-food city. If you had a really good week, you might treat all the other guys in your group to dinner.”

    “We would play cards pretty much every night and we gambled quite a bit on the golf course. We gambled just about on everything. If you’re playing at that level, you have a gambler’s mentality.

    "I remember the first tournament, I rented a Geo Metro. I got some sort of deal, $99 for three weeks. The guys were laughing because no one else could fit in the car. I can remember driving from Bakersfield to Yuma. I remember passing a few guys on the interstate, and they were laughing so hard. It was a total riot.

    "Back then, you didn't always fly to the city that you were going to play in. You flew into the city you were going to return to. For the Bakersfield Open, you would fly into Phoenix and try to qualify for the (PGA TOUR's) Phoenix Open and then you would go play the (Hogan Tour's) Bakersfield Open and the Yuma Open, and then you might try to qualify for the TOUR event in San Diego, and then back to Phoenix and you would drop the car off.

    “If you didn’t make the cut, you would either leave town and go home, or you would head to the next tournament site, or you would try to find a mini-tour event in between. We would play anywhere, even if it wasn't on either (the PGA TOUR or Hogan Tour).

    “There were plenty of nights where we drove through the night. We would drive all night long instead of paying $40 or $60 for a hotel room. Some guys still had 8-Track players in their cars.”

    No. 78 on money list ($13,721)

    “You stayed in Super 8s, you stayed in Budgetels. I’m still friends with guys in Springfield, Missouri, who I met through private housing. That’s what you did. You made friends in various places through private housing. We played in upstate New York, and we stayed in off-campus dorms at Colgate University.

    “Back then, the purses were $100,000. You tried to budget for no more $1,000 per week. By the time you paid caddie fees, back then there was an entry fee, and hotel and you have to eat. That first week in Bakersfield, I was in about 20th place going into the last round and the last day was really cold and wet and I shot 79 and finished about 50th and made $400. It was a wake-up call, making the cut and losing money for the week.

    “We played in Ft. Wayne and we heard Vice President Dan Quayle was going to play in the pro-am. This lightning storm came through, so we all ran into the clubhouse. The Vice President had just gotten in the shower when the lightning hit, and all the electricity went out. The Secret Service jumped him in the shower because they didn’t know if it was a terror threat. So they shielded him. So, after five or 10 minutes, the electricity came back on and they let him go back to his locker. He got dressed and grabbed a putter and was just stroking putts. Rick Pearson walked by and said, ‘Mr. Vice President, you’re never going to make a putt if you stroke it like that.’ So Rick gave him a lesson and the Vice President said thanks and asked for his name. The Vice President said, ‘Oh, Rick Pearson, you’ve won twice this year and are second on the money list. Your career is going great. Good luck this year.’ The Vice President apparently had enough time to know who the Hogan Tour players were.”