Joshua Creel fired up for first start as TOUR memberWill open his season in Napa at the Fortinet Championship
September 11, 2021
By Nick Parker, PGATOUR.COM
- September 11, 2021
Joshua Creel full interview after securing TOUR card at Korn Ferry Tour Championship
As Joshua Creel finished a five-week stretch on the road with a PGA TOUR card in hand for the first time, all he wanted to do this week was head back home, sleep in his own bed and see his wife and dog.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans. His wife, Alex, was supposed to head to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance to watch him play for the weekend but she found out someone in her office had contracted COVID, so she went to get tested before leaving.
Positive. Plans spoiled. Not only could she not go to see her husband get a TOUR card, but he also couldn’t return home either when the tournament ended.
“I’m in the city I live in, and I can’t even go to my house,” Creel said with a laugh.
Initially instead of flying home, Creel flew to Fulton, Mississippi, this week and spent a couple days with his close buddy, Chad Ramey, who is also preparing for his first start as a PGA TOUR member at next week’s Fortinet Championship. After a couple days practicing and hanging out, Creel headed back to Edmond, Oklahoma, and is staying with a buddy this week and practicing at his home club while his wife, who is expecting their first child, a baby boy named Colt in January, quarantines at their home.
“I went and talked to her through the front window, but that’s as close as we’ve gotten to each other, so that’s frustrating,” Creel said. “I haven’t slept in my own bed for six weeks, so I was looking forward to that. And it was a pretty big bummer that she wasn’t able to be out there Sunday and celebrate with my parents and myself. So, it’s been frustrating, but it is what it is, so I’ll go to work next week then come back and enjoy her and my dog.”
Despite the inconveniences to his preparation this week and the disappointment that his wife can’t head with him to Napa, Creel, who turned pro in 2012, is fired up to have the opportunity to get back to work next week as a TOUR member.
“Obviously a dream come true to be teeing it up on the PGA TOUR as a member. I’m excited,” Creel said. “Going to keep doing what we’ve been doing the last couple months and pick good targets, get good numbers and see what happens. But the game feels good. I’ve been playing well now for a while.”
As far as momentum goes, Creel has about as much as any TOUR rookie will heading into the TOUR’s season-opener. In mid-June, he was outside the top 100 in the Korn Ferry Tour Points Standings and looking up fall Q-School information. Now, he’s a Korn Ferry Tour winner and heading to the big show after finishing the Korn Ferry Tour Finals with back-to-back top-10s.
“I laugh with my friends because it’s been a wild ride, I’ll tell you what,” Creel said. “The emotions from looking into Q-School to locking up a Korn Ferry Tour card for next year to going on and winning and then ultimately getting my PGA TOUR card. It’s been something else, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
It’s the journey to get here that has made it all the sweeter. After leaving Central Oklahoma as the 2012 NCAA Division II Player of the Year, Creel struggled to breakthrough. He finally made it to final stage of Q-School in 2016 for the first time but finished T131, which was only good conditional membership and four starts on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017. He was playing mini tours mostly and never lost the faith in his game or that he could make it, but his bank account was starting to.
“There was one time in 2017 where my dad said, ‘Hey dude, your bank account is running real thin,” Creel recalled. “Just point blank you’re either going to have to play better or find something else to do, and I ended up winning a mini-tour event the next week to give myself a little bit of a cushion. But, yeah, never wanted to quit because I was upset about how I was playing but there were a couple times where financially there it was getting tough.”
That period proved critical. He not only improved his course management out on the mini tours, but he learned to win. In 2019, he got fully exempt status on the Korn Ferry Tour for the first time and now the Cheyenne, Wyoming, native will tee it up next week as only the second TOUR member ever from Wyoming.
“I’m not one to ever get down about much and I was never really discouraged at all about where my game was or where I was going to have to play over the years,” Creel said. “So, yeah, just steadily improved and parlayed that into a PGA TOUR card.”