Golf and life with Harry Higgs
Web.com Tour rookie shares eclectic tales of golf with President Bush, barbecue, airplane adventures and more
March 11, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Harry Higgs won the 2018 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Order of Merit title to secure full Web.com Tour status this season. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Harry Higgs is the resident bon vivant of the Web.com Tour.
The 27-year-old has played with a president, owns a pair of blue suede loafers, enjoys a nice meal, and shares stories with aplomb.
And – oh yes – he’s a pretty good golfer, too.
Higgs captured the 2018 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Order of Merit title to earn full Web.com Tour status this year (he closed the season with four consecutive top-four finishes, including a victory), but perhaps more than his golfing acumen is his ability to tell a good story.
It’s been quite the life for Higgs, and it’s just getting started.
Tuck in and listen – it’s story time with Harry Higgs.
On his Web.com Tour debut (as a 17-year-old) …
My parents made me go to (high school) class on Monday, and I vividly remember walking into Anatomy and Physiology, my first-period class. I had had biology with the same teacher and she was great, because she made me like learning. There was no faking biology … I had to figure it out. Passing that biology class had already allowed me to pass the science credit I needed, so I vividly remember walking in on the Monday, knowing I wasn’t going to be there the whole week and knowing I could bail on science if I needed to. I don’t remember getting up in the middle of class because I wouldn’t have done that, but I left right after that first period and I went and dropped the class and left school for the week. I probably shouldn’t have done that; I probably should have prioritized school. But I was very good at knowing the system and knowing how to get just what I needed while doing all the golf I wanted to do.
They held an 18-and-under qualifier for everyone in the Kansas City area, and the guy that won it got in (to the now-KC Golf Classic). The qualifier was the Saturday or Sunday when school started for us in August and there were probably 30 or 40 18-and-under junior golfers there. I shot 2-under-par 68 and didn’t make a bogey, and it was good enough. We played Kansas City Country Club, which I still love to this day. Besides the course I grew up on, it was my favorite in the area and I was fortunate enough to get a start. I played well the first day (3-under-par 69) but I had no idea, because the next day I shot 84.
Shot 69-84 to obviously miss the cut, and I just remember the first hole they changed it to a par-4 for the tournament because it’s usually a par-5 and pretty easy. I drove it in the fairway and hit 3-wood to about 12 feet. I remember hitting the 3-wood on the second day and walking after it, kind of like Tiger (Woods) where when he hit a good shot, he’d walk after it. I had never, ever done that before. I was like, ‘Holy cow, I am pumped.’
And then I did not handle it well.
Four holes later, I lost a tee shot and I didn’t hit a provisional, so I’m walking back (to the tee) and we’re the last group … and I’m in a panic having to walk back, by myself. One of our neighbors, who was volunteering for the tournament, drove by in a cart, stopped, and asked if I needed a ride. And he was a volunteer. I get into the cart and drive back, hit a good tee shot, and someone afterwards said, ‘Hey buddy, don’t get into that cart again unless it’s with an official.’ I knew as soon as my rear hit the seat that something was off, like I shouldn’t have been sitting next to someone I know so well. It should be a rules official. Sure enough, my six turned into an eight.
It was for sure a great experience. Missing school for a week was the coolest thing ever at that time. I learned more that week on the course than I did sitting in that anatomy class for one period, for sure.Harry Higgs recorded five top-three finishes on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica in 2018, winning the money title by $64. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
On the Z-Man Sandwich from Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue, named by Thrillist Magazine as one of 50 Sandwiches You Should Eat Before You Die …
It’s a 10/10. 100/100.
A lot of my friends have played or will go to Kansas City to play the Web.com Tour event there and they’re always asking me, ‘Where should we go to eat?’ but like, my mom is such a good cook. I’m not a small guy, which should show that, so when I’m home, I don’t leave home. I just eat at home. If I do eat out, I’m eating at the golf club. I literally tell guys I have no idea where to go for dinner.
The only thing I suggest to anyone, though, is Joe’s, and I tell them to order the Z-Man. Just be done with it. Don’t mess around.
They’ve had it a couple times at the tournament. I’ve had everything else in Kansas City, like Jack Stack (it’s pretty good but it’s a little fancier), Arthur Bryant’s … but I don’t even give them a fighting chance. The Z-Man is too good.
I have the french-fry seasoning they do, and the barbecue sauce. I had my mom send some down. I have put that french-fry seasoning on scrambled eggs before! If I need a little seasoning and I open up my spice cabinet, that’s the first one I gravitate towards.
On Texas barbecue versus Kansas City barbecue …
It’s not even close. It’s Kansas City. I think Texas (Higgs lives just outside Dallas) and barbecue is a myth.
I haven’t had one that I really like. I had one, but it’s because it was from a guy who moved here after having worked at Jack Stack in Kansas City and he does it just like they do in Kansas City.
So there’s one place I like (in Texas), but they serve true Kansas City barbecue.
Web.com Tour players enjoy BBQ at one of Kansas City's finest
On baseball, and the best game he ever saw …
I had my baseball run early. I gravitated towards golf since the baseball I was playing was hindering the amount of golf I played, and maybe my swing, so I stopped. I loved playing baseball growing up, and to me, team sports were so cool because I had so much time alone playing golf.
So it was Game 2 in the (American League Championship Series) and David Price was pitching (for the Toronto Blue Jays) and Oh. My. God. no one could even come close to hitting him. (The Blue Jays) left him in for a little too long, because they got to the seventh inning and I’ll never forget this – they put on the big jumbotron the guy from Modern Family, Eric Stonestreet, and he was just sitting in his seat and the place was solemn because everyone knew no one was going to hit David Price.
But Stonestreet notices that he’s on the screen and he starts raising his hands, getting people to make some noise. From right then on, the whole mood in the stadium changed. Price comes out and he couldn’t throw a strike. He gave up five runs in a half-inning.
It probably had nothing to do with the fact that they showed Stonestreet, but the mood in the place changed for sure. The Royals won, won the series, and went on the win the World Series as well.
On where he was when the Royals won the World Series …
I was in Latin America and I didn’t even get to watch the game. We were taking the red-eye flight from Uruguay to Miami, but I have a good story.
I’m not a big baseball fan. I’m kind of a fair-weather one … just putting that out there. I didn’t pay much attention to the Royals until they won, but I did go to a handful of games and everyone was drinking the Kool-Aid when they went on their run.
So I walk on the plane and I’m wearing Royals’ gear head-to-toe. The flight attendant said he was a (New York) Mets fan. We bicker back-and-forth (the Royals would go on to beat the Mets four games to one in the 2015 World Series) with a laugh and I do my normal routine on a plane. I have a couple cocktails and I just fall asleep. I was tired after doing a couple weeks in a row and I was obviously a long way from home.
I fall asleep, and they had to wake me up I was so tired. Normally I’ll get up about an hour or so before the flight lands since people are moving around doing whatever. But we had landed, and I’m being nudged. I finally wake up and I notice the flight attendant taped a piece of paper that he had written onto my chest that said, ‘Congratulations, I wanted to be the first person to let you know that YOUR Kansas City Royals have beaten MY New York Mets and won the World Series.’ So I see him when I’m getting off the plane and I thanked him for the flight and I said that the note was really cool and I was going to keep it.
I have a little banner hanging in the condo, 2015 Royals World Series, and the little note. I thought it was pretty cool.
On the best meal he had on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica …
There were a few. They had a taco vendor in Mexico and they had this pork, beef, chorizo … and then this big hunk of meat that was on a spiral. They reached back to shave it off, and that was probably the best.
Up there in second, but just barely, was the ‘lomo saltado’ in Peru (a traditional Peruvian dish. It’s a stir-fry with steak, onions, tomatoes, and french fries served with rice) which was an event (the Diners Club Peru Open presentado por Lexus) I was fortunate enough to win. The food in Peru was incredible.
There’s a decent correlation with how well I played and how well I ate that week.
People are always tepid going to Latin America and having to deal with food. If you stay at a resort, it’s an all-inclusive so there is a buffet, which is obviously good, but it’s just going to get old. So if you can explore and try a few different things or if there’s a different take on something you had, it is all really good.
For me though, definitely, the better I ate, the better I played.
On another writer describing his fashion sense as ‘dandy’ after seeing him in loafers at an airport …
I know the loafers I had on, because it was Jamaica and it was an early morning so we were not at our best. They were the most comfortable shoes I’ve got! I put them on just to travel.
It’s funny how he said that. I got a few pairs of tennis shoes and I kind of just wear tennis shoes now. Indirectly (the writer) indirectly changed my style, although I don’t want to give him all that credit. I still have those loafers and I still wear them quite a bit.
Style-wise, I usually end up in my golf clothes. I like to dress up and there are so few occasions when I can, so I’m not afraid to put a jacket on, maybe aggressively, with a little shirt. It’s a lot of golf stuff.
“Dandy,” I mean, it could be. I’m a shoe guy – I don’t have many, but I do have a pair of blue suede loafers. If he saw those, he might have written something else. I don’t ever have a chance to wear them, but if I need to, and friends are in town and we’re doing a nice dinner, I’ll do it.
The pair of loafers that were referred to, I had for at least three years, and the blue suede ones I’ve had for at least five. If anything, I need to do an update. They’re not that flashy, it was just the circumstance – it was 5 a.m. in the airport in Jamaica and I had a half-cup of coffee and I was louder than everyone else. If I hadn’t had any coffee, I might not have said a word to anyone in the terminal! I think I had sweatpants on with black tassel loafers.
To give the writer credit, I usually wear tennis shoes when I travel now.
Special Olympian Jared Stancil hits opening tee shot at LECOM Suncoast Classic
On playing golf with President George W. Bush…
It wasn’t a whole round … we played like three or four holes.
He was there (at Preston Trails GC in Dallas) and we knew one of the folks in his group. We stopped, and obviously we were going to let him play through. But we were taking a couple photos and then he said, ‘Guys I’m in a hurry but if you want to play quick, you can join us.’ So we said, ‘Well, obviously, sure.’ You can’t say no to that.
We played the last three holes at Preston Trails. He’s good. He’s really good. Kelly Kraft and a few other Dallas-based guys have played 18 holes with him and they say he’s hard to beat. He’s not ashamed to get one or two too many strokes, but how are you supposed to say no to someone who served our country for that long? That’s the least you can do. If you’re playing him for a Coke, it’s like, “OK, I’ll buy you a Coke, Mr. President.”
And a “4 for 3” is a “Presidential” because he was No. 43.
It’s incredible where golf takes you. We’ve seen him around in Dallas a few times playing at the courses he plays out of now and again. You know when he’s there. The SUVs are parked and running in the parking lot. But we didn’t even know he was there that day, and boom, he was on us. We said hello through our mutual friend and took a photo, and I think he got wind that we were good enough not to slow him down for the last couple holes. We see him now and again at SMU basketball games.
It was one of the best days of my life. The best part of the day might have been the homemade ice cream and the lunch buffet – no offense to the president.Pictured from left to right: Andrew Buchanan, President George W. Bush, Harry Higgs, Alex Higgs. (Courtesy of Harry Higgs)