In September of 2013, Golf Digest introduced a new column, “The Undercover Pro,” by an anonymous PGA Tour Pro that gave us some insights into life on the Tour. It began this way:
I’ve never won on the PGA Tour, but I’ve had some close calls. I’m in my mid-30s. Serious golf fans know my name, but when I walk into a restaurant, it’s rare I get noticed.
That one was interesting because it went into the details of things we mastery aficionados would want to know more about, in that case, Tour player entourages: the coach, the short-game coach, the mental coach, the strength coach and the caddie to name the basic team of a modern player. He wrote about how often he sees them and how he pays them.
You showed more than passing interest in that one, so since I’ve been wondering what they’ve done with the column since, I checked it out. The first change is that they retitled it, “The Undercover Tour Pro,” adding the word “Tour.”
In this installment, he talks about such things as playing practice rounds with Tiger, how Bubba Watson became a regular practice partner, how Tiger relates to players well down the money list including rookies, the general exemption categories of the players and how those categories go into making up the first two days’ starting times.
He also goes into the players’ sponsorship obligation for the week — playing in the pro-am, running junior clinics, spending an hour in a corporate tent or giving speeches — and how that’s all determined.
Interesting stuff for those interested in all things PGA Tour and another level of what the players have to master to reach their playing potential.