If you follow the PGA Tour at all, you know the name, if not the details, of Harrison Frazar’s career. At $9,345,925, he’s 121st on the Career Earnings list (that includes everybody, all-time). He’s managed all of that since he came on Tour in 1998.
But, as he details in this heartbreaking article at Golf.com, there’s a problem: Frazar is at the end of his rope.
There is an ethic on Tour that says you must validate yourself as a player by winning. Guys good enough to play at that level always go into a tournament with the intention of winning it. It’s the gunslinger mentality. Frazar’s problem is that he’s never managed to win. He’s been close with four 2nd’s, six 3rd’s and thirty-four top 10’s altogether, but he’s never won. He did win once in his one year on the Nationwide Tour. But that’s not the PGA Tour.
He did, however, shoot a 59 to win the 2008 Q-School when he had to go back to save his card and he was a three-time All-America at Texas. So there’s no lack of talent.
And now the wear and tear of thirteen years on Tour is beginning to take its toll on his body. He lost the second half of last year to remedial surgeries and he’s currently playing on a medical exemption (that will give him that half-year he lost to earn what the 125th guy did last year). But he’s now able to play pain free.
It’s the psychological pain that’s getting to him now. He hates the loneliness of the road and he misses his wife and three little boys fiercely when he’s out there.
So if all of this could, indeed, be fixed with a win, it points to the truly destructive side of the ego.
I have never understood this, “I’m nothing unless I win,” ethos. If you can play on the PGA Tour you’re something. If you can shoot 59 to save your card well into your career when you shouldn’t have to, you’re something. If you were a three-time All-America player at one of the best golf universities in the land, you’re something.
But it’s everywhere. It comes out of the mouth of every player in every press conference at every level of the professional game. What if all of our great engineers, doctors, writers, or scientists felt that there was no room for them in their professions unless they won the most prestigious award in their professions? Would their careers be nothing?
If you can do what you were called to do at a very high level and provide a comfortable life for yourself and your family, you are a winner. Maybe the trophies will follow and maybe they won’t, but you should never deprive yourself of what fascinates you and what you do best in life because of the tortured logic of the ego.
You are a fine human being, Harrison Frazar. You are a wonderful, loving husband and dad and one of the best professional golfers in the world. Winning won’t change any of that.