Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ray Halbritter is the Latest Case of Stealing Pro Spots

You might not know a ton about Ray Halbritter, the man in the photograph above. He's 60, and is the CEO of Nation Enterprises, which umbrellas the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, the title sponsor of a PGA Tour event in August.

When the Turning Stone Resort Championship kicks off on August 2, you'll know a ton about Halbritter, because he will be in the field. Yep, a 60-year-old rich guy is the latest in a long line of people stealing spots from, you know, actual golfers that do this for a living.

Only in golf, right?

You see, Halbritter passed something called the PGA's player aptitude test, which sounds really special, but is just 36 holes, and takes two rounds of 77 or better. Anyone that has ever considered themselves a decent golfer can pass this thing. That is his resume. Player aptitude graduate.

As a guy that tried to do this for a living a while back, hearing stories like this are a hefty kick to the groin. Golf is the only sport in the entire world where someone would have the chutzpah to try this, and actually could get away with it. Could you imagine Steve Jobs doling out $40,000 to play a quarter with the Knicks, or Donald Trump asking Jerry Jones to let him quarterback for a half at Texas Stadium? Of course they wouldn't, because they aren't good enough, but this Halbritter guy has shot a couple of rounds of 71 with his buddies in their Saturday money game, and thinks he has the game to play with the big boys.

He doesn't. At all. Zero. He has as much business out on the golf course with professionals as O.J. Simpson does moonlighting as a marriage counselor.

While it might not seem like a huge deal to most, you have to understand that these exemptions are reserved for people that might have a shot at doing well in this tournament. Since we all know the name, take a guy like John Daly for example. This is a man that needs to play well in events for his livelihood. He depends on money from events to pay whatever bills he has to pay. This week is one where he won't get in, because some CEO that thinks he deserves to be out there is in the field.

Just once I'd love to see some big-headed CEO show up at work, and head up to his office, only to see the door closed, and Dustin Johnson chatting on his phone with his spikes roughing up the man's desk. I'd love to see the face of this Halbritter guy when he finds out Johnson made some multi-million dollar deal with his companies money because he felt like being a CEO for a day.

I'm sure at that point, maybe these guys could keep their golfing dreams to themselves.

Oh, and if you're wondering how he will do, just listen to the man himself -- "I shoot about 78 to 80 (at Atunyote),” said Halbritter, who confesses he will be among the shortest hitters in the field with a 265-yard driving average. “Sometimes when the pressure’s on you can shoot better, sometimes not so good, so you just never know.”

This is going to be a disaster.


courtgolf said...

Just curious - is he actually taking a spot or are they just going to add another tee time on Thursday and Friday for a couple of these "aptitude graduates" ? Send them off last in the morning and afternoon so they don't interfere with the real tournament guys, but they get a little human interest publicity for an event being played opposite the WGC Bridgestone ? The field is going to be half filled with Nationwide guys as it is.

Anonymous said...

About like Shane trying to pass himself off as a journalist. I mean really dude, the guy is sponsoring the event. True, he'll finish DFL, but if guys like him don't put their companies cash into an event, what would the poor play golf for money slaves do, oh, wait, get a job like the rest of the world. One spot, one week, I don't think anyone is going to go without a meal because of it. And, dude, the way you play, you may have been hogging a spot or two yourself in your "tried to do this as a living" stint.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. How dare they give that spot to a rich guy who is sponsoring the tournament, instead of the 229th ranked player in the world.

Because letting your parents pay your rent while you try to play professional athlete makes you much more deserving than actually providing the prize money and venue for the tournament.

Roody said...

I just played Atunyote a couple weeks ago, and it's not that hard a course. The rough is mean, and the greens fast, but it's pretty wide-open.

As for the event, I don't think most of the bigger names show up for this one anyways. I don't necessarily have a problem with one guy taking one spot, but I can see your point about how this sort of idea could spread to other venues.

I guess it depends on how the fans receive it. If fans want it, it's probably a good thing. If not, then no.

Anonymous said...

Your arrogance is over shadowed only by your ignorance. You sympathize with daly's financial status when in actuality he drank up his money and ruined his game with alcohol.You sir are preventing some golf journalist from paying his bills because you are masquerading as one.

courtgolf said...

Ouch - now that wasn't nice at all.

How is it possible that Shane is taking up some other "journalists" paycheck when this is his site ?