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.