Harrison Endycott went to the PGA Tour-sanctioned Latinoamerica Tour because he wanted his rookie year as a professional to be tough, but he never expected this.
A week after failing to get a visa in time to play the Sau Paulo Golf Club Championship in Brazil, Endycott flew into Sau Paulo en route to Porto Feliz for the 65 JHSF Brazil Open and discovered after landing that his golf clubs had not made the flight.
He left instructions for his golf bag – should it ever show up – to be sent to the hotel he was staying at and spent Monday walking the course as a way of doing something resembling tournament prep.
So as not to be caught in a downward spiral of negativity and self pity, the 22-year-old convinced himself that no player was allowed to practice on Monday, to the point where by the time he got back to the hotel he’d forgotten his clubs were still at large.
There were moments of doubt as he pondered what might happen should he not be reunited with his beloved set of Pings prior to Thursday morning but after waking early on Tuesday had his golf bag delivered to his room shortly thereafter.
Showing incredible composure for someone so young and so far from home, Endycott took his clubs to the course and went to work, running second at Fazenda Boa Vista to move up to 17th on the Order of Merit and within sight of a 2019 Web.com Tour card.
“The lady at the baggage counter didn’t speak very good English and I was trying to explain to her that I needed these clubs for my work,” Endycott says on a week off prior to the San Luis Championship in Mexico.
“When I got to the hotel they didn’t understand what I was trying to tell them so I had to put it into Google Translator.
“It was nice that my clubs came in Tuesday morning and I was able to get back into my routine.
“I couldn’t focus on [not having my clubs] because I knew I wouldn’t play well. That would only hinder me.
“I’ve got to react and prepare like I would if everything had gone perfectly.
“I didn’t feel under-prepared because I didn’t have my equipment because I’d mentally convinced myself that what I did was my preparation, walking the golf course and getting yardages.
“It just didn’t phase me. I got so zoned-in on the Monday I actually forgot that I didn’t have my golf clubs.
“It was a really good step forward for me as a pro.
“As an amateur or even earlier in the year I would have played the blame game and said, ‘Why me?’ in situations like that but my main purpose was to stay positive.
“It’s just another little hurdle that you have to jump.”
Ranked in the top 10 in the world as an amateur and member of the Eisenhower Trophy-winning Australian team alongside Curtis Luck and Cameron Davis in 2016, Endycott joined the professional ranks in November last year and signed with European-based management company 4sports.
He gained his PGA Tour of Australasia card through Qualifying School in December but rather than look for a simple road into the professional ranks headed straight for Florida and Latinoamerica qualifying.
“Our main goal this year was to get onto an international tour with good status so that I would be playing each and every week,” Endycott explains.
“We talked about Canada and Europe but I really love the [United] States and wanted to go through the Web.com Tour pathway and I wanted an environment that was not going to be easy.”
And it hasn’t been.
Between dealing with local caddies who only accept cash and don’t issue invoices, difficulties in organising transportation and walking the border from Mexico to the US in order to get out of Tijuana, the experience has changed not only the golfer but Endycott as a person.
His second-place finish last week enabled him to move past First Stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying, if he can be top 10 at time of Second Stage he will progress straight to Final Stage and a top-five finish at the end of the year will provide status on what is now the only direct path to the PGA Tour.
How he performs over the next three events will dictate his calendar for the rest of the year and shape what 2019 looks like but the Avondale Golf Club member knows that there is no golden ticket to the top.
“I’m a huge believer in the way the system is working now,” Endycott says.
“You really do have to do it tough to know how hard things really are and to change your perspective on the way you’re thinking.
“I got to top 10 in the world as an amateur and played well and got treated like I was on the PGA Tour.
“You turn up to a US Amateur and there’s a Lexus there waiting for you. You get starts in pro events and they have the same things, tournament services provide a caddy, all your dining and your goodies. The equipment reps are there with boxes of balls and gloves and shafts and that’s what the PGA Tour is.
“When you turn pro and go back to the bottom all that goes out the window. Now it’s work and everyone is fending for themselves.
“I’d rather grind for two or three years in the middle of nowhere because in the long term it will not only make me a better player but hopefully a better person.”
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