Chris Stroud - Q-School (Part 2)

Chris Stroud shares his experience of going back to PGA Tour qualifying school for second and third time, and what he learned from the adversities.

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2007 to '17 we talked about the just one--

Just one.

The Barracuda.

Yep. You want to know about the tour and how that's gone.

And it's been quite a long time.

Oh, yes.

10 years. I suppose, first of all. I don't know if you ever expect to win, thinking when you're on tour. I didn't think about expecting to win. I just want to do my deal and see what happens. But that's a bit of a journey. What's that been like for you?

You know, I think--

You've had ups and downs that everyone has.

It's funny like my progress is always about the same, play, couple of gears, win. Dominate, [INAUDIBLE] level, win. Dominate, [INAUDIBLE] level. And then I got on tour after coming off the really, really hot college golf.

Play a couple of tour events and I say, OK. They're really good up with Veejay, actually, in 2007. And Jimmy Walker, who is one of my best friends, my one--

Current PGA champion.

Current, exactly. And I played with those guys during that first year. I get my sponsor exemption in Houston open. And, again, it's like that next level I see. OK, I see what I've got to do. I've played OK. And then I didn't get on tour back into-- that was in '04, so I didn't get on tour until '07.

Got on tour, I'm like, all right, here we go. I'm going to dominate this thing. But the same thing, I played Hooters Tour nationwide, and I only won a few events. I didn't win a bunch. It was very hard to win, obviously, at a pro level.

Win a couple of Hooters Tour events. Finished second, third, bunch on the nationwide, but I never really played a full year nationwide. So I get on tour, and now I'm going, OK. Here we go, let's go after this. My first year I finished 132 on the money list win. Back to third stage.

Just missed back to third.

The cool thing is I go back to q-school the first year, I finish second. I'm like, Oh, man, I have gotten so much better, I didn't even know it.


So now I go back to 2008, back to the tour and playing great. Got off to a really good start 2008. Get hurt during the US Open. Hurt my knee. I'm having some struggles.

You're hot, like May at the US Open, or what? [INAUDIBLE].

Both, both. I hurt my knee. Actually--

And you're hot.

In 2008, the year that Tiger won Torrey Pines. I'm there. My dad, my grandfather. And I'm playing the best golf of my life. I hurt my knee on the range. I'm able to hobble through Thursday, Friday--

What do you mean hurt your knee? It's just like [INAUDIBLE] or something?

Well, what happened, I thought I was going to have surgery, but one of my quad muscles, my front left quad muscle, from practice and not getting therapy on it, pull my knee cap over.

Oh, I see.

And so I was--

Like a dislocation almost.

That's right. And it was, I was hitting this, what they call fat pad underneath it, and it was swelling my knee up. So I was having to deal with that while I was trying to play the hardest course in the world. Obviously you're the middle of summer here. How was the year going at that point?

I was--

Gotta make it?

I would-- I had made--

On pace?

I'd have to look, but I think I had made, literally, half a million dollars at the time. So I was in pretty good pace.

Looks to me like back then you gotta make it.

Doing pretty good. I'm like sweet. US Open, qualifier. I'm in. I get up there, hurt. I'm out for six or seven weeks now. At that time coming out of Q-school category, you don't get in every event.

Right, there's gaps, anyway.

I don't know, maybe eight or 10 events left, well I had to pull out of like four of them. So I have like four events.

A lot of pressure now.

A lot of pressure.

Because you got to fill the gap real quick to get you cut to get the next year again.

That's right. Finish 155 I think I'm--

Outside of the third stage.

I think I finished-- I think I played-- I made two cuts. Didn't make enough money. All the pressure's on me. I go back to second stage devastated. Come back to Deerwood, win by six. I'm like--

I was going to say, not an ideal situation, but you just, you fixed it.

I got it done. I was nervous, but I got it and I played some of the best golf of my career at that time. Deerwood, one of my favorite courses--

Hard court.

Unbelievably difficult. Intimidating. Win by six. Get to third stage. I finished second again behind [INAUDIBLE], when he shoots 59, out in Palm Springs. Get back on tour in '09. I kept my card from '09 till this last year, when I was in the 126 to 150 category.

So 10 years go by, play on tour, no wins, a few playoffs, lot of top fives. Basically every 25 events, one top 10. 290 events later I finally win my first tour event.