From a distance, golf seems like a very alone sport. But what you can’t see, are the powerful relationships that make each player thrive.
That is the case for Paul Earnest, he oversees all-things golf at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving.
“We’re gonna absolutely have the best playing conditions we’ve ever seen here,” Earnest said, regarding the golf course preparations being made for the AT&T Byron Nelson championship.
This year, Earnest was hand-picked by the tournament to play in the 35th and final AT&T Byron Nelson at the Four Seasons. Next year, the tournament is moving to Trinity Forest Golf Club.
In this final year, Earnest will play and also represent the Four Seasons’ employees and members. “You know, I consider it the biggest honor of my life—career anyway,” Earnest said.
When Earnest found out he’d been chosen to play, he said he was speechless in front of a crowd of people watching the presentation. “I wanted to say something and no words came out. I’ve never had that happen,” Earnest said.
This will be Earnest’s sixth time playing in the Byron Nelson. Four of them were with the help of his caddy, and cousin, Warren Aune.
“They’re the only one that really is invested. They’re in,” Earnest explained.
Paul said it’s an intimate relationship within the ropes of competition.
He pointed out a series of pictures of him and Aune playing together in the 1999 GTE Byron Nelson Classic. “It was a birdie early on the card in the tournament,” Earnest said.
Four years ago, almost to the day of NBC 5’s interview with Earnest, his cousin passed away. “He died of cancer,” Earnest said.
Today, Earnest continues raising money for cancer research and treatment.
“Raised almost a half a million dollars in that quest,” Earnest said. He credits that fundraising accomplishment to the help of his Four Seasons family.
This year in the AT&T Byron Nelson, Earnest’s son, Brandon, will be filling in as caddy.
When NBC 5’s Kristin Dickerson asked Earnest what that will be like, he responded, “I don’t know yet, but it’s going to be special. He’s probably as excited and as nervous as I am, so we’ll be a mess!” Earnest said with a laugh.
To make the finals, Earnest said it would take his best effort and some help from someone watching over him—this time, not in person.
But he will have his son, who’s now ready to be his dad’s caddy.
“We know that we’re gonna have some life memories along the way. So, it’s going to be a great walk,” Earnest said. “I’ll miss my cousin, who was a great caddy and a great friend, and I’ll be thinking about him a lot as well.”
Dickerson said, “Maybe he’ll give you a little extra guidance on the greens.” Earnest said, “I’m countin’ on it.”