For 13 years, Brad Ott came so close to earning a PGA Tour card. It never happened.
At PGA Qualifying School he missed getting his card by two shots twice, one shot once and he even lost in a Monday Byron Nelson qualifying tournament in a playoff. He retired from touring in 2009 to teach golf at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, assuming his dream of playing a PGA event was over.
Seven years later, the now 46-year-old signed up for the PGA Professional Championship for the first time. Every year, thousands of teaching pro's from across the country, like Ott, compete in this tournament for a unique opportunity. The top 20 players are awarded spots in the PGA Championship, golf's last major of the season.
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On the 18th green, Ott was two putts away from securing a spot in the top 20 and achieveing his PGA Tour event goal 20 years in the making. Back at home, his two daughters anxciously watched the Golf Channel coverage and saw his first putt sail by. As did Ott's wife, who was the caddie. Four pressure-packed feet remained between Brad and his dream.
"I've missed a lot of those. I've missed a lot of those near misses, those moments. And I just said 'I'm going to do it for my girls.' I've got two daughters and my wife, and they've very supportive. Over this putt at the National Club Pro, that's the last thing I said. 'There's no way, I'm going to do this for my girls,'" said Ott.
The 4-footer was pure and dropped to the bottom of the cut. Twenty years of trying to make it on the PGA Tour finally happened for Ott. There to celebrate was his proud wife.
"It was awesome. We had a long hug and it was really cool because she knew what I went through, she's been with me the whole time. So, she knew it was for my first tour event and she was emotional and it was pretty special," said Ott.
The accomplishment hasn't completely set in for Ott, which might be a good thing because there pressure is off. He made it. Now, he can focus on his preperation to play at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey, site of the 2016 PGA Championship.
"My thoughts are positive, I feel like I can go over there and do something well. To what extent? I don't know. I'm not setting any goals. I'm just going to go over try to play well and have fun, same thing at the club pro [tournament]. But I have good feelings, I really do."
Ott has a chance to break a streak for the teaching professionals. Since 2011, none of the teaching pro's have made the cut at the PGA Championship.