Jamieson's journey: from the Hooters Tour to the WGCs

3/6/2013 11:22:00 PM
Scott Jamieson   (Getty Images)
Scott Jamieson (Getty Images)

The last time Scott Jamieson played professional golf in Florida, he found himself pushing his banged-up old car that had just broken down on him to a garage - before teeing it up on the Hooters Tour. 

Just over five years later, the Scotsman arrived at the magnificent Trump Doral Resort and was tossed the keys to a brand new Cadillac – his free car for the week – as he joined the very cream of golf’s current crop at the ahead of his World Golf Championship debut. 

There is a wonderful symbolism in Jamieson’s broken down car story. 

As a young professional not long out of college (he attended Augusta State University), he was determined to forge a career in the game, trying to make his way through America’s mini tours. 

Save a privileged few, anyone who has ever had to make their own way in golf can relate to the broken down old cars, sharing dodgy hotels and flying with unknown airlines with seats designed for oompa loompas. It all comes with the territory. 

Fast forward five years and Jamieson pulls his Cadillac up at the front of the magnificent Trump Doral Resort and throws the keys to the valet parking attendant before recounting his personal journey with a deserving smile. 

Having figured out that the mini tour circuit was not going to get him anywhere fast, he got himself back to Europe and immersed himself in the three tier system that is specifically designed to give maximum opportunity to the players with maximum talent. 

He started at the bottom, joining the UK’s PGA Euro Pro Tour in 2009. Jamieson quickly identified himself as one of those boys with maximum talent, winning the Order of Merit and leading the five top ranked players from the Euro Pro on to the 2010 Challenge Tour.

A year later, he had made it to The European Tour, finishing 14th in the final Challenge Tour Rankings to reach the game’s highest level. 

In the two and a half years since then, Jamieson solidified his place on Tour and progressed quickly, making his breakthrough victory in the 2013 season’s first event – the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa – and thereby guaranteeing a place alongside the world’s top 50 players at this week’s WGC – Cadillac Championship. 

“I think about how far I have come and how well I have done to get here,” Jamieson reflected before his first round in the company of Bill Haas and Tim Clark. 

“I do say to people that I always knew I could get here but when I first turned pro I was a bit naive and thought it would just kind of happen automatically and I had a couple of years of doing kind of nothing really, just playing the mini tours and treading water. 

“Eventually I said, ‘right, I'm going to play Euro Pro and Challenge Tour and get myself onto The European Tour.’ I did it in two years so I suppose I couldn’t have done it any quicker. Then I kind of found my way on The European Tour and got comfortable and managed to get the win in South Africa which has brought me here. 

“I can’t wait to get going to be honest. This is where everyone wants to be, this is why we put all the hard work in and play the Euro Pro and the Challenge Tours. It’s a really exciting time for me and I am hoping to settle in quickly to the tournament and play well enough to be in amongst it. 

“I’m not the type of person to talk about how good I am or how well I have done, but I am proud of what I have achieved so far.  I was thinking the other day that it was only really five years ago I was over here and playing on the Hooters Tour. It’s fair to say that there is a slight difference between the last event I played in Florida and the tournament I am playing this week.

“You come to these World Golf Championship events and it is pretty amazing how you are looked after. You turn up to this great resort, they just give you a brand new, top of the rage Cadillac for the week and nothing is too much trouble. You can't get further from the lower tier that I was playing at to this. It doesn't get better than this.

“Getting my car the other day made me remember the time my old car broke down when I was here. I had an old Ford Explorer which just broke down on the way to an event one night. Marc Warren was in the car with me actually and I think we pushed the car to a dealership, left it there overnight and then went and got drunk somewhere. Changed days from this week!”

As he himself mentioned, Jamieson is not the type of man to let the glamour go to his head. 

A typically self-deprecating Scotsman, he is also aware that he cannot afford to stand still for a second at the level he is operating at now.

“Everything's on a much grander scale,” he continued, “but you've got to be careful not to let it get to you and overwhelm you.  You've just got to try and get back to the fact that it's just golf. 

“If I can do that then I would hope to be able to contend in these kind of events and keep progressing and make my appearances in these tournaments and the Majors more frequent. That is the goal and I believe that I can do that. I've made steady progress through the last three years, so why stop now?”

Good point well made, Mr Jamieson. Let the journey continue, preferably in the brand new car as opposed to the old banger……