KYLE STANLEY, AN ALL-AMERICAN at Clemson and Nationwide Tour player, leads the final stage of the PGA Tour Q-school after a first-round 65 at the Orange County Golf Center in Orlando, Florida. Stanley finished 35th on the Nationwide Tour money list and won the 2009 Ben Hogan Award, the most prestigious award in men’s college golf.
Every once in a while I get a call from my brother-in-law. “Hey, did you hear about Kyle Stanley?” He made the cut at the U.S. Open. He’s near the lead in Boise. Or something else.
It’s a topic because we used to watch Kyle run around on the lawn with his sister at Glendale Country Club in Bellevue, Washington. He might have been 10 years old. Kyle’s dad, Matt, was a friend of my father-in-law. There was a group of us that would gather for Memorial Day and Labor Day barbecues at the club. I wasn’t a member. I was strictly a guest eater and pretend son of Mel in the father-son tournament. It was an opportunity to pig out and make small talk with people I saw twice a year.
There was Kyle throwing ball out on the grass with his older sister. Every once in a while he’d make a breathless pit stop at our table to check in with mom and dad. That kid out on the lawn turned out to be a phenomenal golfer.
I saw Kyle at the 2009 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro pounding balls on a sweltering August afternoon. I had a fleeting thought of saying something to him but quickly reconsidered. He wouldn’t know me. What would I say? I used to eat ribs and corn on the cob with your dad on Memorial Day weekend ...
Funny, I got one of those “Kyle” messages exactly a month ago from another person who sat with us and the Stanleys in the Glendale dining room.
“Ever thought about looking into Kyle Stanley who is now on the Nationwide Tour?” Karen wrote in an email. “He is not winning but I see on Sunday reports that he hangs around the 10-30 spot. Big Ed loved Kyle.”
(Big Ed was my father-in-law. He died in 2006.)
I think Kyle Stanley is going to make it to the big show, the PGA Tour. I’m sure I’ll be hearing more about him. The kid can flat play.
−The Armchair Golfer