Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tadd Fujikawa

On Thursday, in the great gambling state of Nevada, Tadd Fujikawa will be starting his journey as a pro golfer. This is not your typical "amateur turning pro" story. Here's the kicker - this kid is only 16 years old. (image credit)

Tadd has made a couple of media splashes in the past 12 months. About a year ago, he qualified for the US Open tournament, which is arguably the most difficult tournament in the world to qualify for. Then, this past January, he made history as the youngest player in half a century to make the cut at a PGA tour event (professional golf tournament). Here are some quotes from a July 12 AP article.
"I'm really ready for this," he said. "It's something that I want to do."

"It showed me I can compete with the best players in the world and I can handle myself in front of the cameras. But sometimes I get a little nervous," he said.

Finances weren't really a factor in the decision.

"I'm not in it for the money at all. I just want to play with the best players in the world," he said.
Call me skeptical, but I don't think he was really the one making the final decision on this one. Can a 16 year old really make a decision like this? I mean, there is no going back. It's not like he can bomb out of this tournament or a second tournament and then decide to go back and be an amateur. This following quote from a July 31 AP article sums it up for me.
For a high school junior missing his first week of the new school year back home in Honolulu to make a run at a $3 million purse, he offers a remarkably mature take on what's most important in his life.

"I think it's more about me. I think that is more important than golf," Fujikawa said.

I think this kid (and his parents and his other close advisors) are seeing the potential dollar signs in the short term and not the big picture. I think they're trying to take the "American Idol" shortcut to success, fame, and fortune. I certainly wish the best for this kid, but I don't think it's going to work out as all of them have planned.

The sad part is that there really is no backup plan for this kid. If this little stint doesn't work, then it's not like he can accept a college scholarship to play golf - he's now declared himself a pro golfer. If he doesn't make it on the US tour, then his only other options are to play golf tours around the globe until his skills mature enough to return to be a regular on the US golf tour. Oh well, we'll have to see how this story plays out.....


Anonymous said...

...just like most backup plans.

Gledwood said...

all sport seems to be turning into moneymoneymoneymaking schemes for those involved with little thought for anything else

there are actually a generation of young girls out there who have no greater ambition except than to marry a footballer ... i mean how pathetic is THAT??

The Curmudgeon said...

My Middle Son plays college baseball. There is a vanishingly small chance that, someday, he'll get drafted.

So -- given the teeny-tiny chance that something wonderful might happen -- I've given this matter a great deal of thought.

OK, I've obsessed on it.

Here's what I think: If you can go pro, do so. I wouldn't do it as a golfer without an endorsement contract -- sure money -- because there's no guarantee that a golfer will ever make a cut. But if he has the endorsement deal (Tiger Woods had millions in endorsements long before winning a cent as a pro) I say go for it.

You don't need a college scholarship if you can get a pro contract. You can go back to college -- and pay retail -- later. Your athletic skills won't last forever; hopefully, however, your desire to learn and grow as a person will last your whole life long. So you can indulge that when your playing days are over.

And you can start in the off season.

The current Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court was once the placekicker for the Chicago Bears. He went to law school in the off season -- I know, because I was in some of his classes.

I wish the young golfer the best.