On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Kingdom at TaylorMade, the fitting area in Carlsbad, Calif., that every professional visits from time to time. My visit was because of Dustin Johnson, and an interview we had set up (that will be up sometime next week).
What does any of this have to do with Camilo Villegas' caddie? Well, after walking around that campus, and seeing all the many employees proudly rocking the TaylorMade logo, something hit me; every single one of these folks wanted to be a professional golfer at some point in their life. It's true. All of these guys still dream about that putt on the 18th at Augusta for a green jacket, or grinding out a par on the 72nd hole of a British Open to raise the Claret Jug.
That's Brett Waldman, a man that has turned down a caddie position with Villegas next season to have his chance to be "the man" in golf. Waldman has declined the security (and six-figure income) that comes with his former job to go to a place that making six figures means you're one of the top-65 players on that tour.
And it's the right decision. Absolutely the right decision. Why? Because you have a dream as a kid that 99.99 percent of people push away when they start a job or a career. If it isn't being a pro golfer, it's painting for a living or moving to Hollywood to try out your acting skills. All these ideas get lost when you finish college and get hit with the frying pan that is real life. Those dreams fade, and before you know it, you're in your 12th year at an accounting firm and battling with the latest workout or diet. Dreams are associated with children because adults don't believe them anymore. Waldman isn't having that.
He has full support from his wife, his friends and Villegas. He hasn't played competitive golf since 2002, when he missed out on Q-School, but he was a college player and obviously has the game to hang with the best. Waldman was one of only nine players to make it to final stage from pre-qualifying, and he will have a chance to prove himself on the Nationwide Tour, a place that can't even be considered "minor" leagues because the talent is so incredible.
That said, if you aren't pulling for Waldman to have a huge year, you are obviously too far removed from your dreams as a kid. Astronaut. Firefighter. Golfer.
My sound advice for Waldman? Remember it's a year-long process, and every week will get a little easier, because the nerves will lessen and the grind will be more comfortable. Most importantly? Thanks for following your dream, and reminding a few of us (raises hand) that it still could be in the cards.