Interview: Gary Christian
Prior to the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Gary Christian meets with the media to discuss his attitude before play begins at the final PGA TOUR event of 2012.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Not everyone is feeling the numbers crunch at this week’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
“If all goes horribly wrong and I get five starts next year, I’ve got five starts to make a million dollars each week,” said Gary Christian. “I’ve really got nothing to lose.”
Actually, he does — a TOUR card. Christian is 127th on the money list entering the season-ending event and two spots out of securing full playing privileges for next season.
But for the 41-year-old rookie from England, he’s enjoying every minute of the ride. Given a journey that included more than a dozen years split between mini tours and the Web.com Tour, it’s understandable.
“I think when you’re 41 and a rookie you have a bit of perspective on life that you know how fortunate you are to be doing what you’re doing,” he said. “You know how hard it is to make $500. It can take a week to make $500 and make three times that playing in the Monday pro-am. I think more people probably need a slight dose of reality to realize how lucky we truly are out here.”
That said, Christian, who was among last year’s graduating class from the Web.com Tour, still has his sights set on the magical top 125 number.
“It’s kind of nice to get to that stage now where you have to perform,” Christian said. “This is it. You’ve got one more chance, and do good or you go home.”
Despite that pressure, Christian says he feels “relaxed.” His family will arrive Wednesday night, and the lowest moment of the year he said was watching his favorite soccer team, Liverpool, struggle.
Christian has endured his share of struggles, too, which is why he’s on the outside looking in. He has just one top 10 and has missed the cut in a third of his starts.
Still, there were plenty of highlights.
In June and July, he had four finishes in the top 20 in a five-start stretch. He also got to play a practice round with a childhood hero, Tom Watson, and was paired with Tiger Woods during the third round of The Barclays, where Christian was in contention until shooting 77-72 on the weekend.
Christian’s favorite courses included Bethpage Black and Pebble Beach — he filled his camera with pictures of the latter — and he added that all the courses on TOUR weren’t quite as firm as he expected.
Complaints? He just didn’t have any, other than the temptation of the buffet line week to week.
“You can make it a matter of life and death and if it all goes wrong, it’s probably going to affect you more than if you don’t treat it as a matter of life and death,” Christian said. “I’m sure there are a couple people here who will have a few more gray hairs and ulcers this week. Hopefully I’m not one of them.”
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