Mike Sweeney’s week in Alabama didn’t exactly go as he planned.
Sweeney, the homeless golfer and part-time rapper who qualified for his first event under the PGA Tour umbrella last Monday, missed the cut at the Korn Ferry Tour’s HomeTown Lenders Championship.
The week in Huntsville, Alabama, however, was far from a total waste.
Sweeney hit a hole-in-one on his fourth hole of the tournament at The Ledges, sinking a 4-iron from 230-yards out.
HOLE-IN-ONE for the Monday qualifier Michael Sweeney!
No. 13, 4 iron, 230 yards. 3-under thru 4.
Sweeney has slept in his car to chase his pro golf dreams ... he is CAPITALIZING on this start. 💪 pic.twitter.com/0QL8nR51TB
— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) April 28, 2023
Just like that, a few holes into his very first tournament, Sweeney held a share of the lead.
“As to how it went in or why it went in, I don't know the answer,” Sweeney said. “But it did, so a little slam-dunk 4-iron never hurt anybody.
“After that, I just tried to focus on the next golf shot and try to keep the mind from racing as much as possible.”
Sweeney has been trying to make it as a professional golfer for years. He first moved in with his dad in Florida in 2018, but he had to promise that he’d move out when he turned 25. So for years now, Sweeney has been living out of his car, sometimes in Walmart parking lots, or couch surfing between friends. He’ll still sneak into his dad’s apartment complex gym to workout and shower, and he works at a golf course that lets him practice.
“I either have to pay to play golf, or pay for a place to live,” he said. “I couldn’t really afford to do both.”
So last Monday, Sweeney paid $500 — most of his savings — and joined the Monday qualifier event for the HomeTown Lenders Championship. In what was his 12th qualifier, Sweeney holed out on the 18th to sneak his way into a playoff before finally earning a spot in the tournament.
He finished the opening round with a 1-under 69. Friday, however, Sweeney carded a 3-over 73 and missed the cut. Ben Kohles won in a playoff over Ben Silverman on Sunday afternoon.
While he didn’t make the cut, Sweeney is getting ready to join the PGA Tour Canada later this summer. At the rate he’s going, he’ll have plenty of more opportunities on a Tour, and to find a more permanent address, in the near future.
“Just the whole experience was great … As for the golf side of things, it wasn't extremely impressive, I’ll tell you that,” Sweeney said Sunday. “Thanks to everybody who supported me this week. Thanks to everybody who reached out. Thanks to everybody that’s just … said hi to me. I appreciate everybody.”