Given the wealth of classic golf courses, talented teaching pros and, well, wealth in the New York metropolitan area, I’ve always wondered why it hasn’t produced more PGA Tour pros. Yeah, I know the playing season is limited, but up-and-comers with the drive and proper means could find ample opportunities to stay active year round.
Yet in recent memory the New York area has produced nary a handful of PGA Tour pros, led by the likes of Jim McGovern (New Jersey), J.J. Henry (Connecticut) and Johnson Wagner (New York—well from age 14 on, anyway).
That’s why 28-year-old Andrew Svoboda grabbed my attention this week at Torrey Pines. Svoboda, from Larchmont, N.Y., a suburb of New York City, was the second alternate in this U.S. Open and didn’t earn a spot in the field until 11 a.m. on Thursday when Brent Wetterich scratched.
Without playing so much as a single practice hole, Svoboda went out and shot a respectable 77, blindly ripping driver on holes he had never seen—this was Svoboda’s first-ever trip around Torrey Pines.
Cute story, right? Well, turns out Svoboda was just warming up. In yesterday’s second round, he shot an even-par 71 to make the cut by one, a staggering feat for a guy who before this week had played only two competitive rounds all year, Hank Gola reported in the New York Daily News.
So though you won’t see much, if any, of Svoboda on the telecast today (he tees off with David Toms at 10:50 a.m. PST), remember that he’s a big-time story—for the Big Apple, at least.