208: Chris Thompson | Becoming a PGA Tour Rookie at Age 42

Today I am especially excited to bring on our special guest, and brand new PGA Tour Cardholder, Chris Thompson.

As the 2017-2018 PGA Tour and Web.com season wrap up, there seem to be plenty of exciting recaps and developments to cover. Last week we talked to Adam Long, one of the Web.com “Top 25” Money list earners and golfer moving on to the PGA Tour. I’m excited to say that this week we have another upcoming rookie on the PGA Tour, Chris Thompson.

Chris’ story is very unique in that he is a 42-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour (2018-2019 season) who has been playing professional golf since 1999.  He has been working his way to his PGA dream for nearly 20 years. The road to the PGA tour, as we’ve heard from others on the 18Strong Podcast, is not the most glamorous of lifestyles, as this interview with Chris will reiterate.  In our chat, Chris gives us the details on his journey, including times of doubt, success, failure, and what ultimately led to this momentous upcoming season.

Chris Thompson’ Background

  • For nearly 20 years, he traveled the backroads of tournament golf, the mini tours and state opens and Monday qualifiers, always missing the on-ramp to the PGA Tour (and usually to the Web.com Tour, too). He has called his career a two-decade work in progress.
  • Now at 42, an age when established players often see their games begin their descent, Thompson will become a PGA Tour rookie. With a timely boost from a neophyte tour caddie named Chevy, Thompson became one of the Web.com Tour’s most productive players in the last two months, when he had the best three finishes of his career. In succession, he tied for third and fourth at the Price Cutter Charity Championship and KC Golf Classic, and finished third at the Ellie Mae Classic.
  • Thompson finished the Web.com in 20th place overall with $181,738 in earnings and becoming a member of what the tour calls “The 25,” the top money winners who are rewarded for their efforts with PGA Tour memberships for the next season.
  • Yet his support at home—from wife Jessica, who works for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in Lawrence; son Henry, 10; and daughter Landry, 7; and a group of individual sponsors—never wavered, even when he provided reasons to do so.
  • Maybe not, but a leisurely pace is not in his immediate future. Thompson has the Web.com Tour playoffs on his schedule the next four weeks, followed by a week off before his initial PGA Tour season begins Oct. 4 in the Safeway Classic in Napa, Calif.

Highlights from this Episode

  • His turbulent history on the Web.com tour and how he was holding out hope and keeping on the gas for his tour card up until the final event of the Web.com this year. He also goes into what has changed since finding out about his future in the PGA and how he can handle the off the course stuff but must stay constant and steady in the final Web.com tour events.
  • An insight into his “Real world life” and “Golf world life” balance: What the last 12 years have looked like for him balancing his dream of playing on the PGA with being a husband and father of two. He talks about how his wife was his biggest supporter and the faithful sponsors that have stuck with him over the years.
  • Chris credits his caddy, Charles “Chevy” Hartzog, for some of his recent success, how they met, and how his ability to “read the greens” never ceases to amaze Chris.
  • His secrets to still playing and competing against a much younger field on both the Web.com Tour and the PGA Tour.
  • How he deals with the constant travel on Tour and how his workout regiment has helped him stay healthy and fresh.
  • What he is looking forward to with the upcoming PGA tour; from the pampered treatment of the players to the competition; what he thinks will be different from the years on the Web.com tour.
 Parting Questions:

Caddy Shack or Happy Gilmore? Caddy Shack

If you could pick a walk up song to the first tee box, what would it be?  Either “Anything Goes” by Florida Georgia Line or “Still the Same” by Bob Seger

If you could play 18 holes with anyone, who would it be and where would you play?  Bill Belichick or Brad Stevens at Bandon Dunes

What’s the next big goal on your radar?  To retain my card and put myself in contention to win a tournament.

Follow Chris Thompson at:


Golf Digest Article on Chris

Episode Sponsor

SuperSpeed Golf

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