Joined: 06 May 2005
Location: London, Ontario CANADA
|Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:34 am Post subject: Spittle Living Dream On Champions Tour
|Spittle living the dream on Champions Tour
As far as deadlines go, Rod Spittle knew he was running out of time.
Almost five long years had passed since Spittle, at the tender age of 49, and his wife, Ann, decided to sell their house and quit their jobs, giving up decent-paying careers and a comfortable lifestyle to hit the road and chase the potential – and we stress the word potential – life on the Champions Tour.
They gave themselves a five-year window. If Spittle, originally from Niagara Falls, Ont., hadn’t made it, they would pack up and go back to life as they knew it. After all, there was always the shirt and tie career, one that Spittle had carved out in the insurance and marketing business, to fall back on.
In late October, Spittle was getting pretty close to that final strike, with just the AT&T Championship and one final crack at Q-School standing between himself and the end of his golfing dream.
“We were just about done,” Spittle said Wednesday after tuning up for this week’s Montreal Championship presented by Desjardins. “It was pretty close. Between the two of us, five years seemed long enough. I had already made phone calls – we were going to go back to work for eight or ten years, which was fine. But not nearly as fun as this.”
“We were knocking on the door. If we couldn’t do it (win), that was OK, but we were going to give it the best shot we could.”
Timing is everything, and Spittle’s sense of it is quite impeccable.
Rod Spittle doesn’t like to consider himself a journeyman but there was no doubt he was running out of time to realize his dream of playing full time on the world’s premier over-50 circuit. So with the clock ticking, one can almost guess what happened next.
Just days after qualifying in Texas, in a scenario Hollywood couldn’t have scripted any better, he won. Naturally.
On Halloween afternoon, Spittle finally put those long odds to rest, jarring a four-foot putt on the first extra hole to knock off Jeff Sluman and take bragging right, not to mention the biggest cheque of his career, at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio, Tex.
Try as he might, he couldn’t hold back those tears on that October afternoon.
“Annie is my best friend. Without her, without her patience and understanding, I wouldn’t be here,” Spittle said Wednesday.
“I was foolish enough to think I could win every step of the way. I had to. From day one, I always thought I could win. Did I ever get discouraged? Of course, but you can never lose sight of your goal.”
No longer having to go through the grind of qualifiers, Spittle can just sit back and enjoy life taking full-time cuts with some of the most legendary names to ever pick up a golf club.
“I’m not sure we have enough time," Spittle said when asked how much life has changed. "I truly ran out of words back around Christmas time. I wish I was more eloquent with my words. I guess to say my golfing dream has come true sounds a little corny, and I don’t mean it to be, but that’s what it is.”
“I’m the guy that gets to walk on the other side of the ropes and play with these guys.”
Spittle has enjoyed success in the game but those days seem many 9-irons ago. After claiming back to back Canadian amateur crowns in 1977 and 1978, but he never really hunted down a life on the PGA Tour, choosing instead to do the 9 to 5 thing.
In recent years, he rolled the dice in the Champions Tour’s qualifying crapshoot, trying to earn his way into tour events. In 2010, he successfully qualified for five events. Nine in 2008, none in 2009.
Now, Rod Spittle has found his way home, returning for this week’s Montreal Championship. Perhaps the only thing more rewarding than his triumph last October would be another on his home soil.
“It would be great to be on that leaderboard Sunday afternoon,” he says. “I can’t even imagine. It would be special to share it with so many people. Maybe we’ll have this conversation through my tears Sunday about 6 o’clock.”
Don’t bet against Spittle doing just that Sunday afternoon.
After all, he seems to have that timing thing down pat.