Kevin Jones’ World Am experience didn’t start with a recommendation from a friend, an email or a magazine advertisement. The Stafford, Va., resident earned free entry into the 2010 tournament through his local amateur tour and has been hooked ever since.
“I came here and saw this is probably the most fun I’ve had playing golf my entire life, and I had to come back,” Jones said Saturday morning at registration. “There are 3,000 golfers and everybody here is competing trying to get to Friday, and it’s hard enough getting to Thursday.”
For Jones, golf is a labor love. An avid player, he relishes the opportunity compete over four days, a test that is as much mental as physical.
“If you have stamina and endurance, the golf is the easy part. Keeping your mind stable is the hard part,” he said with a laugh. “If I could answer that one I think I’d be on the PGA Tour right now.”
While competition introduced Jones to the event and helps keep him coming back, it’s only part of what makes the World Am special.
“(The 19th Hole) is fantastic,” he said. “You get to go there and see your friends at night, have a few drinks with them, gather scores, talk junk and get ready for the next day. I walk around, see the vendors, and hit a few balls. It’s really more of a social gathering for me.”
Jones travels with a group of six from Northern Virginia but their circle of friends extends far beyond the DC metro area when they arrive in Myrtle Beach.
“Last year, I played with a guy from Australia,” Jones said. “He was a professional rugby player. I had a great time with him. I met a couple guys from Canada and played with a few guys from India. What’s neat is you learn about people instantaneously. No matter the cultural backgrounds or differences (or) what a player’s handicap is, when you get to the first tee, we are all friends even though we haven’t known each other before. That’s what makes it unique.”