Long Time Participant Turns Trip of a Lifetime Into a Family Affair

When Jim Mercado heard his name called as the winner of the “Trip of a Lifetime” at the 2022 World Am, he was only half paying attention.

After all, in the preceding 24 hours he’d already been announced as a co-winner of his flight, he passed a kidney stone that had been bothering him for months, and everyone in his flight won a Golf Buddy rangefinder.

Was it really possible he also won the World Am’s grand prize, an all-expenses paid six-night, six-round trip to Myrtle Beach?

Yes, it was.

As Mercado processed what had happened, he grew increasingly excited.

“I started getting together with (tournament director) Scott (Tomasello) and I’m like holy crap, this is one the best things that has ever happened to me,” Mercado said.

In addition to golf and accommodations for a foursome, the trip included flights, rental car and Mercado’s choice of courses to play.

His World Am friends, several of whom have played in the event for more than 30 years without winning a random drawing prize, were green with envy, but Mercado’s sons, Eric and Bryan, graciously volunteered to join their father on the trip, turning it into a family affair. Long-time friend Jamie Thacker completed the foursome.

Eric and Bryan flew in from Denver and Columbus while Jim and Thacker made the trek from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to enjoy a dream vacation.

The golf course lineup was like a “who’s who” of the area’s best layouts, featuring Arcadian Shores Golf Club, Grande Dunes Resort Course, Prestwick Country Club, Tidewater Golf Club, TPC Myrtle Beach and True Blue Golf Club.

The group played golf by day and enjoyed food and drinks at Chuck’s Steakhouse, Greg Norman’s Australian Grille, Cafe Old Vienna, and Dead Dog Saloon, among other places, reveling in the camaraderie of a trip they all enjoyed for free.

“It was a great time for all of us to hang out and have a good time, and we got to play really cool golf,” Mercado said.

For those of you wondering if Mercado’s dream 24 hours continued into his performance during the 2022 Flight Winners Playoff, the answer is no. He finished T-56 with a net 84, playing as a nine handicap.


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