When Harrison Endycott received the text message confirming he’d won $215,000 after his US PGA Tour debut last week, the penny finally dropped that he was playing “for some serious money now”.
But the Sydneysider wasn’t even thinking about the cash when he teed up at the Fortinet Championship, with the money worries for tour rookies like him a thing of the past thanks to a first-time change that allowed him to make the step into the big time “stress free”.
Endycott, 26, won his way to the PGA Tour after toiling away on the secondary Korn Ferry Tour, with his dad, Brian, flying to the US to celebrate a major moment for their family.
Having lost his mother, Dianne, to ovarian when he was 15, Endycott dedicated himself to earning a tour card, so when he did emotions spilt over.
The magnitude of that achievement brought with it the sort of immediate financial relief players before him could only have dreamt of in the form of a one-off $A770,000 ($US500,000) upfront payment for rookies, handed out as part of a raft of changes brought in by the PGA Tour, in part, to combat the ongoing threat of LIV Golf.
It was the start Endycott, who is still on cloud nine after reaching the milestone he’d set himself for so long, said allowed him to focus on nothing but enjoying playing golf as the new season started.
That “huge stress relief” helped Endycott fire in the third round of the Fortinet Championship, having only just made the cut, to finish 12th, earning a payday that was unlike anything he’d seen before.
“When I saw that text I was like, yeah, we’re in the big time now … we’re playing for some serious money,” Endycott said from his hotel room in Mississippi where he’s the only Australian in this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship.
“But the great thing is I have already been paid, basically, a wage that guys in the past have had to go earn.
“The amazing feeling with that is it has taken away the money factor. I am just playing for points now. I’ve got money in the bank, I’m not worried about a hotel bill or flights.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of guys in the past who have got to the PGA Tour and been broke when they did. I’m financially sorted.
“Golf feels less stressful than what it is. I’ve never seen this type of money before in my life. I’m around super successful people, playing this game, but to be able to be around them and experience it is mind-boggling.
“I’m playing golf like in amateur days, not worried about money. I know it’s there to win, but my main focus is points. It’s a huge stress relief.”
But Endycott also knows this is just the start of his journey, that he has made it on the back of hard work and sacrifice, and more would be needed, despite the healthy financial situation, to make the absolute most of it.
“You can talk to anyone out there, guys who have won majors, who haven’t won anywhere, everyone is on the same page about just how hard it is to get to that level,” he said.
“The emotion I dealt with and hard work to get to this point and now I am in a position where I can compete against these guys and hopefully beat them.
“You are going to go through your ups and downs and deal with some disappointments and success as well, but when you analyse all those types of things, I can see I have come a long way. I’m just so humbled and gobsmacked I am actually here.
“It will take some time to feel like I am one of these guys. It’s a lot more hard work to mentally be in that position. I’m just soaking up the journey.”