SI Vault
 
Pards
Alan Shipnuck
May 24, 1999
Harrison Frazar and Justin Leonard couldn't be more different, which may explain why they've always been such good friends
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 24, 1999

Pards

Harrison Frazar and Justin Leonard couldn't be more different, which may explain why they've always been such good friends

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

During his redshirt year, while Leonard was off traveling with the team, Frazar frequently made the three-hour drive home to Dallas to spend the weekend with Allison. The next year she joined him at Texas. By then Frazar was all too happy to withdraw into his studies and, especially, his relationship with Allison. Being the square peg on the Texas team had left him with a worsening case of burnout. "At some point it became clear that Harrison was losing the intention to play professionally," says Clayton, who retired in 1997 "He wanted to make good grades, which he did. He wanted to marry Allison, which he did. Then he wanted to be the best college player he could be. I have to tell you, I was very impressed with his priorities, and I was proud that he achieved his goals."

It is a measure of Frazar's tremendous natural talent and overpowering long game that even as he was souring on golf he was still a formidable player. He was an honorable mention All-America in his sophomore, junior and senior years, although he didn't win a tournament. It took his greatest moment in golf, at the end of his junior season, to persuade Frazar that he wanted to quit the game. The 1994 NCAA championships, in which Leonard would win his individual title, were played at Stonebridge Country Club, near Dallas. In front of throngs of friends and family, Frazar shot a 65 on the final day and nearly won the national championship for the Longhorns, who came in second, four strokes back of Stanford. "Considering the circumstances," says Clayton, "that remains one of the three or four best rounds in the history of Texas golf."

"It meant nothing to me," Frazar says. "It should have been the happiest day of my life, but I was numb the whole time. I knew then I was done." In the wake of the NCAAs, Frazar announced he was taking the summer off from golf.

"When I heard that, I gave him so much grief," says Leonard. "Guy shoots 65, makes All-America, nearly wins the national championship for us, then announces he needs a break? I'm like, What's the deal?"

Frazar played well as a senior, but by then he had made up his mind: He was not going to turn pro. Needing to take only six units to graduate, Frazar took 28, adding a business minor to his psychology major. (Allison earned her degree in elementary education.) Four months after graduation Harrison and Allison finally got hitched, and he took a job as a commercial real estate analyst for a Dallas outfit called Lincoln Property, hoping to get into the development of golf course communities. "I got a wedding ring, a dog, a mortgage and a couple of ties," he says. "I was done for good." Frazar's starting salary: $22,000.

In the middle of Harbour Town's 11th fairway, Leonard stops walking and begins to stretch in a peculiar manner. "I worked out for three hours yesterday," he says.

"Why?" Frazar asks, with dismay.

"Because it was there," Leonard says.

Perhaps inspired by this exchange, Frazar reaches into his bag and stuffs his face with a marshmallowy Rice Crispy bar. "Life is too short to deny yourself what you love," Frazar says, "and I love to eat." Still, he's down to 176 pounds, from the corpulent 205 he weighed a few years ago. His secret? "Instead of eating fried chicken every night like I used to," he says, "I only have it a couple of times a week now. It's my version of a diet."

Mark brooks, the PGA Tour veteran, is an unlikely guardian angel, but he kept whispering in Frazar's ear, goading him back toward the game. A few months after Frazar had taken the job at Lincoln Property, the company aligned itself with Mark Brooks Golf, and Brooksy, himself a three-time All-America at Texas, became Frazar's de facto boss. (What does he remember of Frazar as an employee? "His desk was a mess," says Brooks.)

Continue Story
1 2 3 4