After 10 years of chasing my dream of playing on the PGA Tour, I finally went off the deep end—or, should I say, the shallow end?—last week at Q school. During the sixth and final round at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., I was so focused on making par on the 9th hole that I lost track of where I was standing. As I squatted to read a 20-foot putt, I took one too many waddles backward and kerplopped into the pond that protects the green. The water wasn't too deep or cold, but because I fell flat on my back, I was soaked.
Of course I missed the putt—my thoughts had turned from saving par to saving face. I just wanted to get the hell out of there and find some dry clothes. Luckily, the 9th hole was near the clubhouse where I had parked. I had an extra pair of shoes and rain pants, but no socks or shirt, so I played on in wet clothes.
Then I birdied number 10. Suddenly, I didn't care about my clammy shirt. In fact, when somebody from the pro shop came out with a dry one after I had teed off on 11, I turned it down because I didn't want to change my rhythm. I shot a 3-under-par 33 on the backside and earned my card by three strokes. Just like that, the most embarrassing day of my life turned into the most memorable one.
My unplanned dive got a lot of attention. The Golf Channel called me Jacques Cousteau, but my friends came up with a better one: Over the Cliff Kresge. I'm sure the TV guys will have a field day with that one, but I'll guarantee you that every one of the 100 or so players who didn't qualify would belly flop into that pond in a heartbeat if that would get them a card.
I don't plan to make a habit of jumping into the water, except on one condition: that it's after my first PGA Tour win.