Former Pirate Golfer Frank Adams III Heads To Q-School
Oct. 23, 2006
Contributed by Lauren Deason
It's that time of year again. For some, it's accompanied by mind-numbing fear. For others, anticipatory excitement or nerve-wracking anxiety.
No, not Halloween yet, but it's an event that can be equally as scary and exhilarating.
The first stage of the PGA TOUR National Qualifying Tournament kicks off this week, where players in five locations across the U.S. will try to beat tricky courses to earn the ultimate treat--a chance to advance to the second round and one step closer to the PGA TOUR.
For Frank Adams III, who is in the field at Florence Country Club in Florence, S.C., it's not going to be so frightening this year. That's because Adams, 27, has experience on his side, as well as a helping hand.
Younger brother Russ, 26, will be caddying for Frank for the second consecutive year. And Russ knows a thing or two about playing a high profile professional sport, having spent the past two years as an infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. For Frank, it's a relief to have his brother on the loop.
"I think the biggest thing is just having someone on the bag that you are comfortable with and it helps when you know someone that well. They are a little better at knowing when to say something," said Frank. "The last two years the combination has worked out pretty well. It is very reassuring to know that you have that relationship with the person out there with you-that can be a great help to you."
For Russ, he's finding that it might be tougher to be a spectator than a participant.
"It's probably harder on me than it is on him," Russ admitted. "He has been in those situations before, it's all part of playing under pressure. I'd never had to play (golf) or watch under pressure until I started to caddy for him. It can be pretty nerve-wracking at times but I try to keep that to myself and try to keep the clubs clean, keep the balls clean and not say the wrong thing."
Last year Frank made it to the second stage of Qualifying School and hopes to advance even further in his third go around.
"I feel good about it, I like where my game is right now. Certainly playing the last two years is going to help because you know what to expect. Getting through to second stage you feel is an accomplishment or at least a step in right direction," said Frank. "Hopefully I'll keep getting better and make it to the third stage or give myself a chance to play my way through."
The two are very familiar with the course and the area, which is evident by their friendly Southern drawls. Natives of nearby Laurinburg, N.C., about an hour down the road, the brothers actually played a junior tournament on the course when they were 8 and 9 years old. They also both stuck nearby for college, with Frank attending East Carolina University to play golf and Russ playing baseball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Completing the multi-talented-and-athletic brotherly trio is 23-year-old Stewart, who took the football route and played linebacker at Appalachian State University and Catawba College.
They have recent experience in Florence too, as Frank participated in Q-school there two years ago. "Playing there two years ago and two practice rounds already, I feel pretty good. I'm fairly familiar with it now," he said.
Added his equally knowledgeable caddie, "When you get to see a course six days in a row, it's kind of hard to forget the holes. I know all the holes and I could rattle them off to you right now."
Russ is going to use this familiarity to do his best to help his brother, for he is hoping this is the year Frank makes it to the TOUR. "The last time I didn't know what to expect and I don't think he did either, so to have that under your belt and have experience can't do anything but help.
"Hopefully I've gotten better at my job the past couple of years and things will work out in the right direction."
He will also add his own expertise, as the baseball player is a seven-handicapper. Though he doesn't play much golf during the eight-month-long baseball season, Russ tees it up about three or four times a week during the off-season.
"I grew up playing with Frank when we were kids. I've always enjoyed the game. It's something both of us played, as well as other sports too. He was a little bit better at balancing both at same time. I made good career choice to give it up and he stuck with it and it's been good for him so far," said Russ.
Like many a golfer, he says his handicap depends on the kind of day he is having. "If I went out and had a random good day, I could shoot somewhere close to par and I could shoot somewhere close to 90 if it's not going so good," the Major League Baseball player said with a laugh.
After his collegiate career at ECU, in which he won the Georgetown Hoya Invitational in the 2001-2002 season, Frank helped coach his alma mater before joining the Tarheel Tour. Frank has had some success on the Charlotte, N.C.-based Tour for the past four years, where he is currently ranked 19th on the 2006 Money List.
"It was good to get a view of it from a different perspective, whereas when you are playing you're not in that frame of mind but just ready to play," Frank said of what he learned from his time coaching, though he followed it up quickly by noting, "I didn't enjoy watching as much as I enjoy playing."
And play he will this week as, in the first stage alone, hopefuls face four days of highly competitive golf. For a young golfer trying to make it from the minor leagues to the PGA TOUR, golf's equivalent of The Show, this is the first step towards making their dreams come true.
How far Frank will go remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain about this Adams Family: they're athletic and they're talented and all together not afraid of a sport's challenge.