Big news for the Little guy; Senior airman in the field at Texas Open
Take it from me, Jerry Rice isn’t the most notable amateur playing professional golf this week. Nope. Not even close. So who in the wide world of sports is a bigger story than Rice (yes, even after the DQ) this week?
John Little, that’s who. Guaranteed. The Senior airman, currently stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., was given a special sponsors exemption into the Valero Texas Open after his play in the Transitions pro-am earlier in the year.
Little, 25, a two-time state high school golf champion, former member of the Auburn Tigers golf team and the reigning Armed Services golf champion, was given then chance to tee it up this week at the TPC San Antonio. Little told the San Antonio Express-News that he was just a little bit nervous on day one.
“I’d be standing over a chip shot, something I had done a hundred times, a million times,” he said. “But it was like I had forgotten everything.
“Was I nervous? Yes, every hole. I was shaking like a leaf in the fall.”
Little fired an opening round 82 that most likely means he won’t make the cut (it was only two shots worse than two-time defending champion Zach Johnson, so he’s got that going for him), but it really doesn’t matter this week.
The fact that the Valero Texas Open had the foresight to give a member of our armed services a spot in the tournament speaks volumes to the ways the tour is trying to give back to those who truly deserve a shot at a dream. Little may never get a chance to live this life again, but for one week, one glorious week, he gets the chance to live the life of a tour pro.
Now that’s cool. With Friday’s second round getting postponed until today, that means Little has one more day to enjoy his time at the event. I’m sure he’s living it up as we speak. Tournaments should really take notice to what the Texas Open did this week.
Forget trying to give exemptions to Jerry Rice and celebrities that can pay their way into an event. There are far too many deserving people out there that truly deserve these opportunities. For everything Senior airman Little has done for our country, I can’t think of a better person to represent the country this week at the tour stop in San Antonio.