The story of Edward Loar is a compelling case study of what a typical professional golfer goes thru attempting to play and hopefully thrive playing the sport for a living. The 40-year-old turned pro in 2000 and has two wins each on the Web.com and Asian Tours. Loar had a promising college stint as a four-time All American at Oklahoma State. But that success hasn’t transformed to a constant stay with the big boys on the PGA Tour.
Still, Loar forges ahead, all while monitoring his ever-changing bank accounts. For there’s been times the father of triplets realized that he would have to opt for another career to help pay the family bills. I know I faced similar forks in the road when embarking on a radio career that didn’t pay the bills for much longer than I expected.
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin delivers an excellent account of what a journeyman pro faces on a seemingly annual basis–be it a secured Tour card, fretting where to play when he doesn’t and how an understanding, supportive spouse gives him the leeway to continue pursuing his dream.
Loar is now nearly two decades into a professional career that has taken him around the world, but not to the heights he hoped for in his earlier years. And yet, he lacks the cynicism that unmet expectations can so easily produce. At 40 years old, as he prepares to embark on another season on the Web.com Tour, Loar embraces the challenge with a gregariousness that helped him earn the nickname “Big Ed.”
This year’s opportunity is especially gratifying because his career was on the precipice. When he left for the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament last month, he had a wife, 6-year-old triplets and the financial stresses that come from spending the past two years on golf’s mini-tours, waiting for him at home. He needed to have a successful tournament to justify his continued pursuit of a PGA TOUR card.
Earlier in the year, he sat at his kitchen table, tearfully mourning his current lot. He felt out of place competing alongside college players, club pros and 20-somethings at the Texas State Open.
“I was the guy that I never wanted to be, … almost 40 years old and still trying to eke it out on the mini-tours,” Loar says. He started telling friends and family that he may need to find another line of work if he didn’t earn Web.com Tour status by the end of the year. “I’d have to find something to do to make some money.”
“I’ve gone from having a couple hundred thousand in the bank to having none, then back to having some and then having some credit-card debt.”
This year hopefully delivers some promise after Loar earned his Web.com Tour card with birdies on 13 of his final 23 holes at Q-School qualifying.
This video pretty much sums up his relief.
“I’m really happy for my wife and my kids.”
— Web.com Tour (@WebDotComTour) December 14, 2017
Loar calls his wife, Melaney, the family’s “leading money winner” over the past few years. On the first night they met, she asked her future husband, “So, what are you going to do when you grow up?” after learning his vocation. The job title “Professional Golfer” sounded a bit dubious, considering she’d never seen him on television. Now she works as a real-estate agent to help her husband fend off a day job.
“I will absolutely never be the reason he has to give it up or be the one to say, ‘OK, buddy. Time’s up,’” Melaney says. “He’s told me that if he ever felt tired or that he couldn’t do it anymore, he would absolutely give it up. But he still believes that he can do it and he still loves it.
“As long as that’s the case, we can make it work.”
The entire piece is worth your time. And send Edward a note of congrats.