Sports

July 6, 2013

On his way back to the tee

Finally healthy, Adams eyes his return

Growing up in Dalton, PGA Tour professional Blake Adams was a jock of all trades. He lived on sports, taking to the greens at Dalton Golf & Country Club and playing on the basketball courts and the baseball and football fields of the area.

Even before he made it to high school, the multiple sports were taking their toll on Adams’ body, so he turned his attention to his two loves — basketball and golf. By the time he was 16, he moved with his mother to Eatonton on the other side of the state and enrolled at Gatewood Academy, where his golf and basketball abilities brought the attention of major colleges from across the nation. He was a two-time Georgia Independent Schools Association’s All-State basketball team selection at Gatewood and also took home two state golf tournament medalist titles.

Still, the injuries and the pain were there.

“I have been in pain for a long, long time, and I have battled injuries since high school,” Adams said.

He played golf for three years at the University of Georgia, trading the courts for the course and turning down several basketball scholarship offers. He transferred to Georgia Southern for his final year of competitive collegiate golf and was named a first-team All-Southern Conference selectee, graduating in 2001. Later that same year, Adams turned pro.

But the injuries and the pain were constantly there.

Making money

He floated around the various mini tours, finally making it to the Nationwide Tour (now called the Web.com Tour) in 2007. In his first two years, he scratched out a living, but the injuries and the pain made competing at his highest level difficult. In his first year on the tour, he entered 16 tournaments and made just five weekends. His efforts were worth $23,270.

Finally in 2009, he felt healthy and relatively pain free. It showed on the course as well as he finished third on the money list with nearly $400,000 in winnings. His spot near the top of the money list earned him a PGA Tour card.

He burst onto the PGA scene with eight top-10 finishes, was in the top 25 12 times and set the record for most money won on the tour in one season without a victory. He finished in the top 10 at Pebble Beach and ended the Byron Nelson Classic tied for second. But even with all of his success, the pain was creeping back in.

On the PGA Tour, players walk the course for every single round. That’s a lot of yardage. And for someone with leg and hip injuries from all those years on the gridiron and all of those days legging out doubles on the diamond, the pain was a constant. But he kept going.

The success continued in 2011 when he had winnings of $1.1 million for the year. It was even better for Adams in 2012, reaching a career high with $1.23 million in earnings. He had four top 10s, finishing tied for seventh at the PGA Championship, and sat in fourth going into the final round of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco before fading.

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