Mardy Fish can’t wait to show he’s got a golf game too at the 3M Open


It’s show time for Mardy Fish. As in show us what you got.

After taking early retirement from a successful career as a tennis professional seven years ago due to an anxiety disorder, Fish has shown he can also play golf at an extremely high level.

Longtime Vero Beach residents remember Fish was briefly a star on the Vero Beach High golf team, along with his close friend Jake Owen, before Fish transferred to Boca Raton High to prepare to win. his life chasing bigger green balls on the other hand – he played right-handed tennis, but a left-handed golfer.

His initial career choice decision turned out to be correct – Fish has won six ATP titles, was once the highest-ranked American in tennis and is a Davis Cup captain – but he probably also could have had a career as a golfer. .

He advanced from a PGA Tour q-school pre-qualifier five years ago to a first-stop event at Breakers West and played respectable golf.

He has become one of the stars of the celebrity golf circuit, twice winning the two signature events, the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions and the US Championship of the Century in Lake Tahoe.

Heck, Fish even shot 29 on a nine with Jack Nicklaus at Jack’s tough Bear’s Club in 2018, prompting the Golden Bear to call him “probably the best non-professional golfer I’ve seen play.”

Recent:Junior golf: Hobe Sound’s Andie Smith bounces back, on the cusp of America’s female amateur

After:Local qualifiers eager to take on the pros at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships

That says a lot about Fish’s talent and ability to perform under pressure.

But starting Thursday, Fish can really show off his golf game when the 40-year-old competes in his first PGA Tour event. Fish received a sponsor exemption for the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota, not far from where Mardy was born.

Area and local golfers gathered Monday, January 13, 2020 at the Indian River County Windsor Club for the Mardy Fish Children's Foundation Annual Golf Fundraiser to benefit local after-school programs in the county.  Notable attendees included former world No. 1 golfer Luke Donald, former baseball players Rick Rhoden and Tim Wakefield and former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.

The uniqueness of his challenge is not lost on Fish. “I’m kind of country club Bo Jackson,” Fish told last year, referring to former Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, who played for the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders and the Kansas City Royals of MLB.

Man, I’m excited to be here playing with these guys this week,” Fish said Tuesday. “I have to focus on the mental side like I did with tennis, so that should help me a bit. Hopefully a cut made.

Hollis Cavner, whose company Pro Links Sports organizes the 3M Open and half a dozen other events on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, said this was not just a marketing opportunity to attract Fish on the ground.

“If he couldn’t play, he wouldn’t be here,” said Tequesta resident Cavner. “Not only has he played at the highest level in another sport, but he’s won a lot of things from the celebrity side. Also, a big part of playing on a bye is playing with our sponsors and such, and they love it. play with a guy like Mardy.

While Mardy and his family moved to the Treasure Coast at the age of 5 so that his father Tom could become the head tennis professional at the Windsor Club in Vero Beach, Fish remains a “diehard” sports fan from Minnesota. .

“It’s my fault,” joked Tom Fish, who didn’t need to mention that it’s been 30 years since a Minnesota team (Twins) won a championship.

To prepare for the 3M Open, Fish spent the past week playing with Vikings Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen and former Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. It’s good to have friends like that.

“Mardy is really thrilled to have this chance,” Tom Fish said. “Mardy reached out to try and get an exemption when the 3M Open started there (transitioning to a PGA Tour event in 2019), and he was very appropriately denied.”

That year, the tournament used its sponsor exemptions on three talented rookies: Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and (winner) Matthew Wolff.

Fish is no threat to join Frank Conner as the only modern-era athlete to have played at the US Open (golf) and US Open (tennis). But that doesn’t take away from its versatility.

Making the cut this week seems like an ambitious goal for Fish. His father says he knows what will make his son happy.

“I think when it’s over and if he feels like he’s played to his ability,” Tom Fish said, “that would be the goal.”

Chip shots: North Palm Beach’s Tyler Mistretta earned a berth in the USA Amateur by finishing second in a qualifier at the Hobe Sound Gold Club. Mistretta shot 72-69 to finish one shot behind Argentina’s Joaquin Luduena. The local Treasure Coast golfer was Nashawn Tyson (74-73) of Stuart, finishing 12th. The Hobe Sound Golf Cub will also host the Florida State Amateur Match Play Championship July 28-31.

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