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Sullivan Blog: Feeling relaxed and ready for action
In the first edition of his daily blog from Southern Hills, 2007 PGA Professional National Champion Chip Sullivan talks about how his life -- but not him or his family -- has changed since winning the title, and about the heat here in Tulsa, of course.
TULSA, Okla. -- After winning the PGA Professional National Championship in Sunriver, Ore., this past June, I knew that Tulsa and the 89th PGA Championship would be in my future. But little did I realize how much winning that championship would change certain things about my life.
I've been fortunate enough to have played on this stage before -- this is my fourth PGA Championship. The other three I qualified as a top-20 finisher, but this is my first as the champion representing the PGA of America. To be honest, all the people, fans and TOUR players coming up to offer congratulations, asking me about my health regarding the hemochromatosis, and diabetes (I'm doing fine by the way), it's all been very heartening and gratifying. Also, it's a bit different -- now there are people who've seen me on TV, or read about me, or whatever, it kind of catches you a little off guard. It's been neat though, it really has. Now when I sign autographs, people no longer ask me, "And who are you?"
I'm excited and grateful about the opportunities that winning the championship has presented. I've got so much to look forward to: some exemptions to play on the PGA TOUR, the PGA Cup coming up in September, just so many special things that I'll get to take part in. It's been tremendous for me and my family. And of course, it's an honor to represent my 28,000 peers in the PGA and the PGA of America in all of the things I will be able to do. I feel very fortunate, I really do.
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Not that any of this has changed me or changed who I am. My name might be a little more familiar to some golf fans, but my wife and kids and I, we all stay the same. We try to stay grounded and appreciative for all the opportunities, but I'm still the same guy. I tell people all the time, I have the best of all worlds. I love my job at Ashley Plantation back home in Virginia. I love to come out and tee it up next to the big boys on TOUR. Here, I get to do both -- what an incredible opportunity; it doesn't get any better than that.
Many people have asked me if I have a desire to return to full-time playing on the PGA TOUR. I played one season in 1997, and of course there are things that I really enjoyed about it. But I've always been a great admirer of Hogan and Snead. Those guys were club professionals back in the day,and they were also great players. That is what I'd love to be able to do. I'd love to balance out promoting and teaching the game back at my home course and still being able to get out and compete on occasion. I enjoy being home with my family and you only get one chance to watch your kids grow up, I don't want to miss that. But being able to go out a week here and a week there, that would be a perfect scenario.
As for this week, I feel relaxed and ready. We got in fine, thanks to my portable GPS system, and have spent the week learning the course and trying to fine-tune the swing. I went to a nice dinner with some friends from TaylorMade last night and I have friends coming in from all over the country tonight. I'm so appreciative they would take time to come in to cheer me on throughout the week. My one regret for the week is that my wife and kids aren't here, they have some commitments back home that they had to tend to. So it's definitely a goal to play well enough so that they might be able to come down this weekend and watch me play.
One final note: Have you heard it's hot here? All I can tell you is, it's hot for everybody, so there's no advantage or disadvantage in it. I'm going to drink lots of water, stay hydrated, and try to take one shot at a time. This course is a great golf course, but it's tough, so focus and concentration will be critical. There will be some people who hit the ball well but don't score so great. It's that tough a course. I'm pretty sure there will be no one who doesn't hit the ball well but scores well. So I'm excited, I'm ready, and I think it's going to be a great week. I'm looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.