Doug Wade finally finds himself in spotlight

Doug Wade has worked for, or around, sports stars ranging from Julius Erving to Hank Aaron to Michael Jordan.

Doug Wade has spent much of his career around some of the biggest names in sports. This week, he's making a name for himself.

By John Kim, Coordinating Producer

SEASIDE, Calif. -- Doug Wade, the PGA Head Professional at Miami Valley Golf Club in Dayton, Ohio, made the cut in his first appearance at the PGA Professional National Championship on Monday, and will now be competing for the coveted top 20 spots to play in the PGA Championship. But don't expect him to be nervous.

For one thing, Wade might have more familiarity with the spotlight than most players in the field. Actually, not for himself -- despite a stellar collegiate playing career -- but because he has worked in settings that have counted some of the most high-profile figures in sports as members, guests and even owners.

After graduating from The Ohio State University in 2002, Wade turned professional, giving himself four seasons on various mini-tours and trying his hand at PGA Tour Qualifying School. While playing on various tours, he took a job in Jupiter, Fla., at the Bear's Club -- home course to a dozen PGA Tour players and a multitude of other superstar athletes who walked through the shop either as members or guests. 

"You try not to make it a big deal," Wade stated, "but it's hard not to notice when Michael Jordan is coming into the room."

Ultimately, after some time working in the Hilton Head, S.C., area, Wade took a job in the Atlanta area working at a golf course (Heritage Golf Links) owned by none other than NBA legend Julius "Dr. J." Erving.  

"I've known him my whole life," said Wade, "and I was honored to come up, work with him and help him evolve the facility into what he envisioned. And of course, it was a treat to meet people like Hank Aaron and Moses Malone when they'd come into the shop. I really enjoyed my time there."

Ultimately, with a growing family in tow, Wade felt his home roots calling and he returned to Ohio.  It was there where he qualified for this National Championship.

"It's something I've wanted to do for a long time," he explained. "And so when I qualified, it was both a big relief and a bit of anxiousness."

Admittedly nervous, Wade prepared as best he could.

"You don't have the time to practice like you did when you were playing full time," he said, "but when you are practicing, the focus and intensity is a little more compressed, a little more intense. It's fine."

And then Wade read a book, "Seven Days in Utopia," that he says best prepared him for the week.

"All I know is, after reading the book, I was at total peace with every shot," he explained. "I trusted my swing, I accepted the result, I focused on the next shot. I really felt good."

And though he isn't thrilled that his score stands at 4 over, he understands it was good enough to make the cut and give him the chance to further his goals. That’s something more than 230 of his fellow PGA Professionals can't say.

"I've talked to many players from my section who have competed in this event," he said. "I know how hard it is to make it to the final two days."

But make it he did.  And now with a couple of low rounds, Wade will continue his quest to be the one that others take notice of when he walks into the room.