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Bennett looks at his arm to lean on father’s advice


Before he takes again the membership, Sam Bennett takes one final look at the tattoo on the within of his arm.

“Don’t wait to do something.”

Those phrases, precisely how they seem on a handwritten be aware from his father final June, remind him of the final advice his father gave him earlier than Alzheimer’s left them unable to talk.

Bennett had an opportunity to do one thing earlier this month, and he did not wait.

A junior at Texas A&M, he received the Cabo Collegiate with a 67 within the last spherical to earn a spot within the Valero Texas Open this week towards a discipline that features Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau and Rickie Fowler.

His father, little question, could be thrilled — if solely he knew.

“He was one of the reasons why I started playing golf and wanted to play good golf,” Bennett mentioned Tuesday. “Because I wanted to impress him.”

Good golf had roots on a hardscrabble 9-hole course in tiny Madisonville, Texas, about 100 miles north of Houston, the place his father confirmed him how to play. Bennett beloved it sufficient that his father, Mark, purchased a membership at A&M’s house course, Traditions Club, the place they went twice a month till Bennett was sufficiently old to drive.

Those phrases have been the final he heard his father say to him.

His father was identified about seven years in the past, and his situation has deteriorated now to the purpose he cannot put collectively sufficient phrases to make a sentence and requires around-the-clock care at house. Bennett sees him each weekend. He mentioned his father smiles when he walks within the door and so they hug. But that is about it.

“Outside with my mom one morning and just doing yard work, it was probably a year ago when my dad could still speak a little bit and make conversation, and I was struggling mentally with some things,” Bennett mentioned. “He instructed me, ‘Don’t wait to do one thing.’ That was the final advice he is given me at the beginning went south.

“It took him 15 minutes to write it out. He actually wrote it out in his own handwriting,” Bennett mentioned. “It was most likely the toughest factor he ever had to do. Now with that on my arm — the tattoo — I’ve received a brand new pre-shot routine. I simply look at it and I say, ‘Don’t wait to do something.'”

Bennett did a little bit of everything in his town of 4,600, but golf was always there. He said his grandfather had a hunch when he was a toddler that he had a future in golf, and Bennett started getting college inquiries in the eighth grade.

Growing up in a small town adds another layer of difficulty. Bennett considers putting to be one of his weaknesses because the greens on the 9-hole course formerly called Oak Bridge were not smooth like he eventually saw at Traditions, and certainly not at the speed he will face at the TPC San Antonio.

He plays one week after Robert MacIntyre of Scotland motored past Dustin Johnson and into the weekend at the Dell Technologies Match Play. MacIntyre, now No. 44 in the world, comes from the small coastal town of Oban about three hours north of Glasgow.

“There’s few folk from a smaller town than I’m from,” MacIntyre said a few weeks ago. “You’ve just got to dream. If you dream it and believe it, you can achieve it.”

It was always Bennett’s dream to play on the PGA Tour, even if only for a week.

It hasn’t been easy, and not just because of where he grew up. Life at home has been more challenging than he cares to let on, and Bennett says it contributed to other issues that led to bouts of depression. He said he has been seeing a psychologist at Texas A&M, which has helped, but the last eight months in particular have taken a toll.

Three weeks before he won the Cabo Collegiate, he posted on Twitter, “If y’all knew what goes on in my mind daily and yet still accomplishing the things I am y’all could be astonished.”

Three weeks earlier than that, one other tweet was simply as telling: “Man I just wish I could have a conversation with my dad.”

The previous couple of days have felt surreal, first in a Monday pro-am at the Texas Open, and even the easy routine of going to the vary and hitting balls. All round him are gamers he solely is aware of from tv, and gear vans from main producers supplying no matter he wants.

“I catch myself thinking, ‘Dude, like, you’re actually here. This is what you dreamed of doing your whole life,’” Bennett mentioned. “I’m still soaking it in, honestly. It doesn’t feel real to me.”

His older brother, Marcus, will likely be his caddie. His mother will likely be within the gallery. His dad will likely be house, unaware that his son adopted his advice and did not wait to do one thing.

“I was telling my mom I really wish there was a way Dad could make it out there, but there’s just no way,” Bennett mentioned. “It would be kind of cool just to glance over and see my dad out there.”

Instead, he’ll have to accept trying at his arm. On each shot.

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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