Augusta Country Club continued its tradition of honoring great golfers who have taken their games to the next level.
About 100 people gathered in the club’s ballroom Wednesday night for a ceremony to celebrate member Scott Brown, a rookie member of the 2012 PGA Tour. The North Augusta resident finished eighth on the Nationwide Tour money list to earn his PGA Tour card.
Brown joined the ranks of John Engler and Charles Howell, who each played their way onto the PGA Tour and were honored by the club.
“Here’s another young man who has earned his way,” Augusta Country Club general manager Henry Marburger said. “I got with (head pro) Tommy (Brannen) and asked if it was a good idea. He said ‘absolutely.’ ”
“Nobody’s ever done anything like this for me. So it is special,” Brown said. “I feel very honored to have something like this done for me.”
The 28-year-old Brown, the first former USC Aiken player to make the PGA Tour, was the 2009 eGolf Tour leading money-winner before spending two years on the Nationwide Tour. Now, he will embark upon his new professional journey in three weeks with the start of the Sony Open in Hawaii. He said he plans to play five of the first six tournaments before making the Florida swing. His grand hope is to either win early or make enough money to earn a spot in the Masters Tournament.
“If I try to get into Augusta this year, I think I will perform well,” Brown said. “I don’t want to try to just make the top 125 and then have to play well in the fall finish just to do that.”
Brown has a built-in comfort zone on the PGA Tour. He’s friends with Evans resident Vaughn Taylor, an eight-year tour veteran, as well as Aiken’s Kevin Kisner and Scott Stallings – PGA Tour rookies this past year.
Brown will be well-rested when the PGA Tour begins in January. After playing 26 tournaments in an eight-month span this year, Brown was forced to take time off after having his gallbladder removed four weeks ago.
Brown said the feeling of making the PGA Tour hasn’t hit home yet. When he starts playing, though, he’ll soon know he’s finally made it.
“I think it’ll hit me on the first tee in Hawaii when they call my name out,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a culture shock. It’s a bigger stage. It’s going to be a learning process. I’m just going to take it in stride.”