Eric Anderson didn’t fit in with the Nationwide Tour professionals at the Chattanooga Classic.
He didn’t have a 40-pound tour bag, logos on his polo shirt, crisp pressed pants or the newest FootJoys.
In fact, he arrived for the Monday qualifier wearing a pair of golf shoes he bought at Goodwill with the spikes from another pair he bought for $6. New spikes for his previously owned shoes would have cost $12.99.
“I live on a teacher’s salary so I’ve got to skimp,” said Anderson, who shared his Days Inn room with his caddie, Keith Barrett, and ate at the City Cafe instead of Big River Grille or Table 2.
Anderson began his professional career this week — his professional golfing career, that is — after determining this summer that he could give it a whirl because the Chattanooga Classic fell while the Discovery School in Dickson, Tenn., was on fall break.
“My wife wouldn’t let me do this if I were an amateur,” Anderson said. “I’ve got to be bringing home some money.”
He Monday qualified at Cleveland Country Club after enduring a five-hole playoff for the final spot. He played a practice round Tuesday at Black Creek, drove home that night, spent Wednesday at home and arrived in time for his Thursday afternoon tee time.
“He dominates pretty good back at the club, and we talked about doing this,” said Keith Barrett, the superintendent at Dickson Country Club. “The invitational, the club championship, he’s won it all and he’s kind of a stud around there.”
But Dickson isn’t the Nationwide Tour.
Anderson shot 10 over par in the first round. He shot 2 over in the second round.
He finished dead last.
But he won’t be shopping for golf equipment at a thrift shop any time soon. TaylorMade gave him new shoes and a driver. Another manufacturer, Cleveland, gave him some wedges. Adams Golf provided him with new hybrids in addition to a few new shirts and a couple of hats.
“They hooked me up,” said the 2006 Tennessee Tech graduate. “I definitely came out ahead. It’s like getting royal treatment out here.
“It’s a whole different world.”
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...