Ben Griffin prepares for final stop at Q-School after game-changing crash
Ben Griffin hadn’t planned seven months ago to be here this week for the final leg of the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying tournament. He had quit professional golf amid a combination of burnout and financial stress and worked as a loan officer at his home in Chapel Hill, NC, and did not play golf after work or on weekends. end. But over the next couple of months, the accidental signs became too hard to ignore.
First, he realized he had signed up for the local US Open qualifiers and it was too late to retire and get his money back, so he figured that he might as well do it. He birdied the second hole in the playoffs. In sections, he failed to be an on-site substitute at Torrey Pines although he had not played for months before the finish.
A few weeks later, a member of the Highland Springs Country Club, home of the Price Cutter Charity Championship, which Griffin had come to know a few years before, called him up and asked if he wanted to play with his guest member. He agreed and played so well that the members insisted he return a month later for Monday’s qualifiers for the Price Cutter Charity Championship.
“I was playing well and I had a lot of support from this club. They were like, ‘Dude, you gotta go back to golf. You are not a loan officer. What are you doing ?’ Griffin recalls. “I was like, ‘Man, golf was leaving me in a tough spot. I wasn’t making enough money. I need to work.’ They said, ‘Well, let’s see what you can do. We want to buy you a flight and try until Monday for the Price Cutter.
As he flew to qualifying, the man who brought him into the game, his grandfather, passed away. He heard the terrible news when he landed, but knew his grandfather would still want him to try the qualifier. He advanced after playing all nine in under 5.
“I know he was watching and helped me get through that Monday qualifying,” Griffin said. “After I qualified, all the members were like, ‘Dude, you gotta get back to golf. Your grandfather is deceased. He introduced you to golf. It’s a sign.
Griffin agreed. There were other signs that he said couldn’t be a mere coincidence too. Twice a week before qualifying on Monday, two days in a row, on his way to work in work clothes, he accidentally drove to the golf course and only realized what he had done. once you arrive on the course.
“I have all of these things that tell me you have to go golfing,” Griffin said. “Sure enough this week of Korn Ferry I kind of made the decision that I should probably go back to golf and I had enough time to work and I had proven to myself that I was legitimate enough to do this for making a living, which I sort of already knew, it was just more of a burnout and I needed to make some money.
Fortunately, during this same period, the money problem has also been alleviated. A friend he had golfed with on Sea Island found out that he had strayed from professional golf due to financial problems with his strength trainer Randy Myers and offered him a two-year support contract with his company Lord Abbott to represent them. This financial backing along with the support from members of the Highland Springs Country Club brought him back into the game in August. He put his two weeks notice to work, enrolled in Q-School, and started working to bring back the game that time away from golf has shown him has always been there.
In high school and college as a leading American junior and varsity player at UNC, he played with and had success against phenomena of his age like Collin Morikawa, Sam Burn, and Scottie Scheffler. In Canada, he won the Forme Tour and finished in the top 10 of the Order of Merit. Some of the top 10 guys with him are now on the PGA TOUR. All these thoughts came to his mind as he sat at that desk, puzzled as to how he had lost confidence in himself, but more confident than ever that he had found her again.
“I used to question myself and my beliefs a lot, but when I was sitting at my desk thinking about how I was asking myself these questions a few months ago, I was like, ‘Man, I’m pretty good! was I asking myself these questions? ‘ Griffin said. “I just didn’t have that self-confidence and that belief six months ago and now I realize you have it and you have everything you need.”
Blessed with new confidence in his game and the financial stress of professional golf alleviated for the time being, Griffin has torn him apart for the past three months. He won two mini-tours, won a Pro-Am event with a number of Korn Ferry Tour pros in the field, and completed the first and second stages with ease. He was even shocked by the lack of pressure he felt during the last round of the second leg.
“This whole fall has been a game-changer for me in terms of mindset. I went from questioning to thinking how fast can I get to the PGA TOUR? Griffin said. “Can I qualify on Monday and win the Houston Open after the finals and all of a sudden participate in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii?” Yes, I think I can do it.
Griffin knows it sounds arrogant and doesn’t want it, but he didn’t have that swagger before, and he admits he has to embrace it to play well on the golf course. This aura of being able to accomplish whatever he wants on the golf course gives him the impression of having once again become that little child on the green who dreamed of one day having a putt to win the Masters. This led him back to believing that he will one day be a member of the PGA TOUR and ultimately a winner there.
He believes he lost that confidence in part because he got too caught up in his swing after turning pro in 2018 instead of just playing golf. His trainer, James Oh, was instrumental in this and he is now more confident than ever as he nears the finals.
“I’ve had a lot of success this fall and I’m just hoping to get it to the finals, but definitely an interesting last seven months for me,” Griffin said.
Interesting last seven months for sure, but that was what it took to show Griffin what those Highland Springs members knew all along: He’s a professional golfer, not a loan officer.