note: Tiger tale
info on Edwards
wins the ACC
Layer by Layer
Drive to Succeed
His years on
the PGA tour paid off when Joel Edwards won the 2001 Air Canada
Championship on Labor Day weekend.
The former UNT student looks ordinary enough, from his comfortable
navy blue slacks to his short-sleeved knit shirts.
And his wish to work a little less and see more of his wife and
son is as ordinary as it gets.
But the extraordinary thing about Edwards is his Labor Day weekend
victory at the 2001 Professional Golf Associations Air Canada
Championship in Surrey, British Columbia.
Unless theyre golf fans, most people can name only Tiger Woods
and a handful of other professional golfers. Most dont know
about the couple of hundred others who happen to be ordinary guys
This is my regular job, Edwards says. When I won
the prize money for the Canada tournament, it was about $610,000.
The way I see it, thats about a $50,000-a-year salary
for 11 years of work in the PGA.
than that, Edwards victory is a sound reminder that ordinary
guys are driven by perseverance and desire.
My dad used to call it want-to, says Edwards,
who grew up in El Paso. He always said, Look out for
people with a lot of want-to, because desire is a powerful
Edwards want-to kept him going after leaving college
early to try to join the tour. That task took seven years, and he
waited 11 more to see his first tournament victory at age 40. Until
2001, his best career finish was a tie for second at the 1992 B.C.
Open in Endicott, N.Y.
Hell be the first to say his recent success was hard earned.
When I won in Canada, all doubts were washed away, he
recalls. But there were a lot of times over the years when
I asked myself, Why am I doing this? There has to be a better
way to make a living.
For Edwards, the last 18 years have meant working at country clubs
to support his family while trying to make his dream a reality.
Hes spent weeks at a time away from his wife, Rhonda, and
his 4-year-old son, Tanner, playing at small tournaments in places
as far away as South Africa.
And these are in addition to the hours and miles spent training
for each season.
This definitely didnt happen overnight or come easily,
he admits. But winning a tournament was my dream. And theres
just something in me that has to play the game.
Every time the doubts came or he examined the number of lost tournaments,
Edwards asked himself, What if I win? The idea of beating
the best golfers in the world is a powerful one for him.
Was it worth the years of hard work, the time away from my
family and the strain, the sacrifice? Definitely, he says.
And Id do it again.
says the irony is that, as a teen-ager, he hated golf.
I wanted to be a baseball player, but my dad kept insisting
that I give golf a try, says Edwards, who often served as
his dads caddy. And then one day it just clicked.
The game came naturally and he gained recognition for his performance
on his high school golf team.
The next thing I knew I got a scholarship to play golf at
North Texas, he says.
The person who brought Edwards to North Texas in 1979 was former
UNT defensive line coach Herb Ferrill. Ferrill, whom UNT sports
legend Mean Joe Greene (69) named as a huge influence
as he accepted his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, had the
same powerful effect on Edwards as the UNT golf coach.
When I met him, I felt like I had known him my whole life,
Edwards says of Ferrill, who died of cancer several years ago. He
was a great coach, and kids were coming from as far away as Hawaii
to play golf with him because of him Ill always be
proud to call North Texas my home.
Coaches have always been Edwards heroes, but Ferrill holds
a unique place in his heart.
He never tried to tell me anything that wasnt true,
Edwards says. He wasnt this great motivational coach
filling your head with a lot of nonsense. He just told you what
needed to be done and expected your best. He was straightforward
And that same honesty and strength has been in every golf stroke
He knows what it takes to win, and he is ready for the challenge.
I dont want to go another 11 years before my next victory,
Edwards says. But if thats what it takes, so be it.
Its like a lot of pro athletes who just cant leave their
game golf is a passion that never seems to go away.