When the Ben Hogan Tour started in 1990, there was a well-recognized participant on the membership roster, and early that season in Fort Myers, Florida, he confirmed as much as play his first match. Some knew who he was. The identify rang a bell to others. However to lots of the youthful, up-and-coming gamers who had been milling concerning the Gateway Golf Membership vary, nonetheless, this tall “older” participant with the candy swing was simply one other nameless competitor. They came upon quickly sufficient.
Though he hadn’t performed in any of the primary eight occasions that opened that inaugural season of a circuit that immediately is named the Korn Ferry Tour, Bruce Fleisher made his debut within the Gateway Open, in April 1990. On the 54-hole match on Florida’s west coast, Fleisher confirmed off, tying for second with a long-driving participant from Arkansas named John Daly. The duo got here up simply quick, dropping in a playoff to Ted Tryba.
Fleisher had returned from anonymity to contend at nearly golf’s highest degree. He longed to step up yet another rung on the ladder, and the runner-up efficiency let him know he may. Fleisher’s seemingly out-of-nowhere efficiency that week in Fort Myers got here after he basically walked away from aggressive golf six years earlier, electing to develop into a membership professional and solely enjoying a PGA TOUR match right here and there. Too many lonely nights in lodge rooms away from his spouse, Wendy, led to the choice. However extra importantly, an abundance of missed cuts and weeks with no paydays performed the first function. This all transpired despite the fact that the previous U.S. Novice champ and U.S. Walker Cup workforce member had joined the TOUR with important credentials, a good looking swing and an expectation that he would compete, and win, towards contemporaries Lanny Wadkins, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw. As a substitute, in 13 full seasons between 1972 and 1984, Fleisher by no means did maintain up a trophy, as he did on the 1968 Novice.
Bruce Fleisher, statements
“That is loopy. I’ve been away from the TOUR for greater than seven years,” he stated after accepting the $180,000 first-place examine, simply the biggest payday of his profession on the time. There can be a lot extra profitable weeks. Following seven extra full-time PGA TOUR seasons, and yet another shut name—a runner-up displaying at a well-recognized place and match, the 1993 New England Basic, Fleisher patiently waited till he turned 50, in October 1998, to start Act 4. "I by no means dreamed I’d be doing what I’m doing. Nicely, I dreamed I’d do it. However I by no means dreamed it might occur like this. It’s a beautiful place to be,” he stated.