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Join Charlie Rymer and special guest Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, and hear how Tommy worked his way from the assembly line to Golf Channel’s “Big Break” to winning on the PGA TOUR. This episode was filmed at Lowcountry favorite Tradition Golf Club in Pawleys Island, S.C.
Charlie: Today in Myrtle beach. I'm at Tradition Golf Club. And why am I wearing two gloves? Well, you're going to have to stick around to find out. I'm Charlie Rhymer and this is Ridin' with Rhymer.
Charlie: Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey. Come over here and give me a hug, buddy.
Tommy: Good to see you.
Charlie: Man. It is good to see you. Let me get those clubs from you.
Tommy: All right.
Charlie: I'm ready for you. What do you think about that? You like that, don't you?
Tommy: Aw, man. What an honor.
Charlie: I'll tell you what else you're going to like. We're Pawleys Island, South Carolina. We're at Tradition Golf Club. This right here is low country golf at its finest. You going to love it.
Tommy: All right, let's try it.
Charlie: You got it, let's roll buddy.
Charlie: So Tommy, you grew up here in South Carolina. This state's been good to you. You love it, don't you?
Tommy: Love this state. It's my home.
Charlie: Took you a little while to get your way to the PGA tour. You're working in AO Smith plant and that's a family relationship with you and AO Smith. Tell me what AO Smith has meant to you.
Tommy: Well, it's my family. It's pretty much my family. After I graduated high school, I thought that I was going to be a good enough player to get recruited to go to a college. That didn't happen. So I went to a tech school to learn a trade and then I got a temp job at AO Smith. One day, there was a job come up on the board and I didn't know what job it was. I just signed my name because they didn't have the two names on it. Might have a chance to get on permanent. So I'll still wanted to play golf for a living, but I just didn't have the money and that was pretty much it. No money, you don't play.
Charlie: No money, no golf.
Tommy: That's correct.
Tommy: So I went and done the job and it was wrapping insulation on the water heater tanks. Now you're talking about itching all over, scratching, all over.
Charlie: So for you, having a couple three putts on the PGA Tour with your background, those three putts aren't that big a deal are they?
Tommy: It's not that big of deal anymore. And that's why I try to have so much fun because I've had two of the worst jobs you could ever have.
Tommy: But you know what? AO Smith, they stuck with me and when I got on the PGA Tour, they became a sponsor.
Charlie: And they've stood beside you as you've dealt with injury?
Tommy: Absolutely. They have stuck beside me through thick and thin.
Charlie: All right, so, I got asked you a question, Tommy. I really struggle, really struggle trying to hit a draw with my driver. What do you do? Give me something that'll help.
Tommy: Well, that's my normal shot. So I just get up and hit the ball. Me trying to give you a tip. Oh boy. I don't know if you want that.
Charlie: So you just roll out of bed hitting draws and you're not going to tell anybody how you do it? Thanks Tommy. I appreciate that buddy. Let's see if that works. Just get up and hit the ball. That's my draw. What is that? A 10 yard cut?
Tommy: If you add the wind, add another 15.
Charlie: Come on. Let's see that pretty draw. That's pretty strong, right there, gloves. Come on. Let's see if we can find mine. You might check me for ticks after we look for this ball. Other great story about you. You rose to national prominence through The Big Break, the Golf Channel television show. How did you get to Big Break? How did that all come about?
Tommy: Well, I got to give Paul Graham a shout out, my agent. He told those guys, he said, "Listen, I've got the perfect guy for your show." So they come out, they watch me hit a few shots, play a couple holes and they went back and told Paul and said, "Listen, he's in." I mean I was so very humbled because a lot of players all around the world wanted to be on that show and I had the opportunity to be on it not once but twice.
Charlie: All right, Tommy tell me, how's life buddy?
Tommy: Life is good, I'm healthy and my golf game is coming in to check right now. It's in pretty good shape. So I'm happy about that. Now it's just time to get some opportunities to take it to the next step again.
Charlie: First thing you said when I asked you how's life? You said, "My health is good." It hadn't been good. You've been through the ringer. Tell me about the back issues you were dealing with and specifically when you had to walk off a golf course at Hilton Head at the Heritage.
Tommy: I did back in 2016. I was in second or third place and then when I hit this, when I follow through with the shot, it's like I felt like my back started spasming out. So I tried to walk it off.
Charlie: Just normal stuff you're dealing with?
Tommy: Right. So I get up there and I tried to putt, struggled to get the ball out of the hole. Said, "Whoa, we've got a problem here." So I had to walk off and then when I got the MRI done, I had two herniated discs, two bulging discs. That was pretty much it for me.
Charlie: And from that day you walked off the golf course. How long was it until you felt that you were 100% with your body again or even there yet?
Tommy: Well, I felt like after I come back in the fall, when I started playing again in September, I thought my body was ready. I mean, I didn't feel any pain or whatever, but you know what? Even if you don't feel any pain, it just, I guess I wasn't right because I started shooting numbers that I don't normally shoot. Had to go back to my PT. I had to go back to my doctor and had to get an MRI and I had a bulging disc in my neck. It was like...
Charlie: Different one?
Tommy: Different one. Man, it's hard, when you finally think you're healthy and you're starting to turn the corner as far as the way I'm playing and then something else happens.
Charlie: Yeah, it's hard emotionally I would think. Right? You've won on the PGA Tour. You're a couple of years after that win, everything's laid out in front of you and your body just won't go and you get injury after injury. I mean emotionally that's got to beat you up.
Tommy: It does. Especially when you have kids.
Tommy: And it was just tough on me because I was really hard on myself. Then you start putting more pressure on yourself to shoot lower numbers as you used to do and then I'm at a crossroads. I've got to figure out what's going on. Why am I shooting these high numbers? Do I need to go back to the doctor and get checked again or I mean, what's going on?
Charlie: Did you ever feel like you were starting to get depressed over dealing with all of this?
Charlie: Oh, I was, I made a couple comments. I can't believe I'm playing this bad. Maybe I'm done. It's eye opening for sure. Right now you're 44 years old. You're not fully exempt on tour. You get in every now and then. Your choices are to go Monday, qualify for the tour, take a whole season to try and play on the Korn Ferry Tour. That's not a real easy decision to make. Where are you with that?
Tommy: Well, as a rod now, I'm going to get a second stage of Q school unless I get in one of these tournaments coming up and I finish real high or even win. I mean obviously a win would take care of everything.
Charlie: That's funny how that works.
Tommy: Oh, I'm telling you. But right now I feel like my game is trending upward.
Charlie: Tommy. I just, the two gloves is fine, but I don't know about the putting. I mean I don't get that.
Tommy: Even putting, I know it looks crazy, but the way I play golf, I mean look at it. It's pretty simple. It's crazy.
Charlie: Let me try crazy here then. Did everything but hit it. Roll it in buddy.
Tommy: Like that.
Charlie: So you're saying I might ought to give it a try?
Tommy: No, you better go back to one.
Charlie: Sure. I'm always impressed hanging out with you. A lot of fun.
Tommy: Yeah, man always. It's a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Charlie: Come on, we'll grab some lunch.
Tommy: All right. That'll work.
Charlie: You can pay for it. How about that?
Tommy: I don't mind.
Charlie: Book you're next vacation or get a customized quote a Myrtlebeachgolftrips.com. Do I look fat?
Speaker 3: Not from the low angle.
Charlie: It look like it didn't jump.
Tommy: It didn't.
Charlie: You want us to do it again.
Speaker 3: Nah.
Charlie: I'm glad us playing [inaudible 00:08:22] golf is funny for you, [inaudible 00:08:24] hole. Watch this. I'm going to get that ball. Motsy, I hope you got that. There's something about a fat guy running.