Rhea quickly learning about professional golf | Sports

It didn’t take long for Jack Rhea to realize the biggest difference between college golf and the professional game.Rhea, the former Science Hill and East Tennessee State star, recently turned pro and he’s adjusting to the fact that he’s now an independent contractor instead of part of a team.“The biggest difference for me so far is I’ve been used to traveling with six friends,” Rhea said. “Now, the last two or three weeks, I’ve been traveling alone. It’s been different. That’s for sure.“In college everything’s planned for you. You just have to show up and be there. I think most of us realize how good we had it, but it went away quickly.”Rhea made a check — albeit a small one — in the Tennessee State Open. He also recently finished 21st in a mini-tour event and earned another $1,000.The former All-American who won the 2019 Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at Blackthorn Club on his home course — along the way tying the tournament record with a 9-under-par 63 — says he doesn’t think of the money while he’s on the course. He knows if he plays well it’ll be there at the end.“I’m not playing for a ton of money right now so I don’t really think about it,” he said. “I don’t want to think if I’m playing poorly, I’m losing money. If you do that, you’ll quit before you should.”Rhea plans on playing in a few mini-tour events trying to get comfortable with the pro game in preparation for Korn Ferry Tour Q-School in the fall.“Hopefully when I go to Q-school, I can gain status on the Korn Ferry Tour,” he said. “Obviously, the PGA Tour is the goal. I don’t want to set a time frame, but I feel like I’ll know within 24 months if I’ve got what it takes. I’ll re-evaluate then.”How is his game as he embarks on his new career?“It’s all right, not exactly where I’d like it to be, though,” he said. “I feel like I’’m playing better, getting on a roll, getting to play a lot. You need to play a few weeks in a row to get a rhythm.”Many pro golfers make the majority of their money each year in just a few weeks when their games come together at the right time and they ride a hot streak. Rhea knows staying patient, along with hard work, will be important.“I’ve played golf long enough to know that it comes and goes very quickly,” he said. “You definitely have to stay patient and realize it’s happened many times before when guys haven’t been playing well and have a great week and it’s career-changing.”

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