Teater set to start PGA Tour career

Josh Teater has traded in the cold and snow of Kentucky for the sun and surf of Hawaii as he gets ready to make his debut as a member of the PGA Tour this week.

"I'm sure I'll feel some nerves when the tournament starts," Teater said. "But I'm more excited than anything."

Teater, the first Lexington golfer since Gay Brewer to make the tour, is in Honolulu for the Sony Open, which begins Thursday.

The 30-year-old said he has been looking forward to this day since he turned pro in 2002 and started grinding away on the mini-tour circuit.

(The Henry Clay and Morehead State graduate got a taste of the big time when he made it through a Monday qualifier and played in the 2005 Deutsche Bank Championship. He missed the cut.)

After coming heartbreakingly close to getting his PGA Tour card at qualifying school in December 2008, Teater finally earned playing privileges by finishing seventh on the Nationwide Tour last year.

"I'm kind of a believer in, where you set your goals is where you might find yourself battling to reach them," Teater said. "That's why my No. 1 goal this year is to get to the Fed Ex Cup and make it to the Tour Championship. If I do that, I won't have any worries about keeping my card."

Teater went to West Palm Beach, Fla., last month to do orientation for tour rookies.

"They told us how everything is run, from how the fields are filled for the different tournaments, what goes on behind the scenes, basically how the system works."

Teater said he hopes to play in 20 to 25 tournaments this year. He's pretty sure he can get in five or six of the first eight tournaments, including the Bob Hope Classic, the San Diego Open, and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Playing well and earning money early in the year is important because the pecking order of exemptions changes.

The cold weather in Lexington kept Teater from getting in much practice here, so he stayed in Florida for a week after orientation, then spent a few days in Palm Springs, Calif., last week before heading to Hawaii.

Teater's caddy is Charlie Gibson, who carried his bag on the Nationwide Tour last year. They've known each other since they both played on the Hooters Tour.

Teater will join fellow Kentuckians Kenny Perry, J.B. Holmes and Steve Flesch on the PGA Tour this season.

A couple of weeks ago GolfWorld magazine ranked all of the pros in the world.

Because of uncertainty about when Tiger Woods will play this season, Phil Mickelson was installed at No. 1.

Perry was No. 27, Holmes No. 119, Teater No. 188 and Flesch No. 207.

If Teater can finish the season in the top 125, he'll keep his card for another year.