04/04/2016

Jim Herman has finally done it.  

At 38 years old, his hard work and perseverance has paid off, giving him his first PGA Tour win at the Shell Houston Open.  Herman has played in 106 PGA Tour events, 118 on the Web.com Tour and for the first time in his career on the PGA Tour he is walking away a champion.

The Shell Houston Open is held in Humble, Texas just miles from downtown Houston.  The tournament is 1 of only 11 PGA Tour events that is held on a public course. With its narrow fairways, finger design bunkers, rolling greens and Texas winds, it’s a course that can make you dig deep into your bag for a variety of shots.

In his 5th year on the Tour, Herman entered the final round with a 54-hole lead for the first time.  He watched the Tour growing up and had always dreamed of one day playing and, as he said post-round, “to have this chance is just awesome.” 

He grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and went on to college and played for the University of Cincinnati.  He won 5 times in college and was just inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at the University.

After college he worked as an assistant for Donald Trump at Trump National, until one day Trump asked him why he was in here selling sweaters to members when he needed to get out there and chase his dream of playing.  He went to Q School 7 years in a row, played on the Web.com Tour for 4 and for the last 5 on the PGA Tour.

Herman started his day in the final pairing and came in with a good game plan. 

He and his Caddy Matt Atkins wanted it to be low stress. They decided on smart, controlled shots with lots of 3 woods–which paid off, as he was 7under on the par 5’s for the week. 

On Sunday, he started with birdies on holes 2 and 4 followed by a bogey on 5. He held it together and birdied again on 11 and made a 2 putt birdie on 13. Going into 16 a tough par-3, he pulled out a 6-iron just hoping to hit the middle of the green. He turned his draw over too much and ended up on the left side of the green with a side-hill, up-hill shot to the pin.

Once again his game plan of controlled shots paid off as he chipped in for his 5th birdie of the day taking him to -15 and top of the leaderboard. 

That shot sent the fists up (as well as his confidence), heading into the final two holes. 

He nailed his tee shot down the middle of the fairway on 17 and after a two putt par, he walked toward the most difficult hole on the course; and the longest, most gut-wrenching wait on the 18th tee. 

The wait saw Herman pacing, deep breaths, fiddling to keep the blood flowing before the biggest drive of his career. 

But there is a reason he is ranked 7th in total driving, as his low straight drive found the middle of the fairway. He had another wait in the fairway and once again, held it together and made a good shot into the green. Herman two-putted for the win and as he pulled his hat off, hugged his caddy the tears started to fall.

“I never thought it was possible after all this time. Sorry for the tears, but I am pretty happy.”

It just goes to show you, if you make smart, controlled choices, use your caddy for support and find it within yourself to hold it together mentally, a win is achievable.

Next stop for Herman…AUGUSTA!