“I came to Bob’s last year everyday, actually. I quite enjoyed it. I like the gym.” – Greg Eason
Curtis Thompson and Greg Eason waltzed through the door of Bob’s Gym East in gym shorts and athletic shoes. Off the green, the two professional golfers were no different than any other 24 year olds their age – extremely laid back and down to earth.
The pair’s dynamic is amusing. During the interview neither passed on an opportunity to joke with the other. At one point, Greg Eason, an Englishman born in Leicester City, England exclaimed, “300 million golf balls get lost every year. Can you believe that Mate?” Curtis Thompson, born and raised down south in Fort Lauderdale, FL responded, “A million of them are yours. You’ve hit so many balls in the water you’ve raised the Atlantic.”
The pair laughed.
Thompson and Eason find themselves in Evansville once a year where they play one of the midwest’s most challenging golf courses, Victoria National. Both golfers had nothing but great things to say about the course and agreed that it was one of their favorites that they play on the pro circuit.
“Victoria. It’s fantastic. The finishing five hole stretch is the toughest stretch. I think you could put that against any golf course in the world and you wouldn’t find a harder five holes than that”, said Eason.
Both Thompson and Eason have been playing professionally for a little over two years and have learned more than a few lessons along the way.
How did you get your start in golf?
Thompson: “I was kind of born into it. My brother is 10 years older than me and he played golf. When I was playing the sport at 4, 5 and 6 years old he was was 14, 15 and 16 years old. So, I always kind of wanted to be like him.”
Eason: “I started back in England, years ago. My dad got me into it; we used to play once a week. But the weather was always so bad compared to America it never really took off. I managed to take it a little more seriously, got onto the England team, eventually moved to America where I could play all the time.”
Greg Eason (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Thompson: “I left school early. I wasn’t planning on leaving school early. In fact, one of the biggest things I wanted to do was finish school. I had a little run in with my coach at LSU [Louisiana State University] in regards to Q-school and I said I just wasn’t coming back. I made it through Q-school first try. I made through all 4 stages. Thus far, I would have to say I am proudest of that.” (Q-school is a four stage tournament that involves 16 total rounds in order to qualify for the Web.com Tour.)
Eason: “First and foremost to get straight onto the Web.com tour, straight out of college. I was delighted with that. And then I have had two top 5’s. I have been ecstatic with that. Those have been the highlights for me.”
If you weren’t a professional golfer what would you be?
Thompson: “I really like talking to kids about sticking with sports. I really enjoy teaching. I don’t foresee myself ever leaving the game, but if I weren’t a professional golfer I think I would get into coaching.”
Eason: “Probably a rocket scientist or something. In all seriousness, I would like to do something with construction or property renovation. I went to college, studied engineering and architecture for a couple years. So, something along those lines.”
What piece of advice would you give to anyone striving to find success in their life?
Thompson: “You never know when success is going to come. You never know when it is coming. I wouldn’t say to go with the belief that when it is your time it is your time, it will come. You still have to work. It’s not going to just fall in your lap and fly our of fresh air. But if you work hard and your work smart, it’s going to come your way.”
Curtis Thompson (Photo by Getty Images)
Eason: “I really think work ethic is the key to reaching success. I would tell anyone whose progress has been prolonged or they have had many set backs, just to keep on going and to really not care and not listen to what anybody tells you. Find your own coach and your own path and stick with it. I think one day it will pay off.”
Most interviews you read with professional athletes take place at the pinnacle of their career — the moment in time in which they are competing at an incredible level. Very rarely do we have the opportunity to sit down and pick the brains of professional athletes early on in their career still in the midst of the grind — battling relentlessly to make it to the top.
By Cole Schafer