PGA Tour golfer from Kentucky finds making putts easier than shooting basketballs

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Josh Teater, who gives Lexington a hometown player to root for in this week’s PGA Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, did not originally set his athletic sights on golf.

“Growing up here, obviously, I wanted to play basketball in Rupp Arena,” he said during a teleconference Tuesday. “But that kind of phased out pretty early.”

Teater, who played for the golf teams at Henry Clay High School and then Morehead State, had been living in Georgia. He and his wife, Ashley, and two sons moved to Lexington about six weeks ago.

The basketball ambition may have gotten revived last month when he and his older son, Bain, 7, participated in a John Calipari Father-Son youth camp on the Kentucky campus.

“I think the brightest part of it and the funniest part of it was when Coach Calipari asked Bain if I was making shots like I make putts,” Teater said. “And Bain said, no.

“So, hopefully, I’ll putt better than I shoot.”

Teater’s track record suggests he’ll do well in the Barbasol Championship, which will be played Thursday through Sunday at Champions at Keene Trace. He finished 77th in 2015, then tied for 40th in 2018 and then tied for sixth in 2019. In that most recent Barbasol Championship, he was 21 under par and won $117,250.

“Hopefully, we continue that same trend,” he said.

Growing up in Lexington, Teater is well acquainted with the Champions course (7,328 yards and a par 72). He said he began playing golf at age 12. His mother and stepfather both played golf. He recalled frequently playing at the Tates Creek and Meadowbrook golf courses. His stepfather was a member at the Greenbrier Country Club.

Teater represents sort of a home team for fans to support.

“I’m looking forward to having all the fans out (and) kind of feeding off that,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep the umbrellas at home and we can have some fun out there.”

Teater, who is 42, has not won a PGA Tour event. But he has reason to believe that age would not prevent a victory at the Barbasol Championship or another tour tournament.

Lucas Glover, 41, won the John Deere Classic last week. Stewart Cink, 48, has won twice this year. Of course, Phil Mickelson was 50 when he won this year’s PGA Championship.

For every birdie (and eagle) Teater makes this week, he’ll donate money to Caddie127, the group of local charities that receive money from the Barbasol Championship.

Ex-Cat in the field

Teater will not be the only Kentuckian playing in this year’s Barbasol Championship.

Stephen Stallings Jr., grew up in Louisville, where he played for St. Xavier High School before then playing for the University of Kentucky.

Stallings will be making his sixth PGA start in the Barbasol Championship. He finished tied for 45th in 2019.

His father played collegiate golf for LSU and introduced his son to the game.

“He was always very into golf, so he had a club in my hand since the very first day probably,” Stallings said.

When asked about coming to his collegiate home to play in the Barbasol Championship, Stallings shared several vivid impressions.

“Honestly, when I get back to Lexington, I just think about the food,” he said. “I just love the food here.”

Former University of Kentucky golfer Stephen Stallings Jr. tees off during Wednesday’s pro-am at Keene Trace Golf Club.
Former University of Kentucky golfer Stephen Stallings Jr. tees off during Wednesday’s pro-am at Keene Trace Golf Club.

Stallings said he and some former UK golf teammates who still live in the Lexington area have gotten together for dinners this week.

“It was an honor to wear Kentucky across my chest for four years,” he said.

Stallings acknowledged the difference it makes having family and friends watching you play.

“Definitely I want to play well for my friends and family that are coming out,” he said. “I’m just trying to come out here and have fun. . . . It’s not easy playing in front of a lot of friends and family sometimes just because you want to play well.

“I’m just going to come out and enjoy the moment and see what happens.”

COVID withdrawals

In the final week of the PGA Tour testing players as a requirement to play, Ted Purdy and Chris Couch had to withdraw from the Barbasol Championship when they tested positive for the coronavirus.

That makes four PGA Tour players who have tested positive in the last 12 days. The Barbasol Championship was the first tournament since the Valspar Championship in late April that had more than one player receive a positive COVID-19 test.

Zach Johnson had a positive COVID-19 test after the John Deere Classic and had to withdraw from the British Open.

Hideki Matsuyama received a positive test after the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Even though he is asymptomatic and completed his 10 days of isolation, Matsuyama kept testing positive and had to withdraw from the British Open.

Purdy and Couch were replaced in Nicholasville by Eric Axley and Smylie Kaufman.

In a June 28 memo to players, the tour said testing as a condition for competition would end starting with the 3M Open in Minnesota next week.

Players who have been vaccinated do not need to be tested.

PGA Barbasol Championship

When: Thursday through Sunday

Where: Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville (Champions Course)

TV: Thursday-Friday, 5-7:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Tickets: Visit BarbasolChampionship.com/Tickets (Thursday or Friday grounds pass, $30. Saturday or Sunday grounds pass, $40. Thursday through Sunday grounds pass, $100. Children under age 15 free when admitted with a ticketed adult.)

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