Eric Cole, the PGA TOUR rookie sensation, has had an extraordinary journey to reach his current position. Despite earning nearly $3 million this season, it was a modest $20,000 winner's check that held the most significance for him. Cole embarked on an overnight 480-mile drive from Connecticut to western Pennsylvania to compete in and win the final Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational, an event that had once kept his career afloat.
Cole's path to success has been characterized by resilience and determination. Starting his rookie season with a positive COVID test at the Fortinet Championship and having his clubs stolen at the Shriners Children's Open, he faced early setbacks, missing the cut in his first four TOUR starts. However, he persevered and steadily improved, recording six top-25 finishes in 10 consecutive weeks of TOUR events.
But it's not just his on-course performance that sets Cole apart. His commitment and generosity off the course shine just as bright. Following his T24 finish at the Travelers, he embarked on a seven-and-a-half-hour journey to play the Frank B. Fuhrer Jr. Invitational, a mini-tour event that had played a crucial role in his career. In 2014, Cole, then a struggling mini-tour player, won the tournament, which provided him with the financial stability to continue pursuing his dreams. This year marked the final edition of the event, and Cole felt a deep connection to it, wanting to be there to honor its legacy. Remarkably, he won the tournament again, donating his entire $20,000 prize money back to the Fuhrer family for charitable causes.
Cole's journey showcases his unwavering tenacity and positivity. Despite the challenges he faced on the mini-tours and Korn Ferry Tour, he never lost sight of his passion for the game. His perspective shifted, and he realized that even if he never earned a TOUR card, his life would still be fulfilling. This newfound sense of freedom and perspective has propelled him to new heights.
As he competes against the TOUR's top players, Cole is on the verge of securing a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs, which would open doors to next season's Designated events. With his remarkable journey and hard-earned success, the 35-year-old rookie continues to inspire and prove that he belongs among the golfing elite.
Next, Cole will tee it up at the John Deere Classic alongside other talented rising stars. His story is a testament to the power of perseverance, generosity, and a passion for the game. Watch out for Eric Cole as he continues to make his mark on the PGA TOUR.