Jim Herman remembers his victory in the 2019 Barbasol Championship as significantly more than simply recording the low score over four days on the Champions course at Keene Trace in Nicholasville.
It was golf’s version of resurrection.
“That really helped extend my career,” Henson said on a Monday teleconference called to promote this year’s Barbasol Championship, which is scheduled for July 15-18.
Herman had won only one PGA Tour event prior to the 2019 Barbasol Championship. In 19 tournament appearances earlier that year, he had made the cut only three times.
“Just that shot in the arm,” Herman said in recalling the career turning point that was the 2019 Barbasol Championship. “You don’t know when it’s coming or if it’s ever going to happen. I was definitely struggling through (thinking a sobering thought that) maybe that’s the end of my career.”
Herman, now 43, won the Wyndham Championship last August.
So, now, he noted, he will be the defending champion in two PGA events in about a month’s time this summer.
“I never had that feeling before,” he said. “I’m looking forward to both events later this summer, especially Barbasol. That really helped extend my career.”
Of course, because of the coronavirus, Herman is having to wait two years to defend his Barbasol title. The event was not played last year.
Herman said he put a priority on keeping his family safe during COVID while playing in fewer tournaments.
“Luckily, golf was one sport we could do some practice and remain socially distant,” he said.
Herman, who is from Cincinnati and played in college for the University of Cincinnati, expects to be a fan favorite at the Barbasol tournament. Family and friends only need to drive 90 minutes or so to get to the course.
“I might need a few extra tickets if we can swing that,” he said.
He also figures with a vaccination campaign helping cause COVID to recede, golf fans in Kentucky will be eager to attend the event.
“So, yeah, I think the fans of Lexington are definitely going to be out in full force, even to cheer on a Bearcat,” Herman said with a smile.
When asked if he will again wear a Kentucky shirt as he did in 2019, Herman said, “Oh man, I might have to wear a little more black and red for the Bearcats. But blue is one of my favorite colors.”
Herman credited “a really hot putter” for his win in the 2019 Barbasol. He said he has changed putters since then. But he said he planned to bring the putter to Keene Trace just in case.
Herman also credited a tip from former President Donald Trump as helping him win here two years ago. He said at the time that he considered playing with Trump as an omen for good golfing luck.
The two played a round last week at Trump’s Bedminster course in New Jersey.
“Maybe that will rub off like it has in the past,” Herman said.
This time, Trump did not offer putting advice, “All he said was your putting looks pretty good. Keep it going,” Herman said.
Herman expects to have positive thoughts going into this year’s Barbasol Championship.
“Of course, you always have that feeling you had going back to such a special place where you had such a special week,” he said. “You know you can never replicate what went on that previous year. But you’re just trying to draw on those good feelings and see what you can do.”
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