He has joined the professional ranks and banked his first cheque but Jed Morgan now needs competition to transfer talent into a trajectory towards the PGA Tour.
Morgan will play his first PGA Tour of Australasia event as a professional at the Victorian PGA Championship starting at Moonah Links Resort on Thursday.
To be played across both the Legends and Open courses, the Vic PGA represents the start of a summer of golf that will be highlighted by the Australian PGA Championship and three Webex Players Series events.
There are presently 12 confirmed events on the schedule – with dates pending both the NSW Open and Vic Open – and for players such as Morgan it represents a stepping stone to the rest of their careers.
The 2020 Australian Amateur champion, Morgan has spent the past five months in the US playing in world-class amateur events, mini tour events and attending PGA Tour Latinoamerica Qualifying School after turning professional in October.
The 21-year-old saw first-hand the discipline and dedication necessary to make it onto a professional golf tour and intends to use this summer to ingrain the habits he will need for a successful career on tour.
Booked in to also play the Gippsland Super 6 at Warragul Country Club and Geoff Ogilvy’s Sandbelt Invitational prior to returning to Brisbane for Christmas, Morgan knows that being competitive every week over summer will provide the grounding he needs moving forward.
“I’m just at a stage where I need to compete as much as I can and play as much as I can,” said Morgan.
“Coming out of the US, seeing what they do week-to-week, it’s been a pretty big eye opener for sure.
“You can be good, but can you go day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month for six months just learning how to compete? I don’t think I’ve figured it out just yet by all means, but just I’ve got such an enormous respect now for the guys that have made it onto those tours.
“There are a lot of good players that aren’t on tour who have the ability definitely to play.
“The big eye opener was that I definitely have that ability, it just needs to be nurtured a bit more.”
During his six-month stint in the US Morgan spent a lot of time at the Golf Australia House in Orlando.
It was there that he was able to pick the brains of young professionals such as Curtis Luck and Ryan Ruffels and also tap into fellow Queenslander Cam Smith’s philosophy of performing on Tour.
“Curtis had a lot of advice in the business side to golf and Cam obviously gives great advice that keeps the game pretty simple,” Morgan added.
“Ruffels and those boys, they’ve all experienced so much in their early few years. They just know that you’ve got to compete and that the best players are competitive every day.”
And if that sounds like a tough way to make a living, Morgan was given a crash course on what other career options might look like.
At the suggestion of Golf Australia House host Luke Mackey, Morgan chipped in to help clean out more than seven tons of garden waste from the backyard of LPGA Tour player Sarah Jane Smith’s house, revelling in the chance to do some hard labour.
“I guess it was a bit of a snap back to reality,” he reasons. “We were living on the couch before that and everyone got a good taste of it.
“We basically gutted her backyard. It was fun as. We were all there. We had a few beers, Sarah made us some pies and some bacon and egg burgers, it was like being back in Australia for a day.
“We got there at about eight o’clock in the morning and then three o’clock we took off to the dump. We didn’t realise until we weighed ourselves on the scale on much there was.
“It was awesome.”
And his first cheque? Let’s just call it a down payment on bigger things to come.
“I made $1,700 US in a mini tour event. That was my first paycheck. Better than a slap in the face.”
The Victorian PGA Championship begins at Moonah Links Resort on Thursday morning. Featured players include defending champion Chris Wood, reigning Order of Merit winner Brad Kennedy, 2021 Moonah PGA Classic winner Bryden Macpherson, 2014 Vic Open winner Matthew Griffin and European Tour players Dimi Papadatos, Jake McLeod, Blake Windred and Deyen Lawson.