“Pay it forward. When you get the chance to do the right thing by someone, do it.”
That’s the simple advice that TJ King and Jayden Cripps received from Royal Hobart Teaching Professional, Scott Laycock on the eve of the 2022 Fortinet Australian PGA Championship.
The pair won their way through to Royal Queensland through their performance at the 2022 PGA Professionals Championship, thanks in part to Laycok’s generosity of spirit as the Tasmanian forfeited his own exemption.
Tomorrow morning, they will tee it up together and could not be more grateful for the opportunity.
“What Scott did just shows how much you can impact others from simple gestures,” explained King who will be playing in the Championship for the second time.
“Giving us this opportunity has had a significant impact on both of us and has certainly made me more willing to do similar sorts of things in the future.”
A sentiment echoed by Cripps, he was pleased to hear from Laycock last night.
“Scott got in touch with both of us, which was great,” Cripps said. “He didn’t have to do what he did (at Yarra Yarra) but to be here now, it really means a lot.”
Now that they are here at Royal Queensland, the first tee shot can’t come quickly enough for the pair as they compete for the richest prize on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.
Their preparation diligent, both are confident that they have given themselves every chance to perform.
“I’ve been practicing, training and preparing my body; doing everything I can to make sure I am right to go come Thursday,” said Cripps. “To be honest, the hardest part has been not thinking about it too much in the lead up, it’s just so exciting.”
Similarly, King, who teed it up last week at the QLD PGA Championship, knows he has given all he can in the lead up and is ready to bring his best.
“It can be hard not to think about it, but ultimately I know I have done all the preparation and I am ready – and really excited to get out there.”
For King too, having one Australian PGA Championship experience under his belt already, means he comes into the week with an added sense of confidence.
“Just having played it once before certainly helps,” he said. “Even though we are playing for more money and with an even stronger field (than in January), I am less nervous and feel more ready.”
As they join a stellar field of homegrown and international talent competing for the Kirkwood Cup, Cripps and King know that they will be thrust into the limelight, with crowds set to flock to watch some of the biggest names in world golf.
Not that it phases them, the pair are relishing the chance.
“It’s just really cool, King smiled. “That’s why you get into the game and what you hope for one day as a kid, so to have the chance to live that this week is very special.
“The week is going to be really fun, but we’ll just go out there and keep hitting good golf shots.”
In fact, King has already been able to tick off a bucket-list item, playing some practice holes with Adam Scott yesterday.
“I actually got to play seven holes with Scott Hend, Adam Scott and Wade Ormsby,” he laughed. “That was amazing and just learning from them and soaking up as much as I could in that time was a great experience.”
Cripps, too is ready to strike a balance between soaking up the atmosphere and dialling in the focus that will be required for success.
“It will be important not to get sucked in by external things and zone in when I need to,” he explained.
“At the same time, it is very special walking around here and seeing all these guys.
“I catch myself every now and then. You realise that it’s becoming very real.”
However it pans out for King and Cripps this week, their pair of PGA Professionals – and great friends – are thrilled to have the chance to make good on their golden opportunity, ready for the week of a lifetime.
Click here for the full field draw for Thursday’s first round of the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship.