In February, at the Monday qualifier for the Genuity
Championship at Doral, I shot a six-under 66 and earned a spot
in the tournament. My playing partner was a 16-year-old amateur
I'd never heard of who shot a 75 but showed potential. Funny how
much has changed in six months. That kid was Ty Tryon, and now
he's a pro--he'll debut at this week's Tampa Classic--and I'm
During the B.C. Open in July, Ty's father, Bill, asked me if I
wanted to play with his son, so Ty and I spent a day together. I
must have made a good impression because Bill offered me a
part-time job mentoring Ty. My Tour career was in a lull anyway,
and I had always wanted to coach golf. At first Bill asked me to
work with Ty on his distance control, especially with the
wedges, but a pro learns best during competition, so I offered
to loop too.
One of our goals is for Ty to learn in two years or less what it
took me more than two decades to pick up from Tour veterans. For
example, I learned chip shots from Raymond Floyd and bunker
shots from Paul Azinger. I'll also advise Ty how to handle the
media and avoid situations like the U.S. Amateur. When word
leaked that Ty was going pro, he became so immersed in an
interview that he had only 15 minutes to warm up. He shot 80 and
missed the cut.
At 44 I'm old enough to be Ty's father, and I often notice the
age gap. I prefer classic rock, like Crosby, Stills & Nash, while
Ty likes to blast rap. (The other day my body was vibrating in
his car because of the noise coming from a subwoofer the size of
my Tour bag.) My two boys recently joined us for nine holes, and
they both said, "Dad, Ty's good. He's even better than you."
I'm definitely going to miss parking in the players' lot, but
it'll be nice not having to play well to make a check. Best of
all, I'll finally be able to wear shorts.
Larry Rinker won more than $2 million in 513 starts on Tour.
COLOR PHOTO: SAM GREENWOOD