He’s not quite there, but in many ways Danny King is looking forward to his shot at playing on the PGA TOUR Champions tour.
Not that the 48-year-old is trying to rush turning 50, but when you dedicate four years of your life with one goal in mind, it can be challenging to stay in the moment rather than dreaming about the future.
So as the veteran member of the PGA of Ontario heads into year three of a four-year plan, there’s lots to look forward to as King aims to build on what was a near perfect season in 2015.
Not only did King win the PGA of Ontario Championship and PGA of Ontario Merit Golf Vacations Match Play Championship, while finishing T2 in the PGA of Ontario Club Pro Championship and the PGA Team Championship Ontario Qualifier, but he also became the first person to win three PGA of Canada national championships in the same calendar year.
“The goal for 2016 is to continue improving and attain that No. 1 position at the top of the PGA of Canada Player Rankings,” says King, who received the Mike Weir Award as the PGA of Canada Player of the Year in January at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL. Danny capped off his championship season by capturing the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada after also winning the PGA Team Championship of Canada with partner Billy Walsh. “You’re not going to win all of the events you enter, but I certainly want to be in a good position on the leaderboard down the home stretch of every championship I tee it up in.”
“I have been really focused during the off-season on improving my strength, flexibility, stability, mobility and overall physical condition. I’m getting stronger, bulking up a little bit and have been doing a lot of yoga. I can’t sit on my ass and wait for spring. The clock is ticking,” said King who also relies on the wisdom of Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Bob Panasik for guidance and developing a rhythm to his game. He also relies on the teachings of Karl Morris when it comes to mental preparation and on Kevin Honsberger for his fitness regime.
Finding the balance between being a player with a desire to play on the Champions Tour and earning a living as the Director of Instruction at the Performance Academy at Magna and everything else that comes with it is one of the toughest challenges King faces on a daily basis.
“I give competition nine out of 10 last year, I was a little slow getting going in the spring and I would give the academy 10 out of 10. I think it was a great season,” says King who is continually working on creating his own brand and greater awareness of programs he offers including an elite junior academy, special guest clinics, private lessons and corporate outings.
Perhaps his biggest off-season achievement has been landing Jack Links Beef Jerky as a corporate sponsor for the next three years. While Danny has been sponsored by TaylorMade-adidas Golf for a number of years and is signed on through 2018, finding other sponsors has been nearly impossible. The new deal, which will go a long way in covering King’s annual travel expenses to tournaments, isn’t just about the money. It’s also a healthy lifestyle choice. King has been fueling up on the healthy protein meat snacks and sausages for several years and enjoying every bite. “They might not be the first thing that comes to mind as a healthy snack, but they’re a great tasting performance snack that is part of my regular diet,” he adds.
With some cash in his pocket to start the season, King, who is member of the Canadian Junior Golf Association’s Board of Directors, is already ahead of the game from where he was a year ago. His memories of playing eight exhausting rounds of golf in six days overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Cabot Links to defeat Oliver Tubb 1-up to win the PGA Championship of Canada sponsored by Mr. Lube and presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf are starting to fade as a new season comes into focus.
King, who has close to 40 professional victories to his credit, has enjoyed spending time over the winter months with his wife Miriam and their 11-year-old son Liam who plays travel hockey in Milton and likes baseball more than golf. Danny’s had time to think back and remember good buddy, Rick Sovereign, who chased his dream of playing golf at the highest level, but died of cancer in 2014 at the age of 52. As well as good friend and former Champions Tour player, the late Craig Marseilles, who tragically lost his battle with cancer in March 2016.
While few people would say they enjoy waking up at 5 am in the summer to go to work and finishing their day sometime around 8 pm, King realizes life is short no matter how you look at it, so you may as well wake up and enjoy the day. “Rick said, “A dream pursued, is a dream fulfilled,” so when I put the peg in the ground this spring I’m going to take nothing for granted.”
If he’s successful, King’s name will once again be etched on several more trophies and he’ll have an opportunity to play in the 2016 RBC Canadian Open in his own backyard at Glen Abbey Golf Club. While making the cut at The Abbey would rank among his career highlights, it would still only be a stepping stone along the way to a life well played.