Five years and a day after winning the U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot, Ryan Moore earned his first PGA Tour win Sunday.
He handled three pressure-filled playoff holes, navigating the field and the course at the Wyndham Championship, and pocketed a cool $918,000.
Those five years have been a little different for Luke List, the former Baylor School and Vanderbilt golfer whom Moore rallied to beat in that memorable U.S. Amateur in 2004.
List estimated he's surpassed the 40,000-mile mark playing golf the last three years, covering all corners of this country and beyond looking for his breakthrough moment. He's bunked with buddies and friends and host families, and he's survived a hectic, impossible-to-schedule routine that has been anything but routine.
He's starting to make some money this year playing golf. He's played the full gamut, making the cut at the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour in June, tying for 17th earlier this month at the Wichita Open on the Nationwide and cashing in a couple of Tar Heel Tour events across the South.
He is a Vanderbilt grad who never really knows when his next paycheck is coming, yet he would not change what he's doing.
"I'm having a blast; it's been pretty crazy the last few weeks," List said from the pro shop at the Pocono Farms Country Club, where he shot a 2-under-par 70 in this week's Monday qualifier for the Nationwide's Northeast Pennsylvania Classic. He's one of six guys in a playoff for five spots this morning.
"I've kind of done so many of these that you understand you never know what's going to happen."
If there was a stimpmeter for strange, List's whirlwind tour may have topped out Monday.
He arrived at his hotel near Scranton, Pa., about 1:30 a.m. and got up around 5 for his 7:30 tee time in the qualifier. Wolfing down a Burger King Croissan'wich and a Balance Bar for breakfast on the ride to the course, List missed a turn and was staring down six one-way lanes leading into the Tobyhanna Army Depot.
"The guard told me I couldn't turn around until 8 a.m.," List said. "But I got lucky. He escorted me through the base, and I made it to the course with about 30 minutes to spare. I was thinking, 'Man, I hope you have an answer. I need a break.'"
He's been tirelessly searching for that elusive break on the course. He was an amateur all-star, qualifying for two U.S. Opens and a Masters before he turned 21. He was destined for golf superstardom.
List believes that destiny remains unchanged: He just is taking the road most difficultly traveled, that is paved with blood, sweat and gasoline.
If things don't work out today in Pocono, List will head to Savannah, Ga., for another mini-tour stop this weekend. It's as much about the experience as it is the exposure, and List fully recognizes that today's disappointments can be tomorrow's discoveries.
"Tiger Woods and the PGA tour and the lifestyle of those guys is obviously quite different. It would be nice just to have a set schedule and not live out of a suitcase," List said. "But that's what makes it so special. It's a learning experience that has really helped me understand that you don't want to be too optimistic or too negative."
He was neither high nor low Monday after eating lunch and watching a replay of Moore's birdie on the third playoff hole that completed his old foe's breakthrough moment that has been five years in the making. In fact, List was joyful for and inspired by Moore, who won the final four holes against List to secure the '04 Amateur 2-up.
"That will always be a special memory for me -- all the people from Chattanooga making the trip, my dad on my bag," List said of that U.S. Amateur. "(Moore's PGA win) just makes it all worthwhile. It confirms the fact I can play out there and win out there when guys I have competed with are."
List said his game is improving daily as he continues to search for the "total" golf package. His up-and-down summer has been felt in varying degrees by everyone with a wedge -- from Woods to the weekend 15-handicapper.
"My ball striking will be good, and then I can't make a putt, and vice versa," List said. "I like to think I am a lot more resilient, on and off the course. My game has gone through different stages, but my average day has gotten a lot better. I now know that I can contend and make cuts with my 'B' game, and that makes me excited about when it all comes together."
The List clan will be closer together the next few months. Luke is moving back to Chattanooga to continue his preparation for a couple of big dates circled in red on his calendar.
"I'm looking forward to trying to qualify for the Chattanooga Classic," said List, who should be on the tournament's short list of sponsor exemptions regardless of what he does leading up to the event. "Moving back home will help me get ready for that tournament and allow me to focus on getting ready for Q school later this year."
List always has had the shots to be a PGA Tour player, and after five years of scratching for a chance, he now has the scars. He'll make it, because -- regardless of what happens in a month of Mondays -- he's qualified now.