Irving -- Gratitude takes many forms. For TPC Four Seasons Director of golf Paul Earnest, it's the sound of golf club hitting golf ball during this week.
"To compete at this level you really have to work hard to unplug,' says Earnest.
Unplugging and playing a round of golf is about the last thing Earnest is conditioned to do during Nelson week. For the past two decades, he's played the host role making sure everything is just so at the Four Seasons resort and on the golf course, catering to all the touring pros in town.
Earnest says it's all about, "getting the house in order." And to get it all right there are many man-hours, many long days, many requests to fulfill. But for the last 20 years Earnest has been up to the task.
So, with the Salesmanship club celebrating the AT&T Byron Nelson's 35 year run in Irving coming to an end, Earnest gets a special honor and invitation, and it was all a surprise.
"You've got to suprise him because he is the master at doing that to that to other people," said tournament director Jon Drago, "so we figured what better place than a public venue when we're kicking off the Byron Nelson."
The surpsie offer came at the Nelson kickoff luncheon near the end of March. Earnest has played in the tournament 5 times prior, but its been 15 years since he's been a part of the field.
The announcement that afternoon left him stunned, emotional, and speechless.
"Yeah, I was overwhelmed I'm usually decent with words and wanted to respond verbally and nothing came out," said Earnest. "For me, a club professional, it's the ultimate honor to be recognized in a way that you were important for the tournament for a long period of time."
And then there's this - Earnest's son Brandon will be caddying for him, having just returned home from his freshman year at O-U.
"I'll remember this for the rest of my life," said the younger Earnest.
His dad will too.
And it's another reason that for this week golf and gratitude are one in the same.
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