I'm Just Saying with Crystal Lake native and PGA Tour player Joe Affrunti

Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:38 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:41 p.m. CDT

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Crystal Lake native Joe Affrunti is a PGA Tour player currently working his way back from shoulder surgery on the Web.com Tour. Affrunti is currently 119th on the money list, winning $8,472 in six events this year. Affrunti, who has a major medical exemption, hopes to begin playing the 13 PGA Tour events he is guaranteed after earning his tour card in 2010 before missing 18 months with his shoulder injury. Last week, Affrunti earned a spot in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier after shooting 70 at a local event in Orlando, Fla. Among the more interesting tidbits on his PGA Tour bio is that Affrunti has a shoe fetish, although he insists it was a matter of mistaken word usage.

Unless you’ve been out there, people have no idea – they have no idea how much of a grind it is out there. The Tour players that the regular public watches, they know a Tiger [Woods], they know a Ernie Els, they know Luke Donald and they’ve played, for the most part, great their whole career. They never really truly had to struggle. A struggling year for Luke Donald means he’s only Top 50 on the money list instead of Top 10. But for 85 percent of players on the Tour, they come up through the ranks, they’ve had to struggle on the minitours and get through some humps on the road. By far, it’s not all the glitz and glamour, but when you get out there, it’s worth every ounce of energy you spent on the minitour and on the Web.com Tour and everything you sacrificed. It’s worth every second of it.

[Being injured] is definitely frustrating because you get on a run, you’re playing for a good two-year stretch from minitours to the Nationwide Tour and I get my card through Nationwide and I get out on the big tour. Injuries have definitely been an issue in my career, but at the same time, I do kind of see the big picture and maybe things do happen for a reason. It kind of makes you a little tougher and makes you realize how nice it is to play a sport for a living and you don’t take it for granted when you are out there.

With having such a good run there, you kind of realize how much work it took to get there. It’s a lot of hard work. I thought I would get it back a little quicker and I showed strides of some good golf this winter a little bit at the start of the year, but the consistency part – I’m super close – but it’s totally not there like it was two years ago. So that part of it, you just have to get down and keep grinding and keep working to get it back. So that was a little bit of an eye-opener with how difficult it is and how hard I have to work to get back there.

People are like, ‘You have a shoe fetish?’ A fetish, is, uh, not exactly the correct word. I’m just a real fashion-oriented guy. I make sure everything looks good. I usually match my shoes with my belt and so I’m always looking sharp on the course. Guys on tour – they know that I like to look good when I’m out there, but off the course, I like to be put together. I feel like it’s a representation of the person you are. People are just out watching you play on tour and they don’t truly know you so it’s one way of getting your personality out.

I’m Just Saying is a regular Sunday feature. If you’d like to see someone featured in this space, email me at jarnold@shawmedia.com or send me a message on Twitter @NWH_JeffArnold.

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