When 2011 is done and dusted, James Nitties will be high in the lists of hard-luck sports stories of the year.
Just under two weeks ago, James Nitties had finished his second round in the penultimate tournament of the Nationwide Tour, the feeder tour for the far more lucrative US PGA Tour. He was one shot off the lead and looking at a good pay check for the week if he continued his form over the weekend.
Unfortunately, he slept through his alarm and missed his 12:40pm tee time the next day, ending his tournament with nothing to show for it.
Had he continued to play and all but assured himself of at least $6000 in prize money, he would have a ticket back to the PGA Tour this year. Instead, he played poorly in the final event last weekend and finished the year in 26th position on the Nationwide Tour money list. A mere $5341 short of the Top-25 needed to play in the big time next year.
James Nitties has played on the US PGA Tour before. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons in the big time earning almost $1.5million but it was a poor start to 2010 that cost him his card, and he found his way back onto the Nationwide Tour. After a win in August, Nitties looked all but assured of a Top-25 finish but missing his lunchtime tee time has proved costly.
Nitties is a self-proclaimed party boy who has denied knowing the meaning of the word ‘girlfriend’ in a radio interview. When news broke of him missing a lunch tee time, most assumed he’d been out clubbing all night, but this was untrue.
Nitties hits a remarkably consistent, slicing left to right ball and unlike a lot of Aussie golfers, can go real low when he’s hot. He’s good enough to be on the PGA Tour and winning there, but so are around 300 golfers in the world. Preparation and and ounce of luck can be all the difference needed. He now had a direct entry into the final stages of Q-School to see if he can join fellow Aussies Mathew Goggin and Gavin Coles as PGA Tour graduates next year.