During his time on the PGA Tour, 33-year-old Daniel Summerhays has fielded numerous questions about how he was able to take two years off from golf.
Summerhays, a former BYU star, served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Chile Santiago West Mission. During those two years in South America, he didn’t even pick up a golf club.
“When I tell people I didn’t play golf for two years straight, they’re really surprised and shocked,” Summerhays said. “They are more surprised when I start speaking fluent Spanish to somebody. They’re like, ‘What was that? Where did that come from? What’s with this white guy speaking fluent Spanish?’ I get questions about my faith out there every day, whether it’s about my mission, alcohol and tobacco, polygamy, whatever it is. I’ll get a question every day.”
“They don’t have much and they’re 100 percent happy. Those things, as I’m out and about in my job, I can realize that I can find happiness no matter how I’m playing or what the FedEx Cup Points list says or the money list.” — Daniel Summerhays, professional golfer
Serving a mission hasn’t seemed to hurt his professional career. In 10 years on the PGA Tour, he’s won $9 million after playing in 177 events. Summerhays played in his first Masters in April, and he’s played in two U.S. Opens.
Summerhays is grateful for the lessons he learned from serving a mission.
“It taught me how to be patient through some tough times. It taught me that you can be happy with nothing,” he said. “The people down there, the division of wealth — we think it’s hard here in the states — you’re either rich or you’re poor there. Even the poor people there are really happy. They have their families around them. They don’t have much and they’re 100 percent happy. Those things, as I’m out and about in my job, I can realize that I can find happiness no matter how I’m playing or what the FedEx Cup Points list says or the money list. And just hard work. Doing a routine — getting up every morning and doing the things you need to do to be successful every day. It took me about six months after not having played for two years to get back to where I was. But then my growth after that six months was kind of exponential.”