Long courses don’t bother the PGA professional, because he’s already taken a long road to get there. Neither do numbers, like the 47 that signifies his age.
After all, he’s playing in his second major this year after he nearly made the cut at the U.S. Open in June. You bet there’s confidence there. His goal this weekend at Hazeltine is a top 10 finish.
“At the PGA level, there’s a super-fine line between Tiger [Woods] and the next guy,” said Miles, an assistant pro at Virginia Country Club in Long Beach. “It doesn’t cost me any extra money to go out and think that I can beat him. I have the ability to hit all the shots that he hits. It’s not like walking onto the basketball court and I’m 5-foot-8, and I’m not going to able to do anything that a normal basketball player can do, physically. [In golf] I’m not limited physically ... par is the measure and I can birdie every hole on every golf course I play.
“We teach that to our players here at the club. Anything’s possible and so why think differently? You saw Tom Watson at 59 almost win a major championship [at the British Open in July].”
Miles has been at Virginia Country Club since 2002. A standout golfer at Cypress High and later Long Beach State, he received his PGA Tour card at the ripe-old age of 24. He played on the Asian Tour, and the former Ben Hogan Tour (later known as the Nike Tour and now the Nationwide Tour). His best finish in a PGA Tour event was when he tied for 10th at the BellSouth Atlanta Golf Classic in 1989.
“It was a dream come true, playing in tournaments with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson and Tom Kite,” he said. “That’s the big leagues. It’s like when guys get drafted when they’re in their 20s up into baseball, and now you have to throw the baseball at Reggie Jackson and try to strike him out. It was the big leagues and it was fantastic.”
Except that after a while, it really wasn’t.