First things first. Luke Swilor is not as wholesome as the picture he displays of himself on his blog "Luke Swilor's Road to the Tour."
"Luke is a very cool guy. He doesn't look anything like the picture on his blog, though," said Tony Korologos, owner of the Web site Hooked on Golf. "He was a little more rough around the edges when I saw him."
A little investigation shows that the photo Swilor uses for his Web site is the photo the University of Utah used for him when he was captain of the golf team in his senior year with the Utes. Of course, one can forgive Swilor for not updating the picture - he's been busy trying to make it as a professional golfer, while writing a blog about it.
"I've always liked messing around with computers and one day I saw an advertisement for a free blog," Swilor said from his Salt Lake City home. "I had about zero responses for the first seven months, but then Rich (Hodge) at Eat Golf put up something about it and it's been getting a lot more hits now."
What has helped Swilor achieve mini-celebrity status as a golfing blogger hasn't so much been his game, but instead his guy-next-door personality. While he's made it clear he's looking for sponsors to help him advance his golf career, that hasn't stopped Swilor from being himself.
From a blogger-versus-blogger battle on the links with Korologos that promises to be the start of a 2006 full of golf bloggers hitting the links together, to a recent Q&A where Swilor told his readers they could ask him for golf advice - and then answered every question, Swilor's quickly become everyone's Internet younger brother.
"Luke is very open to talking to people on his blog and helping with their game. He and I have had a bunch of e-mail as well as he's been helping me with my short game and mental game," said Korologos. "He's got blogging down well. His posts are very well written and interesting."
The son of longtime Utah PGA Professional Milan Swilor, a runner-up in the 1999 PGA Club Professional Championship, Luke Swilor was a quick study of the game and starred at the University of Utah, where he was a two-time academic All-American. But while his father influenced his game in one way, he also influenced his career in another.
"I grew up on a golf course and have worked in the shop my whole life," said Swilor of his decision to advance in golf via mini-tours. "I just have no desire to work in the shop. If this doesn't work out, I'm just not into becoming a pro. It kills me to see everyone go play and not be able to."
So for Swilor, the road to the tour goes through places like Needles and Temecula for now, and while he's still struggling, "the bills are being paid." Still, things can be tough, such as when a sports writer picks you out of the blue to be a cautionary tale.
"On his Web site, Swilor labels this golf odyssey "Luke Swilor's Road to the Tour." Talk about being optimistic. About the only way for him to get there is to get lucky or get a sponsor who will pay his Q-School dues," wrote the Arizona Daily Star's Greg Hansen in a January 2006 opinion piece.
While Swilor admitted that Hansen would never have written about him if it weren't for his blog, he felt the journalist was missing the point.
"He didn't realize that this is like something every golf pro goes thro. Most of even the great college players have to come out and fight it out at these little tournaments," said Swilor. "Needles had 36 players and had one of the best fields I've seen."
Amongst his golf blogging brethren, however, Swilor is somewhat of a phenomenon - a world-class golfer on the cusp of bigger things, who also happens to be one of the guys. After his 18 holes with Swilor, Korologos - a 2 handicap - couldn't help but gush at young Swilor's ability.
"The most awesome thing about watching Luke's game was how effortless his swing was and how precise his shots were," Korologos wrote in an e-mail exchange. "Every approach shot went right at the flag. I mean RIGHT AT the flag. He made very few mistakes."
While Swilor's game is mean and his looks are meaner than advertised. His good guy image is bolstered by his five-year relationship with girlfriend Nicki, and his decision to remain in Utah.
"My dad always told me having the change of seasons is good for you because you don't burn out," said Swilor from Utah in the midst of a snowstorm. "It's always been a good thing for me, I like having the seasons and right now I like having a break."
College: University of Utah
Blog: Luke Swilor's Road to the Tour
April 5, 2006
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