Jimmy Walker is an American golfer and current star of the PGA Tour. The Oklahoma born sports star began his career with many attempts at victory, but it wasn’t until later that he would start to earn success. We take a look back at what sparked his interest in golf and the massive success he’s had in recent years.
Jimmy Walker is a well-known name in American golf, but it wasn’t always that way. With a massive 187 PGA Tour events under his belt and a not a single win to brag about, things changed very quickly for the Oklahoma born golfer.
Jimmy is another case of a golfer who experienced his highest highs followed by his lowest lows and is currently suffering a public battle with Lyme disease that has impacted his game. Like other sports stars though, he’s vowed not to give up, and so we can surely expect great things from him in the future.
An avid photographer and big family man, there’s a whole lot more to Jimmy Walker than first meets the eye. We’re going to take a look back at his humble beginnings, where his passion for the game started, and what lead him to become one of the biggest names in golf for the decade.
Early Life and A Start in Golf
James William Walker was born in Oklahoma City on January 16th, 1979. His father was the first one to introduce him to the game of golf and was a self-described scratch golfer. “My dad was really good, and I thought to myself – if I could beat him, I might just be pretty good too,” he said once in an interview and from there his passion was born.
Jimmy didn’t just enjoy golf while growing up though, as he had a keen interest in everything from soccer, basketball, and baseball. However, he found that golf offered a new and exciting challenge that none of the others had. With golf, all of your success and failure rides on your own back and not those of your team.
His family moved from Oklahoma to Texas and once he finished high school, he began his collegiate golf degree at Baylor University in Waco. After years of practice and playing for the college team, Jimmy felt he was ready to turn professional in 2001 at the age of 22.
The Start of His Professional Career
When Jimmy turned professional in 2001, he had a slow start, but one that was not indicative of what was to come for him. He played first on the Nationwide Tour in 2003 and 2004 full time and during these first two events of his professional career, he took home victories. By the time the 2004 season was over, he had won Player of the Year and also earned his PGA Tour card for the very first time.
Although he started off well, things didn’t continue this was for Jimmy. In 2005, he suffered an injury and thus only played in nine PGA Tour events that year. By 2006, he was ready to play his first full season on the PGA Tour which included 21 events, making nine cuts and earning just one top 25 finish. By the end of the year, he was 202nd on the money list and sadly didn’t have enough to keep playing rights.
In 2007, he returned to the Nationwide Tour and had some more success, including a win of the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic. By the end of the year, he was 25th on the Nationwide Tour’s money list so he once again earned his Tour card ready to compete for the 2009 season.
Things started to look up for Walker in 2009 as he earned two top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour. He moved up considerably on the money list and managed to secure a card for the 2010 season. However, during that year he made less than half the cuts that he played in.
2011 and 2012 were both good years for Walker and the best he had performed to date. he ended the 2012 season as 43rd on the FedEx Cup list and had six top 10 finishes to brag about. 2013 saw him get 25 consecutive cuts so by the time he had finished that year’s season he had earned over $2 million in prize money.
Major Achievements and Making A Name For Himself
2014 was the year when things really started to change for Jimmy Walker, and he went from just getting through to being victorious most of the time. This year, Walker would go on to win six events in the fall, including his very first PGA Tour Event at the 2013 Frys.com Open which happened on this 188th game.
Winning this event gave him an exemption into the Hyundai Tournament of Champions where he got his invite to the Masters Tournament and a PGA Tour Card. With other wins like the Sony Open in Hawaii and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, this was the year he also entered the top 50 for the very first time and became the leader on the 2014 money list.
That year, Walker had many other victories that earned him a spot on the 2014 Ryder Cup team for the US, which was another major milestone. During the 2014 season, he made it as high as 14th on the Official World Golf Ranking list as well.
By 2015, Jimmy Walker was one of the biggest names in golf and earned his fourth PGA Tour win at the Sony Open in Hawaii. His fifth win came soon after when he took home the prize at the Valero Texas Open, beating Jordan Spieth and moving Walker into the world’s top 10 for the very first time in his career.
2016 was the last year that Jimmy had such huge success, and at the Baltustrol Golf Club 2016 PGA Championship, he experienced the first time he’d ever led a major and won. Sadly, it was revealed in 2017 that he had contracted Lyme disease which explained why we had seen less of him on the golf course.
Personal Life and Family
Jimmy Walker has a rich family life and often speaks about his wife Erin and their two children. Erin is also a sports professional as a nationally ranked show jumper. The pair met while she was volunteering for the 2004 Nationwide Tour event and fell in love instantly.
The revelation that Jimmy Walker had contracted Lyme disease came as a shock to the world of sport. His wife Erin revealed that some months after a hunting trip, the golfer started to feel symptoms of brain fog which affected his game as he was unable to connect his mind to his swing at times.
The news may offer some insight into why his game appeared to struggle in 2017 and beyond, and his wife now runs a blog that details just how much impact it has had. However, despite the condition, Jimmy doesn’t want to spend any time off the course and hopes that the medication and other treatment will do their job.
In the meantime, he continues with his other passion in life, astrophotography. As a renowned photographer whose work has been featured as NASA’s Photo of the Day, it’s good to know that he has other interests that will fill his life should golf ever not be an option for him.
Fast Facts About Jimmy Walker
To learn a little more about Jimmy Walker, we’ve found some interesting trivia that even his biggest fans might not know. Here are some fast facts about the Texan golf professional:
A Hopeful Future for the Golf Professional
Like many other golfers who suffer from illness or injury, it seems that Jimmy Walker isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. There have been stories for decades about sports stars who managed to overcome things they once saw to be a challenge, and there’s no doubt that Jimmy Walker will be one of them.