The Next Tiger Woods: Lil Jordan, Discovered at the 2011 Pebble Beach Pro-Am!

Golf Writer Andy Reistetter continues his exclusive “Play-Write” series with one of the Monterey Peninsula’s best golf courses- Bayonet. Even more exciting was playing Bayonet with California’s own Lil’ Jordan, America’s favorite Junior Golf personality and someone who may very well be the next generation Tiger Woods. Enjoy a story that goes beyond golf to the heart of an American family and perhaps your heart as well.

Lil JordanWith Tiger Woods out of the Top 10 Official World Golf Ranking I might know somebody who will take his place.

We might have to wait a few years.

I was at Pebble Beach Golf Links for the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the third time in a one year period.

That’s right: two Pro-Ams sandwiching one United States Open.

Watching the best golfers in the world play perhaps the most scenic golf course in the world under pristine weather conditions (yes for two Pro-Ams in a row) is truly a life-altering experience.

Then to have the opportunity to play the recently renovated Bayonet golf course the Monday after being a witness to the Cinderella story being played out at Pebble Beach by Bill Murray and D. A. Points was more than I could ask for.

What was offered to me was more than I could hope for: to play the round at Bayonet with Lil’ Jordan, someone I was not familiar with until earlier in the week.

At age 13, he and this story of love and family have impacted me as much as being able to meet and interview all the inspiring celebrities and successful business people that the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is known for.

I first met Lil’ Jordan’s father Johnny Eugenio through a mutual friend in the exceptionally well-run Hunter Public Relations’ tournament media center at Pebble Beach.

The first thing you realize is that Jordan, a multicultural kid, looks a lot like Tiger Woods and that his father Johnny is a nice guy is the second thing you become instantly aware of.

The 46-year old father of eight works two jobs to support his family, and while he publicly promotes Jordan, he does the same thing, if not more in private, with all of his children.

If you ask, he will tell you the story of Lil Jordan. In fact he wrote a book featuring his son called “Lil’ Jordan’s 9 Holes of Fear.”

Another child prodigy progressing all too fast?

Not this kid. Like a good swing in golf, there is balance to this kid’s life.

The genesis of Lil’ Jordan’s story is that his second oldest brother Joshua has Down Syndrome. Father Johnny was doing his part giving back, organizing charitable golf tournaments to raise money, not only for his son’s genetic disorder, but for all disabilities.

Dad asked a rap singer to write a song for Joshua to support a charity golf outing. Son Jordan was helping dad and did his part, singing a verse of the song at age eight. Music producers loved Lil Jordan.

Throw in some amazing golfing talent and the dedication to practice, and what you have is one remarkable kid and one magnificent family behind him.

“I am just going to do my best and do what is right for my brother,” remarked Lil Jordan, who is really not in fear of anything in life.

Joshua’s favorite sport is basketball, and Jordan plays with him.

“We are just going to keep on having fun,” says the little brother that everyone can look up to.

Fun for Lil’ Jordan was being featured by the local NBC affiliate as the next Tiger Woods way back in 2000, when the U.S. Open came to Pebble Beach, only nine miles from his home in Marina.

Fun is being able to shoot 85 at Pebble Beach at a young age.

Fun is singing hip-hop with a little rap and playing the piano and a little Ukulele.

While his golf is entertaining, this kid is entertaining.

After seeing little Tiger chip in for deuce on the fourth hole and go on to shoot 77, his best score ever on Bayonet, I was happy no wagers were placed. If I had to go into my pocket, my new name for him would have been “Lil’ Rascal”, not Lil’ Jordan.

I am too old to be a pigeon.

Seriously, keep an eye out for Lil’ Jordan from Marina, California in the years ahead.

As far as the golf course, what can I say? It was spectacular. I want to play it again. The Black Horse course looks truly amazing as well.

Bayonet, now a world class golfing facility courtesy of architect Gene Bates, has scale and grandeur like the 2009 President’s Cup host course Harding Park in nearby San Francisco. Most tees are elevated and give the golfer sight lines to the flagstick with the beauty and hazards in between all there for everyone to see.

If you get a chance to play Bayonet, play it! Better yet, play Bayonet and Black Horse in the same day!

And remember that name: Lil’ Jordan Eugenio‚Ķ

For more information on Lil’ Jordan check out his web site www.LilJordan.com

 

Reistetter resides within two miles of the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

A lifetime golfer, Andy enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame and THE PLAYERS while pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it. He can be reached through his website www.MrHickoryGolf.net or by e-mailing him at AndyReistetter@gmail.com