‘Time to turn on LinkedIn’: The professional almost ‘quits’ before going through Q-School

In the wake of the last Korn Ferry Tour Q-School, let’s empty the notebook, one story at a time…


SAVANNAH, Ga. – In college at USC, Rico Hoey was nicknamed “WGD,” which stands for “World’s Greatest Driver.”

In recent years, he has been known to his family and friends as “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

Hoey, now 27, jokes that it’s because he’s been threatened with quitting professional golf multiple times, only to end up on the course the next day. When he opened the final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Q-School in 2-over 73 last Friday, he glanced at the leaderboard and saw that he was almost outside the top 100.

“I said to my girlfriend, ‘OK, it’s time to turn on LinkedIn. I don’t even know how to work this, but let’s do this. how can i apply?” Hoy recalled with a laugh.

OK, so Hoey wasn’t exactly serious — maybe a little — but he played the rest of the finals like a guy who didn’t want to go get another job, firing rounds of 70-67-68 to tie for 17u and comfortably earn eight guaranteed starts at KFT next year.

Speaking of comfort, Hoey wasted no time slipping on some flip-flops and grabbing a beer at the club’s bar. Anything to lighten the mood after a stressful week in which “WGD” couldn’t hit many drivers, although Hoey’s beer did get a little warm sitting in the sun while he fielded a few questions on camera.

“It’s all good,” Hoi said as he took the plastic cup and took a sip.

After all, he headed back to KFT. The former All-American played three straight seasons on the PGA Tour’s premier developmental tour before losing his card after the 2020-21 super season. Since then he has played a schedule consisting mostly of state opens (he was runner-up at the Colorado Open in July) and mini-tours (he won four times on the Asher Tour, formerly the Golden State Tour, this year).

“Just getting ready for Q-School and learning how to win,” Hoey said. “There’s no substitute for putting yourself in high-pressure situations, no matter what tour you’re playing on.”

Not playing much outside of California in the past year has meant Hoey has been back home more often with his parents, with whom he has lived since turning pro in 2017.

“It was weird,” Hoy said. “From not being home much when I was in Korn Ferry, all of a sudden my parents are like, ‘You’re here, huh? I’m like, “Yeah, sorry, I’ve got nowhere to be.”

Hoey admits he struggles to win his vault despite being a “terrible cook” and his best housemate quality is keeping the mood light and his parents laughing – well, when he’s not crying wolf.

Now that Hoey has earned his return to KFT, he hopes to permanently quell those cries, serious or not, with his game in 2023. He doesn’t want to worry about LinkedIn. Asked what his second career would be, Hoey shrugged. Even with the thought of being a college golf coach, Hoy seemed interested before admitting, “I don’t know if the players would take me seriously.”

Fair point. Hoey would rather just play golf.

“This game makes me want to keep coming back and getting better,” Hoey said afterward. “It’s disappointing, but it has its moments, like this one.”

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