Daniel Summerhays is a former PGA Tour player, former high school teacher and former college golf volunteer coach.
He’s no longer a former touring pro, though. In his latest career phase, Summerhays earned Korn Ferry Tour full membership to begin the 2023 season by tying for 17th place Monday in the final stage of qualifying at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club in Savannah, Ga.
The top-40 finish gives the graduate of Davis High School and BYU eight guaranteed starts as the KFT season begins in January in the Bahamas. As of mid-April, he’ll be subject to periodic, performance-based reordering of golfers’ access to tournaments.
Summerhays will join BYU alumnus Patrick Fishburn, who earned full status for a third KFT season with a top-75 finish in the 2022 standings. Another ex-Cougar, Peter Kuest, will have low conditional status in 2023 after tying for 126th in the final stage.
Summerhays (65-69-72-72) finished two strokes out of the top 10, which would have given him 12 guaranteed starts. Even so, this is a career advancement and keeps his playing options open, as he approaches his 39th birthday in December. The Korn Ferry Tour’s top 30 players in 2023 will earn PGA Tour cards for the ‘24 season.
He played a limited schedule the past three years, while announcing his retirement as touring pro in June 2020, right before tying for second place (being eliminated in three-way playoff) in the KFT’s Utah Championship at his home course, Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.
Summerhays spent the 2020-21 school year as a full-time teacher and boys golf coach at Davis, then worked as a BYU volunteer assistant coach in the 2022 spring season. This past summer, the father of four children (his oldest son, Jack, is a Farmington High freshman golfer) started thinking about entering the KFT qualifying school.
“That’s part of the intrigue to me right now is, man, I think I could do it better than I did it before,” he said in July. “Not necessarily playing better, but I could do the whole process [better]. From how I train, to how I travel, to the family interaction I had even when I was on the road, to how I talk to myself [on the course]. All those things, I feel like I’ve definitely grown over the last few years.”
Summerhays played the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours full-time from 2007-19, earning nearly $10 million. “Once you’re infected with success in playing, it’s really hard to give up playing,” said his father, Lynn. “There’s still fire in his bones.”
Daniel Summerhays believes his recent time away from tour life has aided his perspective.
”And then the biggest thing would be my life is fantastic, even without the PGA Tour,” he said. “And full disclosure, I was terrified to lose my tour card. It was paralyzing. I’d been in it so long, I couldn’t imagine life without it. … [Now] I’ve got so many great things going on, and that actually maybe frees me up to do even more with it.”