Cross Lanes native Tyler Collet follows unique path to successful golf career, three appearances over four years in PGA Championship

Tyler Collet didn’t follow the usual path to becoming a professional golfer, one that recently participated in the PGA Championship for a third time.

Collet, a native of Cross Lanes, graduated from Cross Lanes Christian School in 2013 before setting off to Eastern Kentucky in an effort to become a Class A PGA professional.

Collet had regularly played golf throughout his childhood, including on the Callaway Junior Tour and in West Virginia Golf Association events. He played at the now-defunct Shawnee Golf Course consistently, tagged along with his older brother at Edgewood Country Club and made the most of his parents’ membership at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club to test his game at that venue.

Collet also was on the golf team at Cross Lanes Christian as a freshman, but the program was scrapped his remaining three years of high school after the coach quit ahead of Collet’s sophomore season.

“I asked my parents before my senior year of high school if I could transfer to Nitro to play high school golf and see if I could be recognized as a golfer for colleges and they wouldn’t let me,” Collet said. “It is what it is and I’m happy with how my life has turned out.”

Collet did not play golf at EKU, though not by choice. After enrolling in a PGA Golf Management Program, which is accredited by the Professional Golfers Association of America, he was not permitted to be part of the golf team because the professor overseeing that program felt the educational demands were enough to handle.

Completing multiple years of the educational work associated with the program allowed Collet to be through with that part by the time he finished college, and after graduating in 2016, he accepted a position as assistant professional at York Country Club in Pennsylvania. 

Collet was there for seven months and developed connections that helped lead to a position as assistant pro at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

More than six years later, Collet still holds that position, though he’s a full-time golfer.

“I was the first assistant across all three properties and had a pretty big job working anywhere between 45 and 60 hours a week. I was running most tournaments and managing the tournament staff we have in conjunction with the head professional, but after last season, I took a step back and wanted to really focus on playing,” Collet said. “ I work just enough to keep my PGA membership valid. I open carts and still teach a little bit, but not much. Pretty bare minimum stuff what I do now.

“I play and practice every day and playing golf is my main job now.”

Less than a month ago, Collet finished in a tie for sixth place at 3-over par at the PGA Professional Championship at Fields Ranch East & West Courses in Frisco, Texas. That finish in a 312-player field represented by all 41 PGA Sections was enough to send Collet to his third PGA Championship, which wrapped up last weekend at Valhalla Golf Club.

May 15, 2024; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Rory McIlroy shakes hands with Tyler Collet as they pass by on the 14th hole during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Clare Grant-USA TODAY Sports

Collet fired rounds of 73-72 on the par 71 course, finishing four shots off the cut line and tied with the likes of Adam Scott, Sungjae Im and Sam Burns, and one shot ahead of major winners Phil Mickelson, Wyndham Clark and Francesco Molinari.

“I hit the ball well enough to make the cut. I had really high expectations for myself and I just missed too many fairways by a yard or so and that was the thickest part of the rough,” Collet said. “I was missing my lines by a couple yards here and there. It would dribble into the rough, then it’s a bad lie, I’d chip out and it was hard to make birdies. It’s major championship rough, so it’s thick and dense. Every time I play in a tour event, I expect to play well and when you don’t, it’s a little disappointing, but it’s just golf.”

Still, it was a far better showing for Collet than at his major debut in the 2021 PGA Championship when he shot 88-82 and was 21 shots off the cut line at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. It was also a display of improvement from Collet’s performance in the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, when he carded rounds of 79-71, and at 10-over par, was six strokes off the cut line.

Collet has also twice played in the Puerto Rico Open and Cognizant Classic on the PGA Tour. Earlier this year, he missed the cut by two shots at the Cognizant with rounds of 70-72 to finish even. Collet then made the cut at the Puerto Rico Open the next week, finishing in a tie for 68th place at 4-under par.

His PGA Tour Debut came at the 2021 Puerto Rico Open when Collet shot 74-75 and missed the cut less than three months before playing in his first major. In 2023, he fired an opening-round 2-under par 68 at the Honda Classic (now known as the Cognizant), but missed the cut following a 76 in Round 2.

“The 2021 Puerto Rico Open was during COVID and with no fans allowed, it just kind of felt like another event with a cut, and didn’t really feel like a PGA Tour event even though it was my first one,” Collet said. “At Kiawah, that was the first major outside of The Masters that allowed fans back. It was completely eye-opening. I really had no idea what to expect. I was kind of overwhelmed and my game showed it. I played like garbage. It was a learning curve. I learned a lot about myself and how I do with pressure and what I do with pressure.

“That versus this time at Valhalla, I knew what to expect. I kind of treat it as it’s just another round of golf. That’s really all it is. I can only control what I can control and not what everybody else does. Try to go out and play my best and see if it’s good enough.”

Collet’s schedule prevents him from returning home often, but he tries to get back at least once a year to see his parents, who still reside in Cross Lanes. He was back in Kanawha County earlier this month after securing his spot in the PGA Championship.

As a Florida resident, he’s not permitted to play in WVGA events and last played in the West Virginia Open in 2018.

May 13, 2024; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Tyler Collet chips the ball onto the putting green on hole 12 during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Clare Grant-USA TODAY Sports

That busy schedule has him regularly competing on the PGA’s South Florida Section and the Minor League Golf Tour. The 2022 and 2023 South Florida PGA Player of the Year, Collet also won his first event on the MLGT in April.

He will participate in PGA Tour Americas Qualifying Tournament in Litchfield Park, Ariz., starting Tuesday, and then final U.S. Open Qualifying on June 3 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.

By way of the top 20 finish in the PGA Professional Championship, Collet is into final U.S. Open Qualifying, and by finishing top 10, he is into final qualifying for The Open Championship as well as the second stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School.

Thus, he has a chance to play his way into the remaining two major tournaments this season.

“If you’re a good player, and you want to try to make it on tour, the route I took is not a bad way to do it,” Collet said. “I would recommend it. It takes you a few years to get through the schooling part, which I’m grateful I did in college, so I didn’t have to do it outside of college. Being a PGA Professional is a good route to go, because if you qualify for the pro championship one year, and say you play really well and win it, you’re in six PGA Tour events the next year. It’s pretty lucrative.”

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