John Singleton will be living every weekend golfer's dream this week when he walks the greens at Royal Liverpool.
Singleton, 30, works in a factory as a production operator for a varnish-and-resin company several miles away from the course. He once had a promising golf career -- starring at Division-II Rend Lake College in Illinois -- but it was derailed by serious injuries to both knees. After a total of six knee operations Singleton assumed his competitive golf career was over.
But he figured this year, with the British Open taking place several miles away from his home, it was worth the roughly $240 for the qualifying tournaments. With his dad caddying for him at the regional qualifying tournament, Singleton lost in the playoff and was ready to accept disappointment. But he was called up to the final 36-hole qualifier as a reserve, and a course-record second round had him on his way to the final spot in the British Open.
He's been dubbed the 'Walter Mitty' of golf, "a mild-mannered man with a blue-collar job whose fantasy of competing against the best players in the world will become a reality this week."
The last time the Open was held in Liverpool, Singleton forgot to enter qualifying and he was forced to watch as a spectator. He told the New York Times he spent much of the tournament drinking in the beer garden.
As evidenced by these Twitter posts, Singleton has had quite the memorable experience leading up to this year's tournament:
— John Singleton (@Jsingo) July 13, 2014
— John Singleton (@Jsingo) July 11, 2014
The best day so far,walking round the course with dad. pic.twitter.com/aLZ1L3nQxm
— John Singleton (@Jsingo) July 9, 2014
Singleton's co-workers will get Thursday off so they can watch him compete. Singleton himself has had two weeks off, with pay, so he could prepare for the tournament. That's a decision his employer may come to regret.
"I want to get a sponsor so I can continue to play golf," Singleton said. "I have to work full time. I want to play full time."