What is the life of a rookie like on the PGA TOUR? It’s not a sport whose newcomers are well-known. Guys come into the NFL and the NBA already famous, some practically household names, but in golf, you have to beat a lot of very good opponents to even begin to make a name for yourself. So who are Sahith Theegala and Mito Pereira?
Both rookies this past season, the two come from very different backgrounds. Theegala played college golf at Pepperdine before going pro and has seen some very high finishes in his first year, though he hasn’t grabbed that elusive win. In the episode, we see him come close before the adrenaline or the nerves or some bad luck gets to him and he falls out of the lead at the last second.
Mito Pereira, who has since left for LIV Golf, has a unique story. He joined the PGA TOUR much later than the average rookie. He also had a heartbreaking loss at the 2022 PGA Championship, where he collapsed on the 18th tee when a par would have made him immortal. Pereira has a tight-knit squad of other Latin American golfers, including Joaquin Niemann, who was one of the earlier golfers to defect to LIV. Niemann is younger than Pereira — they golfed together as teens — but took longer to get onto the TOUR.
The episode is titled “Golf is Hard,” and they show it. Pereira’s collapse, Theegala’s mistakes — winning a golf tournament, being better than 150 or so other professionals, is incredibly hard. But the best part of the episode is Theegala’s genuine and heartbreaking reaction to his loss.
He’s publicly emotional — it’s good to see. If the end goal of this show is to give new fans a personal look into the sport to draw them in and give them a favorite name to cheer on (which it is), they need to have guys like this who aren’t afraid to be honest about their disappointment. If golfers are at press conferences shrugging off losses, why should fans care? But Theegala isn’t like that — he visibly tears up after a tough loss in front of the press — and with that comes one of the best parts of the entire show: Theegala’s father.
Seen on the sidelines cheering him on at each tournament, Murli Theegala told his son not to be afraid to show his emotions. “It makes the happy moments so much better.”