Regardless of what happens on the golf course, Joel Edwards can always close his eyes and think back to conversations he cherishes.
It’s nothing specific, and not anything necessarily about golf. Just good old-fashioned advice from a man who knew a thing or two about coming through in the clutch.
Edwards started his career in the early 1980s playing small golf tournaments in northern Minnesota. Duluth one week, Virginia the next. Maybe a hop over to Bemidji.
“I have a lot of Minnesota ties,” Edwards said.
Along the way he met his wife, Rhonda, in Virginia. She’s the daughter of Minnesota basketball legend Richie Olson, who led tiny Edgerton to the 1960 one-class state basketball championship as a 23-year-old coach.
Olson, who died last year, stayed with athletics long after that one crowning achievement and picked up vital experiences he shared with Edwards at a moment’s notice.
“Richie was great to me,” said Edwards, who shot a 3-under 33 on the back nine Friday in Round 1 of the 3M Championship to highlight a 4-under 68. “I enjoyed picking his brain about coaching. He’s one of those guys that never believed about backing off anything. Always go for it. Suck it up and go.”
Olson would sometimes caddie for his son-in-law.
“Just a lot of fond memories of him traveling a lot with us during those early years; really great stuff,” Edwards said. “If you didn’t like Richie, there was something wrong with you.”
As Edwards advanced on in his golf career, he befriended the likes of Joe Torre and Chan Gailey.
But the first coach for Edwards will always be Olson.
“I just loved how you could pick his brain about coaching,” Edwards said. “And it wasn’t just Edgerton. He won [at Virginia] in golf, swimming, tennis. He was just an incredible motivator.”
Maybe it’s why Edwards is still competing after years of ups and downs following those long travels to no-name tournaments well north of his native Texas.
Edwards has only one PGA Tour victory to his credit and is only in the 3M after qualifying Tuesday for one of the last five spots.
If he’s learned anything, though, it’s to never give up no matter the odds.
“It’s just part of how things go out here sometimes,” Edwards said. “It’s pretty simple: If you play well, you’re going to get to play.”