April 2013

Beyond the Fairways and Greenways


In honor of the PGA TOUR Wives Association’s 25th anniversary, the organization has published a commemorative book entitled Beyond the Fairways and Greens—Look Inside the Lives of PGA TOUR Families. This stunning “family album” captures the Association’s quarter century of charitable work and, through hundreds of heartwarming stories and family photographs, offers readers a rare glimpse into the lives of PGA TOUR families, both on and off the course. It features stories, pictures and recipes submitted by the families of generations of professional golfers like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and many others. The coffee-table book is 384 pages, hard cover and full color. The book retails for $50 and can be purchased online at the publisher’s website at butlerbooks.com, through Amazon or through the pgatourwives.org.

Below is an excerpt from the book and is the 2012 RBC Heritage winner Carl Pettersson’s story.

He was raised on pickled herring and tunnbrodsrulle, a Swedish snack which is a hotdog—no bun—with mashed potatoes on the side. His musical tastes ran toward Ah Ha, Ace of Base and any other 80s group with a Swedish connection.

So how in the devil did Carl Pettersson morph from refined and polished European who speaks multiple languages, into country-fried steak-loving, vintage Johnny Cash-Hank Williams Sr. and Jr.-total old-style country son of the South? Let’s just say he took to it faster than a hot knife slices through butter.

The gregarious Swede has been known to take the microphone for his own rendition of Lynard Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” or bust into a country song. And his accent? It’s a hodgepodge—a little Swedish tinged with a bit of the oh-so proper King’s English and a dash of North Carolina twang.

“He’s sharp and witty,’’ wife DeAnna said. “I’ve always enjoyed the dry and quick witted humor that most “Brits” have, and Carl certainly nails it.” But as for those country roots he’s put down? “I remember he’d start singing to a country song,’’ she said, “and I’d say, you lived in England half your life. How do you know this?”

Carl was born in Sweden, grew up in London and his father, an executive with Volvo, moved the family to Greensboro, North Carolina when he was in high school. It was culture shock at first, but by the time he’d spent two years as Central Alabama Junior College, he was putting down southern roots.

And when he got to NC State? He met DeAnna Ellis, a budding singer who could belt out southern gospel music and cook like nobody’s business. She had never lived outside the state of North Carolina, but she learned to cook from one of the best—her grandmother.

DeAnna’s country-fried steak was always, hands down, the go-to request from Carl and roommates. She would grab her pots and pans and groceries, and whip up the Southern staple, complete with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Funny, but when she and Carl first met, DeAnna wondered how two people from opposite sides of the world could have things in common. More than a decade and two children later, DeAnna can laugh about how much they’ve really always had in common, even though they didn’t know each other the first 21 years of their lives. They found some interesting threads to connect them—both had moved seven times growing up, both were close to their grandparents, and now they find they’re more alike than they ever thought.

“Over the years, we found we really have a lot in common, most notably, the resilience to adapt to change,’’ she said. “That’s so important for the life out here. You don’t know if you’re going to miss the cut, or be on the brink of missing your card and not having a job next year. Or if you’re going from the cutline to winning like Carl did [at the 2010 RBC Canadian Open].’’

Carl had to make a nine-foot putt just to make the cut in Canada that year, then shot 60—he lipped out a birdie on the 18th—in the third round. A closing 67 gave him his fourth TOUR win.

“There’s just so much volatility in this career. The ability to adjust to all the changes is vital,’’ DeAnna said. “Little did we know that our backgrounds of having to change schools, adjust to all different situations would help prepare us for the life we have out here.’’

Or that Carl’s grandfather’s nurturing—they spent winters in Spain so Carl could work on his game—would have such a profound impact years later. Or that the way her grandmother taught her to cook—“You start out by putting some Crisco in the pan—about this much”—would be the way to Carl and his roommates’ hearts and inspire part of this 25th anniversary book.

Today, that country-fried steak meal is for special occasions only, and DeAnna had her late-grandmother’s handwritten recipes bound into a cookbook for family and close friends.

She and Carl are still adapting. He became a U.S. citizen in 2012, and she’s using the “pinch-and-taste” method of her late grandmother, to create healthier meals.

As for the pickled herring, tunnbrodsrulle and Ah Ha? Carl will still inhale the tunnbrodsrulle but pass on the herring when he’s in Sweden. But nothing beats a little fried chicken and biscuits, a cold beer and maybe a sing along to another seriously Southern anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama.”

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