Come Aug. 10 in at Quail Hollow (Charlotte, N.C.), nearly all eyes in the golf world will be focused on Jordan Spieth. And for good reason, of course. At the PGA Championship, the 23-year-old will try to become the youngest player to ever capture a career grand slam.
Around these parts, however, many golfers will likely have more interest in another player — Los Altos Golf Course teaching pro David Muttitt.
“I will definitely try to make a statement for the section, and have people here have really been supporting me,” Muttitt said. “I want to represent the club (Los Altos) and the pros out here.
“I’ve been getting a lot of text messages, and most are from the pros out here. We’re a small family, of sort.”
A native of Dallas, but whose parents are from England, Muttitt came to New Mexico in 2001 as a student-athlete at Roswell’s New Mexico Military Academy.
He later went to a community college in Dallas and turned professional in 2005.
But after some success on mini-tours, he became a Class A PGA club pro — a professional who works in the industry, but doesn’t play for a living — in 2013.
He worked as an assistant pro at Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club for a couple of years before joining Los Altos a little less about three years ago.
But the guy who spends much of his time teaching the sport can still really play it.
For the second straight year, and third time since 2013, the 34-year-old Muttitt is heading to the PGA via a top 20 finish in the annual PGA Professional Championship, a tournament with a field of club professionals.
Last year, Muttitt he won a seven-way playoff to snatch the final spot in the 312-player field. This year in Sunriver, Ore., he finished in an eight-way tie for 19th. He again battled through a playoff for one of two remaining spots.
“The experience is huge, having been there before,” said Muttitt, who missed the cut in each of his first two PGA Championships. “I know what to expect. Logistically, it’s a little different each time, but you know who you’re playing in front of and what to expect. Sure, it’s different than any other time when I’m playing, but it’s not an issue for me playing in front of people.”
Muttitt’s mom, Larraine Bradbury, and his sister, Sarah Muttitt, live in England. His father, Norman Muttitt, and his brother, Timothy Muttitt, live in Dallas.
All four will attend the PGA, along with Muttitt’s 7-year-old son Charlie, who lives in Albuquerque.
“It’s a great feeling having them all there,” David said. “I know it means so much to them, and it means so much to me having them there.”
He will also have a number of friends from Albuquerque there — and many more back in New Mexico.
“We’re the second- or third-smallest section (225 members) out of 41 in the country, so having David represent us as one of the best players in the PGA is huge,” said Dana Lehner, executive director of the Sun Country PGA. “The players in our section believe they are as good as anyone else.
“It’s a great calling card for our section anytime a player like David Muttitt gives us this kind of national exposure, and shows the level we have in the Sun Country.”
Muttitt, too, is confident of his chances.
He probably won’t take the world’s eyes off of Speith and company.
Then again, who knows?
“I want to be the low club pro — that’s my goal,” Muttitt said. “I want to play as well as I can and see where it puts me. But my goal is definitely to stand on that green on Sunday and stand next to whoever wins the overall title.”