It’s been a number of years however Jeff Wright can nonetheless really feel the embarrassment of being woken up in his automotive in the course of the evening by safety as a result of he was sleeping within the car parking zone.
“I’ve slept at the back of my automotive so many occasions after being simply crushed up on a course over the past couple of years,” Wright stated just lately from a lodge room in Detroit. “Getting woken up in the course of the evening by safety as a result of I’m not speculated to be parked within the car parking zone of a event I’m taking part in in and simply being humiliated. It’s like, dude, for those who had any concept the one purpose why I’m right here is as a result of I can’t afford to get a lodge however I’m 5 pictures out of the lead.”
Wright hasn’t all the time been a homeless golfer chasing his dream on the course. In truth, the previous millionaire has lived a life most thrill-seekers can solely dream of. Popping out of highschool in California, he was among the finest gamers within the nation. After shedding his recreation in a brief stint at Arizona State within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, Wright returned dwelling to the College of California-Irvine with a brand new passion: the guitar.
What got here subsequent for Wright was a profitable 30 years within the music enterprise the place he opened for Corridor and Oates, Practice and Sugar Ray, adopted by an epic fall from grace that left him homeless. Regardless of misstep after setback, the previous mannequin, rock star and Millionaire Matchmaker contestant discovered his approach again to golf and he certified for this 12 months’s U.S. Senior Newbie, which began final Saturday at Nation Membership of Detroit.
How golf grew to become tragic
Wright initially dedicated to Georgia Tech whereas in a helicopter flying over Augusta, Georgia, throughout his recruitment, however then he acquired to pondering how, as a California child, he may get homesick.
“I used to be recruited by everyone: USC, UCLA, Stanford, BYU, Houston, Oklahoma State. I might have gone wherever, however I suppose I selected Arizona State as a result of my brother was there and I type of acquired together with the coach,” defined Wright. “He type of befriended me just a little bit.”
His time with the Solar Devils was quick lived as a result of as a freshman, regardless of being a top-10 participant within the nation out of highschool, he redshirted.
“I used to be residing in type of a vacuum bubble the place I got here from, and I wasn’t prepared for the reins to return off,” stated Wright. “I didn’t take care of it effectively, I type of went inward and I ended up leaving after my sophomore 12 months. I went again dwelling, I simply someday walked off campus and went to UC-Irvine.
“And at that time, someone gave me a guitar at ASU and I type of took to that as consolation, I suppose,” he continued. “So I’m at UC-Irvine, I’m on the golf crew there, residing at dwelling, although, as a result of it’s proper by the place I lived. I joined a fraternity and a few lady hears me singing, , serenading the sorority ladies, and so they’re like, ‘You possibly can sing.’ The following factor , I used to be like, ‘I like this so much higher than golf.’”
The Face of the 80’s
Whereas at Arizona State, someone had approached Wright about modeling.
“I suppose I used to be slightly, as my mother would say, simple on the eyes,” he stated with fun. “So there was some doorways opening up with that. And by the point I acquired again to California, I suppose you’d say someone found me from this huge company in Hollywood.”
He joined a band round that point as effectively, and he was nonetheless going to high school, however the modeling profession continued to develop.
“I received ‘The Face of the 80’s’ for Macy’s division retailer, like nearly like a magnificence pageant. I used to be doing Teen journal, Goal advertisements, I truly was nonetheless dabbling in golf however there was lots of stuff occurring, life was taking place fairly quick,” stated Wright. “I used to be doing commercials, and I used to be actually doing lots of stuff in Hollywood, after which my band began to actually take off. After which I answered an advert as an actual property appraiser within the Orange County Register as a result of I wanted to get a job.”
Actual property appraiser by day, rock star mannequin by evening.
“Subsequent factor I meet a gal, unexpectedly she’s pregnant and I’m gonna have a son. I’m 27 years previous, golf is simply not even on my radar. I’ve utterly forgotten about golf.”
Wright was touring with lots of huge acts and his songs have been taking part in on the radio, however regardless of his success he didn’t love the Hollywood scene.
“I felt type of like an object, it wasn’t very rewarding. I type of let that go,” stated Wright. “I truly acquired fired from my company for sporting a bag over my head at an in-store look as a result of I simply felt like such a goofball having individuals stare at me in a swimsuit and simply thought this isn’t for me.”
‘I simply do not need to dwell anymore’
His mannequin life behind him, Wright dug deep in his actual property appraising work and ended up shopping for a home on a golf course in Orange County. He began taking part in golf once more and performed his option to No. 1 on the beginner circuit for the Golden State Tour within the early 2000s.
“I received a bunch of membership championships. I had one other son, now I’ve acquired two boys. I’m residing the dream. And now I’ve acquired a million-dollar dwelling in Newport Seashore. I acquired all of it occurring. Then my dad dies and I misplaced my finest pal and I went off the deep finish. My greatest fan had left the world. I began getting just a little uncontrolled, dabbling in medicine, I had a lot cash. And subsequent factor , I determine I’m gonna marry a shiny, trophy lady.
“I left my children’ mom and ran off with this (lady), and he or she had extra money than me, and now we’re going all around the globe. My music’s going rather well. However I’ve a lot frickin’ cash, so I developed a very dangerous crystal meth downside. Subsequent factor , I’m within the Betty Ford rehab heart.
“I used to be actually glad to get just a few respite from the partying and all the pieces. It actually was a blessing in disguise.”
However rehab wasn’t all-time low.
“My then spouse, I stroll in on her with one other man. And it floored me. So I attempted to take my life, and I failed, thank God,” he stated. “I attempted to take a bunch of sleeping tablets and tequila and cross my arms throughout my chest and stated, ‘I can’t, it’s too painful. I simply don’t need to dwell anymore.’”
After the divorce, Wright filed for chapter.
‘I used to be on the market doing what I cherished’
Wright wanted a change of surroundings, so he ended up transferring again to Arizona the place he’d meet one other lady and spend seven years between his music and a struggling appraisal profession. In 2017, he began dabbling in golf but once more.
“I ended up breaking apart with that gal and he or she was type of serving to me simply keep afloat. Subsequent factor , Jeff’s not a millionaire, I’m residing out the again of my automotive, touring to each event I can discover,” he stated. “Arizona, California, Las Vegas, Colorado, Oregon. Simply barely making it. I can barely afford the entry price however I’m satisfied that I’m simply going to provide it one other shot. And I gotta let you know, I used to be joyful as a lark. I used to be not complaining regardless that I used to be ‘homeless,’ I used to be on the market doing what I cherished.”
Some extra time passes and Wright finds himself on the Napa Open, and he fell in love with the world.
“So, by the grace of God, I acquired a bunch of appraisal work up in Napa, was appraising a man’s home, and he acquired a basement that he’s letting me dwell in. And simply little by little, I began making my a reimbursement. I joined Richmond Nation Membership for a short while, I practiced my ass off and I performed in each event I might discover below the solar. To this present day, I nonetheless dwell in that basement. I’m making good cash once more, sufficient to pursue this dream.
“I simply broke down crying once I (certified for the U.S. Senior Newbie).”
Wright’s 69-year-old older brother, Chris, caddied for him however the run ended after two days, as he shot 75-78 to overlook the minimize by 5 strokes.