When Nate Smith, who earned a spot in the Wells Fargo Championship by firing 63 in the Monday Qualifier, walked into the locker room on Wednesday afternoon, he found his new golf bag with a note (pictured above) attached, “All players, please sign for charity auction. Nate Smith, you’re welcome.”
Nate had left the bag he was using for his tournament next to his locker and when his buddy James Hahn came across it, he saw it as an opportunity to get Nate back for a prank earlier in the day.
Turns out it may have brought some good juju, as Nate shot a five-under 67 to share the first-round lead with seven other players, including world no. 2 Rory McIlroy.
Smith, who has conditional status on the Web.com Tour, and Hahn, a rookie on the PGA Tour, often mess with each other (after all, there’s a lot of spare time to kill in golf) and Nate came up with the idea to buy walkie-talkies and put one of them in James’ bag on Wednesday. While James was hitting balls on the quiet driving range that afternoon, Nate started to talk through the other walkie-talkie.
James heard noises coming from his bag, but he found it and then hooked it to his pants while he continued to hit balls and tried to figure out who the culprit was.
“Are you wearing boxers or briefs?” said Nate through the walkie-talkie as James was mid-swing.
Eventually, Nate cracked and told James it was him.
James got his retribution and came up with an even funnier prank with the bag. Nate was embarrassed at first because, you know, he was a Monday qualifier and guys in the locker room were probably wondering who this “Nate Smith” was.
“People started signing it, which is like,kind of a little embarrassing when you’re playing as a Monday qualifier,” said Nate, who played college golf at Duke University. “You don’t want people to be making fun of you, but I kind of had it coming from James, so it’s all in good fun.”
But he’s a good sport so he left the bag with the note (and silver pens, no less!) overnight to see how many people would actually sign it. When he arrived to the course on Thursday afternoon, there were more than sixty autographs.
“The best one might be the one that says ‘happy birthday,’ because it’s definitely not my birthday until August 7th,” said Nate, who was a rookie on the PGA Tour in 2011. But I saw Stuart Appleby’s on there because it says 59. Then Camilo (Villegas) has one on here that’s kind of cool.
“It’s hard to make them out, but I haven’t checked them out because I was busy playing golf. But I’ll try to do something with the bag afterwards. Maybe I actually will put it towards charity now that I’ve used it or give it to somebody to keep it.”
Prior to this week, Nate has played in five Web.com Tour events, notching his best finish, T27, last week at the South Georgia Classic.
Maybe James should prank Nate more often!
“It was a good day out there,” he said. “I hit a lot of quality golf shots and really hit some good wedges. I was able to kind of stay patient on the greens and even make a few putts from 8 to 25 feet, and turned into a minus-5.”
Naturally, Nate won’t be letting James have the last word.
“I’ll be getting him back,” he quipped. “So don’t you worry about that.”
(Second picture: AP Photo/Bob Leverone)