It is a long way from Darlington to Pebble Beach, especially if you have to go via China and Florida for good measure.
Throw in a cancelled flight, a £353 taxi ride and a mislaid set of clubs and it is fair to say England’s Callum Tarren has had one of the strangest journeys to the US Open of anyone in the 156-man field.
After graduating from college in the United States, Tarren returned to north-east England and took a variety of jobs to finance his professional career, but after missing out on a European Tour card, the 28-year-old opted to chance his arm in China.
#1 – Callum Tarren 🏴— PGA TOUR Series-China (@PGATOURChina) 15 October 2018
The #PGATOURChina's Player of the Year recorded 3 runner-up finishes and 9 top-10s in his 14 starts. Tarren is also 27 for 27 in made cuts in his Tour career! pic.twitter.com/MKl8QPuePB
The ultimate goal was a coveted place on the lucrative PGA Tour and after two years of solid performances, Tarren went into the final event of the 2018 season knowing a victory would secure his place on the next rung down on the ladder, the Web.com Tour.
A closing 62 left Tarren in second place and believing he had agonisingly missed out, only to be told that the only man ahead of him on the money list had bogeyed the 18th hole, meaning he had won the Order of Merit by around £250.
So far in 2019 Tarren has a best finish of 12th on the Web.com Tour but – after missing the cut in his most recent start in South Carolina – he headed to Florida for a 36-hole US Open qualifier and promptly won it with rounds of 64 – a course record – and 68 to book his place at Pebble Beach.
“I had no expectations after missing out by a shot last year (by three-putting the final hole) and thought ‘just go for it’,” Tarren told Press Association Sport.
“I had nothing to lose, everything to gain and came out of the blocks flying.
“I was seven under through 10 and shooting nine under in the morning just set me up for a good solid round in the afternoon. We only had 20 minutes between rounds so it was a quick bite to eat and straight out again.
“To be honest I felt a bit rushed but I got off to a great start again with an eagle on the first and birdie on the second.
Can’t believe I’m tweeting this but I’m Pebble Beach bound 👀😍🥰 @usopengolf— Callum Tarren (@CallumTarren) 9 June 2019
“I had a bit of a wobble with a double bogey on the 12th but when I got finished, to be told I’m in the US Open was just unbelievable. I was so happy and I’m glad I’m here.”
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It was not all plain sailing from there however, Tarren experiencing the kind of nightmare journey he hoped he had left behind in China, when cancelled flights and nights sleeping on airport floors were all too common.
“We flew from Atlanta to San Francisco and were supposed to be flying to Monterey on Sunday night,” he explained.
“We were about to leave but someone dropped an iPhone charger in the doorway and when they shut the door it crushed the charger and bent the door.
“I came here with the same attitude as last year, you’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose.”— Florida State Golf Association (@fsga) 4 June 2019
Last year, @CallumTarren missed out on qualifying by one shot.
Yesterday, he earned medalist honors to punch his ticket to the @usopengolf. #RoadToPebbleBeach pic.twitter.com/UNA8GvnZAd
“We had to deplane and they had to pressurise the cabin to see if there was any leak. There was so they cancelled the flight and we took a USD 450 taxi to get here.
“They said the baggage would come on Monday morning so we went to the airport at 8am. My case was the second one out but my golf clubs had been re-routed to New Orleans and Denver and no one knew why.”
Tarren borrowed a set of clubs for a Monday practice round with Tyrrell Hatton and was reunited with his own set that evening, leaving the world number 459 to fully embrace his first major appearance.
“The number one player in the world is over there hitting chips,” Tarren said as he stood on the putting green.
“It’s quite surreal but at the end of the day they’re just normal people. They’re great golfers and I look up to everyone but this is where I want to be.
“I love playing in America and I feel as though my game has been a lot more solid than my results have shown and for one reason or another I just haven’t pieced it all together.
“But hopefully the qualifier and this week can kick-start the season and I can finish the season strong.
“I feel as though I can win out there and get onto the main tour. It’s just a case of doing it.”