Kevin Sutherland is amazed at what he does for a living.
“I tell people I’m still doing what I did when I was ten,” he says.
Sutherland, a professional golfer since 1987, started playing the game when he was eight years old. However, it was not until he was 15 or 16 that he played tournament golf for the first time.
Kevin Sutherland was born and raised in Sacramento. He attended Christian Brothers High School, and it was actually his track & field coach who suggested he might want to consider attending Fresno State. The Bulldogs did not offer him a scholarship, but he picked them anyway, walking on to Mike Watney’s team in 1983.
Sutherland redshirted his first year at Fresno State. He used that time to practice, and also to simply get used to “being away at college.”
By the time he was a senior, in 1987, Sutherland had turned into the Pacific Coast Athletic Association’s Golfer of the Year. He was also a second team all-American.
While at Fresno State, Kevin Sutherland played alongside his brother, David, who was a Bulldog from 1985-1989. The two would also play together years later on the PGA Tour, and they were even paired together in tournaments a few times.
The thought of turning pro did not occur to Kevin Sutherland until his senior year in college. It was Watney who told him, “you’re good enough to play at the next level.”
More than three decades later, Sutherland is still playing at that level.
An active member on the PGA Tour Champions, Kevin Sutherland has five wins in his professional career. He has earned millions of dollars, has traveled the world, once shot a 59 (at the 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open) and he even played a round with his idol, Jack Nicklaus.
“I was like a little kid, watching everything he was doing,” said Sutherland of the ‘Golden Bear.’