PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida - Honda Classic first round leader Jim Herman's dream of making the PGA Tour looked to be fading when he was working as an assistant professional at the Trump National course in New Jersey.
Trying and failing to qualify for the highly competitive US circuit at the second stage of qualifying school in Tampa proved to be demoralising for the Cincinnati-born Herman, who eventually threw in the towel.
"You play the (third tier) Golden Bear tour, go to Q-School, it was just the same cycle every year," Herman, 37, said after shooting a five-under-par 65 at PGA National on Thursday.
"Four years of it, missing out at second stage, that was just a terrible drive back from the West Coast (of Florida). I played in Tampa, seems like every year and driving back to East Coast with, 'What am I going to do now?'"I got in the golf business, started working at the PGA Village, got a phone call and started working up at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey."
It was there, in 2006, that the owner of the course, American celebrity entrepreneur Donald Trump, spurred Herman to try again at a professional career.
"At Trump I was an assistant pro, tournament ops, things like that," Herman recalled. "I got into a nice conversation with Donald, Mr. Trump, one day. "He's like, 'Why are you folding shirts and giving lessons? Why aren't you on the Tour? I've played with tour players, you're good enough.
'"I don't know, maybe something like that gives you more confidence."
In his second year at Trump, Herman finally qualified for the second-tier Web.com tour, with the Trump logo featuring on his shirt and golf bag, and he went on to play his rookie season on the PGA Tour in 2011.
"He (Trump) has been very influential in getting me to the tour," said Herman. "It's nice playing out here. I definitely enjoy it better than the golf shop."