Back to work for rookie Jason Bohn at Mitsubishi Electric Classic

Acworth's Jason Bohn is a rookie in 2023 on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. Bohn is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. (Photo by Kate Awtrey-King)

Credit: Kate Awtrey-King

Credit: Kate Awtrey-King

Acworth's Jason Bohn is a rookie in 2023 on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. Bohn is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. (Photo by Kate Awtrey-King)

When Jason Bohn lost his PGA card five years ago, he returned to his home in Acworth to play the waiting game and catch up on being a dad. He didn’t realize at the time how much he needed the break.

“It’s an odd thing because you lose your job,” Bohn said. “And you think that’s kind of the end, and you’ve got this negative feeling, but then you go home and you’re with your family, who you haven’t been with on a daily basis for a long, long time, and you start to realize this is better than playing.”

Bohn became a highly engaged father and husband. He was able to take sons Connor (the golfer) and Cameron (whatever sport is in season) to their workouts and practices and attend all the games. He could help wife, Tewana, do things around the house, take care of the pool and work in the yard. He was present for family dinners.

It was nice.

“You’re doing things you just could never do on a daily basis before, and you start to realize, man, this is great,” Bohn said. “And you start to anticipate turning 50, and you realize you’re going to get the opportunity to play some more golf, which is really cool. The time went by really fast. I was surprised how quickly it creeped up on me.”

So when Bohn (pronounced BONE) turned 50 last week, he was rested mentally and ready to join the PGA Tour Champions. This week the two-time PGA Tour winner is in the field for the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth.

The 10th annual tournament runs Friday through Sunday. The field includes World Golf Hall of Fame members Bernhard Langer, Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Retief Goosen, Davis Love III and Vijay Singh. The defending champion is left-hander Steve Flesch, who last year became the event’s first two-time winner. Golf Channel has coverage from noon to 2 p.m. Friday and from 3-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Bohn made his senior debut last week at the Insperity Invitational in Houston. He got on the list as first alternate and was at the course first thing Thursday to play the waiting game. Once he arrived at the course, Bohn spent all morning catching up with old friends.

“Honestly, the best part about it was seeing everybody,” Bohn said. “I think I had breakfast at six different tables the first day. I just got up and walked around and saw people I hadn’t seen in a while, more than five years, so it was pretty cool.”

Bohn was able to get in the Insperity field when Gene Sauers withdrew because of neck issues. He took advantage of the opportunity by finishing in a tie for 14th on a course he’d never see. He also learned a lesson about the senior circuit. After a disappointing double bogey on the 17th hole of the first round, Bohn’s caddie reminded him, “Don’t worry about it. There’s no cut.”

Bohn said, “I was thinking that’s the first time I’ve ever made a double on Friday afternoon and made the cut.” He wound up pocketing nearly $50,000 in his senior debut.

Bohn, one of the more affable guys in professional golf, got an early break in his career while a sophomore at Alabama in 1992. He entered a contest to make a hole-in-one and win $1 million. He made it – the video can be seen on YouTube – and opted to accept the money and become a pro.

His biggest break came in 2016 at the Honda Classic. After the second round, Bohn suffered chest pains and was taken to the hospital. It was confirmed he had suffered a heart attack and had a 90% blockage, requiring the insertion of stent. Five weeks later he was back on the tour and made the cut at the RBC Heritage. Since then he’s stopped smoking, changed his diet and fitness habits and wears the same size clothes he had when earning his Tour card in 2004.

Bohn cobbled together a nice career on the PGA Tour. He won twice – the 2005 B.C. Open and 2010 Zurich Classic of New Orleans – and lost twice in a playoff. He banked $16 million in his career and played in all four major championships.

Now after a five-year intermission, he’s a rookie again. Bohn has high expectations, but understands the competition on the PGA Tour Champions is just as intense as it was on the regular PGA Tour.

“I have a lot of friends who have been really, really honest and told me, ‘Your game needs to be sharp. Don’t come out here and think you’re just going to win because you’re young.’ You’ve got to be good because these guys know the golf courses, and they’re super skilled and talented.”

In the meantime, Bohn is just enjoying the camaraderie and fraternal feel of reconnecting with his old pals. Now he’s on guard for the potential hazing that even 50-year-old rookies can expect.

“It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve got a feeling it’s coming,” he said. “I imagine the first time I go out to dinner with all these guys that I’m probably going to get the check. And to be honest, I’m cautious every time I open the locker because I think something’s coming.”