Former Lt. Billy Hurley III relives his days on the bridge of the destroyer Chung-Hoon on Wednesday, the day before beginning play in the Sony Open in Hawaii. (Defense Department)
A day before he hit the links alongside fellow pro golfers Adam Scott, John Daly and Retief Goosen, a former Navy lieutenant stopped by his old ship.
Billy Hurley III visited the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii-based destroyer Chung-Hoon on Wednesday, bringing a few fellow golfers along for a quick, and familiar, tour.
“The ship looks great,” Hurley, 31, said in a Defense Department news release Thursday. “The crew’s doing great stuff, everyone’s doing well, morale seems high, and it’s really cool to come back.”
Hurley graduated from the Naval Academy in 2004 and served on Chung-Hoon from 2007-09, including a trip to the Persian Gulf. He left service in 2009 and played his way back into elite-golf shape ... and finally onto the PGA Tour in 2012.
“The Naval Academy and the Navy taught me a lot of mental toughness and time management,” he said in the release. “Those are the two skills I use a lot as a professional golfer.”
The day after his destroyer tour, Hurley shot a 3-under-par 67 in the first round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, held at Honolulu’s Waialae Country Club.
The tour’s 2014 season actually began last year; Hurley played in four events at the tail end of 2013, his best finish coming in mid-October at the Frys.com open, where a tie for ninth place earned him $135,000. His career earnings stood at more than $687,000 entering the Sony Open, according to his PGATour.com bio.
Those kinds of figures play into his academy major — quantitative economics. It’s the type of success, in uniform or out of it, that the Chung-Hoon’s executive officer hopes his sailors can achieve.
“We want our crew to be successful wherever they go,” Lt. Cmdr. Tom Ogden said. “So if we can teach them something here that leads to some success, be it on the ship or in the future, I think we’ve done our job as leaders – no matter where it is.”