Life lessons from the fairway have Brandon teen heading to Pebble Beach

- Learning to play golf has never just been about the game for 15-year-old James Morotti.

"That's how he learned how to count," said his father, James Morotti, Sr. "Each stroke was a one, two, three, four. That's how we taught him how to count."

Golf has also taught the Brandon teen integrity and respect. It's those qualities that helped earn him a trip of a lifetime to play with the pros at Pebble Beach later this year.

"Yeah, the most miraculous ever," said James. "It's just crazy to me, I still can't believe it."

Through the First Tee, James will join 80 other participants for the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. The young golfers will have the opportunity to play with PGA Tour Champions players.

"I'm hoping John Daly, I heard he's going to be there," said James.

"It's a big deal," offered Mackenzie Mack, program director of the First Tee of Tampa Bay. "When he gets there and gets to see the pros, and because he aspires to be a professional golfer, he'll be able to ask them questions. See what they act like and what it takes to get to his final goal."

Away from the course, James already acts like a pro. Trophies from tournaments line the walls of his room, but there's one his father says showcases the fine young man James is becoming.

"It's a girl's trophy," said Morotti. "He was 10 years old. There was an age group lesser than him, the little boy was crying. He went up to the coordinator and said, 'This is a girl's trophy, I don't want this.'  He's crying and crying. My mom said he went up to the boy and said, 'Here, you have mine and I'll take yours.' Nobody said anything. That was just awesome."

Golf has already taught James so much about life.

James heads to Pebble Beach for the Nature Valley First Tee Open September 13-18. The event will be televised internationally on Golf Channel.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Life lessons from the fairway have Brandon teen heading to Pebble Beach
  • Fort Myers teen dead after collapsing from heat stroke
  • Tampa Bay's swimming sensation earns spot on World Team
  • Bay Area swimmers splash into national trials
  • MDA camp is life-changing for Plant football players
  • Tampa crew team heading to nationals
  • OMG at IMG: Big recruit ready to hit the field
  • Inside IMG's premier football program
  • Bay Area teenager to compete at Augusta
  • Lakeland recruit: 'I have to take responsibility' for tweet