Derek Ernst is most certainly not a household name in the world of professional golf.  But that doesn’t mean that we won’t hear from him or see him on golf’s center stage some day.  At least, that’s certainly a possibility considering his story and recent streak on the Korn Ferry Tour.

A streak that he credits THE WIFE with.  As in, his wife, Laney.


The 30 year-old Ernst is a California born UNLV grad that has been a professional since 2012.  He appeared in two majors on the PGA TOUR, missing the cut in both the 2014 Masters and 2013 PGA Championship.  He does have one PGA TOUR victory, the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship.

Overcoming Adversity

Yes, the PGA TOUR win was seven years ago.  The major appearances are six and seven years back.  The 2020 season has been no picnic.

But well before his 2020 struggles in golf, Ernst experienced serious life obstacles and challenges.  Take the following childhood story shared by Ernst via the Korn Ferry Tour Twitter account (back in 2018):

This story alone is unbelievable.  So many people with 20/20 vision can’t even break 90 on the golf course.  Seriously, how can you not root for the guy?

Vision challenges aside, Ernst’s 320.6 average in driving distance cracks the top 20 on the Korn Ferry Tour and proves that he can be a “bomber” off the tee and a competitor amongst the pros.

Derek Ernst: 2020 Pre-Break

Ernst’s inconsistent game and struggles have been evident this season.  The 2020 calendar year opened with three of four Korn Ferry Tour missed cuts, followed by a T41 finish.  Following that, sports began its extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Derek Ernst: 2020 Post-Break

In his first tournament back, Ernst missed the cut at the Utah Championship (presented by Zions Bank) following back-to-back 69’s.

Then, the turnaround happened.

He opened the TPC Colorado Championship with a 71, followed by a 72.  Apparently, this was around the time that THE WIFE got involved.  At least, in the social media world, because I haven’t personally interviewed him.  I’m sure there was more dialog at home.

As outlined by the Korn Ferry Tour Instagram account, Ernst stated the following:


View this post on Instagram


Since that call, @derekernstgolf has posted nine straight rounds in the 60s. He has a one-stroke lead at 12-under heading into the final round @tpcsanantonio.

A post shared by Korn Ferry Tour (@kornferrytour) on

At the time of the interview, Ernst was on a run of rounds in the 60’s and had a one-shot lead at TPC San Antonio.  The surge began during the aforementioned TPC Colorado Championship, where a final round 66 led to a T10 finish.

By the end of the two tournament stretch in San Antonio, Ernst had a T12 finish (and four rounds in the 60’s) at the TPC San Antonio Challenge at the Canyons and a T5 finish at the TPC San Antonio Championship at the Oaks.

No victories – not just yet.  In the end, a final round 73 – and the end of his nine-round stretch in the 60’s – did him in.  Still, that makes three straight finishes of T12 or better.

As to where this run takes him, only time will tell.

Motivation from Spouses (and Other Places)

This story caught my attention for a few different reasons.  For one, I connected with it because of past personal experiences.  It’s also obvious site material, connecting a wife in sports landing in the headlines.  Most importantly, it ties in motivation and overcoming adversity, two topics that I have previously discussed following my neurosurgery.

We all find motivation in different ways.  In the case of Ernst, he reflected during the break.  He took the possibility of a negative result (the loss of golf as his career) and pushed himself to better results.  It was likely sparked by a comment that his wife made.  It was also definitely much more than that.

What We Can Learn

In the end, what we can learn from this is simple.  While it’s important to have a support system to provide feedback or keep us honest, we should all push ourselves and motivate ourselves internally, too.  If you love something and you are passionate about something, don’t take it for granted.  Keep fighting to get better or reinvent yourself.  Also, don’t let any setbacks or faults keep you from obtaining that goal.

If things are regularly not going your way, maybe there’s a different approach you can take that’ll push you towards more positive results.  Set time aside to focus on that.

We can always learn and always improve.  Sometimes a tiny life adjustment can lead to big things.

I have fought this battle with my writing and with The Wife Hates Sports.  Sure, there have been inconsistencies in volume, life obstacles encountered and changes in theme, but in the end, I love doing this and I’m not giving it up.  I have taken a number of different paths (maybe too many).

There are larger goals and plans that I have.  I hope that some day, this will lead to bigger things.  In the end, I control my own destiny with it – and nobody else.

As for Derek Ernst, I hope this stretch leads to bigger things for him, too.

I know that I’ll be rooting for him.

Feel free to share your motivational tactics or WIFE stories in the comments below and as always, thank you for visiting The Wife Hates Sports!

Image Credit: Derek Ernst via Korn Ferry Tour Twitter