Wearing Red on the Green
Thomas Curry closed his eyes on the first tee box to say a prayer before his first shot, just like he always had. When he opened his eyes, things were blurry. What suddenly came into focus was the hog on his chest; that was different. He looked around. He saw the trees, the fairway, and his parents watching from a distance. He took a breath. He grabbed his driver. It was go time.
Thomas Curry, son of Caroline and Dr. Andrew (Andy) Curry, is Texarkana’s golf protégé turned Arkansas Razorback after a decorated career at Texas High School. In four years, Curry earned 14 wins, including the 2023 University Interscholastic League’s 5A individual state title. Curry grew up approximately 150 yards from the driving range of Texarkana Country Club, and, according to his parents, spent most of the hours he was not at school, practicing.
Curry started out as a tennis player, receiving lessons from Club Pro Billy Powers. His parents described their son as very talented on the court and dedicated to the craft. Curry also played golf with his dad and his grandmother at Texarkana Country Club, but it wasn’t until the age of ten that he began to favor golf over tennis. Soon after, his fascination with the game turned into an obsession.
“He finally came to us and said, ‘I don’t want to do this. You’re spending all this money on tennis lessons, private and group, and that could go a long way in helping me with golf clubs,’” Andy said. “So, we sat down with him, and talked about it, and it was decided that he just wanted to focus on golf. So, from then on, it was golf only.”
Curry’s career took flight in middle school when he connected with Texas High School coach, the late Jay Brewer. It was also during this time that he began to see Geoff Jones, a well-known swing coach in the area. Through all of this, Curry’s love for the game grew. He wore a Texas High “T” on his chest with pride for four years under head coach Ryan Huntze, who was hired during Curry’s freshman year.
The Tiger team was like a family to Curry. He described his experience with them as one that benefited both his golf career and who he became as a person. The closeness and competitiveness of his teammates during his four years of high school is what he believes grew his passion, love, and drive for the game of golf. “The team chemistry we had is probably unmatched at every level of golf because we grew up with each other since we were in middle school. We were really, really close. Our families were close. And it honestly just made golf so much more fun.”
In his first two years as a Texas High Tiger, Curry played under a very competitive group of upperclassmen. Huntze’s program was full of talent, and the lineup during Curry’s sophomore year was one of the most successful teams to come out of Texas High. Four players on that squad, including Curry, went on to college golf, three of whom currently play for Division I schools. These players, including Carter Maneth (Middle Tennessee), Camden Robertson (Eastern Kentucky), and Jack Wilson (Dallas Baptist), pushed Curry, encouraged him, and taught him valuable lessons.
“I felt like I could learn just about everything from those guys, and how they all handled themselves on the course. Carter’s practice [and] his work ethic was unmatched. Watching guys like Camden and Jack who would go out there and play so freely, really enjoying being out on the golf course… that really taught me a lot.”
Curry’s work ethic, passion, and drive are just a few characteristics he is known for among his family, friends, and coaches. Coach Huntze said, “He’s a kid that you want on your team because he makes everybody else better.” Huntze served as both a coach and a caddy for Curry during his time in junior golf, which grew their friendship and gave him a front-row seat to Curry’s growth as a player.
“Every year, he added something different to his game,” Huntze said, “and by junior year, he was already a complete player. It was cool to see him add all those different parts of the game.” Caroline and Andy believe, besides his drive, his integrity distinguished him from others early on. “He was always one that would tell on himself,” said Andy. “And he couldn’t sleep at night if something like that happened.”
These things set Curry apart as a player and a person, so it was no surprise when college coaches started reaching out on the very day that recruitment opened. On June 15, 2021, Curry received multiple text messages from programs that had been following his junior career. It was eye-opening for him to see that his hard work and dedication had not gone unnoticed. A few months later, Curry made the decision to commit to the University of Arkansas and play under head coach Brad McMakin.
Andy commented on the recruiting process, saying, “It comes down to where you fit in the best, and so it was a tough decision, but after he made it, I think he was so glad. That was just a relief.”
Curry began his college career at the University of Arkansas this fall and successfully competed in three of the four tournaments on their highly competitive schedule. He made his Razorback debut at the SEC Match Play hosted by Jerry Pate, where he fired a pair of 68s to establish himself on the team.
Curry had his best finish at Arkansas’ home tournament, the Blessings Collegiate Invitational, where he placed 16th and was the only Razorback to shoot under par in the second round. He also finished 36th in the Jack T. Stephens Cup, the final event on the Arkansas fall schedule.
The young Razorback has high hopes to continue his career professionally and believes the program at Arkansas, with the competitive schedule and challenging courses, will prepare him to do just that. His goal for the coming years is found in a quote by Bobby Jones which reads, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots—but you have to play the ball as it lies.” Curry plans to stay in the present and focus on life, one shot at a time.
Wearing red definitely added some new nerves and a lot of nervous excitement. “Wearing that hog on my chest just means the world to me because I love Arkansas. I love this university. I’m just truly blessed and glad to be a Razorback.”