On a sunny Sunday afternoon in late June, a previously obscure golfer named Billy Hurley III won the Quicken Loans National PGA Tournament at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Tiger Woods, the tournament’s host, presented the gleaming silver trophy. Hurley had gone into the final round with the lead and staved off competition from seasoned veterans such as Vijay Singh and Ernie Els.
Hurley credited his poise under pressure to the focus he learned as a midshipman and naval officer. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in the class of 2004, his assignments during five years of active duty included service in the cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG-64), a stint teaching economics at the Academy, and a tour on board the destroyer Chung-Hoon (DDG-93). That sense of concentration on the mission served him well while conning his ship in the Suez Canal and withstanding 110-degree Persian Gulf temperatures.