Tom Gillis started golf the old-fashioned way. His parents, Chuck and Ellen, took him to a course, then he caddied at hometown Indianwood Golf &Country Club where they let him practice for free.
He played a lot of public golf competition first in Michigan and was a two-time Junior College All-American when he was at Oakland Community College.
His first big win was the 1994 Michigan Open, which launched him on a mini-tour professional career.
For five years he followed the sun on the European Tour and hit every continent but Antarctica. He competed in 28 countries and worked on his game until it paid off with membership in the PGA Tour where he posted two seasons in which he earned more than $1 million. He has won more than $5 million in his career.
He has played nearly 200 PGA Tour tournaments, plus 99 on the Web.Com and he returned to Michigan to add a second Michigan Open in 2008. Among his more notable close calls to victory on the PGA Tour was a second to Jordan Spieth in the 2015 John Deere Classic. He won some mini-tour events and won in 2009 on the then-Nationwide Tour and was a career-best 40th in the FedEx Cup Standings on the PGA Tour in 2012.
In 2018 he turned 50 and in less than three months competing on the PGA Tour Champions he posted five top 10s in eight tournaments and earned $553,000. Finishing 40th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, he just missed qualifying for the season-ending championship.