We're in Georgia. We're at Frederica, probably one of the most impressive first impression places I've ever been.
You went to University of Georgia. You're from Savannah. You grew up in Savannah?
Yep. Grew up in Savannah, a place called Southbridge Golf Club. It's just a little semi-private, mostly public golf course right on I16, I95 interchange.
Neither one of my parents played golf. I got into it just by accident really. I watched it on television, and picked it up when I was about 10 years old, and I just loved it. Picked it up quick, and hit a bunch of balls, and started playing tournaments.
And, of course, you're left handed. Was that tough in the beginning, get gear, and to model yourself after someone?
Yeah, the gear's always been tough. I was never worried about modeling myself after anyone. I just, I really enjoyed striking the ball, you know, that's all I cared about was just hitting balls. I'd hit it, and try to make the next one a little better than the one I'd just hit, but the gear was tough.
I can remember my first set of irons. We ordered them. I think my mom measured my arms, and then, we ordered them from a magazine. It was some knockoff Tommy Armor set.
And you still made it?
You still made it?
Well, I knew right when I started, it was what I wanted to do.
I knew right when I started.
And you were good, you were good when you were a kid, right?
You were US junior champion. What year was that?
And how old were you then?
I was 15.
OK. And, at that point, were you sort of at your peak as a junior? You went to Georgia, obviously, but 15 is you're still three years from going to college, right?
Yep. So I won a bunch of the AJGA tournaments, won their player of the year a couple of times, and then, before I got to college, when I was 18, I got to be ranked number one as an amateur, made the Walker Cup team.
Who were the other guys on the team with you?
Anthony Kim and I were partners.
Yeah. We were the two youngest guys, because Anthony's, I think, he was 20 or 21. He'd been in college for a couple of years. Him and I were partners, Matt Every, Billy Hurley, Kyle Reifers, Michael Putnam.
All these guys, of course, now have been on the tour.
Yeah. Everyone on that team played on tour at some point.
Is it important for people to know, do you have to be good when you're young? We've had people on our platform, you know, like Gerina Piller, she was prolific failure when she was a junior girl, but her strength was that she was going to make it. You know?
Is it better to be like you were? You were always the guy that everyone wanted to beat.
Right. You know, I'm not sure. I wish I could have gone back and slowed down my progression a little bit, because I got to be, I was so good when I was 18, I got to college, I won my first tournament.
Why were you good?
I don't know. I just--
Were you a straight hitter?
I hit it, I was a very consistent ball striker. I wasn't near the putter or chipper I am now, but, yeah, I feel like I remember not even looking at my tee shots, just hitting it, pick the tee up, hitting it, pick the tee up.