TOUR Life The Diary of Nick Flanagan

By Nick FlanaganSeptember 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
Since I may be relatively new to many of you, we'll start with a basic introduction:
 
I am Nick Flanagan. I'm from Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. I am 23 years old. My dad, Wayne, is a coalminer; my mum, Jenny, is the homemaker; and my elder brother, Luke, is currently in Canada on a working holiday. I am the 2003 U.S. Amateur champion, a three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour this year and now a member of the PGA TOUR.
 
Nick Flanagan
Thanks to three poses like this, Nick Flanagan got an early pass to the PGA TOUR. (Wire Image)
Even writing it, that last bit sounds unbelievable ... but it makes me feel very proud.
 
That's me in a nutshell, but, of course, there's plenty more underneath the shell.
 
It hasnt been an easy road since I turned professional in 2004, but throughout it all I have had a great support team (my family, friends, coach and manager) beside me. They are the people who believed in me no matter what and encouraged and supported me without hesitation. The success I have had this year is as much theirs as it is mine.
 
Looking back on the past three years I realize I needed that time to learn about myself and exactly what it takes to compete at the top level. Hopefully all the ups and downs, and highs and lows I have experienced have made me ready for this new stage in my career -- this TOUR Life -- and I cant wait to get to the first tee on Thursday.
 
My year on the Nationwide Tour has been amazing. I had joked late last year to my caddy that I could win three times this year, but to actually do it is surreal. I dont think people realize how tough the competition is on the Nationwide Tour and that there are so many great golfers on that tour. To win three times against them you have to have a certain amount of luck go your way and it could just as easy to have been one of them as it is me. But Ill take it, no problem!
 
I learned a lot from last year on the road and I reassessed my scheduling this year. Apparently, I have found the right formula that works for me. I have found a way to keep fresh and not wear my body out, which is to play no more than three or four events in a row. As it has worked so well for me so far, I will maintain the same formula through the Fall Series on the PGA TOUR.
 
I intend on playing the first three events, having a week off, and then playing the next two which leads into the Childrens Miracle Network Classic. But that PGA TOUR event is up against the Nationwide Tour Championship, and while I would really love to play both events, I am leaning towards the Nationwide Tour Championship, so I can finish my year off amongst the many friends I have made there -- and have one last chance at the No.1 position on the money list.
 
Nick Flanagan
Nick received a new BMW X5 for his win at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. (Wire Image)
My goal for 2008 is to work my way into the top 50 on the world rankings and everything else from there will hopefully take care of itself. I look at the next seven weeks as a time when I have a free run. Since I have no pressure to make the allotted number for my card, I can use it as a time to learn about the differences between the Nationwide Tour and the PGA TOUR and become acquainted with the new surroundings, which should make my debut next year that much easier. If I do that, then hopefully I can perform well enough to make a progression up the world rankings and earn a little of extra cash for Christmas.
 
I have been at home in Australia for just over two weeks. I love going home as much as possible. I had the chance to catch up with everyone and have a little R and R. There was a lot of media attention and I was the special guest of the Australasian PGA Tour at the launch of their summer of golf.
 
I began my preparation for my first event practicing at my home club of Concord in Sydney. This is the equivalent of a private country club here in the States. They invited me to play in the members competition on the Wednesday and invited everyone to stay on for congratulatory drinks and nibbles afterwards. It was great to revisit a place that I spent a great deal of time at during my amateur days and somewhere that gave me so many opportunities to develop my game.
 
I returned to the States on Friday and flew straight to Orlando where I met up with my coach, Steve Bann. Steve also coaches Stuart Appleby and I spent the weekend staying at Stuarts house and practicing at Isleworth.
 
Now I'm in New York for the Turning Stone event, to begin my new TOUR Life.
 
Please follow along over the next seven weeks as I will provide a diary each Tuesday documenting my previous week on TOUR.
 
Email your thoughts to Nick
 
Related Links:
  • Nick Flanagan's 2007 Results
  • Full Coverage - Turning Stone Championship
  • Fall Series Coverage
  • Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.