The Keys to happiness

By Bailey MosierDecember 20, 2011, 1:56 am

Every sentence he spoke was punctuated with laughter. Every intonation in his cadence, every syllable stressed was extended with glee. 

You couldn’t tell it, but Zack Sucher has missed his chance at earning Nationwide Tour status or a PGA Tour card for the 2012 season. Yet when we spoke, there was no hint of sorrow or regret in his voice.

Zack Sucher is a happy man.

Perhaps it’s because he recently spent time in the Florida Keys with his wife Courtney, a vacation he claims was the highlight of his year. Or perhaps it’s because Christmas came early for Zack – he and Courtney already exchanged gifts. Perhaps it’s because Zack is currently in Mobile, Ala. spending the week with his mom, dad, brother, sister and Courtney.

Or maybe, just maybe, Zack Sucher understands the key to happiness doesn’t come from sinking an 8-footer or blasting a drive 330 yards. Zack knows that whether he ever makes it onto the PGA Tour or not, his life will be defined by the moments he spends with the people he loves.

That’s not to say making an 8-footer for birdie on 18 to make the cut on the number goes unappreciated in Zack’s book. In fact, that’s exactly what he did at the Mexico Open earlier this year in June. That event – and the 8-footer – was a pivotal moment in Zack’s career and his 2011 season.

“If I hadn’t made the cut there I wouldn’t have gotten into the next six (Nationwide) tournaments. … I knew I had to make that cut, I knew that was going to be one of my last chances,” Sucher said.

As chance would have it, Sucher finished the Mexico Open T-54, which moved him up the ranks for the Nationwide Tour reshuffle, ultimately helping him get into more events later in the season. Sucher played in six Nationwide Tour events following Mexico and made the cut in four.

Zack’s best Nationwide Tour finish was a T-32 at the Price Cutter Charity Championship and his lowest Hooters Tour finish was T-2 at the Charter Childhood Cancer Awareness Classic.

While Sucher only secured $31,000 on the season across both tours, he says the lessons he learned on the road this year are invaluable.

“I definitely learned a lot going forward. I learned what to expect. Playing with the guys (on the Nationwide Tour) who’ve been out there for 10 years and knowing you can compete with them makes me know I belong out there,” Sucher said.

Zack’s never been afraid of a difficult shot or afraid of making a big number. He’s self-admittedly a tad bit too aggressive at times. Zack recalls many occasions trying to pull off a shot and coming up short. But the difference going forward isn’t that he won’t try those improbable shots. The difference is he’ll attack them with complete confidence. That is, after all, the thing he says separates him from the guys who are out on the Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour week in and week out.

“Play with confidence. The more confidence you play with, the better you’re going to end up playing. The guys I’ve seen play great this year are the ones who play with the most confidence.

“Don’t hit stupid shots but play aggressive. I need to be aggressive and go for it more. But at the same time you shouldn’t hit a shot you may only be able to pull of one in 20 times, but the key is to play smart, aggressive golf,” Sucher said.

A wise outlook for what will be another year packed with tournaments on the National Golf Association Pro Golf Tour – formerly the Hooters Tour – and Monday qualifiers for Nationwide events.

Off the course, 2012 may bring new additions to the Sucher family. Zack and Courtney say baby fever is becoming ever more present.

“We’re more and more ready for kids. They’re definitely not too far in the distant future. It’s not going to be too much longer I don’t think,” Zack said.

While not every week can be an excursion to the Keys or a trip home surrounded by family, Zack isn’t planning to spend the remainder of his winter in hibernation. He has plenty of fun-filled weeks ahead that include spending Christmas with his in-laws and after the new year, heading to Utah with his father, brother and wife to visit five national parks.

Zack is more aware now than ever before of his abilities on the golf course and what it’s going to take to succeed. A fortuitous career on the professional golf circuit is undoubtedly what he has his sights set on. But should he fall short, he knows the true key to happiness lies within himself, and the family and friends who give his life meaning.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.