Recipe for success

By Hayden EcholsMay 24, 2010, 5:39 pm

No matter when you started playing or what golf course you grew up on, every junior golfer dreams of being the next Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus. For most, the second step in the pursuit of PGA Tour immortality is collegiate golf. But before one can step into the realms of college golf and achieve the title of college golfer, he or she must first become a college recruit.

Crawford Reeves swings golf club
Reeves was a 2008 Rolex Junior first team All-American. (AJGA image)

Oh the joys of the recruiting process. Top junior golfers are bombarded with letters, phone calls, e-mails and text messages from college coaches hoping to convince them to come to their school. How does a junior player know which college is right for them? Where should they spend the next four years of their life? For many junior golfers the answers to these questions can seem evasive and intimidating. The recruiting process is very important, but it is not meant to be as daunting as a climb to the top of Mt. Everest.

For 2008 Rolex Junior All-American Crawford Reeves, his college decision came down to four factors: location, tradition, facilities and head coach. “I had always been a Clemson golf fan. The school’s location was great, I knew I liked the coach, and the facilities were great,” Reeves said. “I knew if I could get something that great and that close to home, I was going to take advantage of it.”

John Brooks, the former Head Golf Coach at the University of North Florida from 1990-2003, now operates the Red Numbers Golf program. His program helps families navigate junior golf and manage college placement. Brooks acknowledges that the recruiting process is a complicated one. Brooks believes there are two keys that go into a junior golfer selecting the right college. “Campus visits and meetings with golf coaches are the key steps in this complex process,” said Brooks, who believes juniors should look for schools where they will have a realistic chance at playing in tournaments. “I also encourage these college prospects to target schools where they could see themselves fitting in even if they did not participate in golf.”

The NCAA forbids coaches to make contact with players until after their sophomore year in high school. However, when the time comes, letters and emails begin flowing in from everywhere. Reeves said, “I got some letters and emails from schools. It was interesting to see some schools let me know if there was anything they could do to get me there, they would do it.”

Coach John Brooks
Coach John Brooks is founder of the Red Numbers Golf program

The recruiting process can be hectic, but Reeves advises junior golfers to enjoy it and take it as a challenge. “Look at is as a fun thing and not something with a lot of pressure that comes with it. Make it as fun as possible, not stressful,” said Reeves. Many juniors decide to commit to a school early. Reeves was one of them. “I’m glad I did commit early because I started playing my best golf after that. It took all of the pressure off me,” he said.

Once in school, Coach Brooks says the most common problem facing the golfer is time management. “Being away from home for the first time creates a new set of responsibilities and makes effective time management essential for the student-athlete to succeed in their classes and with their collegiate golf career,” he said.

For Brooks, the main piece of advice he can give junior golfers who are transitioning to the college game is to retain the strong support team they built while playing junior golf. “Remember the key principles and values that your parents and instructors have taught you as a junior and continue to focus on them throughout your college career,” Brooks said.

Reeves is currently wrapping up his freshman campaign at Clemson. He has played in 10 of the team's 11 tournaments this season. When it comes to collegiate golf, Reeves says there is not much difference from junior golf. “Overall, it’s just golf. You’ve been doing it your entire life so just keep on doing what you’ve been doing,” said Reeves.

When asked if he could describe the life of a collegiate athlete, after a long pause, Reeves said, “It’s the most fun, busiest, and rewarding thing you could do. It’s also a privilege.”

Jonathan Goldman contributed to this article

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Watch: Guy does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”