After playing in the NZ Open in March I managed to get back to the USA before COVID really shut things down. I was expecting to get a few starts on the Korn Ferry Tour in April and May but the world started to shut down and it wasn’t to be. I was fortunate enough to be able to lockdown in Iowa and practice fulltime.
The Korn Ferry Tour resumed in June but after the two month hiatus every man and his dog was vying for a spot in the tournaments. For those avid golf nuts out there you may recall even Vijay Singh turned out on the Korn Ferry Tour. I ended up waiting seven weeks to get a start.
My whole focus and mantra from March until getting that start was to be ready to go when it did eventually happen. I had played some mini tour events to keep me in a competitive mode and had come close in a few Monday qualifying tournaments. I worked really hard in those few months and in hindsight it was one of the best things I could have done. I finished in a tie for 34th in my first week out and then tied for 2nd the following week. I then tied 7th in Chicago and had played my way onto the tour with guaranteed starts for the rest of the season.
I finished up tied 90th on the Korn Ferry Order of Merit after only playing half the events. I’m now in a good position knowing that I will get into most, if not all, of the Korn Ferry events in 2021. The 2021 season begins in February and I am going to make sure I am ready to fire on all cylinders from the get go. My goal for 2021 is to finish in the top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card.
In terms of being out on the tour in 2020, it was certainly very different. We were being tested each week for COVID and sometimes more than once a week. We had to stay in specific hotels, travel between tournaments on chartered flights, have daily health screenings and we were restricted in where we could go to eat and for extra curricular activities. I did a 12 day stretch of eating alone in my hotel room every night – fortunately the NBA playoffs were on! I must say though, the Korn Ferry tour team did a great job keeping us safe and allowing us to still play the game that we love.
With COVID continually throwing curve balls I had to make a decision as to where it was best for me to be based over the US winter. Coming home to New Zealand was a difficult proposition given I would have to quarantine for 14 days and may only have about a month down under. I decided to stay in the US and reached out to a family I know in Arizona to see if they would be able to host me for three months. Winters in Iowa are very cold so Arizona was a much better proposition.
In November, my girlfriend Sarah, and I made the 27 hour drive from Iowa to Phoenix, Arizona where we will be based until the start of the 2021 season. A huge thank you goes out to the Bertschy family here in Phoenix for such a warm welcome. Thank you also to Mr Lyberger at Desert Mountain for allowing me to be part of the club with access to the facilities and seven golf courses – yes, seven golf courses on my doorstep!
While being in Arizona I have played a couple of tournaments on a mini tour called the Outlaw Golf Tour. In my first outing I tied for 4th and in my second outing I tied 3rd. I am planning on playing in a couple more before the end of January – check out the following link if you want to follow the leaderboard Schedule | Outlaw Tour (bluegolf.com)
I am grateful to have been able to continue to do what I love in this crazy year and I will continue to use my down time wisely so I can make the most of the opportunities in 2021. Let’s get to the PGA Tour.