Congratulations, on your 2013 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship title.
Thank you very much. You all put together a great event this year for both the players and the fans. I am extremely happy that all the time and effort I invested paid off.
How does it feel to hold the belt, and be crowned “worlds longest driver”?
It feels even better than I imagined. There are so many great competitors in our sport and we all push each other to train harder and harder every year.
You finished 2nd in 2012. What were your expectations heading to Mesquite?
After experiencing how second place felt, I was motivated to work harder than I ever have in the past. With the new format being winner-take-all, I knew I had to maximize my potential to give myself the best opportunity to win.
You come from a baseball background where you were a pitcher. How does that translate into long drive?
As a pitcher you have to have a very strong core and great stability throughout your body. These characteristics are exactly what you need in our sport as well. My years of pitching definitely helped prepare my body for long drive.
After making it into the October 8, the production crew took you guys to Las Vegas for filming. You were able to see the speedway and where the Finals would be taking place. Having an idea of the tee box and grid, but not knowing how everything was going to look and feel, how did you prepare?
I tried visualizing how the tee box and crowd would look and sound. Being in Florida, I did not have any elevation to practice off of. I just knew it would take a very flat ball flight with a lot of carry. I practiced on the trajectory and spin of my golf shot more than anything else.
Leading up to the Finals there were a couple of days of meetings & functions. How did you stay focused on the goal of winning the title?
All of the functions were very nice and world class. With the event being so different from past years, I took it in and went day by day. Having my girlfriend with me helped calm me down and to not get overly anxious. It was all an amazing experience and I cannot thank all of the sponsors enough.
The night before the Finals there was a practice session at the speedway. This was your first time seeing the actual tee and grid. What were you thinking, and how did you feel after the session?
The first couple shots were a lot different than anything I had experienced. Once I dialed in the alignment, I felt very comfortable and confident. I hit the ball great the night before and knew I was prepared to win.
In the opening round of the finals, in the 1st set, your first 3 balls went OB. What were your thoughts for the 4th ball?
I was just telling myself to stay patient and relax. I got the nerves out on the first ball. I visualized all of the tee shots I hit the night before down the middle of the grid.
On your 4th and final ball of the 1st set you posted 414 yards and took the early lead. How were you feeling after the 1st set? Did this alter your game plan going into the 2nd set?
I knew that it was a big number and my chances were pretty good that I would advance. I took a few different drivers to the tee for the second set and wanted to take that opportunity to get more comfortable on the tee.
Your 414 yard drive was the longest ball of the opening round with only Joe Miller cracking the 400 yard barrier. Did you think 414 was going to be enough to win that night?
I really didn’t have any idea. I just knew I needed to continue to hit the best drives I could. We had a very impressive final 8 and a lot of the guys can put up big numbers. I have learned in my short career thus far that all I can worry about are my own shots. I try to just focus on the task at hand.
In the semi-final match against Will Hogue you chose to hit second and posted 416 yards in your first 3 balls. Will did not surpass you in either of his sets and there was no need for you to hit again. Did you want to hit your second set?
At that point I felt pretty comfortable on the tee. I don’t think it would have given me more of an advantage to hit another 3. I was just happy to advance and keep the dream alive.
You posted the longest drives of the opening rounds and the semi-finals. You have to be brimming with confidence going into the final match.
Yes, I felt great going into the final match and was happy to have the opportunity to hit against Joe. I never have up to that point. I knew it would be a great final match because we would both leave it all out on the tee.
In the final match against Joe Miller, again you chose to hit second. You posted 405 yards in your 1st set to take the early lead. Joe then tied you with a 405 yard drive in his 2nd set. What were you thinking as you started your 2nd set?
I felt really good because I hit the 405 shot a little off the heel and it spun a lot more than I would have liked. I knew if I caught one of my next shots dead center on the clubface I would hit it passed 405.
On the first ball of your 2nd set you hit the winning 427 yard drive. Judging from your reaction after the ball left the club, did you know it was the winning drive? How did that swing feel?
The swing felt great. I knew if I made a good move on the ball and stayed a little more patient to impact I would get that job done. Knowing the miss I hit was 405 gave me the confidence that when I hit it flush I would win. I knew immediately after I hit that shot it was over.
You had a good sized entourage cheering you on at the Finals. Being in Las Vegas did y’all celebrate your win “Hangover” style?
We definitely did not celebrate “Hangover” style but we had a great time together. I was very tired and in a state of mind I had never experienced. It was a very long week and I was just so thrilled I won the title.
What are your plans for the $250K prize money?
I am not planning on doing anything too drastic. I am just going to help out my family and take my girlfriend on a nice vacation without the golf clubs for once.
Any shout-outs at this time?
Thanks to all my sponsors and supporters. I could not have accomplished this without you. Thanks to Mike Reagan and RE/MAX for all the support for our sport over the years. The new venue was amazing and all of the time, effort, and commitment from Art Sellinger and the LDA does not go unnoticed. Thank you Mike Ambriz, Steve Wiley, and Rod Moruss. Lance Reader has supported me since day 1 of my long drive career going back to 2009. Thank you for everything and believing in me.
I cannot wait for the New Year to get here!
Again, congratulations on your RE/MAX WLDC title.
Thank you so much on the behalf of all long drivers and for everything you do for our sport. This sport would not exist without you guys, thank you.