Congratulations on becoming LDA’s Player of the Month by winning the 2012 LDA Tour Championship at WinStar World Casino.
Thank you, it was a great first trip to Oklahoma! The WinStar World Casino has an amazing facility for us to compete at.
Nothing like having your first LDA Tour win come at the season-ending event against an elite field of the tour’s top hitters, is there?
Absolutely not, it was the toughest field of the year and I feel blessed to hit it well down the stretch.
What was the key to your success at WinStar? Was there a single defining moment for you during the competition?
The key was to stay patient; I wasn’t hitting the ball well in the first few rounds. As the day continued, I became more relaxed and comfortable on the tee box.
The stepladder finals forced you as the fourth-seed to the take down, in succession, Ben Tua’one, Dustin Merrill and Aaron Mansfield, each of whom had a 2012 tour win under his belt. That was quite an accomplishment. You weren’t up against Manny, Moe and Jack.
Three world class hitters. All three of those guys can bring it! I am very happy to come out on top that is for sure.
Did fatigue become a factor in the stepladder format? If not physical, then mental?
I was pretty relaxed and comfortable through the stepladder format. I was lucky to stay on the right-side tee box because I was in a groove. I felt it was a good thing I was able to continue hitting sets without a break. Mentally it was tougher than physically, that was only because I didn’t hit a million balls on the practice tee for the first time.
You’ve been close to winning out here before. What got you over the hump this time?
Just sticking to the fundamentals and not trying to overdo it. I knew if I made good swings and caught it flush I would be right in the hunt.
The round-robin format at WinStar received a lot of rave reviews. What was your take on it?
I loved the format! Everybody hit a lot of sets and it was very exciting with all of the great hitters so close in the points standings.
How about your take on the stepladder finals?
The finals were great as well. It was very rewarding for the points leader to automatically be in the championship match. Aaron was hitting like the world class hitter he is and got the great advantage. I would like to see that format again in the future.
Many long drive fans might not be familiar with your background in competitive sports. Can you fill in some blanks?
Through high school I played baseball and basketball. After high school I continued playing baseball at the University of Miami as a pitcher. It’s all about the U baby!
How did you get started in long drive?
After my baseball career was over, I thought I could hit my driver pretty far so I decided to try the local qualifier at Falcons Fire in Orlando. I ended up making it through that and the regional as well, giving me the opportunity at Worlds in Mesquite my first year.
You’ve been involved in long drive for what, three or four years now? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned about what it takes to compete at the highest level?
It is more mental than I could have ever imagined. Unlike baseball, it is just you and the ball. Being a pitcher, I could sometimes make mistakes and have the hitter get himself out. There is a very slim margin for error in long drive. Over the past three years I have learned to be patient and relaxed. It was definitely a process.
Any bumps along the road? With equipment issues or getting dialed in? Or with injuries?
I have been lucky to have no injuries thus far in my short career. As far as equipment, I have been hitting Krank from day one which is a great setup for me.
Since you started competing in LDA events have you made major changes to your set up or swing, or simply tweaks as necessary?
I have worked very hard on my swing. I used to take it way inside and come over the top on my down swing which caused me to have a lot of OB sets in the beginning. After moving to DC I was fortunate to meet Mike O’barsky, who competes in the Legends Division. He has tightened up my swing and has helped me find the right swing path. I can’t thank him enough!
RE/MAX is right around the corner. What are your preparation plans for the Big Show in Mesquite?
Just to continue on my workout plan and cardiovascular exercises. I will hit balls 3 or 4 times a week and also mix in some yoga classes.
Any shout-outs at this time?
Thank you so much to the largest privately held translations provider in the world, Transperfect! They can translate anything from any language for you, whether it’s documents, website, or any other kind of service w/ offices in 80 cities around the world. I am blessed to be a part of the Transperfect family without you this would not be possible. Thank you Art Sellinger w/ the LDA, RE/MAX International, and all of the sponsors for making all of these events a possibility! Lance Reader w/ Krank Golf has been taking care of me since day one always making sure my equipment is dialed in, thanks Lancer you are the man! Thank you to Hirzl Gloves for letting me be a part of their team, the best glove in golf. Thanks to my mom and sister Bridget for always cheering me on through the process. My amazing girlfriend Cat, you have always believed in me and helped me handle my disappointing days by putting a smile on my face. Love you! Mike O’barsky, for taking the time to help me with my swing and having the patience to deal with me ☺. Thank you Joe Hill and everyone at Blue Mash Golf Club for letting me practice at their facility, it means a lot to me. Thanks to Bart Law for all your help, being such a good friend and supporter of my long drive career as well as others. To all my buddies on tour, you guys are one heck of a group of guys!
Again, congratulations on your selection as LDA Player of the Month. We look forward to seeing you on the tee in Mesquite.
Thank you very much, it is an honor. I can’t wait to get back out to Mesquite!