“I am considered an expert in golf. So, I not only have to be the best player at my club, but I need to be the best player in my area, and one of the best in the U.S. to compete on these big stages and represent the PGA.” –Rod Perry, PGA Professional
Sorry, your golf instructor won't be able to see you this week because he's teeing it up with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson at the PGA Championship.
That golf instructor is Rod Perry and, only as a teacher would do, he took time out his literal Major endeavor to answer some questions on what it's like to go from a favorite in regional tournaments to an underdog at the highest level of competition.
Here's what Rod had to say:
With this being your 4th PGA Championship in the last 5 years, how does your mentality change from a normal section event in your area to teeing it up with the best golfers in the world?
Each PGA Championship is unique and is so different than a normal TOUR event. At my first PGA, I was just in awe of everything. The grandstands, the crowds, the facilities, it’s just on another level. I’ve been lucky enough to play in multiple TOUR events throughout my career, but majors are unlike anything else.
This will be the first TOUR event or major that I have played in where I actually know the golf course a bit because I played in the Wells Fargo Championship in 2014 so that will be nice. In section events, I know all the courses and am very comfortable, but until now I’ve never teed it up on a course I actually know pretty well. I’m looking forward to it.
How does your mentality change from a normal section event where you are the favorite to a PGA Championship where you are the underdog?
It is very tough. If I go to a normal Pro-Am, there are about 30 players teeing it up, but in reality, I only need to beat about 4-5 guys to win it. These guys on the PGA TOUR are playing amazing golf and finishing 50th for the week because of how good the whole field is. The resilience they show and the way they continue to show the positive self-image every week is truly remarkable.
What are you looking forward to at Quail Hollow and what is the main thing you soak in each time you tee it up on the PGA TOUR?
Just getting to compete against the best players in the world is an awesome opportunity. You learn something every single time no matter who you tee it up with. Every player teaches me something in every event I play in and that education is something you can’t learn at home. The TOUR is unlike anything else.
Have you set any personal goals for the week?
I really want to approach the week with a clear mind. I missed the cut by 1 last year at Baltusrol and I didn’t have my best week so I know if I play my game I can make the cut and play well. Making the cut and representing the PGA of America and Crane Lakes Golf Club is a huge goal of mine, but I won’t put any added pressure on myself. I’ve just got to go play the game, that’s all.
With this not being my full-time job, I always try to lighten my schedule about 10 days before from lessons and tighten everything up in the office. That way, when I go out and practice and travel to the event I know.
When you won the PPC in 2013 can you talk about how that changed your career and your life on a personal and professional level?
I became a TaylorMade staff member the year before I won the PGA Professional Championship at Sun River in 2013 and it completely changed my career. Getting to tee it up in 6 PGA TOUR events that year because of my win. Learning how hard PGA TOUR players work both on and off the course every week, it really taught me how to prepare for a golf tournament and what to expect when I’m under the pressure of performing at the highest level.
With the PGA of America giving 20 exemptions at the PGA Professional Championship, how important is that to continue to grow the game and to show fans that the instructors and PGA Pros of the world can compete with the world’s best?
I am considered an expert in golf. So, I not only have to be the best player at my club, but I need to be the best player in my area, and one of the best in the U.S. to compete on these big stages. This helps build a reputation as an expert in golf and that is what the PGA of America has done to help us compete and get this exposure both not only us as individuals, but also the clubs we work at.
Breaking Down Rod’s Bag for the PGA:
2017 M1 Driver 10.5°
Weight — Higher | Fade
Mitsubishi Fubuki — 60g X
2017 M1 15° 3 wood
Weight — Neutral
Shaft — Aldila Tour Blue Tour X
2017 M1 3 hybrid
Weight — Neutral
Aldila Tour Blue 85g Tour X
P770 irons 4-PW
KBS TOUR S
Loft — Standard
Lie — Standard
TP5x Golf Ball
How quickly did you switch into the new golf ball and how has it been performing for you?
I just love the higher ball flight compared to the Tour Preferred. Getting that steep angle of descent into these firm greens is huge for me. The spin control and trajectory control is so good in the wind and it still flies high but doesn’t get affected. I was sold.
What will be MVP in your bag next week? Basically, if you do ‘X’ well you will make the cut and be in the hunt.
I’ve got be good with the driver and good with the putter. I’ve got to drive it straight because of how long Quail Hollow is and I know the Bermuda rough they have there is juicy so that is the number 1 key. Making putts is always important, but in majors, it’s magnified because of the speed of the greens and pin placements.
If I drive and roll it well, I know I’ll be right there. I can’t wait for Thursday.
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