Date: July 27, 2011

Matt Giles Blog: Out on the Nationwide Tour

Congrats to Harris English for his win at the Nationwide Children&aposs Hospital Invitational. It&aposs really cool how the tournament invites all the first team All-Americans to play. I was invited in 2009 and needless to say it was a great experience. Playing in front of the crowds and TV cameras was something we didn&apost have in college and helped to understand the feelings of a major professional golf tournament. It was an exciting week, and a great opportunity to see life on Tour. Anytime you can win a professional tournament, whether you&aposre an amateur or a professional, it&aposs a great accomplishment. It goes to show — with English&aposs win, John Peterson finishing second, Russell Henley&aposs win earlier in the season — that these college guys, the All-Americans, the highest-ranked collegiate players are playing at an extremely high level. Patrick Cantlay has shown that as well. He&aposs had some great results on the PGA TOUR. It shows that college golfers can handle themselves with people out on the main tours. Regardless of your status, winning out on Tour is not easy because the fields each week are just so deep. I played college golf for two and a half years at the University of Southern California. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Trojan, and learned many life lessons that would prepare me for a career in professional golf. One of my roommates was Jamie Lovemark, and I played against guys like Rickie Fowler. It&aposs really motivating for us, for me — to see guys that you played with, lived with, compete at such a high level. The competition is tough at the college level and it prepares you well. One of the biggest differences when you come out on Tour is learning to deal with scheduling. On Tour you have tournaments week-in and week-out. In college you&aposre still referred to as a &aposstudent athlete,&apos with academics coming first. You&aposll play one event, and then you may not play for another three weeks. It&aposs even more prominent in the fall when you may only play three events the whole semester. And that schedule is handed to by your college coach. Now on Tour, you have the ability to pick and choose where you play, how many events you want to play in a row. That&aposs something you begin to deal with in your rookie season. Learning what suits your game best. Personally, I think I play better when I&aposm on the road for a few weeks and my game starts to take form. With that said, I am taking a break this week from the Nationwide Tour&aposs 8-week stretch of tournaments and plan on playing the next five in a row. My season has been quite up and down. I haven&apost felt that I&aposve played poorly in the last few events; I just haven&apost gotten much out of it. The last two weeks I missed the cut by one shot. When you&aposre missing the cut by one shot, you tend to have that reflection period, “If only this shot had gone differently…” If only.. If only.. are two words all golfers know so well. It&aposs been a little frustrating. I&aposve got some things to work on. My bunker play has been absolutely horrible. That&aposs one part of my game that was my strength through amateur and college golf, however this season my stats have been pretty awful. It&aposs a small thing, but all of those shots are so precious in the end. There&aposs still five weeks left in this stretch though, so I decided to take a break and come home. It won&apost entail spending eight hours each day at the golf course since the upcoming weeks will be so busy. And last week, the heat in Ohio really took it out of me. I&aposm looking forward to some quality practice, sitting by the pool and heading to the movies. I go to the theater a lot when I&aposm on the road and home, it&aposs a nice way to kill some time after an early practice round or tee time. My main goal for the rest of the season is to retain my status — hit that top 60 mark on the list. Obviously everyone wants to make the top 25 and earn PGA TOUR status for next year. And I still think that&aposs within reach for me this season. I had a good result in Mexico and I learned a lot from being in the final group on Sunday. And look at the jump Kyle Reifers made with his second-place finish in Ohio — going from 52nd to 5th on the money list. I can&apost do anything about what&aposs happened so far in the season, but I&aposll have plenty of opportunities in this next stretch. I just need a few good tournaments to improve my position.