THINK YOUNG, PLAY HARD
Dylan Frittelli looks for a big breakthrough in 2016 after a strong finish to 2015. Interviewed by Barry Havenga
AFORTUITOUS AUS SIE EXPERIENCE I’m still not sure how the Sunshine Tour got so many spots in the European Tour’s co-sanctioned Australian PGA on the Gold Coast in December. It was an unexpected bonus, and I took full advantage. It helped that I had played in Australia before, in the 2010 Eisenhower Trophy in Adelaide. My uncle Greg Frittelli travelled from New Zealand to caddie for me. Greg has a background in sports coaching and he kept me focused all week. In the
nal round I was surprised how supportive the local fans were towards me and my American playing partner Harold Varner. I came up just short (Aussie Nathan Holman beat us on the rst playo hole), but it was a terri c learning experience.
THE BENEFIT OF EARN ING FOREIGN CURRENCY
The Aussie PGA was superbly run and promoted. Zander Lombard and I were interviewed by a group of 25 journalists after taking the 54-hole lead, and there was plenty of exposure on local TV and radio stations.We didn’t know if were getting paid in euros or Aussie dollars, and all I know is that I got very lucky with the exchange rate as the rand capitulated soon afterwards. My joint second place nish was worth R1.75-million (€106 055)!
ON HIS BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT IN GOLF
I holed the winning putt for the University of Texas in the matchplay nal of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division 1 Championship, which was a huge bene t for when I turned pro straight afterwards. I was No 2 on the college rankings and we faced Alabama (who were ranked No 2 in the nation behind Texas).All square playing the last in the deciding match, I holed a 20-foot birdie putt on Riviera’s famed 18th green before being mobbed by my teammate and coaches.The moment went viral on social networks and featured on ESPN’s Top 10 plays of the weekend. It was huge for my pro le when I signed with IMG, my management company, and sponsor Nike afterwards.
ON JORDAN SPIETH
Jordan was on our Texas team that won at Riviera. It was his rst and only full year at college. No one is ever a ‘sure thing’ in golf, but it was very clear from the beginning that he was special.We all knew he wouldn’t last two years before turning pro and everyone was thinking he could win a PGA Tour event while at college. He is a remarkable putter.We had putting contests all the time and you might beat him two out of 10 times.And he would get better as the pressure grew. On the back nine of a big event his astonishing self-belief came to the fore. He literally expected to make every 20-footer he looked at – and usually did! I last saw him at a fundraiser at the University of Texas in 2014, and we keep in touch with occasional text messages.
ON SLEEPING PAST A TEE TIME
For my third start as a pro I
ew from America to Austria for the Lyoness Open on the European Tour, but got sick on the way. It was a Wednesday start so I didn’t have a lot of time to recover. I shot 72 in a weather-delayed rst round (on medication) and returned to my hotel for a ‘nap’ at 19h00. I woke up brie y at midnight and thought I had set my alarm on my phone, but it failed – similar to what happened to Jim Furyk once – and I missed a 13h30 tee time. Yes, I slept almost non-stop for 18 hours!
ON GETTING AWAY FROM THE GAME
I’ve got into sur ng recently. I’m the equivalent of a 15-handicap on the waves but I enjoy it. Living in Joburg and Austin obviously isn’t ideal for this new hobby, but we play at enough coastal venues to make it more of a regular pursuit. I also play Xbox games when I hang with friends, but I don’t own a console, that would be dangerous.
ON WHAT HE’S LEARNT MOST
I am at the most important part of my career. It really is as simple as that.You have help from coaches and support from family and friends, but I am running my own business and only I can make the nal decisions. Coming down the stretch it’s just me and the ball.
Dylan Frittelli, with his uncle Greg on the bag, and Harold Varner (pictured right), lost a playoff to Nathan Holman at the Australian PGA.