McQuillan learning ropes on PGA Tour

It’s still a little hard to believe that I’m part of the PGA Tour.

Canada PGA Tour golfer Matt McQuillan’s PGA Tour career started at the Sony Open in Honolulu.

Canada PGA Tour golfer Matt McQuillan’s PGA Tour career started at the Sony Open in Honolulu.

It’s still a little hard to believe that I’m part of the PGA Tour.

The three months since I earned my card at qualifying school have been overwhelming at times, but this is a great job and I’m lucky to be here. Even though the golf hasn’t gone as well as I’ve wanted, my focus is on staying patient and remaining confident.

There was no better place to start my PGA Tour career than at the Sony Open in Honolulu. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed and Hawaii is one of the best places on Earth.

I spent some time in Palm Springs working on my game before the tournament and was just thinking about getting my feet wet when I travelled to Hawaii. One of my biggest goals was to make the cut and play the weekend, and I managed to do just that by opening with rounds of 68 and 69.

That week stands out in mind. I was extremely focused and in tune with what I needed to do to be successful and it showed in my performance.

Hawaii was also the scene of one of my favourite experiences away from the course. The PGA Tour does an unbelievable job of looking after us and usually offers concert tickets or other things to do in the evening during tournament weeks. They even had deep sea fishing at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico last month.

During the Sony Open, I joined some other players for a backstage tour of Pearl Harbour. We were there after hours and it was pretty cool to meet a four-star general in the command centre for the entire Pacific Ocean.

When the tour moved back to the mainland, I faced some struggles. There were some big, hard golf courses on the West Coast swing and I missed the cut in all three tournaments I entered.

The course setups are much tougher on the PGA Tour than anything else I’ve faced in the past and I’m seeing most of the venues for the first time. Course knowledge is a big advantage for veteran players, particularly at places like Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance Open) or Pebble Beach (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am).

Those courses can be pretty intimidating, especially when you’re not playing your best golf.

I’ve still managed to try and enjoy each week and am starting to settle in to life on tour. I meet new players and caddies at every tournament and have found everyone to be extremely welcoming.

One of the best examples of that came on the driving range at Torrey Pines when I was warming up before a round. After D.A. Points finished up hitting some balls, he walked over to introduce himself and wish me luck during my rookie season.

He also said not to hesitate to ask him if I ever need anything.

Wouldn’t you know it, he went out and won at Pebble Beach two weeks later.

I’ve been doing some fine-tuning on my game recently and think things are going to start clicking in the next little while. It’s only a matter of time before I get back to playing like I know I can.

The past couple of months have included a lot of new territory to cover but it’s all been good. This really is a great job.

Matt McQuillan of Kingston, Ont., is in his first year on the PGA Tour. As told to Canadian Press sports writer Chris Johnston

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