I've Never Felt That Way: U.S. Open Day 3 Blog By Coach Reehoorn
June 13, 2012
Oregon State junior men's golfer Nick Sherwood qualified for the 112th U.S. Open Championship by defeating Daniel Miernicki of Oregon in a sudden-death playoff at a sectional qualifier. Head coach Jon Reehoorn will be with Sherwood at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., through Wednesday and provide a daily blog leading up to the U.S. Open, which begins on Thursday. For more information, follow @BeaversMGolf, @JonReehoorn and @NSherwood14 on Twitter or visit the Official Site of the U.S. Open Championship.
Watch Part 1 of an interview with Nick Sherwood about the U.S. Open at the end of this blog.
Sherwood Tee Times
Rickie Fowler is well known for his bright orange outfits that represent Oklahoma State, the college he attended. But I'm very happy to report that we heard far more "Go Beavers" yells than "Go Cowboys" during Tuesday's practice round. In fact, Rickie told Bill Sherwood that at his last event (The Memorial) people were getting his Oklahoma State colors messed up for Oregon State and yelling "Go Beavers!"
The anticipation of playing 10 holes with Rickie definitely lived up to what Nick and I had hoped it would be. As we made the way down the hill to the ninth green on Tuesday, you got the feeling Nick was in for something a little different. The crowd awaiting Rickie's arrival was the biggest we had seen yet.
Nick arrived to the tee at about 12:20 p.m. where he met his other playing partners, which included Colt Knost, who won the US Amateur at The Olympic Club in 2007. As the clock kept getting closer to 12:30 there was still no Rickie. But just as Colt was about to call him, he began making his way down the stairs just a minute or two before 12:30. As the starter on the ninth tee announced the players, Nick stood on the tee and calmly striped his tee shot right down the middle. Rickie was last to go. People often ask what I'm looking for when I recruit. One of the things is speed and sound of the ball as it leaves the club face. Let's just say Rickie has it. He pounded it and it definitely made a different sound.
Nick's first few iron shots were left out to the right and after the ninth hole he was not driving the ball as well as he did on Monday. An individual's swing can't change that much from day to day, let alone just a couple of hours before on the range, so I knew Nick was feeling it. It was exactly what he needed to help him get ready for Thursday. The crowds were big - right on top of the players on each tee box - and all asking for autographs. This was not something Nick had experienced yet. On the 12th hole, Nick hit a tee shot pretty far right as the wind blew it almost over to the 13th green. Nick hit a second tee shot, his best swing of the day, right down the middle and then he and Rickie walked up the fairway. Nick hit his tee shot well, which left him a 7-iron. Rickie had a 9-iron left. When we got behind the 12th green, as Nick's approach had rolled just over the green, I asked him how he was doing. I told him to focus on the process and to not worry about the results. Just keep doing what he had been doing. He said, "it's a lot tougher to do it than I thought it would be." Confirmation that what Nick was going through was far different than anything he had ever experienced or his body had felt while playing golf.
It seemed to take another two or three holes before Nick was really comfortable. On the 15th, I checked his alignment before he hit his tee shot to the par 3, which he hit well, and as we walked up to the green he said, "this is my hole." I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a birdie or two there this week. He hit another very good tee shot on the long par-5 16th hole and finally seemed to be comfortable. Rickie was awesome all day. He talked with Nick about possible hole locations and his thoughts on how they might utilize other tee boxes and if they do where they might put the hole location.
As we waited on the 17th for the green to clear, Nick, his dad and his two brothers (Nate & Chad) all carried on a conversation with Rickie about basketball and Nate's ability to dunk. Rickie said he has hops, but he is just too short to begin with. Earlier in the day, Nick, Nate, Chad and I were debating whether Kevin Durant or LeBron James is better. Nick and I are for KD. Being an Oklahoma State grad, I figured Rickie would have an opinion. He did. He would take LeBron in 1-on-1, but KD to build a team. Based on the results of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Nick, Rickie and I know what we are talking about. (I hope Nate and Chad read this)
As the round concluded, Nick got a glimpse into the life of Rickie when Nick signed autographs for about 30 minutes. When Nick stopped, Rickie was still going. After feeling like his swing wasn't quite right, Nick headed back to the range before we headed back to the hotel to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Nick continued to struggle a bit with his ball striking and as the end of the bucket got near, I told him I wanted him to go through his entire pre-shot routine for his last three balls; to focus on the process and just slow himself down. He hit all three of them very well. It is going to be a huge key this week for Nick to stick to the process and slow things down. It won't be easy, but this experience will be invaluable for future events.
On our way back to the city, Nick, his dad and I talked about his day, his run-ins with Tiger, which is too bad I don't have enough time to get to because his teammates would say that is just "Shick being Shick" and how playing with Rickie was a great experience to prepare him for Thursday morning. We talked about how it is important for him to understand what he needs to do when his body feels different and how he can still play his best golf when it happens. As I mentioned that Nick said "yeah, I've never felt that way before. I had a tingly feeling throughout my whole body." What Nick is experiencing is good. As the cliché goes, there is no substitute for experience.
On Wednesday he will have the opportunity to gain some more experience being with three-time major champion Vijay Singh for his last look at The Olympic Club before it begins for real. Hopefully, we can be off the course by 10 a.m., get a short practice session in, grab some lunch and get him back to the hotel to rest up for Thursday and conserve as much energy as possible for a run at the weekend. Nick's round with Vijay and Rod Pampling begins at 8:10 a.m.
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