"Off the Course" is where we talk to the players, learn about who they are, and get their thoughts about playing the game. From time to time we'll also interview college players about their junior careers and how college golf is different. We welcome your comments and suggestions. E-mail us or call toll free- 888-549-4653.

Philip Francis

Scottsdale, AZ

Final 16 - USGA Junior Boys
Medalist - Scott Robertson (13-14)
Medalist - Aaron Baddeley Junior

Medalist - Junior Worlds
Medalist - Toreno Nacional

Philip's extraordinary success at a young age has had him featured with Jim Flick on the Golf Channel and earned him invitations to play around the world. We sat down with him at the Doral Junior.

As we ask in all our interviews, how did you get started in golf.

When I was as young as one year- old, I went out with my dad. We lived in Las Vegas and I would sit in a stroller and watch my Dad hit range balls all day. Then one day, I picked up a club and my Dad showed me how to hold it and swing. And ever since then I have been hooked.

Did you eventually start playing with your Dad?

Yes. He's a good golfer. He has a three handicap at Desert Mountain and on weekends we'll play together.

Do you have any brother and sisters?

Yes I have a sister who is ten years old. She's a tennis player.

You have been pretty successful at a young age and golf is a sport of ups and downs. Tell us what ups and downs are for Philip Francis.

Well a couple of summers ago I had basically won every tournament I had played in and that was a pretty big up. Last summer (2002) I won Junior Worlds and that was a pretty big plus. My first AJGA I tied for first and lost in a playoff. The other events, I didn't do that bad, I just did not perform up to my standards. That was a little big of a downer. But it's like what Jim Flick says, what determines how good I'll be is how I handle the disappointments. I just have to go on and learn some more.

You were on the Golf Channel with Jim Flick recently. Was that your first show?

About a month ago I did a Golf Academy show with Jim and I think that makes four shows that I have done.

Tell us about when you are playing. If a round is going well for you, tell us why it is going well.

If I get off to a good start, I play well for the rest of the round. If I hit a lot of greens and keep my driver in play I will play well. I know that sounds kinda of obvious but if I am giving myself a decent number of chances, I know I'll make some putts.

Can we assume that if you are not playing well that it's your driver as opposed to poor iron play or poor putting?

Yes. I can block my driver and that will get me in trouble quickly. That leads to pressure on my putting and short game. Here at Doral, missing the fairways at the White course makes it very tough.

Tell us why you play the game.

First of all, I grew up with it. I enjoy playing and I especially enjoy playing in competitions. I have always been really competitive in anything I have done. When I play basketball, I am just as competitive.

If you did not play golf, what would you play?

I would play football or basketball.

Take us through the four areas of your game.

As I said, keeping my driver in play is key and hitting good approach shots. But one thing I had not been doing was practicing my putting. I have been focusing on that a great deal more. I have always practiced my bunker play and I feel as I am a good bunker player. I also have a real good feel for the golf club so I think I am a very good chipper.

Tell us about your practice routine during the week.

School gets out and I'm on the practice tee or course by 4:15 (Desert Mountain, AZ). I spend 60% of my time on full swing and I'm trying to get that down to less but working on putting for an hour is boring.

Tell us about preparation for a tournament.

I try to go out to my course and play the yardage of the course I'm going to play. I also work a great deal more on my short game to tune it up before we go. I really focus on my putting.

How about away from the course, are you into video games at all?

A little.

What about golf video games?

Oh I hate them. They are really boring.

As you look back on your golf so far what do you think you like the most or will you remember?

One of the biggest things is raising money for charities. I have raised over $30,000. Ones like the City of Hope and United Cerebal Palsy. I really kinda of proud of that.

What do you look forward to in golf?

Travelling and getting to see a lot of different places. I go to Sweden every year because I have dual citzenship in Sweden. I also went to Costa Rica and the course there was unbelievable...monkeys hanging in the trees and stuff.

How about Phillip Francis, the student?

I think I am a pretty good student even though I am away 30 school days year. I got a 3.7 grade average last quarter. Mom is pretty tough on me about that.

Finally, any goals you have set for yourself?

Making it to the US Junior and winning our National Junior Championship would be a near term goal. Really just playing as well as I think I can.

Philip, we know you have to run. Thanks for the interview.

You're welcome.