Interviews

"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.

Peter Uihlein

The Junior Heritage - 2006



2006
Bobby Chapman - Champion
AJGA - Rolex - Runner up
AJGA - Ping Junior - Top 5
AJGA - Craig Ranch Junior - Champion
Junior Heritage - Top Five
FCWT - Sea Island Junior - Champion
FCWT - Doral Silver Classic - Champion

2005
AJGA Rolex Junior Player Of The Year
AJGA - Robert Trent Jones - Champion
Bobby Chapman - Champion
AJGA First American Title - Champion
Junior Orange Bowl - Runner Up
AJGA - Canoe Brook - Runner Up
AJGA - Ping Junior - Runner Up
Scott Robertson - Runner Up
Western Junior - Top Three


With nine top 10's and six victories in major events in 2005 and four victories in 2006, to say Peter Uihlein is having a good junior career would be an understatement. We caught up with the AJGA Rolex Player of the Year in Hilton Head at the 2006 Junior Heritage.

First of all congratulations on a great year.

Thank you very much.

Tell us what it all meant to you.

It meant a great deal. For one thing I had been close to having good tournaments in the past but had always done something to hurt myself in the last few holes. Last year I really learned to close the deal, to finish, to win.

Were you aware of maybe being Player of the Year? Did it come as a surprise?

It was a surprise. I knew it was wide open because there were several different winners of all the big events. Tway won the Junior, Fowler the Western, Stanley the HP Boys, Francis the Robertson, so it was pretty much a toss up. But I teed it up 16 times and I finished top 5 nine times. So I knew I had a chance.

Wow, you rattle off all those names pretty quickly. Sounds like you're a little competitive.

Yeah I know what's happening and pay attention to who's doing what. I knew it was close and that I might win.

Has it changed you or the way people treat you now?

I don't think so. I'm not really thinking about it and saying ok I've got this special recognition. The golf psychologist I work with has me focused on thinking of the award as a label and having it not change who I am. I think I'm doing that pretty well. I still don't think I'm the best player out here. There are better players than me. As far as people and how they treat me, that's a little different. Before everyone would just come up and talk to me on the range or whatever like I was just another player and I like that. Now it seems those same people don't come up to me anymore. It's like they see me differently. Not my friends or the people I know, but the guys who I knew a little bit. Seems they're reluctant somehow.

Do you think that they think they don't want to be seen as trying to be your friend because you're this famous player and so they avoid you?

Yeah maybe, but not by me. I'm still the same person.

Tell us how you approach playing the game. Do you have goals, write them down goals?

I have process goals, not outcome goals. I work on the process of playing not the results. I'm not focused on the outcomes. I work on the path I'm taking to the process and if I do that well, the outcomes will take care of themselves.We have these words where each letter means something and we have goals for the week that we work on. Mine always are "Attitude, trust, professionalism, and manage". If I commit to those I will do pretty well in a tournament. My preshot routine is a process and that has to be consistent. For instance before I putt there are probably five different steps to my routine. I put the ball down, walk to the other side of the hole, go back to the ball, walk halfway to the hole to look at a spot, go back to the ball and take a practice swing, step behind the ball again, go back to the ball, take one look and then pull the trigger.

Speaking of process, where is Peter Uihlein on anger management? You don't impress me as a hothead on the course.

(Smiles)

That smile tells me something.

I've had a hothead in the past. I'm working on that. I'm much better this year than last. I'm older and understand things more. There are still moments, but I think I'm a lot better.

Your Mom told us today that you focus very well.

I think that's true. Ill joke around on the range or the putting green but when its go time I'm keeping myself focused. If I play loose it's because I've lost that focus for a moment.

Word has it you're an animal in the gym.

True, everyday. My strength coach's father is also my math teacher and I have him right after working out. So I get those two back to back somedays. Makes for a hard day.

Speaking of school, what do you like and what's not so likeable?

English and history are things that I like. I like to write, I think. But not numbers.

So no equations?

Yeah, no equations. Math's not at the top of my list so that's why those days are tough after doing strength training.

Any nicknames for you?

"Sparky". My strength coach called me that when I walked in the gym one day. I have no clue why but he calls me that.

Take us through the parts of your game.

Driving I'm pretty good. I hit the ball hard I think. Although today I blocked the ball dead right on my first drive and then also three putted the first hole for a smooth triple.(Peter ended up shooting even par that round)Fairway woods and long irons are a strength. I use a hybrid two and three iron and I love those clubs. Chipping or pitching short range is something I'm working on and putting is okay to good.

How do you prepare for a tournament?

Two weeks before I work on swing basics like tempo. Then a week before or a few days before I work things that haven't been going well. Last Tuesday I was working on my short game because it wasn't very good in my last tournament.

You attend the Leadbetter Academy and we know a little about how that decision was made. Tell us why you went there.

I just wasn't going to be as good as I wanted to be living in MA. The season is too short and there are a few good players but not like there are at the Academy.

Are you a seven day a week player?

Oh no. Six at most. I would burn out too quickly.

What would you play if you did not play golf?

Basketball. I'm not bad and I can dunk!

No way!

I can dunk a tennis ball.(Laughs)

What's the wrist band you are wearing?

"Attitude is everything." As you can see I have had this for a while as I have sweated off the color and the white streak of skin underneath it. I got it at Canon Cup and since then I've had second, a third, four wins, and a semi at the Polo. So it's staying on my wrist. My attitude has cost me shots in the past but it's gotten a lot better and my round after the first hole triple today is a good example.

What do you think your best personal strength is?

(Long pause) Hard work and not getting distracted. Not everyday but when I have to. I don't give it my all day in, day out because I would get too tired but I work when I have to.

Do you have a favorite band?

I do. Howie Day. I have one song I listen to everytime before I tee off - "She Says".

Name a movie you really liked.

"Dumb and Dumber", it's a classic. "Man on Fire", very intense movie. "Saving Private Ryan" too.

Couple more questions...why golf?

One man sport. If you play bad it's your fault. You can't blame it on a teammate who missed a pass or didn't play defense. You're the only one who has to get better. I'm also the happiest when I am on the golf course. How can you not be. But in the end it's just golf. A lot of worse things can happen so you have to keep it in perspective.

Any life goal?

To be happy.

Good note to end on. Thanks Peter.

You're welcome, thank you.