"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.

Ty Tryon

Orlando, FL

AJGA - First Team All American
2000 - Champion, PGA Junior
Champion, AJGA Robert Trent Jones
Runner-up, AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions
1999 - Champion, AJGA Lucent Boys` Junior Championship

When did you first pick up a club?

It was a plastic club, a fake one, when I was about one and a half. I'd be in a stroller and I'd whack at it with that club. I started playing when I went to the golf course with my Dad. He couldn't leave me at home so he would take me to the course and so we'd go three times a week.

How about other sports?

I played ice hockey since I was five. I did that mainly in North Carolina where I grew up. We moved down here to Florida when I was seven or eight so the ice hockey kinda stopped. But I also boxed until about two years ago when I was 14. I broke my arm fooling around so that put an end to that. Missed three months of golf too in the early spring.

Golf is obviously the sport you've settled on but do you still play others for fun?

Yes. I'm a pretty good basketball player. My younger brother is really good. He's younger and has played on the AAU National Team.

Did you have other brothers and sisters?

Yes I have two brothers and a sister, all younger.

Let's talk about your first golf tournament. Do you remember it?

It must have been when I was four. I don't really remember it. I really remember the tournaments here in Florida once we moved here.

Who's been the biggest influence on your golf?

My Dad.

He makes all your clubs?

Not now but when I was younger he would cut them down for me. He does do all my grips now though. He does little things with my clubs.

You're attending the Leadbetter Junior Academy is that correct?

Yes I go four days a week.I leave Sunday or Monday and then come home on the weekends. I get lessons with David Leadbetter every couple of weeks.

Let's talk about your tournaments. You've always played "up" in age groups. What do you think that's done for you?

When I was 10, I won everything I played in. To get me more competition, my Dad moved me up to 12-13 age groups. I didn't win but I would place in the top three or so. Then, when I was 12 or 13, I would play in the 14-15 group. It just helped my competitiveness. It helped alot.

What is it you like about the game the most? You are clearly very good and have had a great deal of success, but what is it about the sport you like?

I just love it. It's really fun to play and you can play for a long time. I find it the most challenging of any sport. You have to use your head the most, there are more variables. It's also one individual as opposed to a team. You can't blame anyone else or hide anywhere when you play poorly.

Today I saw you skull a wedge and your Dad made the comment you did not get angry. Is that something you have been working on?

Yeah, I try not to get mad. Sometimes you do and you cannot control it. It happens but when I played with my Dad he would get upset with me if I got angry and threw away the next shot too. He's taught me a lot.

Are there certain tournaments you like better than others?

Yes. You're from Virginia and I love the Scott Robertson. I haven't played well there but I still love it. I like the course and the people there are really nice. Some tournaments aren't like that and there are some I really do not like at all, but the Robertson is one of the best. I really like tournaments up north. I love playing on bent grass greens. Courses like Oakmont are great.

Tell us a little about practice and how you approach it.

I mix it up. At Leadbetter we practice some days, play some days . I also practice a great deal on my own too so I try to mix it up quite a bit to keep it from getting boring.

Do you play games with yourself to set up challenges?

More in putting than with the other parts of my practice. During the competitive season I practice very little. My Dad doesn't want me practicing a lot after a round, just a little. When I play every week in the summer, I don't do any heavy practice at all.

Playing so much, is burnout a factor?

Not really. I love the game so much, I always want to be playing or competing. Nothing feels better than winning.

Take us through your game on a scale of 1 to 10.

Driving…8 or 9
Long irons… 7
Mid irons…really good at 8 or 9
Short irons…8
Bunker play…9 or 10, I'm really proud of that.
Putting… pretty strong at an 8.

If you struggle, what does that come from?

Probably driving or my lag putting.

What are your goals for the year 2000?

All American and Player of the Year probably. I want to win two majors.

Last question. Bob Rotella talks about composure, concentration, and confidence. Where is Ty Tryon on those three elements?

I feel really good on all three. I'm not anxious at all any more. Last year I was a little but not now, so my composure is pretty good right now. Occassionally I'll lose concentration late in a round, but not very often.

Thanks for your time Ty. Play well .

You're welcome. I enjoyed it.