Inside the Mind of Kyle Stanley

PGA pro Kyle Stanley shares his thoughts with Golfer’s Guide.
By Karen Rhodes
Photo Courtesy of StarletDarlene/Dreamstime.com

Karen Rhodes: The beginning of this year got off to a bit of a rocky start, but then you had a big win that catapulted your popularity. What did you learn in that loss that helped you secure the big win?

Kyle Stanley: I would characterize the start of my year as exciting, but certainly not rocky by any means. I started playing well in Hawaii and continued that good play into San Diego. While I didn’t win the event, I probably gained much more from what happened versus if I had actually won. I think that a lot more people came to know who I was, and those that do follow golf got a better understanding of who I am and my personality. During that stretch of losing in the playoff at Torrey Pines and coming back to win the following week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, I learned a lot about myself, and all of those experiences have made me not only a better player but a better person. I was pretty devastated Sunday night after San Diego, but I am not sure I would go back and change a thing.

KR: What kind of impact did that win have on your scheduling and your time commitments, both professionally and personally?

KS: My life has certainly gotten busier as a result of winning in Phoenix and finishing as a runner-up in San Diego. From a time standpoint, I have had a huge increase in media requests, and I am doing my best to honor as many as I can while trying to keep my routines the same so I can continue to improve and play well. Winning has many perks, some of which are getting into bigger events like the Masters and the World Golf Championships. As a result, I am able to set my schedule farther in advance and plan better. Having success certainly increases the demands on your time, so learning to be efficient and disciplined is definitely a priority of mine.

KR: Who, if anyone, provided any advice after that loss that you took to heart and that has helped you learn from the experience? How do you expect to use that advice to help advance your growth in the game?

KS: I don’t know if there was any one thing that was said to me or by a particular person. I had an outpouring of support from fans, and that made me feel great, to know so many people were out there pulling for me. I also have great family support and a terrific team that was by my side the entire time. They all provided great perspective that maybe wasn’t that clear to me at the time because my emotions were so raw. I played great golf in San Diego. What I chose to do and was encouraged to do was focus on all the good things I did that week, and that is absolutely something I did that allowed me to move on and carry a lot of confidence into Phoenix the following week.

KR: What are your plans and goals for this year?

KS: My main goals are always process-related, as I see that as the best road to improvement. I also set more specific goals. At the beginning of the year I had as goals to make the Accenture World Golf Matchplay (the top 64 players in the world rankings qualify), win my first PGA Tour event, qualify for the Masters and make the Ryder Cup team. I have achieved three out of four so far, so I am very pleased to say the least. As I reach certain goals, I add others. But again, the main goal is to be process-driven and improve each year.

KR: What strengths will help you get there? What challenges do you foresee?

KS: Well, I think my passion to be the best I can be, my work ethic and my desire to keep getting better are truly my strengths as a golfer. I just need to stay focused, disciplined and keeping working hard, and we will see what happens. This game has many ups and downs, and it can take you to the greatest heights and the lowest depths. Maintaining a great attitude regardless of what the game brings you is probably the greatest challenge.

KR: We know you’d like to win all four majors, but does one of them stand out to you as the most desirable win?

KS: You’re right, I’d like to win them all, but would be satisfied with winning any one of them. But if I had to choose one, it would be the Masters. There is such an unbelievable tradition, aura and history about the Masters, Augusta National and all of the great champions that have worn the Green Jacket. I remember every year how excited I would be when the TV ads started running, promoting the Masters, and I remember always sitting glued to the TV set watching every round with my dad. To win at Augusta and wear the Green Jacket would be a dream come true, for sure.

KR: What are your hobbies when you’re not on the course?

KS: I am a pretty hard worker and very focused on my profession. When I have an off week, I don’t like to do a lot, honestly. I catch up on missed sleep and generally just hang out and recharge until I leave for the next tournament.

KR: What other sports and teams do you follow? Tell us about your connection to Gonzaga University. Are you a huge basketball fan?

KS: I am a big Clemson fan obviously, and because of growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I am a huge Gonzaga basketball fan. Ever since I can remember, I have been a Zags fan and have watched them religiously since I was a small kid. Doesn’t mean I have any less love for Clemson!

KR: Were you able to get out and enjoy the Phoenix area while you were there for the tournament? What was your favorite thing about the area?

KS: Tournament week I am pretty focused on my preparations for the event, so I didn’t go out much during the event. Afterwards, we did celebrate some around town which was a lot of fun.

KR: What did you enjoy the most about the Phoenix Open, besides winning?

KS: WINNING! Besides winning, the crowds are unbelievable. There are so many people and they are all having a blast. Plus the support that I received from the crowd was amazing.

 

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