In a nod to very good timing, The Nationwide Insurance Company recently introduced a website that focuses on the trials and tribulations of graduates, and current residences of The Nationwide Tour. No longer a mediocre tour with backwater settings, the Nationwide Tour consists of the real rookies...kids that are the raw up-and-comers in golf that really put the spice in the game...and coincidentally, is what the PGA Tour is so desperate in need of.
Team Nationwide focuses on a select group of graduates from the 2006 Nationwide Tour currently competing on the PGA TOUR.
Nationwide also created the site as a springboard to generate fan interest in the Nationwide Tour. Visitors can view player bios, watch videos, participate in contests and learn more about the success of Team Nationwide on the PGA TOUR and the top players competing on the Nationwide Tour.
As an added bonus to checking out their site, Nationwide is also giving golf fans an opportunity to win a trip for 2 to the PGA Tour's 2008 Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu , Hawaii . Fans can visit www.nationwide.com/teamnationwide to enter. One grand prize winner and a guest will receive tickets to the 2008 Sony Open, an opportunity to play in the Tournament Pro-Am courtesy of Nationwide, meet Nationwide Tour graduates, and receive airfare and hotel accommodations for five days along with a complete set of Nickent golf clubs. Throughout the season, 14 weekly winners will also receive Nickent Golf 4DX Hybrids....
...show of hands that don't want to go to Hawaii....I didn't think there were any.
To whet your whistle, here's a snippet from the site. A Q & A with recent winner (and Nationwide Tour grad) Boo Weekly:
Q& A with Nationwide Tour graduate Boo Weekley
Can you tell us anything about how your life has changed since winning the Verizon Heritage?
People want to shake my hand and tell me they enjoyed watching me play. I still approach the game the same way though. I still practice hard. I hope to win a couple more times this year. Every time I tee it up, I’m there to win.
There are a lot of former Nationwide Tour golfers who are experiencing success on the PGA Tour, like Zach Johnson, Jason Gore, Camilo Villegas and yourself. How do you think the Nationwide Tour prepared you for the next stage of your career?
The Nationwide Tour made me mentally strong. There are a lot of guys on the Nationwide Tour that are really good players who are ready to play at the next level. So my experience playing against those guys prepared me mentally and for the travel.
What was your most high pressured shot ever?
Probably my putt at The Honda Classic – the second put to win, which I missed. I was trying to pick a good line, stay focused, keep my head still and just stroke it and let it happen. When I missed, I took my club and stuck it to the bill of my cap and told myself it just wasn’t my time.
I felt like I rushed myself on that putt. From that experience I learned to slow it down and take my time to try to blow my nerves off.
Is there one piece of advice or technique that really took your game to the next level?
My advice to others would be - work on your short game and your putting, because we all hit it the same.
What would you say to a young golfer who wants become a professional?
Believe in yourself and don’t let anybody tell you no different. If you believe it, you can do it. If you’re serious about wanting to play, trust yourself, trust your instincts and work hard on your short game.
If you had to pick one golfer that you'd aspire to be like, whom would that be and why?
Ben Hogan. I read a couple of his books. He believed that every day you have to practice to be good. Every day you miss a practice you have to put in more work to make up for it. He was a firm believer in himself. He got in a car wreck and they told him he wouldn’t be able to walk again. He showed them when he got back on the golf course again.
Obviously your goal was to make the PGA TOUR, but are there aspects of the Nationwide Tour you miss or remember fondly?
I have a lot of memories from the Nationwide Tour. I haven’t been on the PGA Tour long enough to forget them. We became a family. The Nationwide Tour always took care of me.
Do you still hang out with guys you played with on the Nationwide Tour?
Yes. All the guys who came through the Nationwide Tour, we still all talk and hang out.
Anything that people would be surprised to know about you?
I like rap. My favorites are Nelly, Snoop Dog, MC Hammer, I like all of it – old school, new school. I don’t rap myself, I just listen to it. People can find out more about me if they visit www.nationwide.com/teamnationwide
I'm glad there were no fashion questions for him...oh wait...there were...
...those were deleted.
Thanks for reading. Keep it in the short-grass,