The big difference between elite amateur golf and pro golf, according to an ex-college star

Bryce Molder

Before beginning his PGA Tour career, Bryce Molder was one of the most accomplished college players in history. One of only four players in history to be named a First Team All-American a whopping four times, Molder also won nine collegiate tournaments as a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.

So when Molder finished third in his first tournament as a pro, it seemed like Tour golf could just be a continuation of the dominance he wielded in college. What followed, though, was a big-time reality check. In this week’s episode of Subpar, Molder told hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz how difficult it was to miss cuts as a professional after having such a successful amateur career.

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“It was like dealing with rejection for the first time,” Molder said. “And then I got to face a lot of it. It’s tough. Until you kind of suck for a little while, you don’t really know what somebody’s career is going to be like.”

Though Molder won one Tour event and amassed more than $11 million over the course of his career, he said that an unreliable driver was the source of many of his problems in his early years as a pro — which led him to see how the pro game differed from big-time amateur golf.

“I think I got away with a lot of stuff as an amateur player, that caught up,” Molder said. “Golf swing — I didn’t have great fundamentals, but I knew how to play the game so well, and I putted and chipped so well. I didn’t have any fear because I didn’t have a reason to yet. And then you start hitting some balls off line, you start missing some cuts, and you start [to think], what is this?

“I think too, I look back. It was so much easier to play — it’s like if you’re 10 playing against 12-year-olds. You kind of have nothing to lose. And so you get to a point where you’re like, no, I’m actually expected to play great. and when I play great, it’s not exceeding anybody’s expectations, that’s the expectation. That’s what was hard to live up to.

“If you’re good at something, no matter how nervous you are, you’re gonna perform,” Molder continued. “And if you’re not that great at it, you’ve been getting away with it, it’ll come to the surface.”

For more from Molder, including how Tiger Woods and a hot dog overshadowed his first win, and a hilarious Matt Kuchar story, check out the full video below.

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