‘I was just done’: How Kevin Kisner is inching back from the abyss

kevin kisner hits a shot

Kevin Kisner, struggling to find his form, took some time away from the game, but he saw promising results in Round 1 of the Sanderson Farms.

Getty Images

Kevin Kisner admitted it comes in cycles. After he opened the Sanderson Farms Championship with a five-under 67 on Thursday, Kisner, who has played sparingly on the PGA Tour the last couple of months, explained, in short, his absence.

“I kind of struggled at the end of college, and then once again when I was on the Korn Ferry Tour I was really struggling,” Kisner said on Thursday at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss. “It seems to be about every seven- or eight-year cycle. Hopefully I don’t have to see another one, though. It’s tough mentally — playing poorly physically and then mentally, not really wanting to be there because you know how poorly you’re playing. The time away was super helpful. Had a lot of people helping me, and now it’s just relentless perseverance and keep trying to gain progress and not perfection.”

Kisner, a four-time PGA Tour winner, had five top 10s and nearly made it to the Tour Championship during the 2021-22 season, but his struggles began around February. At least that’s what the results would tell you.

He was T34 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (a finish that would have been much better if not for an opening-round 76), but missed his next three cuts and didn’t record a round in the 60s. In the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational he shot 80. A week later he shot 81 in the final round of the Players Championship. He was hitting drives off the planet (his words) and couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

In a five-tournament span from April to June, Kisner missed four cuts and withdrew once. Then, at the Travelers in late June, he withdrew again.

“I kind of want to be a fixer all the time,” he said Thursday. “I want to hurry up and fix whatever is wrong and let’s move on, and I couldn’t fix it. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got. At some point I was like, at the Travelers last year, I was just done. I was done before I teed off the first round. I knew it and everybody else knew it.”

He put the clubs away. He said he played about four times in two months but got back to work in the middle of August. Finally, he was seeing some results. After nearly three full months off, Kisner returned at the Fortinet Championship a couple of weeks ago and tied for 62nd, recording two sub-70 rounds, something he hadn’t done since that week at Pebble.

He liked what he saw in Napa, and he said the progress continued in the lead-up to this week. On Thursday, starting on the 10th hole, Kisner birdied two of his first five and turned in two-under 34. He had four more birdies on the back and just one bogey on the day, finishing three shots off the lead, held by Chesson Hadley at eight under.

Kisner’s second round started at 1:39 p.m. ET on Friday. Golf Channel will carry the broadcast from 4-7 p.m. ET.

“It was good to have some time away, and now I’m excited to be here,” Kisner said. “I’m excited to work on it. I’m excited to see the progress. Days like today make it all worthwhile.”

Exit mobile version