Sahith Theegala and Mito Pereira’s gut-wrenching heartbreak: Netflix ‘Full Swing’ Ep. 7 recap
The long-anticipated Netflix series “Full Swing” hit streaming devices on Feb. 15 with eight episodes featuring a dozen stars who brought us inside their homes and lives on tour in 2022. So, what did you miss? And what do you need to know? Here, we’ll break down every episode.
Episode 7 of Full Swing — “Golf is Hard” — focused on two of the PGA Tour’s lesser-known players (at least, at the time): 2022 rookies Sahith Theegala and Mito Pereira, as well as young Chilean star Joaquin Niemann.
The show endeavors to give an inside look at the pressure first-year Tour cardholders are under, how their ups and downs are shared by many: spouses, parents, and extended family members, and hammering the idea that rookie life, and pro golf is general, is tough.
The episode’s first major drama is driven by Theegala’s near-miss at the 2022 WM Phoenix Open. He was tied for the lead on the 17th tee on Sunday, but drove it into the water. His resulting double-bogey essentially took him out of the tournament and he finished T3 — a devastating turn of events that packed the episode’s biggest emotional punch when you relive Theegala’s post-round tears and the comfort he receives from his family afterward.
“I’m really proud of you, I’m really proud of you,” Theegala’s father says when Theegala emerges from the media center. “Fantastic job.” After hugging his father, Theegala buries his head on his mother’s shoulder as the tears stream and his family’s arms close in around him.
From Scottsdale, the episode moves on to Los Angeles, to highlight Pereira and Niemann at Riviera, where Niemann triumphed in wire-to-wire fashion, setting a 54-hole scoring record and earning a photo op with Tiger Woods in the winner’s circle, with his friend group looking on with joy and envy.
Then it’s Pereira’s turn. The 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills was a star-making moment for him. In his first major championship, Pereira held a one-shot lead on the 18th tee — then, similar to Theegala’s debacle, disaster struck in the form of a bad drive, which found the water. His ensuing double-bogey on the final hole gave Justin Thomas the trophy, and Pereira settled for T3.
Golf is hard, indeed.
What golf fans might have learned
Most golf fans are pretty tuned in to new talent, but Theegala’s immediate splash on the PGA Tour may have come as a surprise to many.
But as we learned in Episode 7, that shouldn’t have been the case if we were paying attention. Footage from Theegala’s childhood years showed a precious talent who won the Junior World tournament for Boys 6 & Under in 2004.
“I was really good at golf right from the start,” Theegala says. “I practiced a lot.”
What non-golf fans might have learned
Cliques aren’t just for high school. There are important friend groups that form on the PGA Tour, evidenced by the Latin American players’ close-knit bond.
In this episode, viewers learn just how deep Niemann and Pereira’s relationship goes. The two were childhood friends in Chile, sharing the same coach and practicing together daily as youngsters. A win for one is a win for all, and the group is frequently shown on camera supporting each other’s good play.
Non-golf fan viewers may end up surprised by golf’s fickle nature in this episode. By all accounts, Theegala hit a good shot on No. 17 at TPC Scottsdale and just suffered a tournament-altering bad break. Pereira, conversely, made a bad club decision compounded by a bad swing on 18 at Southern Hills. After 70 and 71 prior holes of excellent play, respectively, it is sometimes shocking just how quickly things can go awry in golf.
3 random thoughts
1. I’m loving the little details we’re getting, like the Titleist golf clock on the wall in Theegala’s house.
2. Watching Theegala use a box as a laundry basket was endearing. So was his vocal justification for simply throwing all the laundry in together as opposed to dividing it up. So relatable!
3. Murli Theegala, Sahith’s father, seems like the nicest, most positive and supportive dad, with a lovely onscreen energy.
One thing you might have missed
Pereira was fairly stoic in the immediate aftermath of his major disappointment at Southern Hills, but there was a brief, telling moment of the emotions churning under the surface when the camera followed Pereira to the scoring tent.
In the background, you can hear a young fan asking for Pereira’s glove. He takes it off, seemingly to oblige the request, but then quickly tears it using both hands, and tosses it in the garbage.
“A lot of people are like, oh, he’s just happy to be there. He’s not really a competitor. That couldn’t be further from the truth.” —Sahith Theegala
This episode becomes a more interesting watch in light of the news that both Niemann and Pereira have since absconded to LIV Golf.
Though LIV was not mentioned in this episode, Niemann ended up signing in August last year. Given the closeness that was emphasized on the show between Niemann and Pereira, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Pereira recently became the latest addition to LIV’s 2023 roster, along with Sebastian Munoz. Pereira will play on Niemann’s team, Torque GC.
“Winning on the PGA Tour has been the dream of my life, basically,” Pereira says in the episode. “But it’s a really tough thing to do.”
Pereira may not have won during his brief stint on the PGA Tour, but he did come away with nearly $2.8 million in winnings last year, while Theegala grossed $3.1 million, and even made it to the lucrative Tour Championship. He’s now ranked 33rd in the world.
Two 2022 rookies, two wildly different paths. But regardless of where a pro tees it up, one truth remains: Golf is hard.