Tour rookie Chandler Phillips won’t touch his clubs for months. Yes, really
Chandler Phillips laughs a little. He admits that what he’s about to say sounds bad.
But ahead of January, when he will make his first-ever start as a PGA Tour member, he will not grind. His clubs, in fact, will be in a closet somewhere in his home. And in the three-or-so-month gap between his last start and his Tour debut, he will have mostly hunted. Just as he always has.
Just as he likes.
Sorry, not sorry.
“It probably sounds bad, but yeah. Yeah,” Phillips said this week on the latest episode of GOLF’s Subpar podcast. “No, I got a good group of guys that I go hunting with every year. We usually leave probably Wednesday or Thursday of every week and come back on Mondays and it’s every week. We’re rolling.
“And that’s what I plan on doing.”
Is it aspirational? Yes. Who among us wouldn’t want to confidently go a quarter of the year (!) without touching the sticks before playing at golf’s highest level? Is it also a touch delusional? Perhaps. Every word we’ve read on this site tells us practice, practice, practice. Practice!
But to each their own. Besides, it’s worked for Phillips, a 26-year-old from Huntsville, Texas. He did something similar in college, at Texas A&M, though much to the chagrin of his coach at the time, J.T. Higgins.
“He’d get on me pretty good,” Phillips said on Subpar.
He’s carried the philosophy to the pros, too. His best story here began last November, when Phillips qualified for this year’s Korn Ferry Tour. Starting there, his clubs sat. They continued to during the rest of November. December. All the way to about the second or third day of January.
Then, a week later, he won, at the Korn Ferry season-opening event.
“Yeah, so I had to go back to Q-School last year, and this last year was actually my first full year on Korn Ferry,” Phillips said on Subpar. “And final stage always got me. I had actually made it to final stage every year that I went to Q-School, but put too much pressure on myself and could never get the status that I needed. And this last year, went to Q-School again, played well, finished 10th in finals, and that ended the first week of November.
“As soon as I got home, put the clubs in the closet. First tournament of the Korn Ferry season was the second week of January. I think I picked up the clubs, my first club, since final stage of Q-School, January 2nd or 3rd and pretty much practiced a week and went out there and had some fun.”
“God bless you,” Subpar co-host Colt Knost said.
“That’s so nice,” co-host Drew Stoltz said.
Indeed. And now, after a season on the Korn Ferry, he’s off to the big leagues. But there remains a question here.
How can you go from hunting ducks — he says this week is the start of duck season — to chasing birdies? From rifles to drivers?
Here, Chandler turned deep, though he’s mostly easy-going.
“But yeah, man, it’s, like I said, a reset,” Chandler said on Subpar. “And I’m not somebody that, I guess, sets a lot of goals. I just kind of go with the flow. I feel like when I give myself a lot of expectations that I want to meet, and I don’t meet them, it just kind of gets in my head and I don’t even want to put myself in that position, so I just kind of, whatever happens, happens.
“And it’s been somewhat working for me.”
Editor’s note: To watch the entire Subpar episode with Phillips, please click below.