El Camaleón Golf Club - Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, México
Pre-Tournament Interview: Andy Ogletree
SHARON SHIN: I would like to welcome in Andy Ogletree to the virtual interview room here at the Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNIFIN.
Andy, you're making your first start as a professional on the PGA TOUR. Can we get some opening comments about your start here in Mexico?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, I mean obviously I'm super excited to get my professional career going. I've played five tournaments as an amateur, but just kind of feels a little different now to finally be professional, playing for points, playing for Tour status. Not that I'm going to go about the week any different, but it definitely feels a little more real than just playing for the experience. Can't wait to get going.
SHARON SHIN: And you recently earned low amateur honors at the Masters. What was that experience like and what kind of confidence did that bring to your game?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, it was such a cool experience. Obviously you hope to play the Masters a lot in your career, but to play as an amateur is a special week. You only get that opportunity once, so it's great to take advantage of that opportunity to play with Tiger Woods and Shane Lowry in the opening round. Obviously that's a featured pairing, so to play well in that group and under that pressure gave me a lot of confidence going forward. I don't think there can be a lot more pressure than that in a normal week out here. Definitely feel good where my game's at, definitely feel like it's trending in the right direction and can't wait to get started this week.
SHARON SHIN: As you start your PGA TOUR career, what are some of your season goals and long-term goals that you've got?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, my season goals, I want to get enough points to at least get to the Korn Ferry Finals. To get your PGA TOUR card or temporary membership right away would be the cherry on top, but at least enough points to get to Korn Ferry Finals, that gives you three events to get your PGA TOUR card.
Week by week I'm just trying to get top-10s. Obviously winning would be everyone's goal starting the week, but top-10 is a great week and gets you into another tournament. Where I'm at, I have no -- I can't plan my schedule because I'm just playing off sponsor invites. The most I could get is seven, but if I top-10, I could get some more tournaments in there. So that's the goal, play as many tournaments as I can this year on the PGA TOUR and then just kind of go from there. I think I'll play really well and hopefully that will open a lot of opportunity going forward, but all I can do is play my best.
Q. I was wondering with the Georgia Tech pipeline, there's been so many guys who have had success on the KFT and PGA TOUR. Wondering kind of what your relationship is with some of them, who are a couple of the guys that you may have picked their brain about what it's like to be on Tour and what it takes and just getting to know them in general?
ANDY OGLETREE: Like you said, there's a lot of guys coming out of Georgia Tech right now. I actually live with Vince Whaley, who's a rookie on Tour. We have a house together in Alphretta, so we practice together, work out together, kind of do everything together. He kind of tells me everything I need to know about the PGA TOUR.
There's also guys like Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, Roberto Castro, Ollie Schniederjans, Richy Werenski, Seth Reeves, Anders Albertson. All of those guys we're still super close with and I have good relationships with all of those guys. I really, I feel comfortable asking them any questions. Obviously Stewart and Matt Kuchar are obviously two of the most well-known Georgia Tech guys and most accomplished probably, but all the other guys have had a lot of success, too. So I feel comfortable asking any of them for tidbits or advice that I might want to know about.
Q. And then the handwritten note from 12 years ago that you posted on Twitter, that was so cool. Could you kind of just reflect how you found that note, where that note was and the thought process? That was so cool.
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, so one of my best friends growing up, his mom was my third grade teacher. I guess she was going through her old files and kind of cleaning out some of her storage and she came across a letter that I wrote in I guess it was 2008. So she gave it to my mom. My mom's also a school teacher at our local school, so she was like, hey, I think you might want to have this. This was a couple years ago when she gave it to my mom. My mom framed it, put it in my room knowing that one day I would be a professional golfer and she's like, this is going to be super cool. Yeah, super fortunate that she kept that letter, but it was definitely a cool way to announce turning professional.
Q. What's the emotion like for you like as you look at that letter and kind of think about -- and do you remember writing it?
ANDY OGLETREE: No, I don't remember writing it, but yeah, everything is true. My goal always was to play on the PGA TOUR and to be a PGA TOUR member and to win tournaments. That's kind of where I always saw myself. So I think if you would have asked me even younger than that, I would have said the same thing. It's really cool just to see everything unfold. I've been working a long time for moments like this, so definitely not going to take it for granted and do the best I can.
Q. I might have this wrong so I apologize if I do, but given the pandemic this year, you could have gone back for one more season in college, correct?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, that's correct.
Q. Can you just kind of outline why you chose -- why it was time to turn pro now as opposed to waiting one more year?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, so I don't know if you know this, but the ACC decided to cancel golf for the fall. For me, I wasn't going to go back to school just to go to school, I was going to go back to play golf and if there was no golf, there was no point in me going back. That's just kind of the reason.
I had already graduated, I had kind of accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish and there was an opportunity for me to go play on some sponsor invites and hopefully play in at least seven tournaments this year. That's kind of everything you can wish for as an amateur, to have those opportunities present themselves, so it was time for me to go.
Q. And a little bit different but you talked about trying to get into the Korn Ferry Tour Finals being the goal (inaudible) playing your way on to the PGA TOUR. Did you consider any other way to do it? I'm thinking specifically like what Brooks did like going to Europe or something a along those lines.
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, I haven't gotten that far yet. We'll kind of see how it goes playing in the tournaments that I play in.
I don't know. I would rather stay in America, to be honest with you, but you know, we'll see what happens.
Q. Just wondering, having that opportunity to play with Tiger Woods, were you able to get some advice on starting your professional career from him or anybody else there at the Masters?
ANDY OGLETREE: No, I didn't really talk to him about turning pro. He kind of asked when I was going to turn pro, but it was not a very long conversation or anything like that. I didn't really ask for any advice turning pro. There's a lot of stuff in the media that I've seen, guys talk about turning pro and kind of the stuff they've learned, so not really, to be honest with you.
Q. Forgive me for not knowing this, did you make any PGA TOUR starts before this year, those few starts you had made earlier in the year?
ANDY OGLETREE: No, this year was the first events I've played.
Q. When you got out there, what was maybe the biggest learning curve initially? What did you see about your game that you thought you really needed to take to the next level to compete out there?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, kind of the same thing that I went through in college. I've always been a really good ball-striker, I thought. I got out here, like I hit it really well at Colonial, I played so bad. Then went to Hilton Head the next week and worked so hard on putting, trying to get my putting going that I hit it terrible.
So it's golf, man. There's some stuff you can't control, but I learned to just kind of trust the process, not worry about a bad putting week, bad ball-striking week, just keep doing your process and keep trusting the work that you're putting in and not really worry about what's going on right now, just kind of trusting the long term. Hoping to be out here for many, many years and one tournament's not going to make or break you. If you don't trust your process and stay committed to that, that can really hurt you. I definitely learned a lot early on and I think that will help me going forward throughout my professional career.
Q. And then one other question, you know, I thought it was a cool story talking about the letter you had written and finding it. Have you been home to Little Rock since the Masters?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, I went home for two days for Thanksgiving. I didn't really get to do anything. I just saw my family, had my Thanksgiving stuff. My dad does like a local community Thanksgiving, feeds a lot of people, so helped out with that. Pretty much it.
Q. Was it different? Was there fanfare coming back having gotten some TV time at Augusta?
ANDY OGLETREE: Yeah, definitely. There's a lot of support from back home and I'm super thankful for that. I'm looking forward to being there for Christmas and actually getting to see everyone. For now, I'm just kind of focused on this week. Hopefully when I get back I can celebrate turning pro and the Masters and everything like that.
SHARON SHIN: Andy, thank you so much for your time and good luck this week.