Insider: Blixt making strides in fashion and his game

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Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Jonas Blixt shot up the Nationwide Tour money list to No. 11 after his second place finish at the Midwest Classic.
August 24, 2011
John Dell, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

Jonas Blixt's game is catching up with his wardrobe.

Blixt is one of the Nationwide Tour's flashiest dressers with unusual color schemes and bright-colored shirts. He's no Ian Poulter, but he's getting there.

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"I hope people notice my play, that's the main thing," said Blixt, a former Florida State player who is in his third full season on the Nationwide Tour, his best season yet by far.

With his tie for second on Sunday at the Midwest Classic, Blixt vaulted up the Nationwide Tour's money list and sits at a comfortable 11th place. His showing on Sunday was his second tie for second in three weeks; his other tie was at the Cox Classic Presented by Lexus of Omaha.

He'll tee it up again this week at the News Sentinel Open for his seventh straight tournament, but then he'll take next week off.

"I need some down time at this point," Blixt said about his plans after this week's stop in Tennessee. "I'm hoping to get refreshed for the rest of the season."

Blixt has caught fire of late thanks to plenty of footage, but it wasn't tape of his own swing. He decided that looking at other player's swings would get him in the right frame of mind.

"I kind of studied some of the guys on the PGA TOUR and that really helped me with my setup," Blixt said about looking at the swings of Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott.

About a month ago he changed his setup, and he noticed a difference.

"I just kind of watched some tapes on them on their setups and kind of transferred that to my swing," Blixt said. "It wasn't really with the swing, but just the setup. My setup was way off and it's seemed to work a lot better."

Last week Blixt caught fire in his third round by opening with six straight birdies, which was one shy of the Tour's all-time record. He wound up with a 62, and backed that up with a 66 on Sunday.

During his early career on the Nationwide Tour, Blixt said he struggled finding fairways. But since the change to a better setup, he's finding more fairways but what also has improved is his putting.

Heading into this week's tournament, Blixt is second in putting average and fifth in putts per round on the Nationwide Tour.

"I've always kind of had trouble hitting fairways but when I do that I tend to play well," Blixt said. "I wasn't doing a lot of that early in the season but now I am."

Blixt, whose best finish on the Nationwide Tour money list was 43rd in 2009, says he's learned that grinding it out to make a cut can't be something he does every once in awhile. He says that by making the cut, even by one stroke, can lead to big things on the weekend.

"You have to grind it out and by that I mean even if you barely make a cut, you can still come back and contend so you never know," Blixt said.

Blixt has never played a tournament on the PGA TOUR, but is in good shape to earn his card for 2012. He says that looking ahead to next season isn't a good idea because there's plenty of golf still to be played in 2011.

"I've put myself in a good situation where I have a chance of making it inside the top 25 but I try not to think about it," he said. "I want to go out and give myself a chance every day to shoot a low score."

Last season Blixt struggled with inconsistent play, part of which was a result of placing too much pressure on himself. After his rookie year in 2009 he said he thought it would go a lot better in his second season.

"I think last year was a bit of a letdown," Blixt said, "and I only really played well in one tournament. So I put a lot of expectations on myself each year and it hasn't worked out, so you just can't let your guard down out here."

Blixt, a 27-year-old from Sweden, says that honing his game on the Nationwide Tour has been good for him.

"It's a great tour and there's some tough competition out here," Blixt said. "You have to go really low every day and while I don't have much to compare to since I've only played in a couple of European Tour events, this tour really makes you grind it out every round and that's good."

He says his fashion sense is more about his sponsors than anything, but says it's tasteful and he's not going to apologize for it. He hears plenty of comments from fellow players.

"It kind of goes both ways," Blixt said. "Some of the guys say you should get noticed for your golf and not what you are wearing but others have said they like it. I just try to put together nice combinations, then go out and play."

John Dell has covered golf for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina for the last 18 years. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR. You can reach him at johndell@triad.rr.com.

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