Insider: MacKenzie maintaining positive outlook

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Will MacKenzie finished tied for seventh last week at the South Georgia Classic.
May 02, 2012
John Dell, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

Will MacKenzie doesn't worry about the little things as much as he used to.

For instance, he says shanking a ball from time to time is just something that happens. "I can get too close to the ball on occasion and when I do its hosel-rocket city," Mackenzie said.

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Last week at the South Georgia Classic MacKenzie, 37, was in good shape heading down the stretch and was very much in contention but a shank at the wrong time put him out of sorts and, before he knew it, he had tied for seventh with a 1-over 73.

What had MacKenzie more upset was how he handled No. 18, where he triple bogeyed to fall back to a tie for seventh. He said it's something he'll have to work through but should be OK once he gets to Thursday's first round this week at the Stadion Classic at UGA.

"I had been playing great and I just made a bad swing at the wrong time and it cost me a lot," said MacKenzie, who is playing mostly on the Nationwide Tour this season. "All of sudden I felt a little tired and it's Sunday and I kind of got out of sorts."

As he made the drive to the airport on Sunday night he couldn't help but maintain a positive attitude.

The good news is he'll play this week at the University of Georgia and will try to put himself into position again. He also has status on the PGA TOUR and has made three out of three cuts and says he'll continue to play both Tours in hopes of getting his game back to where it once was.

"I really did a lot of work in the offseason and feel very good about 2012," said MacKenzie, who has spent six seasons on the PGA TOUR.

His dilemma is mapping out his schedule and figuring out the best places to play to enhance his chances of getting his full PGA TOUR status in 2013. On the one hand, he knows the PGA TOUR courses very well, but in many cases has never seen the Nationwide Tour courses.

"I'm still kind of living a PGA TOUR player's life in Jupiter," MacKenzie said about his home in Florida. "I have to make a living and I've got to see where that fits into the rest of the season."

MacKenzie tried to Monday qualify into this week's PGA TOUR stop at the Wells Fargo Championship but fell short, so he'll play this week's Nationwide Tour tournament in Georgia.

In his three starts on the Nationwide Tour he's made two cuts with a tie for 28th at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open and his tie for seventh on Sunday. He moved up to 62nd on the money list and realizes there's a lot of golf left to be played on the Nationwide Tour.

While he's not as familiar with the courses, he's very familiar with the competition.

"You see it all out there from the young guys who are so hungry to succeed to the veterans who are trying to get it back," MacKenzie said, who falls into the middle of those two categories.

He's only played in 21 Nationwide Tour tournaments in his career with 10 coming last season. On the PGA TOUR he's played in 169 events and has two career victories with more than $4.5 million in earnings.

"The week ended really bad for me, but what can you do?" said MacKenzie, a former junior star who was burned out from the game and gave it up for about 10 years. "I still feel good about my outlook and I can't let that freak me out or anything. I have to keep going."

MacKenzie says that if makes more noise on the Nationwide Tour he'll likely start playing more tournaments. The competition is what drives MacKenzie and he can get that in a big way on the Nationwide Tour.

"There are so many guys that can play nowadays," MacKenzie said. "I know it's tough to flip-flop between Tours and some guys can do it. It's going to be tough to win (on the Nationwide Tour) and I saw that last week. I just have to give myself as many options as possible."

MacKenzie also said he was grateful for the opportunity to keep his game sharp thanks to the Nationwide Tour.

"I'm not sure where I'd be without it," he said. "You have to play well on the Nationwide and make a lot of birdies. That slogan of 'These guys are good' should also include the Nationwide Tour."

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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