John Deere’s face shields make an impression on defending champ
May 19, 2020
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Dylan Frittelli wins by two shots at John Deere
When Dylan Frittelli heard the news, he was more than a little impressed.
John Deere, the company that sponsors the PGA TOUR event he won last year, had switched gears – quite literally -- and started making face shields to protect healthcare workers along with all those iconic green tractors and all that heavy machinery at its flagship factory in Moline, Illinois.
So far, John Deere has manufactured more than 200,000 of the shields and plans to double that number in the coming weeks. The first orders went to healthcare workers in areas where Deere employees live, but deliveries have now been made to more than a dozen states and Canadian provinces.
“I think it’s awesome,” Frittelli says. “And technology-wise, I’m very interested. It’s cool -- how did they figure out that they could do it and then cool in the sense that they're obviously trying to help the cause and protect people and do what they can to speed up the containment and elimination of the virus.”
Frittelli was in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, at THE PLAYERS Championship when the sports world abruptly shut down after an NBA player tested positive for the coronavirus. First, the TOUR announced its signature event would go on without spectators. Less than 12 hours later, it was canceled.
Subsequent announcements, including the postponement of the first three major championships and the cancellation of the Open Championship, meant no tournaments until at least June 11 with the scheduled Charles Schwab Challenge. The first four events will be played without fans.
The fifth is the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run, where Frittelli came from two strokes off the pace on Sunday and ended up winning by three after closing with a 64. The tournament is slated for its original July 9-12 dates and could be the first to host spectators, although health and safety issues will be evaluated before a final decision is made.
Dylan Frittelli's winning highlights from John Deere
Frittelli says this is the longest break from golf that he’s had since graduating from Texas in 2012 with a degree in geography. While mindful of the reason behind it, the well-traveled South African has made the most of the time he’s had at home.
“I've enjoyed it to be honest,” says Frittelli, currently 50th in the FedExCup standings. “The beginning was a little tough, but after the first week my trainer was back in town and he'd built a gym in his garage. It made it way easier for me to relax and chill because I was actually burning calories and getting stronger in the gym and I had something to do for an hour to two hours a day. That helped a lot.”
The 29-year-old didn’t start playing golf again until late April. He wanted the work he’d done in the weight room to settle in before working too much on the practice range.
“And also, you swing a golf club, it does mess up your back and your neck and you do get out of alignment often,” Frittelli explains. “So, I just thought, hey, I'd rather be way more symmetrical and feel more consistent when I stay away from the golf.
“So, I'll balance a bit of that heavy lifting, do some recovery and be ready.”
Frittelli also took time to decompress. He did some projects around the house, cleaning out closets and drawers and the garage, as well as adding some lights outside. Nothing particularly major -- “just made sure the space I was in was a nice, happy, comfortable place,” he says.
Always searching for that “edge and new techniques” that can help him with training and on the golf course, Frittelli read several performance-based books. But at the same time, he finished “Where The Crawdads Sing,” the best-selling novel by Delia Owens.
And of course, there’s been some binge-watching. He knocked out “Tiger King” on Netflix in a day and has also watched “WE ARE LAFC,” the 10-part all-access documentary series about the inaugural season of the Los Angeles Football Club. And a little “Brooklyn 99” for comic relief.
“(The LAFC series) was really interesting,” he says. “Kind of a bit of research for me because the new Austin team is starting next season. They've already built most of the stadium now.”
While restaurants were open for takeout and delivery in Austin, Frittelli has done most of the cooking for himself. He wants to eat healthy to make sure that the work he’s put in with his trainer to get bigger and stronger doesn’t go by the wayside.
An air fryer is a key component of that process. Salmon and chicken are his go-to proteins while he gets his vegetables in salads and carbs from sweet potatoes, potatoes or rice.
“Then tons of supplements, protein shakes and all kinds of added in things just to try and build some mass,” he says.
Now that he’s back playing and practicing, Frittelli can often be found at UT Golf Club. His roommate, Toni Hakula, who was two years behind Frittelli at Texas, plays PGA TOUR LatinoAmerica, and they frequently play with another former Longhorn, Tayler Termeer, who now plays the mini-tours.
Austin is home to a lot of other TOUR pros like Andrew Landry, Nick Watney and Sergio Garcia, though. PGA TOUR Champions is also well-represented with Mark Brooks, Omar Uresti, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw and Bob Estes also in the neighborhood.
So, when the urge for competition strikes, there are lots of options.
“That'll be my main focus, just chatting to a few guys on TOUR that are here in town and just getting some money games, playing with them leading into that first event,” he says.