Q&A: Ryan Williams
Mackenzie Tour veteran looks to put offseason improvements in play in 2017
May 17, 2017
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Ryan Williams has recorded at least one top-two finish in each of the last four seasons (Claus Andersen/PGA TOUR)
Ryan Williams is focused.
Ryan Williams is determined.
Ryan Williams is ready for 2017, more than any other year in his professional golf career.
The 35-year-old had one of the more steady seasons on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada a year ago, missing just one cut. But, he spent most of his winter in Arizona working harder than he ever has before on his game and his fitness to be prepared for the season ahead – which gets started in just a couple of weeks at the Freedom 55 Financial Open at his home club, Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver – and move on to the next level.
He spent a few minutes with PGATOUR.COM talking about his off-season preparations, how excited he is for 2017, and how cool it’s been to see his fellow British Columbian pros do well on all levels of professional golf.
Heading into this season, what was your off-season approach to get ready?
After last year I just decided I needed to make some changes. I’ve been pretty consistent player; I’ve been on the Mackenzie Tour and have had a lot of good finishes. I’ve been close to earning Web.com Tour status for the last couple years. I was just outside the top 10 both times and I just realized I was coming up a little bit short, and I was getting in my own way. So I made some changes this off-season and put those into play. I’ve had a great time this winter (note: Williams won three of eight mini-tour events he’s played in Arizona). It’s good to see some of those changes I made… they’re working. I just worked really hard, harder than I ever have before. I worked on my physical fitness, my short game, and mental side of the game… I haven’t really put in the extra effort the last couple years, and I decided I really needed to focus on those things. I’m super excited for the year. I wish it started a couple months ago.
Do you have some high expectations because of all that work you put in?
I have super high expectations but I know there are a lot of good players on this Tour… there has been for years. I just have to stay focused and control what I can control. I feel like if I do that, I should be there at the end. That’s the ultimate goal.
You mentioned you worked on your fitness. Was that weights, yoga? Were you trying to get stronger?
I have a trainer I work with out of Vancouver and he works for Innovative Fitness. He’s a golf-specific guy so he’s created a bunch of different techniques to gain flexibility, but no weight trainings. It’s all done with stretch bands, or self-weighted exercises. It’s all stuff you can do on a week-to-week basis while on the road, etc. It’s just been part of my regime and something I do on a daily basis. I’ve put on some muscle, which is nice, but I’ve increased flexibility and gained a few miles per hour on my swing speed, so there’s just a few things like that.
Has that helped to build up your confidence?
If you feel better and you look better it builds confidence obviously. I just stayed really committed to that. I watched a little more about what I eat, and when I eat certain foods, and I’ve noticed that that’s helped. Everyone is just trying to figure out what works best for them. Even if you can gain a quarter of a shot, at the end of the year that works out to something.I’m not going to lie. I’ve been out there for a lot of years, and it’s time for me to move on to the next level.
With all this extra effort, is it going to be hard to reign in your emotions week-in and week-out?
It’s easy to talk about it now… ‘You know I’m not going to go out there and put pressure on myself’ (laughs) but when you get to the events, and obviously how I’m playing when I get there, my expectations are going to be high. I have played almost all these golf courses and had success at almost all of them. It’s hard not to go in there with those expectations. I’ve put a game plan together to almost golf course I’m going to plan, and I’m going to try to stay committed to that. This process I’m going through has been working well down here in Arizona. If I can keep doing that, and stay diligent to that process out there (the Mackenzie Tour) I don’t have to put extra pressure on myself, I just need to stay committed to the game plan and hopefully that works out.
Was there a reason for some of this extra effort, now?
I’m not going to lie. I’ve been out there for a lot of years, and it’s time for me to move on to the next level. That’s why I’ve put a lot of effort in to changing up things. I’m going to have to answer those questions a million times… “You’re one of the oldest guys out there” and “you’ve been out here forever” those kinds of things. I’ve started to deal with those kinds of things a lot. I can put those things behind me, and realize I’m just playing a golf tournament (laughs).
Most of the competition on the Mackenzie Tour will be younger than you, but do you feel – seeing as you’ve been there, done that – it’s just a matter of going out and executing on your plan?
Absolutely. I had a very different upbringing getting into the game. I was trying to make it as a professional hockey player and golf was a secondary thing for me. I never thought I was going to be a professional golfer. At the time when guys were on scholarships, down in the U.S., or working hard on their game I was playing hockey. I played golf a couple months a year. I wasn’t really focused on it. When hockey finished that’s when I got more into golf. I didn’t start playing professionally until I was 24-25. I had to go through a process where I had to figure out how to play golf tournaments, how to practice. It’s been a bit of a process for me. I feel like I’ve improved the last three years and gained consistency, but now I have to figure out how to win. I feel like now I’m more ready than ever.
There has been a ton of great success from guys who are natives of British Columbia, like you. How does it feel to be a part of that group?
First off the cool thing is that we’re all good friends. There’s comradery there. We travel together; we’ll play practice rounds together. We’ll have dinner together. We all root each other on. When Adam (Cornelson) was having success last year we were all a big part of that. We had a bit of jealousy because we all wished we were playing as good as he was. But it was good to see when your close friends are having success. It gives you the feeling that you should be able to do the same thing. It’s fun to be part of this group.
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British Columbians seeing success on Tour