Q&A: Brad Fritsch
The PGA TOUR member returns to the Mackenzie Tour this week
September 04, 2017
By Adam Stanley , PGATOUR.COM
- Brad Fritsch won on the Web.com Tour in 2016 en route to earning his 2017 TOUR card (Jared Tilton/Getty)
Although it wasn’t the season on the PGA TOUR that Brad Fritsch was looking for, he returns to the Mackenzie Tour this week buoyed by the confidence of a fine start on the European Tour a week ago, and the desire to want to stay sharp for the next big opportunity that comes his way.
Fritsch, who won on the Web.com Tour in 2016 and finished second in his very next start to earn a spot in The 25 and return to the PGA TOUR, was only able to tee it up in 18 TOUR events this year, and admits he just couldn’t get any momentum going.
His best result was a tie for 29th at the Sanderson Farms Championship, and he eventually finished 204th on the FedExCup.
But after a tie for 31st at the Made in Denmark Open on the European Tour, Fritsch feels good to be back playing once again, and that’s his biggest motivator for wanting to play this week on the Mackenzie Tour.
Fritsch spend a few minutes with PGATOUR.com to chat about his return to the Mackenzie Tour, and to sum up his PGA TOUR season.
How would you describe your year on the PGA TOUR?
Since January 1st I’ve played 17 events, which for me is not enough. At one point I played seven out of eight weeks, just ending last week. Basically from January 1st to June 30th I played 10 events, and in six months that’s no good for me. I like to play a lot and I wasn’t able to do so this year. Mostly I just have nothing on my plate right now and I want to play. I’ve been writing to some European Tour events and haven’t heard anything back, but I would go over there in a heartbeat again. I just need to play.
You battled some injuries last year, so how are you feeling, health-wise?
Health is fine. That’s the weird part about this year is that I’ve felt 100 percent for every event that I’ve played. My coach and I have talked at length about possibly me making some unconscious adjustments in my golf swing as a result of last year’s foot and ankle problems but it’s really hard to pin down. We’ve had to go back to the beginning, when we first met, to get back to the basics. Something’s not right (laughs) with the golf swing and it’s been a really difficult process to try to iron it out while not playing, honestly. If you don’t play for a month in a tournament, how do you know the changes you’re going to make are going to come out under pressure. That’s where I’m at. Health-wise I’m totally fine.
Was the biggest thing you struggled with this year just trying to get into a rhythm?
There was no rhythm. I made cuts, which was all well and good. It’s great to make the cut. That’s not the end goal every week, but to play four rounds is the main goal. My assumption was that if I made enough cuts I wouldn’t finish 65th every week, but I finished 65th every week (laughs). I couldn’t get on track this year and I couldn’t figure out my ball flight… it was a snowball into some really poor golf. The upside is that I managed to score despite really, really poor ball striking. From the outside looking in, the scores aren’t impressive, but a lot of weeks it was a miracle to make the cut based on how I struck the ball. In that sense I learned about my ability to grind through some really bad ball-striking rounds.
Do you think you were able to still score well, despite the ball-striking struggles?
I think the bottom line is after a lot of rounds, whoever was caddying for me can look at me and say, ‘That’s the lowest you could have scored based on where you hit it.’ Even after four days in Denmark, (my caddie) looked at me and kind of gave me the side eye and said, ‘Really? That was about as ugly as I’ve ever seen, and on the weekend you managed 4-under and 2-under.’ Its just there was a lot going on in my head and with my golf swing, and I’m trying to settle it all down. The only way for me to do it is to work, but I need to play tournaments to do so, which is why I’m going up there.
Had you been to Denmark before?
I never had. When I worked for TSN at the Masters, I met Thomas Bjorn who was talking about the European Tour players for a couple of segments and I asked him about that tournament in particular. And he said if I wanted to go play the tournament promoter was a good friend of his, so we could get that process started. We traded emails once in April and a month before the tournament I talked to the promoter and he came right back and said there was a spot. The best case scenario would have been to turn it down because I made the FedExCup Playoffs, but that didn’t happen. It was a great experience. It was fun. It was very relaxed there. Going from Greensboro which was 100 degrees to Denmark which was 55 in the morning and 65 or 70 degrees in the afternoon, it was nice.
At the end of this week on the Mackenzie Tour, what does success look like to you?
I don’t want to get bogged down because I know everyone out there can play. Bad golf is bad golf and good golf is good golf and I pay attention to these guys each week… the scores are very, very good. There are some guys who have played in PGA TOUR events the last couple years like Robby Shelton or Lee McCoy, and they’re very, very good players with a lot of pedigree. I’m not going up there thinking I have the ability to dominate, I just want to play four rounds and I want to put under-par rounds together and gain confidence. I’m not doing it for the money, I’m trying to just get in there and gain some confidence. It doesn’t matter who I play against I just need to shoot a bunch of under-par rounds to get that under my belt.I don’t want to get bogged down because I know everyone out there can play. Bad golf is bad golf and good golf is good golf and I pay attention to these guys each week… the scores are very, very good.