Player's Take: Jared du Toit
July 02, 2018
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- The former Arizona State player is making his way into the professional ranks and sits at 17 on the Order of Merit. (Chuck Russell/Mackenzie Tour)
Two years ago, Kimberley, B.C. native Jared du Toit burst onto the scene at the RBC Canadian Open, playing in the final group on Sunday with Brandt Snedeker.
He would eventually tie for ninth – he tried his best not to look up how much money he could have won – and returned to Arizona State University for his final year as a collegiate golfer before turning professional and joining the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada last season.
A few nice results, and du Toit won the Dan Halldorson Award as the Tour’s Canadian Player of the Year.
Now, du Toit is back for more. He wants to find the winner’s circle, and buoyed by the success of fellow Canadian Corey Conners and fellow ASU superstar Jon Rahm, he knows what it will take to move up the professional golf ladder.
He spent a few minutes with PGATOUR.com to talk about what it’s been like turning professional and playing the Mackenzie Tour, how heartbroken he was after his clubs were stolen late last year and some fun stories about his time on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica.
How comfortable do you feel this year as compared to last year with respect to the whole of professional golf? There was a lot to learn in 2017.
I feel a little better at being in the mix. Everything feels like it’s trending in the right direction, which is good. I think last year I was, not quite a deer in the headlights, but a couple times I was the Low Canadian and playing in the final couple of groups and there is some expectations and a lot of people rooting you on. It caught me off guard a few times, and I kind of struggled with getting it into the clubhouse. This year I’ve been in the mix twice and felt comfortable both times.
There were a lot of new tournaments and places for you last year, and a few new ones this year. How do you go about preparing for a new spot?
Be attentive and be ready to go for the practice round. If you’re tired and cranky you kind of want to just go through the motions, so I want to make sure I’m paying attention and hitting the shots where I think I might be or might miss. Just paying attention as much as possible is key.
What have you found yourself working hard on this year and what’s been working well for you so far?
Week-to-week, especially after a lot of travel, my body struggles to get everything firing. When I’m taking care of my body, seeing physio early in the week and things are working properly, I feel a lot better about myself. It’s one thing I didn’t do as well as I should have last year.
My ball-striking has been good, that’s always been one of my strengths. My tee balls have been… serviceable. I haven’t been hitting every fairway by any means, but I haven’t been losing too many golf balls, so that’s been big. I think that’s been a bit of a formula for success on the Mackenzie Tour, certainly at the beginning of the year when the holes are tight and narrow. If I can continue to do that and let my irons do some work, hopefully I’ll ride a hot putter to a good week.
What’s it been like, as a fellow Canadian, to see the success of Corey Conners earlier in the year, Mackenzie Hughes playing with Tiger Woods at THE PLAYERS, and even Garrett Rank getting into the U.S. Open?
It’s been very cool, especially Corey, we’ve got the same coach (Derek Ingram) and he’s been pumping Corey’s tires forever and is a big fan of his habits. I do a lot of the things Corey does and to see him have success and for him to break through this year has been cool to see and very validating for the younger guys going through the program. Obviously everyone wants to get out there right away, but he’s Exhibit A that if you do the right things long enough, things are going to work out.
The RBC Canadian Open is going back to Glen Abbey Golf Club this year. Do you ever think back to that, or is it so far in the rearview you are more focused on the future.
Obviously it’s fun to see old photos of that and sometimes, on YouTube, it’ll pop up and I’ll just hit it and have a smile (laughs). But so much for me is looking forward. The last thing you want to be is that one-hit guy so I’m just doing anything I can to be a little more consistent long term and climb my way up there so it’s not a fluke.
Jared du Toit knows how to entertain!— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 23, 2016
The Canadian finishes with eagle and enters the clubhouse in 2nd place. https://t.co/owxsKPcLx4
RBC sponsors you now, same with a big accounting firm in Canada (MNP). A lot of guys on the Mackenzie Tour don’t have the big-time sponsor commitments like you. How has that been as part of your learning since turning pro?
It’s been a lot of fun. My sponsors have been really good to me but I have had to learn a little more than the other guys out there. I was just back in Calgary and just did a whole day shoot with MNP and some of their clients, and it was a lot of fun. It’s a part of the experience, and when you make it to a certain level you do that a lot more. It’s been a good taste for me and I’m very grateful for what they’ve done for me.
How rattled were you last November when your car was broken into and your clubs were stolen?
It was kind of weird, because I came out of my apartment and it was like 4:30 p.m., just broad daylight. I walked past this lady who was sitting down and she was emotional. I saw her window had been smashed and I was like, “Man, that sucks” and then I turn over to my car and my clubs are gone. Glass was everywhere. I turn to this lady and asked her what was stolen and she said her jumper cables or something (laughs) it was a little different. I was pretty rattled about that. I had a good relationship with my putter… I had bent it and it was kind of warped but I really liked it. That was tough. Even if I got the same putter it wasn’t really the same. It takes a while for your bag to get back to where it should be, but now that I’ve been back in Canada for a while and I’ve tinkered with some stuff, it feels like how it should.
Life lesson learned today. Don’t leave your clubs laying clearly visible in the back seat of your car, unless you want them to get stolen. #Bogey— Jared du Toit (@Jareddutoit) November 29, 2017
You had a couple of nice results on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica earlier this year. How was that has a cultural experience for you?
I really didn’t know what to expect, and you have to have caddies. First little while, I met my caddie on the practice green before the round, so he says, “Hi, my name is Raul, nice to meet you,” and I thought, ‘Great, this guy is going to be good at English,’ but right after he said, “my name is Raul,” that was the last of the English we spoke (laughs). I was using gestures, I would pretend to use a laser in front of my eye for my Bushnell, or I’d swish a fake water bottle to get that passed to me. It was different that way, but it was a lot of fun. You’re going down there with a lot of guys in the same boat as you and it’s laughable if you get ripped off by a cab driver or whatever… you always have something to laugh about.
How much do you and Jon Rahm (college teammate and now two-time PGA TOUR winner) stay in touch?
A decent amount. Whenever we’re back in Arizona we’ll get a game, he’ll invite me to his club and we have a lot of fun there. I still have him on Snapchat and he’s in Paris now, then he’ll go back to the U.S., then back to Europe to play the British (Open), it’s not like he’s ever close to me. When we’re in the same city we’ll have dinner and a round.
Can he beat you at Ping-Pong?
(Laughs) We’re pretty even. We had some bloodbaths back in college. He’d go on a three-game heater and then I would beat him for three games and he’d get pretty frustrated. It was evenly matched. He’s got a good combo of strength and touch. He gets pretty deadly on the Ping-Pong table.
You’re a big Calgary Flames fan and they just brought in a big name (James Neal). What do you think of their chances this year?
I’ve been talking about that with a couple buddies back home. New coach as well… hopefully that sparks something. I think we got rid of a couple guys who weren’t fitting in well. They might have been producing but I’m a big believer in the locker room and I think we upgraded there for sure. We got some good goal-scorers and some solid D-men, and if Mike Smith (goalie) has a solid year it’s going to be a good year. I’m excited. We’re a sneaky under-the-radar team and I think we’ll be watching hockey in May and June (playoffs). I’m fired up.