Q&A with Vince India on rebounding from Portland, deep-dish pizza and more
January 23, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Vince India hails from the Chicago metroplex and is never one to shy away from deep-dish pizza. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
After what happened in Portland last summer, Vince India needed a hard reset. It was time to make golf fun again.
India, who bounced above and below the magic top-75 threshold throughout the final day of the Regular Season-ending WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz, ended up making a double bogey on the 72nd hole for a fifth-place finish. He ended up 85th on the Regular Season Points List, necessitating a return trip to Final Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament for a seventh straight year.
However, the native of Deerfield, Illinois (just outside Chicago) would exorcise his demons, finishing T30 at Final Stage (right on the number) to earn guaranteed starts in 2020.
With two events now in the rearview, India spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital chatting about his career to this point, deep-dish pizza and more.
Four months ago, @VIndia36 made double bogey on the final hole of the Regular Season, falling two shots shy of full 2020 #KornFerryTour status.— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) December 17, 2019
He made amends at Final Stage of Q-School, securing guaranteed starts on the number. #LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/0G8oUi7Ppj
When the calendar turned this year, how did you feel as compared to years past?
This is my first year with back-to-back full status. I had full status in 2014, conditional in 2015 and 2016. I got it back in 2017. I was conditional in 2018, full in 2019, and full this year too. It was hard to ride momentum from year-to-year. That was really frustrating because you had to figure out a backup plan. You couldn’t commit yourself to a full schedule and everything seemed like it was last-minute. A couple of years ago I would get into events and fly around the world to like, Brazil and get there on Tuesday night and it was hard to play consistent, good golf when you’re doing that. It just doesn’t set you up for any success. It’s nice to have back-to-back years out here because I’ve been trying to ride some feelings from the last event in Portland and I have a good road map for where I need to get with my body and my golf swing throughout the year.
I feel better about my game going into this year then I have any other years in the past. I’m feeling really good and I think it’s going to be a wonderful year if I just go out and have fun, to be honest.
Is having fun a new objective for 2020?
I think so. I think it’s the hardest thing, honestly. You want to do so well and you want to get to the TOUR. Before you know it, the year is going to be over and if you don’t try to settle down and enjoy some of the places you’re going to – like the Bahamas. I have friends in Chicago and it just snowed two feet. That’s pretty stinking good. Go to the beach when you can. Go out and explore and find good restaurants. Surround yourself with good people and have good dinners and good drinks and everything will take care of itself.
As the year chugs along, is it more of a physical or mental grind for you?
It’s a little bit of both. Your body starts hurting. My max is like, five weeks, and then I need a week to not make swings and just work out and hit the gym. They feed off each other. You’re tired because you’re tired, then you’re tired because you’re tired (laughs). I’m exhausted because I’m fatigued and I’m fatigued because I’m exhausted.
When did you know you were going to make golf a career?
There was a very clear decision I made after my junior year where I regressed a little bit and I felt out of the No. 1 spot at Iowa and I don’t think I got better my junior year. That summer going into my senior year I buckled down. I didn’t take up an internship. I didn’t work at a golf course. I committed to playing and practicing every day and I got a lot better that year. I qualified for the U.S. Amateur. I played some other pretty high-ranking amateur tournaments in the Midwest. I rode that into a really good senior year and all of a sudden club companies were like, ‘So, uh, would you like to play Callaway?’ so I guess I was going to play professional golf. They kind of made the decision for me. And here we are. If you told me when I was back in college or even in high school that I would be playing on the second-most competitive golf tour in the world, I’d say that was a pretty far-fetched dream right there. It’s a wonderful journey and it’s still going on which is pretty cool.
What were you like in high school?
Man, I didn’t weigh very much. I was 130, 135 pounds … just a frail, fragile piece of human flesh (laughs). I was an OK golfer. I could get it around. I wasn’t very athletic, my move was: I threw my whole body at it and it went pretty far and somewhat straight every now and then. I had to lean on my short game and my putter. I was good enough to go play golf at Iowa, which was nice. I stuck with the same instructor from my sophomore year until now and just nailed down the golf swing a little bit. I just kept trying to learn.
As a Chicago native – what is your take on deep-dish pizza?
(Laughs) A meal is a piece. If you get two, you’ll be overwhelming full. Some people perceive it with the New Yorker stigma: “It’s like a casserole because it’s in a pan. That’s not what pizza is!” Deep dish is good because you can stuff more things on it. Traditional New York pizza is like, cheese. They rely on the crust and the flop and the stringy cheese. This is robust. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. It’s comfort food for Chicago people.
How did you decide on going to Iowa for school?
It was kind of by accident, honestly. I was looking to play golf at Illinois or Michigan State. To be fair, Illinois had a really good recruiting class my year, and those guys were a lot better than I was. That’s not a knock on them; it’s a knock on me. I didn’t deserve to play on that golf team at that time. Michigan State, I was really hoping for the opportunity to play there, but there was a little miscommunication between (the Michigan State coach) and the Notre Dame coach at a junior event in South Bend. They both got the impression that I committed to one another (laughs). It was awful. Then I didn’t get signed in the fall, period. I would have signed with anybody who came forward. I was pretty much, ‘Ugh,’ down in the dumps you, know? I tried to go about my business just as I could. A new interim coach took over at Iowa because the old coach before exclusively recruited inside of Iowa … It was really lucky, the timing of all of it. I ended up getting a degree in marketing, too.
What does a perfect day look like for you?
Oh, that’s outstanding! I wake up, and I turn on the television at 7 a.m. and it’s WGN News, from Chicago. I love the people that give me the news from Chicago. I watch the news, and then I have my breakfast … drink a cup of coffee on the way out the door and head to the gym. I get ready to play golf, and then I go and play golf. Then we play golf – in a cart obviously – no walking allowed. Afterwards, head home and cook dinner with my girlfriend and probably split a bottle of wine with her. We’ll play euchre or gin rummy after that and go to bed – then we do it all over again.