Q&A with Taylor Montgomery on Michael Jordan, Shadow Creek and more
March 05, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Korn Ferry Tour rookie Taylor Montgomery finished third at the LECOM Suncoast Classic and stands 14th on The 25.(Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Taylor Montgomery hasn’t had too much experience as a professional golfer at PGA TOUR-sanctioned events, but so far through 2020, he’s been making the most of his opportunities.
Montgomery, 25, was a solid addition to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas team and graduated in 2017 after a very successful high school and junior career. He grew up in Las Vegas as well hitting balls next to some of the most famous names in sport (more on that later).
Thanks to a handful of solid results early in 2020, Montgomery is firmly inside The 25, but he knows there is much golf left to be played this season.
Montgomery spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital chatting about his upbringing in Las Vegas, why decided to stick around at UNLV, and that time he met Michael Jordan as a 10-year-old.
How would you assess things so far this season?
I’m just trying to make things go as good as they can. I’ve had a good start so far but I know there’s a long stretch of golf coming up. You can get passed really easy. The start only helps a little bit. It’s not like the job is done, you know? But it’s nice to get off to a good start where I don’t feel like I have to win twice just to do something.
Is there anything specifically you’re working on?
For some reason, I’ve had problems lately with hitting it off the heel. Even last tournament when I finished third, I hit a shank. I hit a shank in Panama. I’ve been working on that (laughs).
You’re from Las Vegas…
Yup – born and raised in Las Vegas.
… What made you decide to stick around and go to UNLV?
The golf team is normally pretty good. They play a pretty good schedule. They have one of the best setups in the country with Shadow Creek and the golf courses they get to play. My dad works at Shadow Creek so I’ve always been out there and I got to meet a lot of cool people like Michael Jordan. It’s hard to leave a good set-up golf course, at home, that you can pretty much play whenever. It’s not crazy busy. There are not too many guys out there with a better setup than what I have. It gets hot in the summer, but we’re out playing golf tournaments mostly in the summer, so it doesn’t matter.
Do you go to the Las Vegas Strip very often or is that mostly for tourists?
Not too much. It’s overpriced. We stay away from that as much as possible. We used to in college a little bit but not too often now. They do have some really good restaurants that we go to once and a while, but as far as going and gambling or drinking, there’s not much of that on the Strip these days (laughs).
You just mentioned meeting Michael Jordan. How did that go?
The first time I met him, I was young. I played baseball and basketball and I wasn’t really into other sports when I was young. When I was 10 or 11, I’d wear these shoes by the brand AND1, and I thought those were the shoes. Jordan’s shoes were still crazy expensive then; I wasn’t going to get my parents to buy Jordan shoes. So when I was 10, I met him, wearing the AND1 shoes, and he was smoking a cigar and all that stuff. My dad is good friends with him and I walk in and he says, “What’s up, little man?” and then he looks down at my shoes and says, “What (…) are those!” and all this profanity. I’m 10 years old, and that was the first MJ story for you. At 10 years old I was like, “I can’t afford your shoes, I’m sorry” (laughs).
What does your dad do at the course?
He’s the GM now. He started off as a caddie. He went to UNLV as well (Montgomery and his father became the first father-son duo to play at UNLV when he was recruited in 2013). He became good friends with all the main guys at Shadow Creek so he became the Director of Golf, and after that he became the GM, about three years ago.
That’s not a bad place to go visit Dad at work?
Oh yeah. There were always a bunch of gambling matches, and that’s what really drew me into golf – playing for money and stuff like that, and being able to do it.
When did you know the time was right for you to try to pursue golf as a career?
Probably in my junior year of high school. I played basketball throughout high school but I was never able to play baseball at a high level because it was during golf season. I didn’t start playing golf a bunch until eighth grade. I won (the state championship) my sophomore year of high school, but I was already trying to play golf seriously right in that time. I just stuck with it and here we are today (laughs).