KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
Maguire's refocused approach leads to early season success
February 12, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Jack Maguire has finished T7-T21-T16 after missing the cut in his first start of the season. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
Inside the walls of popular culture, a nostalgic throwback has made audiences feel connected to a simpler timeand fawn for times-gone-by with a smile.
Jack Maguire has taken that same approach to his 2020 Korn Ferry Tour season, and throwing it back has helped him push forward.
Maguire, a star at Florida State University and who leapt out to a hot start as a 21-year-old rookie on the Korn Ferry Tour four years ago, has yet to live up to that initial firecracker beginning as a professional golfer. But he’s hoping a return to a previous approach to the game, along with fresh gear and a matured mindset, will do him wonders in 2020.
“In college I was the most confident I have ever been,” says Maguire. “When you turn pro you think you have to keep changing to get better and I think that can be misleading.”
Maguire started his return last fall after struggling on the greens. He saw college teammate Daniel Berger using a mallet-style putter from Odyssey that was nearly an exact replica of a TaylorMade putter they used while at Florida State (they used the same model). He decided to put it in his bag and says it’s freed up the rest of his game.
Considering he had a full-bag deal with another manufacturer, he decided to change clubs entirely in order to use that Odyssey putter.
“I always struggled finding a mallet I could use, and I did an equipment change after Q-School, based on the putter itself,” he explains. “I had to keep whatever felt good in my hands on the green. I based the whole bag around that putter.”
Maguire also returned to a former coach, Matt Mitchell, who helped him get back to the feelings he had while he was in college. He was hitting it the best ever then, he says, and worked hard through 2019 to get that feeling back.
Indeed, Maguire’s college resume reads like one of the best players’ in the world should, which is why he’s anxious to get those feelings back again.
Among the laundry list of accomplishments, he was the ACC Freshman of the Year and was the first freshman ever on the golf team there to be named an All-American. He even competed as an amateur at the U.S. Open in 2015.
He admits he tried to change too many things.
“I’m trying not to tinker and mess with as much stuff as I can. That’s always been my problem,” he says. “I’d have a couple of bad rounds and then try to fix something on the range and I’d try something different. Now I’m making sure to have one swing thought at a time and grind on that.”
In college, Maguire recalls with a laugh, his coach Trey Jones would try to nip Maguire’s bad habits in the bud by physically removing his bag from the practice area. Maguire says Jones would know his tendencies and that Maguire could work himself into some bad habits.
“So he’d leave me with just a wedge and a putter and take my bag upstairs,” says Maguire. “He wouldn’t let me hit balls because he knew the only thing I’d do is harm.
“From 150 yards and out in college, I was able to compete with the best in the world. The other stuff I needed to refine. I got into this mindset that I had to change stuff to get better. So now I went back to when I was confident and have all these positive thoughts versus changing stuff, and feeling like I have to change something to get better.”
While Maguire was busy refocusing, he also had to push through a physically brutal accident. He was getting out of a van in 2018 and someone else, who didn’t realize Maguire was moving, slammed the door on his hand.
It was a big step back, he says. He was out for more than three months.
“It was brutal, I couldn’t do anything.”
Maguire played just one Korn Ferry Tour event in 2018 before heading back to Q-School. He clutched up, he says, and earned a spot in the first eight tournaments via his result at Final Stage that year.
He missed a couple cuts though, to start 2019 (nine out of his first 10, in fact) and he got into a bad mental space.
“Instead of focusing on getting to the TOUR, I had my mind wrapped around just making cuts. Playing the rest of the year out … it was super frustrating. I had one good finish,” he says. “Overall the year was not at all what I wanted it to be.”
Instead, Maguire had to return to Q-School. He finished T27 at Final Stage last December and earned guaranteed starts again. Thanks to results of T7-T21-T16 after missing the first cut of the year in 2020, he’s basically secured status for the balance of the year.
“Honestly this is one of the first times I’ve put three good finishes together on the Korn Ferry Tour,” Maguire says. “It’s nice to see some consistency and it’s comforting to be in the position I’m in. It’s nice to expect to be there, and focus on winning a tournament.”
For 2020, Maguire has thrown it back to an approach to golf that worked as a younger man. And so far, it’s been a benefit for his future self too.