Kizzire readies for defense of Sony Open in Hawaii
January 08, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Patton Kizzire talks confidence before Sony Open
HONOLULU, Hawaii — Patton Kizzire prefers being the hunter, not the hunted.
It’s a line the defending champion from the Sony Open in Hawaii used as he returned to the scene of his triumph, which a year ago was his second win in four starts.
Having won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November 2017, Kizzire prevailed in an epic six-hole playoff over James Hahn to open 2018 at Waialae Country Club and left the Hawaiian Islands as the leader in the FedExCup.
Sadly, it went downhill from there as he failed to record another top-10 all season and barely scraped into the TOUR Championship in 30th place on the points list.
Kizzire admitted the wins meant he expected more of himself, and that he had partially forgotten the attitude used to get him there in the first place.
“The rest of the season wasn't what I wanted,” Kizzire said. “I think a little bit of expectations got me a little bit and started trying too hard, trying to change few things to get a little better to give myself more chances.”
He also felt like he was protecting his place in the FedExCup and the Ryder Cup standings.
“There is a big difference in protecting something and chasing. I think I do better as hunter and not the hunted,” he said. “I feel like if I can go after something it frees me up and I play my best. If I feel like I'm protecting something, really the shots don't come off properly.”
Last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Kizzire broke his top-10 drought with a T8 finish that included his first competitive hole-in-one.
In December he combined with Brian Harman to win the QBE Shootout.
Things are starting to trend up again.
“(Last year) was all necessary, all part of the growing process,” Kizzire said. “New opportunities and new things are sometimes difficult, and I didn't handle them as well as I could. Now they're not new anymore. I'm looking forward to more opportunities and handling them better. Confidence is a fickle thing. Sometimes you feel like you can't be beat and sometimes you feel like you can't beat anybody. You just have to maintain belief in yourself and try to get the snowball rolling in the correct direction.
“When I play my best I get a little momentum going here and there and then kind of just let it go.”