Q&A: David Skinns
Get to know the Englishman who secured a Finals berth with a career-best finish in Portland
August 29, 2017
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- David Skinns finished tied for second at last week's WinCo Foods Portland Open thanks to a Sunday 64. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
It was a week to remember in Portland for The 25, who all earned PGA TOUR cards via their fine play all season long on the Web.com Tour.
But for David Skinns, last week was just as memorable, and maybe more so.
Skinns, 35, fired a 7-under-par 64 on Sunday at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz to move into a tie for second with Sam Ryder, Ben Silverman and Abraham Ancer – all three of whom earned PGA TOUR cards, as did winner Brice Garnett.
Skinns’ runner-up result moved him all the way from 115th on the money list heading into the week to 58th. He and Ben Kohles were the lone golfers to move into the top 75 after last week and earn Web.com Tour status for 2018, plus a chance to earn a PGA TOUR card via the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals, which gets started this week at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio.
The Englishman spent a few minutes to chat with PGA TOUR Digital about his dream week, what keeps him motivated playing with golfers who are mostly 10 years his junior, and what he does to take his mind off golf, including acting as an aspiring DJ.
Let’s start with what happened Sunday in Portland ... a 7-under-par 64 to move into a tie for second. What was working well for you that week, and specifically that day?
I had a good second round in Knoxville the week before. I drove the ball better than I had all year, in that second round, so that told me that things I was working on would finally come pretty good. I got to Portland and I really like that golf course ... I liked it the last time I was there. I had some good practice sessions before. Really enjoyable practice round with a couple of my buddies (fellow Englishmen) Greg Eason and Kyle Wilshire, and we had a lot of fun. I felt like I played really well in the practice rounds and I got a really good feel for the course.
There are some really hard holes on that golf course, but I got a pretty good plan in place for what I was going to do. The par-5s fit my eye pretty well, so I felt like I could make some birdies. Sunday was a great day, but I had to play decent before that on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday was a culmination of all the work I had been putting in leading up to that. It was nice to see it pay off.
You were 115th on the money list going into last week, so did you focus on what moves you needed to make or just try to make as many birdies as you could?
You hit the nail on the head. I didn’t really think about it, to be honest. I knew I wasn’t in a good spot, and I’ve been thinking about it the weeks prior to that. The thing is, you can’t force yourself to have a good week. The moment you try to start trying to make something happen, it’s got no chance of happening. I had some good chats with my wife ... for me, a lot of playing good golf is enjoying it. When I’m trying to make something happen, I’m not enjoying it that much. In Portland, it’s not like I stopped trying, but I just had a slightly different game plan. I wasn’t really interested in where I was on the money list or where I was on the leaderboard; I was just trying to execute my game plan. I was just trying to enjoy it a little more and I enjoyed executing on my game plan last week, and that’s probably why I played so well.
You were on FaceTime with your wife after your round, correct?
Yeah. I FaceTime with them twice a day, every day, with me being away as much as I am. (They) were in Georgia ... we live just in Atlanta there. We have one three-and-a-half year old (child) and my wife is eight months' pregnant (with our second).The thing is, you can’t force yourself to have a good week. The moment you try to start trying to make something happen, it’s got no chance of happening.
How important is that support system for you?
It’s great. My wife works as hard as anyone I know. She’s got a full-time job and she’s taking care of a three-and-a-half year old and she’s eight months pregnant so ... what she does day-to-day just to allow me to come out here and pursue my dream is amazing. And I can’t say enough about her.
Working on that home run power! Fast first! pic.twitter.com/BoTT4IaOqs— David Skinns (@skinnsygolf) May 23, 2017
You’re not a rookie on this Tour, and you’re playing with a lot of younger guys out there. What keeps you motivated?
I still love it, to be honest. Getting up and trying to be better at golf still gets me really excited. If it didn’t ... I don’t think there would any way I’d be trying to pursue my dreams. I’m excited to get out there and practice. I was excited to get to Portland. I love that competition. I love trying to get better and I think that’s something I’ve had in me since I was really young. I like trying to get better at stuff and it’s nice to see that work finally pay off. I’m definitely not a rookie, but the guys who I’ve been hanging out with, they’re a bit younger. Like Greg Eason, Kyle Wilshire and Ben Taylor ... all those guys are 25 years old. It’s not like I don’t have the same enthusiasm as all those guys; I definitely do, it’s just that they’re a little fresher out here and they have a lot of energy. It’s been good for me to hang out with those guys.
… and you showed them how it was done last week?
(Laughs) The old man still has a couple of tricks.
Away from the golf course, what do you like to do to keep your mind fresh?
There are a few things I enjoy. I like all sports, so you can always find me watching some sport. I’m excited that my Tennessee Vols are going to start playing here soon. My wife is from Pittsburgh so we’re big Pittsburgh Steeler fans. I’m excited football season is coming back around soon. I’m a big Manchester United fan as well.
I was wondering about that kind of ‘football.’
I’m a big Manchester United fan and we started the season off great – three wins out of three with no goals against. I like music; I’m into DJing a little bit. I haven’t been home much, so I haven’t been doing much of that. But I like watching all sports, music, and it’s been fun to hang with those young boys (Eason, Wilshire, Taylor) this year as well.
Are they fans of the same team as you, or is there some friendly banter?
Lots of friendly banter (laughs). Greg is Leicester City fan; Ben’s an Arsenal fan.The old man still has a couple of tricks.
You’ve got a chance this fall to earn a PGA TOUR card, which wasn’t really in the realm of possibility two weeks ago. Is your approach this week going to change at all?
I don’t think it needs to change. Next year looks a whole lot better than it did two weeks ago for me. It’s almost like a fresh start and a new opportunity and that’s the whole point of this whole opportunity for these Finals events: it’s a chance for guys who didn’t quite fulfill their ultimate goal. Everyone starts at zero again, and let’s see who those 25 are at the end.