After years of grinding, the big-hitting Scott Piercy has elevated his game and taken his place among the PGA Tour’s rising talents. Last year he won the Canadian Open and finished 15th in FedEx Cup points. This year he’s shown flashes of brilliance, including finishing 64-61 for third place at Phoenix and putting on a birdie barrage at the Accenture Match Play event. We caught up with the Las Vegas native as he prepares for his first Masters championship.
(Photo by IZOD)
First of all, congratulations on your great recent play. Have you had a chance to play at Augusta yet?
Yeah, I was able to get in a few practice rounds this week. It was wet. The course is 7,400-plus yards, so it was playing really long.
The Masters is probably the biggest stage in golf. Do you have a goal entering the tournament or a mind-set as to what you want to accomplish on your first trip?
Well, my goal is to win. That has to be what your thinking anytime your enter a tournament.
When did you take up the game?
When I was eight. A kid on my soccer team played golf, and I went home with him after a game, and we went out to a school yard near his house and hit some golf balls. I was like, “This is fun. I kind of like this.” And here we are 20-some-odd years later.
You grew up in Vegas. UNLV made it back to the tournament this year. Are you a fan?
I don’t watch much TV, so I don’t really know who’s good and who’s not. I was a big UNLV fan when I was a kid and Jerry Tarkanian was there and they were winning national championships. That place would rock. But I’ve kind of gotten away from it. Though my dad played basketball for Tarkanian for a year, so that’s kind of a cool thing.
As a kid, who were your golf heroes?
I always looked up to were Greg Norman and Freddie Couples. Two guys who were number one in the world, who still do pretty well. I feel like I have similar characteristics to them. I hit it long, I feel like I got a good short game. Obviously, the goal is to reach number one, so those are two good guys to look up to.
Couples is probably a good guy to emulate if you have the jitters at the Masters?
Yeah, for sure. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s a cool customer
It took you a few years to find success on the tour. Did you ever get discouraged?
Yeah, it can be pretty tough missing cuts and traveling so much, playing the mini-tours. But I just kept working and trying to improve my game and learn from all the disappointments.
How did you get around those early years. Did you have to carpool or something?
I had a truck that had a - it wasn’t a camper shell - but it had one of those flatbeds that can lock. So I threw in a bunch of clubs and clothes and golf gear and set out on my way. I had a motor home for a couple of years, and when the kids couldn’t travel anymore, I got a truck and did it out of the truck.
Now that you’ve signed on with IZOD, at least you don’t have to worry about having a pressed shirt and a good outfit every week.
IZOD’s been great. We do color schemes every week, and I don’t wear the same thing twice. Each week a new set of clothes comes in, and it’s tailored how I want, and fits well, forms well. And that helps the way you feel on the golf course.
You think the style you present can help your game?
Well, looking good is a pick-me-up. Then you feel good, and you start thinking, “I’m ready to do this.” Which is a lot better than, “God, these pants don’t fit,” or, “I can’t swing in this shirt.”
OK, so what tip would you give to the average golfer to take a couple of strokes off of his score?
I think the best way for an amateur to improve his game is to get a bucket of balls and go to the practice green and learn how to chip and putt. You should always start at the green and work your way back to the tee. But most amateurs will grab a bucket of balls at the range, hit three balls with their wedge to loosen up, and then pull the driver out. Next thing you know, they’ve whacked around 100 balls and they’re not any better. Where, you know, you take them on the chipping green and let them chip for a while and get used to that stuff, because they are going to have a lot of that. They can save some strokes there.