Scott Piercy: A Boring 67

Scott Piercy had another good day of golf shooting 67 to maintain a share of the lead at the Canadian Open. The only mild disappointment was that it didn’t match Thursday’s course-tying record 62 at the Hamilton G&CC in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada

Yeah, it’s kind of a boring 67 to be honest. There was not a lot of excitement like yesterday. Made a putt or two for birdie, made a couple of nice par saves. Really not in a whole lot of trouble most of the day and solid overall.

Well, the media wondered, after a round like that 62, the only way to go is up, right? What’s the goal after you do something like that? What in the world are you thinking about on the first tee?

I think it’s expectations. You shoot 62 and think, oh, I’ve got it. You expect to shoot another 62 which is — to shoot 62, you’ve got to have things going for you. You’ve got to be making the putts. You’ve got to get the right bounces. I think you’ve got to be realistic with your expectations.

When I shot 62, my expectation was to hit fairways and greens, and it just happened. Today knowing that it’s generally tough to follow up a course record, I just wanted to hit a bunch of greens, a bunch of fairways, and let it happen again. If I hit a good shot and hit 2 or 3-under, then that’s great.

A lot of times you end up being unhappy with pars after you shoot a 62 because you’re so used to making birdie or eagles, that that’s what you expect. And pars are still good, if that makes sense.

Notice how the perspective shifts when you’re successful: “pars are still good” and you’re not even thinking about bogeys. But you also run the risk of getting a little jaded:

Right. If your expectations are to hit the fairway and just sit on the green, and if you make a putt, great, but if you two-putt, that’s fine too. But if you’re always thinking I have to make a birdie because I shot 62 yesterday, then your expectations will be a little jaded [and distracting because it’s about the score and not the target].

And then, in an incredible moment of candor, he answered a question about whether a traditional gem of course like Hamilton got his juices going? Or is it a just such a clinical approach, there’s the fairway, there’s the green, it’s just golf?

I will tell you this golf course for me takes the juices out of it for me, because it’s not an exciting golf course where you generally go hit driver. It’s a lot of position off the tee, and it’s a lot of position into the green. You want to be just to that first part of the green in the middle of the green, and putting into the corners.

For me, I like to be aggressive and shoot at things, [so] that’s really boring for me. So I would say it’s the opposite, in my mind, anyway, you know, like the Phoenix Open. You’re going out for birdies and everybody knows it. Here it’s more playing for pars and hoping that the birdies fall.

So because the greens are so severe in spots, you want to be below the hole, putting up into them. So if you’re below the hole, generally anything below the hole, you’re not going to mess up the hole. Even if you’re short of the green you’re usually putting up to the hole. So it’s a lot of position off the tee to hit the fairways, so you have a chance to be as aggressive as you can be. Then you still got to play position to the green, pins back. You have to play short, stuff like that.

So you’d equate the RBC Canadian Open more with a U.S. Open than you certainly would a Phoenix Open?

Yeah, this week. You could hit driver all the way around this place and bring in bogeys and double bogeys and stuff like that. But if you go no bogeys and two or three birdies every day, then you’re in a good spot.

A lot of this comes from the the substantially improved golf balls and clubs. The players can hit the ball so far, older courses like Hamilton have no defense except to turn the course into a thinking man’s course with narrowed fairways, longer rough and cautionary pins on the edge of the greens.

I was more referring to a fun factor for Scott Piercy. Like you’re going to have more fun at Phoenix than you are, say, at a U.S. Open, right?

If I win, I’ll have a lot of fun. You know, this golf is boring golf for me. I’m not going for it. I’m not trying to put my foot on the accelerator. I’m kind of touch and go. Where at the end of the week, hopefully the next two days go well, and, hey, I finished top 10, I won. I finished sixth. It’s fun at the end of the week when you put it together.

Then you look back and it’s like fun. But while you’re in the process of doing it, I call it boring golf. If that makes sense.

So I hope the good folks at the RCGA and the Hamilton G&CC realize that Piercy was merely expressing a preference, not trying to disparage or insult the course.

Given the more routine, cut-and-paste comments Tour players deliver about how much they enjoy the course and how much they appreciate its finer points, Piercy really did serve up a very candid view of the incredible patience a player of his ilk has to bring to such a strategic course.

So it will be interesting to see if he can overcome a second day of attention: (1) trying to live up to shooting a 62 the first day and (2) trying to be present to his golf if there is any fallout from his second-round comments.

It could well be another opportunity for a focused demonstration of mastery.

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