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Why this professional golfer chose to forgo practice rounds and went on to perform better


Eddie Pepperell is one of the most unique golfers in the world. He’s different, thoughtful, and doesn’t hold back. He’s not afraid to talk about some of the most controversial issues of the day, like Covid, LIV, and more, but he’s also humble enough not to be mad at people who have different opinions.

It’s a combination of traits that you don’t often see at the top of professional sports, and it led to an interesting appearance on the most recent Drop Zone podcast, which was hosted by Dylan Dethier and Sean Zak. Sean was in Scotland at the time, so Dylan did the wide-ranging interview, which left a lot to figure out. But Pepperell’s own golf game was where some of the most interesting things happened.

Pepperell says that he has been having trouble ever since the pandemic messed up professional golf. That is true. In 2018 and 2019, he played the best golf of his career. He won twice on the DP World Tour, tied for sixth at the 2018 Open, came in third at the 2019 Players Championship, and moved up to No. 32 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But when the game’s different tours ended, he thought that taking six weeks off would help his back injury. Instead, what happened was that it changed his golf swing, and not in a good way.

He says of his golf swing, “It’s technique,  I am in very different positions now than I was … Iron play is where the magic is in golf. It’s something I used to do really well, and it’s something I’m doing really poorly at times now.”

Ditching practice rounds

Pepperell did what any motivated golfer would do when things started going wrong with his game: he started working harder. Even though he had always been late, he started showing up to tournaments on Mondays or earlier to play more practice rounds. But when he was tired and stressed and didn’t see any results, he decided to stop doing them all together.

“If there’s a hole me or my caddie feel we really need to see i’ll go walk out there,” he says. “But it’s usually all out there, just hit the golf shots. Today I made a few bogeys with wedges and 9-irons, that’s not not knowing the golf hole. That’s just being s—.”

Pepperell says that skipping practice rounds is most helpful because it “frees up his schedule” and gives him more time to work on his game during tournament weeks. It also means that when he does get to the site, he has less time to waste and has to work more quickly to get ready. Because of this, his overall game is better, which is more important than spending more time getting to know the course.

When Dylan asks if there are times when not knowing a course hurts his score, he says, “It doesn’t happen that often.  You can know a golf course inside and out, but if you’re not heaving to hit the golf shots, forget about it.”

After a string of missed cuts, Pepperell has now finished in the top 15 in two of his last five tournaments (admittedly with some missed cuts in between). His best finish since 2020 was T11 at the Cazoo Classic last weekend.

Original article posted on Golf.com

Photo posted on: sportingnews.com

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