Will Gordon is a graduate of Vanderbilt and was the 2019 SEC Player of the Year.
Gordon is one of the young guns on the PGA Tour and after a T-3 finish at the 2020 Travelers Championship he got a special PGA Tour Temporary Membership that allows him to see unlimited sponsor exemptions the remainder of the season in attempt to earn his Tour card for the 2020-2021 season.
Gordon participated in an interview session Tuesday at Old Greenwood where he was preparing for this week’s Barracuda Championships.
Following is the interview:
THE MODERATOR: We’d like to welcome Will Gordon here to the virtual interview room here at the Barracuda Championship 2020. You played in this event last year, and you finished T31 while you were on a sponsor invite. We’re at a different venue this year. Give us your thoughts about the course. I’m sure you’ve had a look at it so far.
WILL GORDON: Yeah, the golf course is awesome. I think it provides some great risk-reward opportunity off the tee, and I think that’s going to be an exciting kind of strategic way of looking at the golf course, especially in this format.
I think I’m looking forward to the week and kind of going to be exciting to see which strategy different guys take.
THE MODERATOR: What do you remember from your experience at Montreux Golf and Country Club last year and what stood out to you about that performance last year?
WILL GORDON: Yeah, I think it was my first PGA TOUR event, and I was in the mix going into the last day, late in the third day, and I think that provided me a lot of confidence moving forward. I tell Chris Hoff that all the time, that he gave me a great opportunity early to help me set up the success I’ve had this year. This format sets up really nice for me, so continuing to be aggressive, and just knowing that birdie outweighs a bogey this week is kind of an exciting opportunity to play free and really enjoy yourself.
THE MODERATOR: You finished tied for third at the Travelers a few weeks ago, earning you special temporary membership, which was a huge factor for you, and you’re in pretty good shape right now with just a couple events left to play where you could actually guarantee yourself some membership on the PGA TOUR at the end of the season. What do you feel like you need to do the next few weeks to confirm that?
WILL GORDON: Yeah, I think the last couple weeks I haven’t played great, but I’ve been really close to playing some good golf, so just continuing to chip away at what I’m doing and continuing to believe in myself. Yeah, I mean, I think I’m playing this week and the Wyndham and just continuing to put myself in position to contend, going into the week with kind of high expectations of myself, continuing to do that. I think that over time that will pay off.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about the state of your game right now. You mentioned a couple missed cuts recently, but do you feel like you’ve made some improvements somewhere in your game?
WILL GORDON: Yeah, I think I had two weeks off after Travelers, and a lot changed, like you said. I think it was a lot to handle — I played Detroit but I had two weeks off after that. Coming into Minneapolis, I felt like I was in a good spot, but it ended up I didn’t hit it very good and kind of was a little off fundamentally but had a good practice session in Minneapolis and off to a good start here this week. Just kind of getting my feet back under me. Yeah, I’m feeling really good about my game. I feel like the golf course sets up really well.
Q. I know your parents are here this week with you and it’s difficult for them to get to watch you with the COVID situation and fans not being allowed out, et cetera. How has that changed your perspective when you play tournaments without having family and friends or anybody in the gallery?
WILL GORDON: Yeah, I think it’s definitely a different vibe, and you feed off that energy, especially on the weekend out here when people come and provide great energy and support and it’s exciting, and it gets you those different feelings, and I think they’re different — out here when you feel pressure there’s not — it’s almost — you can almost feel it more because you’re competing against the guy right in front of you, and it’s just you guys. I feel like the tension out here can be a little bit more palpable sometimes when there’s not fans around, but it’s a different kind of pressure. There’s not as much hecticness, I guess — I don’t know if that’s a word. But yeah, I think my parents are here this week. I haven’t seen them in a little bit. They’re just enjoying Lake Tahoe. They wanted to get out of North Carolina, a little change of pace, so it’s good to have them here.
Q. Do you feel like you’re carrying yourself differently now that you’ve achieved that special temporary membership status, and do you feel like you’re perceived a little differently by your peers now that you’re in that category?
WILL GORDON: Yeah, I think as I’ve been out here more and more, I think I’ve definitely gained the respect of my peers, and I feel more like I’ve earned my spot out here, and I think that’s kind of — when you’re on that sponsor exemption run, there’s a lot of people looking for those, and I was fortunate to get a handful of them, and I think people are somewhat skeptical of you when you’re kind of doing that.
But I think I’ve proved myself out here now over a period of time. Handling myself, I don’t think I’m going to handle myself any differently. I’ve continued to just kind of try to play golf with a passion. Always continuing to learn about how to handle yourself as a professional, the more time I’m around these guys, I’m learning to do that.
Q. I was wondering about the course, Old Greenwood. How does it compare to the course at Montreux? Is it kind of similar conditions and similar strategy?
WILL GORDON: Yeah, I think out here, like I said earlier, off the tee here, you want to kind of hit more drivers out here and be a little bit more aggressive off the tee, and I think that provides a little bit more opportunity. There’s a couple drivable holes here, too, and Montreux had one of those, but out here you’re kind of off the tee able to kind of dictate how you want to play it a little bit more than Montreux. Montreux kind of had everybody hitting to similar spots, so I think this week is just going to be a really exciting fit for the Stableford format.
THE MODERATOR: Will, thank you for spending the time with us, and good luck this week.