Henry Liaw earned the national spotlight after winning the 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, but has since left the life of a professional golfer to spend time with his family and work as a head professional.
Here are five questions with the former champion:
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1. What have you been involved with in the past few years?
“Right now, I’m the head pro at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon (in Beaumont, Calif.). I started being a golf pro, so I stopped playing toward the end of 2009, started working here and started doing the family thing. I have a 1-year-old kid and have been married for over six years now. I got married young. It’s dramatically different from being on the course and competing every single day. Life’s a little more even-keeled being at work. ”
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2. What is your fondest memory from the 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship?
“It feels like it was yesterday. The match that stood out the most was where I was playing Ryan Cochran. I was like six down and I ended up tying the match at 18 and winning on the 22nd hole. I remember telling myself after that match that I should be able to overcome anything. That’s what propelled me into college golf and my pro career. I went from a good Southern California player to being recognized nationally.”
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3. What advice would you give juniors trying to reach that level?
“The key for a lot of young kids is to not pressure themselves too much. When you’re young, you treat everything like it’s the end of the world. But with golf, it’s a long-distance run, not a 40-yard dash. You just have to stick with it and see what you can do to get better every day.”
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4. How is your game since you left professional golf?
“I still play pretty good. Obviously, I’m a little inconsistent, but if you put me in a four-person scramble I’m still pretty deadly.”
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5. What do you draw from your playing career when you teach?
“Seeing that I played, I can relate to players a little more. A lot of the students I work with go through the fear of not succeeding. I understand that situation, so I’m able to put players at ease and, at the same time, make the game less stressful. At times, golf can be tough and they sometimes don’t take the time to enjoy the moment and fully progress.”