Archive

Bo Van Pelt back on track at Memorial after losing passion for golf

DUBLIN, Ohio — It was an exhilarating day for Bo Van Pelt, as he shot an 8-under 64 Thursday at the Memorial Tournament to take a share of the lead through Round 1.

The end of Jason Dufner’s day was not quite as exhilarating as he double bogeyed the 18th hole and refused to talk to the media after his round.

Van Pelt, 40, spent a lot of his press conference after his 10-birdie performance talking about how he lost interest in the game for a while after a solid 2012 season when he earned $3.04 million, his fourth consecutive year of earning more than $1 million.

The next two years Van Pelt said he was going through the motions, and in 2013 and 2014 earned less than $1 million.

“I played a bunch of golf for three years and had played pretty well, and I just think I was just kind of tired of playing,” Van Pelt said. “There’s so many good players out here, if you get a little sloppy with what you’re doing, there’s not that big a difference between a great year and a so?so year out here.”

It wasn’t the first time that Van Pelt lost the drive necessary to play competitive golf. During his time at Oklahoma State, Van Pelt lost interest in the game and stopped playing for about four months.

He never thought that he would play competitively again but got the bug back at the end of the spring semester and when he went to see head coach Mike Holder, was welcomed back onto the team.

“Obviously I was very thankful for the opportunity, probably something I didn’t deserve,” Van Pelt said. “And I tell people all the time he’s going into the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame, and they ask me what are my thoughts of him. I owe him everything. Next year I was first team All?American, and two years later I was on Tour.”

Dufner was tied for the lead with Hideki Matsuyama and Van Pelt at 8 under and easily could have moved to 9 under with a 4-footer for birdie at 17 but missed the putt. He went to the next tee and promptly double-crossed his tee shot into the creek.

“I had a great week last week, ballstriking?wise. I was a little off with putter,” Dufner told a PGA Tour media official after his 6-under 66. “Today I made some long ones, and missed some short ones. Obviously a double kind of sucks.”

Since going through a well-publicized divorce, Dufner has not talked to the media, and while it would be understandable to blame the spilt with his wife Amanda for his spotty play, Dufner said his problems on the course were more due to injuries.

“I got hurt last year, it’s taking longer than what I would like or what I thought,” Dufner said. “Not so much physically, but mentally. I was not as confident as I could have been.”

For Van Pelt, his performance on Thursday could not have been foreseen just two weeks ago as he hit the ball poorly at Colonial and missed the cut.

Fortunately for Van Pelt, his coach Mark Wood was watching and he said: “I’m coming to Tulsa (Van Pelt’s hometown),” to straighten things out.

The level of seriousness was underscored by the fact that due to the terrible weather conditions in the Southwest, Van Pelt went to a course where he had to shag his own balls on the range.

“My setup was so bad, I was like, well, no wonder I can’t hit a good shot,” Van Pelt said. “I’m like, this is terrible. Looked like I had never played golf before.”

Looking back, Van Pelt believes that was the genesis of his game’s rebirth.

With Wood at his side last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson and this week in Ohio, Van Pelt now feels his game is back on track with some pop in his swing.

“I realized I still wanted to play, even though I wasn’t having much fun playing, I knew I wasn’t really done,” Van Pelt said. “I was just kind of not really that into it. And so you just can’t go through the motions out here. I mean, there’s too many good players. And the line between playing good and not playing well at all is very small. If you take it for granted it will go away.”

STORY COMMENTS
Show Hide