Patrick Rodgers making a mark at Stanford
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Through two and a half years at Stanford, Patrick Rodgers knows there's several ways to win.
He was a winner at the 2011 Porter Cup and now a seven-time winner at the collegiate level. He's now tied for second most individual wins all time at Stanford, only behind Tiger Woods.
"You can win in a lot of different fashions, and I think the toughest thing to do is to have a big lead and hang on, knowing your round really matters with the lead you have," Rodgers said. "It's definitely a skill you acquire through experience. The more times you put yourself there, the more control you get and the more confident you get in yourself.
"To be mentioned among the Stanford greats is a huge honor. All the records that Tiger sets definitely motivates me to work hard and play my best each time I tee it up."
Rodgers, who has earned All-America honors through his first two years, brings the perfect mix of fanatical preparation and brute strength off the tee, Stanford head coach Conrad Ray said. After winning The Prestige at PGA West, Rodgers was promoted to the No. 1 spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
"It starts with the shots off the tee. He's a long hitter that creates a lot of speed and height on his golf ball and doesn't hit it far off line. That's an asset," Ray said. "He rarely makes double bogey and he rarely three-putts. That combination lends well to winning.
"He's very prepared, so he knows what holes he can capitalize on. He's got a very strong game plan for every course he plans. It's fun to coach him in that regard because it rubs off on the other guys too."
But Rodgers also knows there's several ways to the PGA Tour.
Rodgers hit the Stanford campus the same year Jordan Spieth enrolled at Texas and Justin Thomas at Alabama. Spieth turned pro after one year and Thomas turned pro after his sophomore year, but Rodgers has stuck to the collegiate route.
"My sense is that Patrick's goal is to go play the PGA Tour and he sees Stanford as a neat opportunity because it's a way to train all of those things it takes to be a successful pro outside of the golf box," Ray said. "Playing pro golf is a lot more than just hitting golf shots. ... He's wise enough to see the value that Stanford brings in all sorts of forms, not just golf related."
Rifling off answers that sound more like a seasoned head coach than a 21-year-old, you could say Rodgers is a Stanford man.
"(Spieth) sets a great example for all of us of the framework you need to have to go out there and have success," Rodgers said. "I'm at such a great program. I have such great teammates and amazing coaches to learn from. This is the best place for me to develop as a golfer and become ready for professional golf. So the decision was easy for me."
Rodgers said, however, that all of his goals come back to his team's success is some shape or form. The Cardinal will face a huge test when they tee it up at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters March 6-9. Rodgers took home medalist honors at the event last year, but he'll be looking for his team to follow that lead this year.
"My goals are really set in the team's success," Rodgers said. "Each time I can help the team win by winning a golf tournament or having a great event, that's my goal."