A GCAA Q&A with SwingThought.com Tour Member Jay Woodson
The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the SwingThought.com Tour, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the SwingThought.com tour. Long considered the premier developmental tour in the United States, thousands of former college players have started their professional careers there. More than 250 SwingThought.com Tour alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with Jay Woodson, a current SwingThought.com Tour member. Woodson was a All-Conference player at James Madison, and also appeared on the Big Break and recently won the inaguaral Big Break Invitational.
Q: Earlier this fall you competed in and won the Big Break Invitational at Reynolds Plantation. What was it like playing in the inaugural event?
It was such a fun event! It featured a slightly different format! Two rounds of Stableford, followed by match play, and then ending with stroke play. We basically had two cuts which raised the stress level a bit! The Great Waters course at Reynolds was in such perfect shape. Excited to come back next year and defend my title!
Q: You were also a competitor on Big Break Mexico in 2013. How does the Big Break experience compare to other tournament golf?
The Big Break show really tests your patience. The days are very long! They try to film a show a day so it’s tough to get into a rhythm when have to wait your turn to compete in a challenge! That's what makes the show fun to watch! You have to perform when it’s your turn or you go home! It is certainly pressure packed!
Q: You were also victorious in your third straight Virginia Open earlier this year. What is it about that event that brings out the best in you?
I really love that event! I take pride in winning the only "Open" in my home state of Virginia. The tournament is very well run and it doesn't hurt that I really like the courses they have played the last three years!
Q: You were a three-time all-conference collegiate golfer at James Madison. What were some of your best experiences while playing in college?
I really loved being part of a team. We had such a close group. There is nothing better than having a group of individuals working as unit towards one goal!
Q: How would you compare the college golf experience to that of a professional golfer?
I think obviously one of the biggest things is getting used to playing for money and finding a way to not think about it while you play. Golf is the same game when you’re an amateur or a professional. As long as you can focus on your own game and what you can control the rest will take care of itself.
Q: What experiences as a student, outside of golf, do you think helped prepare you for life as a professional golfer?
I think one of the biggest things that helped me was making sure I always went to class. That discipline carried over into my golf game. Knowing how to manage my time with class work has helped with my practice management when I’m on the road at tournaments.
Q: You were also an All-State High School Quarterback/Defensive Back while growing up in Virginia. How did you decide that you were going to pursue golf in college instead of football?
I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete and I felt I had a better chance with golf than with football. Getting hit by 300 pound defensive lineman didn't sound like too much fun either!
Q: What do you enjoy most about playing professionally on the SwingTought.com Tour?
I love how well the tournaments are run. It’s a week-long event with Pro Ams and a real professional feel. They have great guys working for the tour which makes each event a fun place to be.
Q: What has been your favorite event to play on the SwingThought.com Tour?
Too difficult to pick one! Played so many great courses and met so many great people over the years. I obviously love all the courses where I have won, the most recent being Three Ridges in Knoxville TN.
Q: What advice would you have for young golfers looking to start a professional career?
Keep it Simple! Focus on your game and what makes you play well. Don’t worry so much about what other guys are doing! There are a lot of ways to get the job done.