w/ Chris Stevenson, The Rideau View Golf Insider
After earning his 2016-17 PGA TOUR card by finishing 14th on the Web.com Tour’s money list, Brad Fritsch had some important decisions to make.
Like who to take with the first pick overall in his fantasy football league.
The Dallas Cowboys fan was leading towards rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, but the injury sustained by Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo – he’s expected to be out for up to 10 weeks with a back injury – forced Fritsch to go in a different direction.
“I would have taken Ezekiel Elliott if Tony Romo was the quarterback, but now that they have the rookie quarterback (Dak Prescott) going they’ll probably stack the line and make the quarterback beat them and as good as the offensive line is, they’ll just try to throw it. I’ll have to re-evaluate my strategy,” said Fritsch.
“I think the way the league is going it might be a wide receiver which is kind of unprecedented in the No. 1 spot, like (Pittsburgh Steeler) Antonio Brown or something like that.”
Brown was indeed Fritsch’s pick.
With that out of the way, Fritsch can now concentrate on the Web.com Tour Finals with the first of four tournaments getting underway Sept. 8 at the DAP Championship at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, OH.
Fritsch is hoping the Web.com Tour Finals will serve as a tuneup for his third trip to the PGA TOUR. Fritsch earned his place on the money list largely on the strength of his first Web.com Tour win which came at the Servientrega Championship presented by Efecty in April and a runner-up finish at the El Bosque Mexico Championship presented by INNOVA a couple of weeks later. He earned $194,857, almost all of it before he was sidelined for two months with gout.
“Hopefully in these four finals events I can put some momentum together and the PGA TOUR season starts the very next week, so hopefully I can just drag that momentum into it,” said the 38-year-old.
“I’m still looking for my game; seven events since I came back and a lot of them have been very choppy,” said Fritsch, whose best finish in that stretch was a tie for 36th and had two missed cuts. “Everything hasn’t been clicking at same time. It’s always one thing that’s lacking and it’s not the same thing every time.”
Fritsch last played the PGA TOUR in 2014 and finished 151st on the money list. He had to go back to Web.com Tour school where he was medalist. He then rallied late in 2015 to earn his status for this season.
He’ll be heading onto the PGA TOUR with a more experienced approach this time and a different caddie, Richard Wahl, after he and Jeff Scott parted ways in the spring. Wahl worked the North American part of the Web.com Tour schedule this summer.
“This will probably be the most stable year in terms of my mental approach,” he said. “The first year I kind of approached weekends if I got over par early on a Saturday I’d get really frustrated and felt like I was getting passed and kind of pressed a little bit. Now I know you don’t have to shoot 65 on Saturday or Sunday. If you’re a consistent under par player, that gets it done.
“I think I’m a lot better at seeing the long view instead of just reacting from round to round. I’m not going to assess my game hour to hour or round to round. We have an end goal and that’s to win on the PGA TOUR. It took me a long time to win on the Web Tour. It’s okay if it takes a while. At least I’m back there and I have a chance.”
Wahl worked for Fritsch a little in 2012. The relationship with Scott had some great moments like the trips to the PGA TOUR in 2013 and 2014.
Fritsch said he has taken more ownership of what happens on the course with Wahl.
“It’s definitely a different relationship than my last one. I’m doing more for me now than I did at the end of my relationship with Jeff. For whatever reason, I kind of allowed Jeff to be such a huge presence and he’s such a good caddie and I trusted him so much that I kind of got disengaged from a lot of the process,” Fritsch said. “I would stand there on the green and he would say ‘right edge,’ and I would walk up and hit it. I wasn’t fully engaged in that putt. I hadn’t studied it, taken everything into consideration. I was just listening to him because I trusted him so much. It wasn’t helping me and it was kind of my fault. He did as much as he could to help me, but he can’t be in my head.
“With Richard, he’s kind of my backup. With Jeff, he eventually drove the bus and he was really, really good at it, but I kind of disengaged mentally sometimes and I don’t think that’s the best way for me to play.”
Fritsch is also now armed with the knowledge that his best golf can be winning golf.
“It was nice to see, validate when you play really well that means you can win,” he said of his victory. “For a long time that meant for me that I could place fourth or fifth or sixth. It was nice to see that when I play exceptionally well, that means I’m winning.”
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