I really don’t consider myself the favorite. Golf is a game where the favorites don’t always win. The best player doesn’t always win. The Big Break has proven that over and over again. So anybody can win, anybody I don’t care if it’s Jerry Rice or whoever you’re thinking can’t win this tournament, they can win this tournament. I don’t think there are any favorites here.
Who has the edge the guys or the girls?
It’s hard to say but if you want to call out a favorite I’d call out any of the girls that can hit it about 270 [Editor’s Note: Gerina Piller fits the bill]. They get about 30-50 yards every tee-spot. Some of us guys might hit it 300 yards and there’s Tony Finau who can hit it 350. But let me tell you 50 yards is a lot. That’s a lot to give up to an LPGA Tour player but they still have to make putts too. Whoever makes the putts is going to win this tournament.
In order for you to top the leaderboard what parts of your game have to get hot?
I’m hitting it really good right now. I just got to make putts plus out here you got to limit the mistakes. At this golf course you can make a ton of mistakes really quick. The greens are going to be rolling twelve so if you get it above the hole all day, putting downhill, you’re just trying to make par. It can easily get away from you and you could easily three putt or even four putt.
With a modified Stableford format the first couple rounds, avoiding the bogeyman is paramount to getting into the hunt You think you’re have to play it safe more than you’d like to in order to contend?
No I’m going to just stick to my game plan. The game plan is to hit fairways, hit some greens and try to make some birdies, just stay away from the big numbers because that’s the only way you can get out of contention pretty quick.
Lake Oconee is swimming in striper, hybrid bass, crappie, and catfish—you think you may go fishing after your round?
No fishing for me, I don’t fish. My father fishes but me I’m just a golfer.
If Big Break didn’t exist you still would have grinded you way onto the PGA TOUR?
Absolutely. I’ll tell you why. I was a good player before the Big Break but let me tell you what the show and the Golf Channel did for me. The Big Break and the Golf Channel gave me an opportunity for the world to meet Tommy Two Gloves. Before I was just Tommy Gainey. Some of my friends and the mini-tour guys had but as far as the world, nobody had heard of me until I got on the Big Break and played well the first time and won Big Break VII.
How else did your Big Break experience inform your career?
They helped me get comfortable around cameras and being under a spotlight. That’s something I thank them everyday for.