Although he is making his debut in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, American Scott Piercy certainly seems to have a penchant for winning multi-million dollar purses.
In 2007 he won a made-for-TV golf event, “Ultimate Game”, at the Wynn Las Vegas luxury resort and casino, earning himself a healthy $2-million.
Hotelier Steve Wynn, the man behind the concept, says he reasoning for this event was simple: “I wanted to see how guys who never play for anything like this kind of money handle themselves”.
Piercy certainly proved he has what it takes under that kind of pressure.
And he’s gone on to show it with his three victories on the PGA Tour. His first title came in the 2011 Reno-Tahoe Open. A year later and he was back in the winner’s circle when he claimed the RBC Canadian Open. And then this year he won for the third time in the Barbasol Championship. This last title was particularly sweet as Piercy played the PGA Tour this season on a major medical extension after having surgery on his right arm in 2014.
“It’s been a long road. My whole goal after coming back from surgery was to come back better. The way I played compared to my last two victories was a lot better,” he said.
Piercy has indeed travelled a long raod from his days on the Nationwide Tour when he admits he struggled with anger issues on the golf course, and even drew a smiley face on his ball to try and combat this. “I realised the biggest thing holding me back was my attitude,” he said.
Once he’d overcome this element of his game, it seemed as if nothing could stop him. He graduated to the PGA Tour in 2009 and two years later he was a PGA Tour champion.
In 2014 through he had to undergo surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow. It’s a testament to his ability that it was a longstanding injury and one he suffered with when he achieved his best finish in a Major of tied fifth in the 2013 PGA Championship.
“The injury was affecting me enough to where it affected my play a lot, and when your play goes down your confidence goes down too. But the elbow’s not holding me back. I can practice. I can play without pain pretty much, but I just got to keep doing therapy on it and keep getting it better.”
It was at times such as this that Piercy relied heavily on the faith his father always had in him.
“My dad’s been a big part of my golf. He was the one who pushed me the most and who saw my potential. A lot of who I am is because of what he’s taught me.”
Piercy says he has made peace with the fact that he doesn’t get the attention some of the other big names in the game command, and that he prefers to let his clubs do the talking for him.
But any lack of media hype has certainly not affected Piercy’s confidence.
The six-foot tall golfer says he was very young when he started to believe he was good enough to be a professional golfer, and that to this day he believes that is one of the key ingredients for succes in the game: a simple belief that you’re good enough.
Even when he couldn’t secure a sponsor in 2012 despite being a winner on the PGA Tour, Piercy found a way to use this to his advantage.
“It gave me the ability to kind of put a chip on my shoulder and go play well, and maybe create some of my own value so that I’m worth it.”
Piercy certainly does things his own way. Even his grip is not your orthodox golf grip, and he prefers to go with the 10-finger baseball grip.
But he remains one of the longest hitters our there, and will revel in this element of the Gary Player Country Club course.
In fact, when you consider that Piercy was born in Las Vegas, then Sun City should hardly be a foreign environment for him.
Born: 6 November 1978.
Turned pro: 2001.
Family: Wife – Sara. Children – Cole, Brennan, Jett.
Special interests: Family and friends.
Career highlights: A three-time winner on the PGA Tour. Finished tied fifth in the 2013 PGA Championship, which remains his best finish in a Major.
2015 highlights: Won the Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour. Finished second in the Sony Open and third in the BMW Championship.
2015 Majors: The Masters – DNP. The US Open – DNP. The Open – DNP. The PGA Championship – T48.
NGC record: Debut.