Pumphrey answers questions on a variety of topics.
Feb. 10, 2012
NORMAN, Okla.--Oklahoma golfer Riley Pumphrey enters his final semester of college playing better than ever, and is a key player in the Sooners’ mission to return to the NCAA Championships in May in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Pumphrey led OU with his 71.22 scoring average in the fall, an improvement of nearly three strokes per round since his freshman season. The Georgetown, Texas, native is ranked No. 65 nationally by Golfstat.com.
Pumphrey and the Sooners tee of the spring season Monday in San Antonio, Texas, at the UTSA/Oak Hills Invitational. SoonerSports.com caught up with him to ask him about his hot start to the year and about several other topics.
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Q: Describe a day in your life as a student-athlete.
A: “Three days a week we have workouts, and those start at 6:30 a.m. From workouts, I usually go home, shower and go to class. I get out of class at 11 or 12 and then go to lunch. Then, I go home, change into golf clothes and go practice. After that, I go home, study and then do it all over again. There isn’t much time for anything else.”
Q: Who from the team do you hang out with the most?
A: “We are all pretty close, and we are all good friends and hang out all the time.”
Q: What do you think is the biggest difference in your game from last year to this year?
A: “My ball striking is a whole lot better. Everything else is about the same. I think I’ve gotten a little better with my short game, but my ball striking is a lot better.”
Q: Who were your sports idols growing up?
A: “I was always a big Payne Stewart fan. He was my childhood idol. Also, I liked Troy Aikman. I was a big Dallas Cowboys fan.”
Q: What is your favorite golf memory?
A: “I would say the best golf memory I have is making it to the NCAAs last year. That’s my best memory, especially here (at OU).”
Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals before a round or a tournament?
A: “I don’t like to go to practice too early. When you have too much time to practice, you start thinking, and that’s not good. If we get to the course early at a tournament, I like to just go sit in the locker room or something. I usually give myself 45 minutes to warm up, no more.”
Q: If you could play a round of golf with anyone, who would it be and why?
A: “Probably my dad; it’s just fun to play with him. He’s pretty competitive. He’s 55 now, but he’s a scratch golfer, so we always have fun. I usually spot him a couple shots a round, but it’s usually pretty close at the end.”
Q: What is your favorite course you have ever played while at OU and why?
A: “We played Shoal Creek (Birmingham, Ala.) a couple of years ago. It’s a good golf course.”
Q: What person has been the most influential in your golf game?
A: “My dad, definitely. He’s the one who got me started playing, so he’s been the most influential person in golf -- and life -- I would say.”
Q: What are your hidden talents outside of golf?
A: “I’ve started bowling a lot. We usually go once or twice a week. A couple guys on the team go.”
Q: What do you think of spring enrollee Nicholas Smits?
“He’s a good player. I’ve been impressed with him. He’s a really solid ball striker. He hits a lot of fairways, a lot of greens. He hits a low-ball flight, so that’s good around here too with the wind and everything. I’m excited to see him play down in San Antonio; I know he’s going as an individual. Hopefully he can help us out this spring. It’s my last semester; it’d be nice if we could have more help. An extra player brings more competition. Our last (tournament) qualifier was really competitive. It’s always nice to have another player. He’s got game.”