From watching the shots on TV to recreating them in real life, Harrison Endycott is living every golfer's dream.
As a PGA TOUR rookie, the 26-year-old started the season well enough to earn an invitation to THE PLAYERS Championship, thanks to top-15 finishes at the Fortinet Championship, the Bermuda Championship and a top-25 at the American Express.
With just six months on the PGA TOUR under his belt, Endycott is still taking it all in, and admits he’s had a few moments where he’s had to pinch himself.
"I was here on Tuesday with my caddie and I was trying to hit the ‘better than most’ putt on 17; that was definitely one," said Endycott. "Then just the little things, like at Pebble Beach. I didn’t play well, I got the tough side of the draw, but Pebble Beach is such a special place.
"Standing on 18 tee there, thinking ‘this is cool’. Then you’re walking to the first tee off the putting green with Tiger’s plaque with his record when he won the US Open, Viktor Hovland when he won the US Amateur. You see these cool things that as a kid I saw on TV.
"I had the video games, was obsessed with golf, and now I’m in that position where I get to compete and play with these guys. On Tuesday, Tyrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick were behind me and the guys were kind enough to let me go through, and it’s little things like that you’ve got to soak up and enjoy.
"It’s super special, it’s the fifth major. I’ve watched this on TV as a kid, watched some of the most famous and historic golf shots in the game’s history.
"It’s a huge honour to be here. Every player has to earn their way here, and it’s a privilege to be able to do that in my rookie year."
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An oft-used slogan by the PGA TOUR is that 'golf is hard', and as a rookie, it's something Endycott has to remind himself.
"I’ve had a mixed year," said Endycott. "The good stuff’s been good but the not-so-good stuff’s not been where I want it to be. We played great at Honda, I just didn’t have a great putting weekend.
"We’re all so hard on ourselves as golfers. If it’s 10 feet, it should’ve been five feet, if it’s a missed green it should’ve been a hit green.
"We’re all our own critics but one thing I have learned talking to the best players in the world about how to get better is they’re very good at accepting when it’s not on, very good at accepting the little wins, and that’s what I’m slowly trying to learn.
"The Korn Ferry Tour is all about get in, get out, get results, leave, miss a cut, go to the next week, try to shoot a low one, whereas out here, it’s the small wins; slowly climb up leaderboards and talking those small wins statistically which may been greens in regulation or shots gained."
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Making the step up from the Korn Ferry Tour, Endycott claims it’s the ‘one-percenters’ – an Aussie Rules term referring to the tiny details that can help make the difference – that sets the best apart.
"It's the simple things – alignment with anything is the first thing they do. They make sure they’re sharp from 10 feet. The little things that we teach a six-year-old kid how to do. The best players in the world continue to work so hard on these things and stay on top of those.
"It’s easy to get lazy over a simple thing like alignment. We continually work on swings and patterns and things like that, but the big guys are working on the same thing."
Endycott made something of a breakthrough on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2022, winning the Huntsville Championship, which gave him the platform to ultimately reach the PGA TOUR.
"It was a huge week," said Endycott. "That week really changed my life. It developed a confidence knowing I could win at that level, and now it’s about learning how to do it on this level, but it told me a lot about myself and what I can do on a golf course.
"We always talk about self-belief but sometimes it’s very hard to see that when you’re not getting results. When you finally do something like that, you know you can do achieve those results."
Amongst the countless golfers looking to make their way onto the PGA TOUR, many follow similar paths, but Endycott took a less familiar route, spending two years on the PGA TOUR’s South American tour before reaching the big time.
“It was a grind," said Endycott. "I needed it. I was in a position where I needed to harden up. I needed to understand how hard it is to play professional golf. For me, I needed to be put into the lion’s den a little bit.
"I played in the Australian team, and when you play in the Australian team, you’re treated like a top 50 player in the world; everything’s paid for, you don’t have any concerns, you have a manager who does everything for you and then when you turn pro, all that goes out the window until you’re Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIloy, so for me to get better I really needed to get into an environment where I was on my own.
"I needed to learn how to get an Uber at 7am and outwork the guy next to me. I just didn’t see myself going to the level I wanted to go, thinking that everything was going to be handed and it was a tough route to do, but I look back now and I thank the system, I took advantage of it in the right way and learned a lot."