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Harris English returns to Waialae, site of first Tour start, with an extra boost of confidence

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A PGA Tour title, particularly one that comes after a more than seven-year winless streak, can offer a new lease on life. It also makes for a striking demarcation point – life before the win and life after.

Harris English, who broke through at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions for his first Tour title since 2013, made the jump from Maui to Honolulu to compete at the Sony Open this week. There will always be a notable connection for English at Waialae. It’s where he made his first start on Tour in 2012.

Asked if he thought he could win that week, English noted that it was more an exercise in making cuts. His mom used to text him encouragement (“At least you made the cut” or “Great job making the cut”) each time he did that. Those texts don’t come in anymore.

English, who has climbed to No. 6 on the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and No 17 in the Official World Golf Ranking, also remembers going in on a hotel room with former Georgia teammate Brian Harman to save a few bucks.

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“We didn’t want to pay so much to stay in a hotel room by ourselves,” English explained. “It’s just little stuff like that that you’re just trying to get used to it. That’s why it’s so hard being a rookie because you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. You’ve never seen the golf course before.

“It’s crazy how your expectations change. I mean, now my mom doesn’t text me like ‘at least you made the cut’ now when I finish 55th or something.”

There are many ways that this week won’t be anything like last week – much less last year, much less 2012 – that have nothing to do with the extra $1.34 million winner’s payday that came English’s way on Sunday and the confidence that comes with breaking through.

The golf course falls into that category.

“Kapalua is super hilly and the greens are crazy, huge greens, a lot of slope in them,” English said. “Here is a pretty short golf course, firm, flat.”

Only two players, Ernie Els (2003) and Justin Thomas (2007), have followed up a win at the Tournament of Champions with a victory the next week at Sony. English wonders if it’s fatigue or relaxation that contributes to that.

A carryover of good vibes may help, which is something English has certainly felt this week.

“It’s been great,” he said. “Had a lot of friends out here come up and say congratulations and obviously a lot of texts and phone calls from friends and family. It’s been awesome.

“Just kind of, you never realized how much support you have from people back home and some friends that are watching that are pulling for you. It’s awesome to finally feel that and people saying I made their night, made their week. It’s cool to hear that.”

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/13/pga-tour-sony-open-harris-english-waialae/

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