When we thought up doing a series called "Always A Cowboy", highlighting former Oklahoma State athletes that you may have lost track of, Drew was one of the first guys I thought to interview. His commitment to working hard and staying focused on his ultimate goal of being on the PGA Tour has paid off in the form of qualifying for the PGA Tour Latin America this year. His story is still being written every day, and it is far from over.
When Drew first showed up in Stillwater in 2008, he was accompanied by a couple of guys you may have heard of named Peter Uihlein and Morgan Hoffmann. He was also joining a team that featured Rickie Fowler, Kevin Tway, and loads of other talent. To say Drew had his work cut out for him was an understatement, but that didn't discourage him. He was ready to accept the challenge of competing with these big names no matter how hard he had to work.
As soon as he stepped on campus his freshman year, Drew found out the kind of work ethic it would take to compete on the team. Even with the determination to play right away, Drew's freshman season turned out to be a learning experience for him. He redshirted during a year that was extremely difficult to crack the lineup, but he continued to work hard to improve his game. The work his freshman year and following summer began reaping its benefits his sophomore (redshirt freshman) year. He played his first tournament as an OSU Cowboy in the fall semester of the next year, and, as you will find out below, it was an experience he will not soon forget. The result wasn't what he had hoped for, but he had the taste of competition in his mouth and wanted more. While Drew only played one more tournament that year, he gained valuable experience that helped make a difference in his final years on the team.
The next two seasons, Drew was a regular contributor to the team playing in 6 tournaments his redshirt sophomore year and 7 his redshirt junior year. In the spring of 2012, Drew graduated with a Business Degree and decided it was time to move on towards his professional career rather than coming back to school for his final year of eligibility. Drew moved back home to North Carolina to continue to work on his game and pursue his goal of making it on the PGA Tour.
Now Drew is living in Florida and working on his game while also working a part time job in order to be able to continue pursuing his dream. Through continued hard work and dedication, he has taken huge strides towards that dream including his most recent accomplishment of qualifying for the PGA Tour Latin America. I reached out to him to ask a few questions about his college and professional experiences which he was more than willing to answer.
What was the recruiting process like for you?
"The recruiting process was a lot of fun for me. I visited a lot of schools which I thought was good because I started to learn more about things I liked and didn't like at certain programs. It ended up being between NC State and Oklahoma State. For me it was a tough decision being from North Carolina and leaving my friends or going to a place I knew nobody. I committed pretty late into my junior career, I think it was like beginning of my senior year of high school. Ultimately I chose OSU, and it was one of the best things I ever did."
What was the biggest change you had to get used to when you showed up on campus?
"I would say it would be managing my time better and developing a better work ethic. The older guys that were there worked so much harder than me at first and I wasn't used to it yet."
What was the most important thing you learned during your college career that has helped you in your professional career?
"There's too many things to name that continue to help my development in Professional golf that I learned while at OSU. Jonathan Moore, an All-American at OSU, once told me that "You're never as good as you think you are and you're never as bad as you think you are." Just helps my mindset to strive to get better no matter how good I'm playing and when I'm playing bad to remember it's just golf and it can get better quicker than you think."
What part of your game do you try to focus most of your time on and why?
"I've always driven the ball pretty straight and been a good iron player. This year I've worked hard on my wedges...starting with full and working my way down to off speed stuff. It's really helped out a lot."
Most readers don't know that you've been living with Rickie throughout the winter...have you learned anything from him that has helped you take your game to the next level?
"Yea there's always something new to learn from a player like Rickie. Whether it be a new method or way to hit a shot or something mental in the game. Rickie likes to have fun with it, and it's refreshing to get to see that style of play. You try to transition that to your own game after you've been out playing with him."
You have a rigorous schedule that involves work and practice, can you elaborate on that?
"Yea my days can get quite hectic sometimes trying to squeeze everything in one day. I work out 3-4 times a week for 2 hours each at the Florida Institute of Performance. I work 3-5 days a week at the Dye Preserve Golf Club here in Jupiter to have a place to practice. Then I practice on top of it. It can make for some busy weeks and time management is key. It's not all bad though, I'm not the first professional golfer that has had to go through something like this before they make it. I will tell you that I go to bed a lot earlier now than I ever have before."
What keeps you motivated?
"There are a lot personal goals I haven't accomplished. I'm still young in my pro career so I have plenty of time. But ultimately I want to win on the PGA Tour."
What do you miss most about Stillwater and how often are you able to go back?
"Well before I moved down to Jupiter this year I would definitely say I missed being around the guys on the team and just having that camaraderie everyday. But now there's 7 of us including myself from the team down here so it's almost like a grown up college team. I've gone back to Stillwater for one football game every year since I graduated in May of 2012...Definitely not enough if you ask me but what can ya do."
What is your favorite memory about being on the golf team?
"My favorite memory is probably playing my first event as a college player. It was out in California, and I had never been there before for anything. I was excited and nervous and all the other emotions that come with stepping up to the plate. I played pretty decent for a couple rounds."
What's your favorite hole at Karsten Creek?
"Probably 18. It was a big risk reward hole. You could make eagle pretty easily with the right wind or you could make a bogey or double in the blink of an eye, too. Just a cool hole with it being right on the lake, too."
You recently qualified for the PGA Tour Latin America...have you purchased your Rosetta Stone software yet for your upcoming travels?
"Haha I haven't bought Rosetta Stone yet but I've definitely been working slowly on my Spanish. Our caddie master at the Dye Preserve is from El Salvador so he's been giving me pointers and I've been making a cheat sheet on my iPhone for common sayings."
"Can I say it's equal? Haha no definitely more excited to go play. It's a great place to start off my career and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of new places and playing some good golf."
Drew is a great example of how hard work can pay off. I am excited to watch him continue to improve this year and keep moving closer to his ultimate goal. Give him a follow on Twitter and Instagram and keep up with his world travels and tournament results!
Good luck, Drew!