"A Wolff On the Prowl" Matthew Wolff on PGA Tour Life

January 29, 2020
In this Episode
Team TaylorMade Young Gun Matthew Wolff joins Chris Trott on Season 2|Episode 3 of the Team TaylorMade Podcast. He reveals how his unmistakable swing generates power and his plans for an encore to a strong rookie season.

Trottie: One take Wolffy - we'll be fine. (Singing) Join in. (Singing) (laughing). Matt Wolff, intro, this podcast. (Singing).

Wolff: What's up guys? It's Wolffy and Trottie hear at the top of the TaylorMade Tour Truck and let's get this thing going.

Trottie: Love it. I am stoked to have you here Wolffy, as you can tell. We're at the 2020 photo shoot, at the Floridian. Day two just starting up. For me it's a big day because I get to see the best players in the world hitting these golf shots, various challenges that you guys have done. It looked to me yesterday like you're reveling in that. What was it like to be part of it and to be around those guys and hitting the shots and seeing it literally as it's fresh out the box?

Wolff: Yeah, it's an unbelievable experience, really. I wasn't sure what this shoot or the commercial was going to entail. But you as soon as I got out there, the new gear just looks sweet and we were hitting shots at targets goofing off, just getting each other's feedback on how we thought that the new product was coming off and it was just really cool to be here because this is my first shoot. So all these guys have done it before but it's... Hitting next to Tiger Woods and Dustin and Rory; it's cool to be able to see how they hit the ball and even learn some things from them, because obviously they're seasoned vets.

Trottie: And 100% they are but how does that feel when you get there? I was chatting to Wade earlier, our head tech as the guys know, and he was telling me that you were on here yesterday chilling out at one point because it's hot outside and Tiger cruised on and you were saying, "Hey, I saw you coping my move" and had a bit of banter with Tiger. How does that feel to be able to be in this environment where it's not a tournament and you can just shoot whatever you want to shoot with these guys.

Wolff: It's just comfortable. I feel like that's part of the TaylorMade family or Team TaylorMade. Once you're a part of this team, you can talk to anyone and... It's Tiger Woods. When I first met him, I'm not going to say that I wasn't shaking. He was by the locker at the Northern Trust and I didn't even want to bother him because I needed to get in my locker. And I was like, it's Tiger Woods. I'm not going to go up there. I'm not going to ask him to move, are you kidding me? But now that I've gotten to know him over the last couple months, he's awesome. It's just being able to kind of give him a hard time or I think we're hitting the stinger challenge and I think I went into the divot in front of me, but they said I topped it. But it's just fun and we screw with each other a little bit. And it's all in good fun. And to be able to do it with a guy like Tiger Woods, it doesn't happen every day.

Trottie: You look so comfortable in this environment and I know that we walked a bit yesterday and talked about this, but Rory, he's not as big a guy as you yet the guy sends it for sure up there in with your power. Where do you think yours and his power comes from? And how can maybe some of us amateurs tap into that or have we just got no chance?

Wolff: I don't know if you've got any chance to hit it as far as we do. But you got a chance to hit it far. Just for the record, I did out-drive Rory.

Trottie: Oh, I know buddy. I'm glad you put that straight.

Wolff: Dustin did get us by... I think he got me by 0.7 carry.

Trottie: I love how everyone keeps tabs, you're going to fit in great with this crowd.

Wolff: Yeah. I mean he's 6'4". He's got a little bit on me. But I think the power originally comes from, just our ability to rotate. I think we get such a big turn back in our backswing and then once we do that, the ability to get so, so rotated.

Trottie: Torqued.

Wolff: The torque, yeah, exactly. As soon as you come through, if you just turn the body and I think that fast turn with the body, your hands are going to follow. And then once your hands follow, that's where you get the speed. And I think the same thing with Rory, like myself, we both use the ground very well. We put a lot of force into the ground and then it-

Trottie: It returns.

Wolff: Yeah, it returns it. So I think that's two keys to hitting the ball far. It's using the ground well and being able to really... The foot work is important and have a strong base, but as well as just get that, that torque in the rotation. I'd like to see some guys hit it a little farther by doing those things.

Trottie: Strong legs as well, right? I mean that's obvious. I know we touched in the first podcast that we did that you were potentially a trouser ripper or a pant ripper. You ripped any of those bad boys yet or are we all good?

Wolff: Oh no. They make them pretty stretchy now.

Trottie: Thank goodness for that. So distance off the tee, getting on tour... I heard a conversation again, it came secondhand so maybe it's not good information, but Japan, you were playing out there quite a tight old school golf course and you were forcing yourself to go with a driver. Again, I heard it second hand. For you, you must go into a tournament thinking, "If I can hit driver everywhere" because you're a good driver, you're going straight into the top 10 longest drive. Are you thinking I've got to leverage that because I can pick up shots on other players? Is that in the tactics in the mindset when you go in?

Wolff: Well definitely. And I think that's one thing that's changed from the time I first became a professional golfer and to now. Because I hit my three wood pretty far as well and I hit it maybe a little straighter and I would always say, "Oh I can hit my three wood out where most guys can with their drivers. So I'll just use that to my advantage.” But I think recently I've started to realize that, all these guys like Rory and Dustin and Brooks, they hit driver everywhere, no matter if it's a tight course. Because unless the hole doesn't permit me to hit driver, unless there's a water hazard, or it doesn't set up to my eye, or there's OB through the fairway and it's three 20 to get OB.

Why wouldn't I use that strength? And I think that's one thing that I've realized over the last couple of months of me being pro is not everyone has this ability to hit it far.

Trottie: So, don't leave it in the locker basically.

Wolff: Exactly. Yeah. So I've realized that now I've gotten more experienced I guess if you can say that in 11 tournaments, but I've just told myself, "You have this ability that very few people on the tour have, why wouldn't you use it?" And even if it's a tight course, if I drive it good, I'm going to be scoring.. I'm going to be up there by the lead and you're going to have bad driving weeks and that might be the weeks that you missed the cut. But-

Trottie: Yeah. You mentioned 11 tournaments. I look at you already and feel like I've known you for ages and I bet that the listeners feel that too, that they'd known your profile as a player for a long time. I mean, 11 tournament's is insane. You've set and fit right in. And I think that that's a compliment to how quickly you must learn things. But if we go to the 11 tournament's that you've done, and I remember being stirred somewhere in the East coast and there was a lot of noise around you.

I get it, you're a legit baller coming out of college and there's a lot of people watching. And then there was for you personally, there was changes with caddies, which I also get that you've got to figure out where you're at. And then you've got George trying to find his, where he fits to keep the Wolff machine going the right way as a golfer. And there's a lot of stuff going on. What was that experience like for you? Because if any of us can learn that we'll become better golfers quicker, you know what I mean? What are you doing? Is there anything that we can pick up as a listener to how you deal with all this change and find what works for you to make it happen?

Wolff: I think the most important thing is the ability to not have change. With everything that's going on with me moving down to Florida or me traveling so much, being on my own. I have people at the tournament, my agents and the caddies there and I have friends, Collin and the other guys on Team TaylorMade, like I said that I can go to for, for advice or help. But the most important thing to me I think is just not trying to change my game, not trying to change my swing, not trying to take away that tool of driver. There's so many things that got me here on the PGA tour and competing with the best guys in the world.

So why now, when I come or when I got to the PGA tour, why would I look for something more? Or is what got me here and what got me to be a winner on the PGA tour so soon is what I've been doing all along. And I think that's one thing that George, my coach, really emphasizes and something that we've worked on the entire time is just those few little lower rotation and little, little keys to my swing because it's something that has given me so many results. And I feel like I'm a pretty consistent golfer as well. Everyone's going to have some bad weeks, but I feel like for the most part, I'm not someone who's going to throw in a 78 there. Hopefully I didn't speak too soon or jinx it, but...

Trottie: I think change, yeah, interesting but then again, I look at you yesterday, hitting the new product, the SIM stuff and going around the different shots with the different milled grind wedges and whatnot and you looked like you were getting SIM straight out the gate. To you, it looked like it was falling. It looked like something everyone else was getting out there and yeah, there's a bit of bravado and they want to hit it a long way and then get speed on track man. But I was also watching your shape and having seen the way you want to play. I'm like, "This guy's repeating this, this should be a very easy transition for him as a player." What's your thoughts on what you've seen so far? I get it. It's a photo shoot. But what if you thought about SIM so far?

Wolff: Yeah, I love it. I really do think it's-

Trottie: It looks like its your wheelhouse.

Wolff: Yeah. It's so easy to work. Obviously it goes a long way. But the biggest thing is, I feel like I could hit pretty much anything a long way. So for me it's the ability to shape the ball, move it both ways, control my trajectory. If I need to hit something high, I can, if I need to hit something low in the wind, I can. And I think with the SIM you have all those tools because like you said with the aerodynamics of it and just the way they've built this driver, it gives you the ability to move it every single way and just manipulate your ball flight, which is so important for a professional golfer. Because you play in so many conditions, hot, cold, humid, dry, there's so many factors.

And I think with that driver, it just kind of takes them all and minimizes them. And as soon as I was hitting it on the range it took a few shots to kind of get the feel and just get used to the driver, the look, even though it's a very similar look, it's still... A new driver is a new driver. But as soon as I was hitting and got the feel for it, I shaped it both ways and hit it low, high. And it's same thing with a three wood and those wedges with the raw face on it, it takes a little bit to get used to. But once you get used to it, it's the best in the game.

Trottie: I wonder if people will talk about you as things go on. I have obviously leaned a little bit on distance and yardage, but what stood out again for me yesterday is the ability you've got on hitting different trajectories with wedges. I sort of half-thought, "Yeah, I'll talk to Matt about this," or we'll discuss that. And then obviously I watched you hit wedge shots yesterday, to different pins. This kid's got each trajectory. It's not like... You watch top players and yeah, of course it was tight to the flags in that. But if someone was saying, "Wolffy higher and softer," or, "Wolffy, left to right" or, "Wolffy, run one in there." You had it all.

Wolff: Yeah.

Trottie: That's something I think that's often overlooked by a lot of players, a lot of amateurs? Do you have to put a lot of time into that before coming on the tour? And on the tour, is there any areas you think, "2020 I need to get tighter at this?"

Wolff: Well I think that's one thing that most amateurs or people who watch the game, they don't really get because they see all these pros sticking it close. And it's important to do that obviously. But not every shot from the middle of the fairway is going to be easy. With all the contours of the greens, with how firm it is, with how soft it is. You need to be able to control your spin, control your trajectory. If it's a back pin, you need to be able to land it 20 feet short and let it roll. But then from the same distance, if it's a front pin, you should be able to hit a nipper and stop it. So I think that's one thing that most people don't realize that we put so much work in to be able to manipulate the ball flight and a high, low, soft, firm.

And I think along with that, I've done a lot of work with my wedges, from 60 to 100 yards because I feel like with my distance I have a lot more of those shots than most people do. But I've gotten a lot better at that. I just think the main thing that I need to get better at is chipping. And around the greens by no means am I... I don't have a bad short game. I wouldn't say that's a weakness of mine. But I look at all these guys out here that they're getting-

Trottie: Houdini. Up and down out of..

Wolff: It's ridiculous. They have buried lies and bunkers and shortsighted and they just can hit these shots and manipulate the-

Trottie: So how do we get better at that then? How do you sit there and go, "Geez, okay, I got two months before I'm going to hit the road promptly. I want to get better at chipping." What's the process?

Wolff: Once I find out, I'll let you know.

Trottie: Definitely text me.

Wolff: No, I'm just kidding. I think giving yourself different lies. Buried lies-

Trottie: Out of your comfort zone basically.

Wolff: Yeah, exactly. Different kinds of grass, into the grain, down grain. It seemed to work on bunker shots and they put it a little on the up slope in a perfect lay. It's like-

Trottie: Why?

Wolff: How often are you going to get those shots? If you're even in a bunker three or four times, I guarantee you're only going to get that one time around, if that. And I think like you said, "Out of your comfort zone". And one of the biggest things I like to work on is landing zones. So if a hole is 20 yards away and you're in the rough buried, and you know you're not going to get any spin on it, sometimes you put a little hula-hoop out there or a tee.

Trottie: Towel or whatever.

Wolff: Yeah. And you try to land it on that and you know it's going to run to that hole because if you can get your landing zone down and know exactly where you want to land the ball... And you have to get used to the firmness of the greens, this green at this tournament's not going to run out or this one's going to be really firm. Once you get that, if you tell yourself where you want to land it and get good at judging how much it's going to roll out, I mean that's pretty much all you need to work on because-

Trottie: You've got the rest. That's a great soundbite.

Wolff: Yeah.

Trottie: You talk about control of ball flight, control of land areas. One thing that I noticed that you didn't have control of, and I thought it awesome, although I had to take it on a replay, unfortunately. Eagle putt to win. Your double fist pump, you looked so in the moment.

Wolff: Yeah.

Trottie: Talk a bit about that and just, I mean the scenario and the level of player that you've just gotten one with that mic-drop at the end. I know there's more to the rounds to get there. Talk about some of the emotion and just capturing that moment.

Wolff: It was like I said, I'm still kind of speechless of it, every single day... I look at Tiger and he has 82 and I have one and I'm thrilled. But it is still crazy because being a PGA tour or being a PGA tour winner is always been a dream of mine. And I was thinking over that putt, "This is my chance." Obviously I put myself in a good position if I would a two-putted I would've gotten to a playoff.

But this is what the greats do.

Trottie: What went through your mind then? I mean, you just said that, "If I'm two-putting I'm in a playoff" but are you like, "I'm Jack, this is going in."

Wolff: Yeah and I wasn't making too many putts that day. I putted well over the course of the tournament, but I really wasn't making too many putts and, and I was telling myself, "You're a good putter." Ever since I switched to that Spider X putter, I've been loving that thing. And I was like, "This one has a good chance. It's going in. This is what the greats are made of. The greats would make this putt." Jack Niklaus... You show a highlight reel of how many clutch putts he made, or Tiger Woods.

It's like this is what they do. And I just told myself, "It's your time." And I just rolled it and I looked away about... I knew it was dead straight the last, two or three feet and about a foot and a half out. I was like, "That's in. I made it." And I turned and yelled and I still, I'm getting goosebumps right now, but I realized that with the flag stick in, if that would've hit and bounced out, I would've looked.. I would not have looked.

Trottie: I like the way that you turned and yelled, "It's good that you didn’t want to do a Kevin Na and run towards it. You're like, "I ain't doing it."

Wolff: Yeah. Well I mean I looked at the crowd and I was just like, I knew it was in, but now I look awesome because everyone's like, "You didn't even watch it go in. Oh my God, that's so sweet." But then imagine if it would have hit the flag stick went out they would have been like, "Gosh, what is this guy doing?" But I mean obviously it went in, so I look cool now.

Trottie: That's all that matters.

Wolff: Exactly.

Trottie: Did you think and imagine it would all come this early?

Wolff: I don't think so. I knew I had the ability to. Like I said in my first press conference at the Traveler's championship, I wouldn't be out here if I didn't think I could win. And if I, if I didn't think I had the ability to win out here, I wouldn't have turned pro. I would have stayed in college.

So maybe I don't think it could have happened this early. I think it might've taken a little longer, but at the same time I knew I had the game. I knew I had the ability, skillset, the mindset, the mental toughness that, the physical attributes that you need to be able to win out here. And it's a lot. Trust me, it's a lot. But I felt like I was prepared very well. And like I said, I don't know if I thought it was going to be this early, but I definitely knew I had the ability to, and that opened the gates for me. So now like I said, I've won on my third start, I've only played 11. And you can ask anyone on my team or my agency or any of my friends, I'm just looking for that next win.

Now I just missed the top 10 or something like that. And I'm like, "Dang." But I'm like, "When's that next win going to come?" And I'm working really hard towards it. But I don't think like I said, being one of the greats, they're never satisfied. You win one time and they're not going to be like, "Oh sweet, I'm good now."

Trottie: There's so many cool things that I don't feel that you understand that an AJGA kid or someone going through college can take from that. But one of the things that I know I would have done, so I want to ask it. You win. With winning comes great rewards. Is there anything you always said from when you're a kid, if ever I win on the PGA tour, I'm going to buy that.

And have you gone out and treated yourself to anything that was something you said a while back or is that not the way you work? I just want to win trophies, you know what I mean? Or is there anything that like, "Hey, I wanted that now I can get it."

Wolff: I think trophies are first and foremost. I love winning. That feeling of winning the confidence it gives you, the ability to call yourself a PGA tour winner. There's so many people, so many great players who have maybe never won a PGA tour event. People that you've heard of or even people that have only won one or two in their whole career. And to be able to say, "I'm a PGA tour winner," that's in itself a gift. And I believe that I can get what I've always wanted. And I just bought a house. That’s pretty good. I mean, I always wanted to be a homeowner but I just think that there's nothing that I really wanted that bad.

Trottie: More the process and the journey.

Wolff: Exactly.

Trottie: Maybe that's where I went wrong. I wanted to garage full of Ferraris. Maybe that's the wrong thing to go for. That's why I end up on these podcasts, not in your seat. I mean these podcasts are cool. I'm just not in your seat. So you play the role. I saw the Golf Digest the other day. Great cover shots. Very funny.

Wolff: Thank you.

Trottie: Interesting to watch, funny, different, fresh everything I certainly want to see you in golf. You play the role great. How do you want to change golf? Because I think you've got the ability to. I think even though you don't sound like sometimes you even know it, having sat here with so many different tour players of all different ages from you know the greats of like Weiskopf, Langer. When I came out, I worked with those guys. Obviously they were older guys, but I worked with them and now I see you at the start of all this and I think you can redefine what we all watch and view and listen to. How do you want it to look?

Wolff: I just think-

Trottie: Baggy trousers and pleats?

Wolff: Absolutely not. That was Tiger. And that was the mistake that he ever brought it here.

Trottie: That was cool back then apparently.

Wolff: It was. Yeah, I was actually talking to him earlier and I was like, "Yeah, you're going to bring back the turtle neck and the baggy clothing and the-"

Trottie: The grass collection facilities.

Wolff: And I was like, "Why would he..." He wore an XL when he was like 160 pounds.

Trottie: Yeah, he's a skinny guy.

Wolff: And I was like, "What? Why are you wearing an XL?" He goes, "It was cool." I just thought that was funny. But I think golf now, and it's not an insult to the game at all, but I think it's becoming very, country club. I've heard it so many times, it's a rich man's sport and it's very normal and orthodox and everyone's swing, everyone's trying to get in certain positions. And I just feel like I'm trying to change it in that way of trying to have more fun with it. And I'm not saying that golf isn't fun at all because it's a great game and it's what I do, I love golf so much and I'm really happy that I have it. But I feel like everyone they get in tournaments... Or the act so serious and yeah, golf is everything to them and it's a lot to me, but I just feel like people try to fit in the norm of being a member at a country club, being very spiffy.

And I just feel like you should be able to come out here and just goof off. Maybe not every time, but play music and have fun and not have the normal swing and obviously if that's how you swing, don't try to change it to be un-normal or unorthodox.

Trottie: Just be you.

Wolff: Yeah. Just be you. And I feel like so many people are afraid to be them on the golf course because they think that other people are going to judge them and people will judge you. But I've had people judge me for as long as I've been playing golf now for over 10 years or so. I'm pretty young, so not that long. But I've had people judge me for a while and I don't let their comments or anything they say affect me. I'm just going to keep on doing what I do and when I love.

Trottie: I think it's great. I think it's great to hear. I think you're so focused on the process. I think that's a lot of the success. One the things I'm worried about is where are we going to take the Matt Wolff Team TaylorMade podcast from here? We opened up with a bit of a sing-song. Where's the next one going to go? I mean I need to get thinking, right?

Wolff: Maybe a cool view in the back.

Trottie: I mean if it wasn't steamed up, this would be pretty cool. Speed injected questions. They've managed to make it into season two.

Wolff: Yeah.

Trottie: I know it was the highlight for you in season one, so we're going through this again. Torrey Pines or Bethpage?

Wolff: Torrey Pines.

Trottie: Would you rather lead the tour and strokes gained off the tee or strokes gained putting?

Wolff: Putting.

Trottie: If you could play one course for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Wolff: That's a good question. Only one?

Trottie: Yeah.

Wolff: I'd go Sage Valley.

Trottie: And I'm going to throw this in. Where is somewhere that you haven't played yet that you're desperate to play?

Wolff: Augusta.

Trottie: LeBron or Kawhi?

Wolff: LeBron.

Trottie: Window or aisle seat?

Wolff: Aisle.

Trottie: Number of career hole-in-ones before PGA tour as well obviously?

Wolff: Five. I've never had one in a tournament, so.

Trottie: I know that's why I threw it in, I was like I don’t want you saying zero, you'll sound like a hack. What would you shoot lefty?

Wolff: I'm actually not bad lefty. I don't know what I'd shoot-

Trottie: I saw you hit on the other day.

Wolff: Yeah, probably like low 100s. Yeah, I could get it around though. I could.

Trottie: Okay, good. I'm not playing you lefty either. Favorite TV or Netflix show right now?

Wolff: I mean "The Office" is always... I watched that literally every night.

Trottie: Mallet or a blade guy?

Wolff: Mallet.

Trottie: Beach or the mountains?

Wolff: Mountains.

Trottie: And for you, this is your whole days of playing because it said, like you say, I can't believe it, but we're still in the early days of your career. The one shot in your career that you wish you'd had a Mulligan on?

Wolff: Trying to think. It shouldn't be very hard. I don't know how many rounds I've played, but-

Trottie: And it can be amateur stuff, college stuff.

Wolff: Probably U.S. Junior. I was in the left rough on 15. It was a 36 hole final, and I was three or four up with three or four to play. I was playing Noah Goodwin. And I think the pin was in the front and or maybe pin was in the back and I hit I don't I know, it was 150 and I hit gap wedge and I went over the green, lost that hole and then that-

Trottie: Threw the momentum.

Wolff: Yeah, threw my momentum. And I think that if I would have tied or won that hole I would've won the U.S. Junior. Which it's-

Trottie: It's something you wanted to do basically.

Wolff: Yeah. I mean PGA Tour was always my main goal, so U.S. Junior didn't, you know.. Yeah, we can live without it, but I mean there's very few U.S. Junior champions and USGA champions really. And so to be in that company would be pretty special. But I guess it worked out.

Trottie: I guess it worked out too. I think it's cool. I mean we sit and we talk and we ask, and there's one thing that already stuck with me from this photo shoot from yesterday. Neither of us were mic’d up at the time unless they find it in the editing, but I doubt it. And I was walking back hole nine with you and I said to you, "Did you ever see this happening?" And I asked the question that's in here ahead of it and you answered it so well on the podcast.

And even there, the answer was very simple, just raw. I think in your mind you've come and done all this stuff, but you're so humble with it. It's so great to see. You're not changing at all. You're just being you and I credit you for that and appreciate you coming on the podcast.

Wolff: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Trottie: Thanks for coming as always. So guys, if you want to follow Matthew_Wolff5 is where he's out on Instagram. What's the five for?

Wolff: That's probably my favorite number growing up. I've just always kind of had the five.

Trottie: There’s not 4 other Matt Wolffs? There couldn't be, could there?

Wolff: I mean, maybe there is, maybe, I don't know.

Trottie: So, get after him on Instagram. He's active on there, myself @trottiegolf and then the main handle for the company @TaylorMadeGolf. This podcast, you can also find on the website, follow the website forward slash podcast. Thanks for listening. Wolffy, thanks for joining. Good to see you, and I wish you all the best for the following season.

Wolff: Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Trottie: Cheers mate.