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Winner at the Safeway: 5 Questions With PGA Pro Brendan Steele

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RE-EDIT: Steele wins again at the Safeway!!! That's two in a row...

 

 

EDIT: This is an update from a post from March of 2015 - an interview with Wilson Staff Tour Pro Brendan Steele. I got to meet Brendan at a Wilson Photo Shoot in December of 2014 - he had just joined Wilson from Titleist and enjoyed very solid, but winless, 2015 and 2016 seasons.  

 

In last year's Safeway, Brendan held the 54-hole lead heading into the final day but a final round 76 denied him his 2nd Tour victory.  Brendan took a different path this weekend, charing from behind with a  final round 65, finishing birdie-birdie-birdie.

 

 

Steele's WITB for the Safeway:

 

 

TaylorMade M2 driver, and FW woods (15 & 21*)

 

Wilson Staff FG Tour 100 blades (4-pw)

 

wilson FG 100.jpg

 

Wilson Staff FG Tour PMP Wedge (50* bent to 52*)

 

Vokey SM5 wedges (58 & 60*)

 

Scotty Cameron Futura X Tour Proto Putter

 

 

 

Here's our Q&A with Brendan - I found him to be, like other Wilson Staffers, a really good guy.  Enjoy....

 

PGA Pro Brendan Steele heads into today's suspended final round of The Honda Classic tied for 4th with Phil Mickelson, just three strokes off the lead.  Brendan is enjoying a solid season 2015 season, making 8 out of 8 cuts, with 1 top 5 finish and 3 top 25's.  He's currently 25th in Fedex Cup points (that should change after today) and is ranked 105th in the world.

 

Brendan's lone tour win came in his rookie season of 2011, holing a clutch 5-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the Valero Texas Open to edge out Charlie Hoffman and Kevin Chappell. Brendan joined Wilson Staff this past off-season, and I had a chance to talk with him a few months ago during a Wilson Staff photo-shoot.  Here's what he had to say…

 

 

MGS 5Q's: You have kind of a unique swing. If you were to say your swing is modeled after anyone's, who would it be?

 

Brendan Steele: (Laughs) Good question! I don't know that it's really modeled after anybody, and it's probably just an insult to everybody if I tell them that I copied them!

 

You know, I have a very unique swing. I do a lot of things that are unconventional and that you wouldn't really teach. I have a very strong grip, I kinda get the club behind me and with a lot of club rotation. I guess it's my swing, my way – the way I've always done it and I've just tried to build on it throughout the years.  So I've always kinda done it the same way, but I've picked things up as I went along. 

 

steele collage copy.jpg

 

It may not be the prettiest thing, but it's somewhat effective. I'd like to be more on plane and shorter and more under control, but it's all part of my timing mechanism.  With the strong grip I've got to get the club in a certain place and it's got to be a little bit longer to find the “slot” of your backswing, if you will. And then that gets me in a position where I can get it on plane as I get back into the ball.  So everything's a kind of a cause and affect, and it all starts with my setup and my grip. 

 

MGS 5Q's: What are your goals for the season, and what are your favorite early season tournaments?

 

Steele: Definitely to make the Tour Championship.  That really sets you up for the following season. If I could pick up a win before Augusta that would be great, because you always want to play Augusta. But those are definitely the two things that I'm after.

 

Your favorite tournaments are the ones where you always play well in. I usually play well at Phoenix – I've had three good results there the last three years, I think a 4th, 5th and 6th the last three years, so that's one that I always look forward to (Brendan tied for 26th this year).  Torrey Pines, I grew up playing Junior World there and different things, so that's one of my favorites (tied for 45th). Humana is a home tournament for me – I grew up in the mountains right there, I get a lot of support out there so I like to play well there (and he did, finishing tied for 2nd). And Riviera is also one that I've had a little bit of success at and I really love the track (tied for 14th).

 

MGS 5Q's: What made you come to Wilson after your contract with Titleist ended? What specifically about the equipment made you go to Wilson?

 

Steele: You know, when my contract was up this last year I really wanted to base my bag around the best clubs that I could possibly find. I did extensive testing and Wilson came out ahead and it was a really easy decision for me.

 

The irons are the best irons that I've ever played, the weighting on them, the way that they go through the turf, how straight they fly and how far they fly was superior to anything that I'd ever tried before.

 

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I'm bagging the FG Tour 100's, and with a blade you wouldn't think that there was that much more that you could do. I mean, everybody makes a pretty good blade, right? Well there's a big difference. There's a big difference in the weighting, and how the ball comes off and how straight they go.  Most people don't want to play blades because they don't think they can hit them straight. Well these are the straightest blades I've ever hit, by far.  You have to work to make them move, which is great.  When I want it to hook, I can make it hook. But if I don't want it to hook, it doesn't really hook. 

 

You can make it do what you want and you've really go a forgiving blade that will also go a long way, so it's kinda the best of all worlds.

 

MGS 5Q's: Forgiving blade sounds like an oxymoron.  How can a blade be forgiving?

 

I think it just has to do with the weighting that they put in the head, and where the center of gravity is.  The distribution of the weighting is the only explanation that I have for it. I'm not smart enough to figure that stuff out, but the way it goes through the turf and the way it launches off, it's just a totally different kind of feel and different flight.

 

 

MGS 5Q's: Have you ever been in “the zone” when you're playing? What does it feel like? Can you feel it coming? What's that experience like?

 

Steele: Well I know I was in the zone watching Kevin (Streelman) finish at Traveler's last year.  I posted, I think, 13 under and was thinking ‘maybe this has a chance if some guys make some mistakes coming in.' And then Kevin went and birdied seven holes in a row, so I'd say that qualifies as being “in the zone.”  

 

There are times when you feel like the only thing you can do is focus on the shot that you have. You're not thinking anything negative, you're not concerned with anything else that's going on. You can just feel everything that's happening around the shot.

 

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And there are other times – most of the time – when you hear everything, you see everything.  You see all the trouble you can get into, you're concerned with things that have no bearing on what is actually going on, whether it's mechanics or the fact that you just made a bogie or whatever.  That is the complete opposite of being in the zone.

 

It's just this feeling where it's total commitment and inclusion in the shot. And a quiet mind.  The game seems very simple when you're in the zone, and it doesn't come around very often. But when it does it's a lot of fun and you always want it to come back and come back more often. But there's no way to know when it's going to come, or why, but if you knew that, then you'd be in pretty good shape! 

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Good stuff!  I like hearing from the players.  Keep it up!!

 

This weekend at the Honda I saw Paddy and Brendan both up at the top of the leaderboard and thought Wow! Wilson is a force.  Sorry to see Brendan slip a little, but good job Paddy.  

 

Are Brendan and Paddy good buds?  I assume they interact together when new stuff comes out.  Just wondering if a friendship (or rivalry) breaks out when you play the same equipment.

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Glad you're liking it Kenny.  Don't know if the Staffers are good buddies - Padraig wasn't at the photo shoot I was at in December, and Brendan, Streelman and Ricky Barnes all had very different schedules that day and were on different parts of the golf course at different times.  They all seemed like really good guys, though.  Brendan was a lot of fun to talk to.  The first thing he said to me was "you're not going to ask me if I was a tree, what kind of tree would I be, are you?"  I said "darn, you took my first question!"

 

He's having a pretty solid year so far - another top 10 finish this week.  He's got game - hope he breaks through for a win this season.

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This is great John! Like Kenny said, it's really cool that you got to talk to these guys - kudos to Wilson Staff and the pros for giving you the time!

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I'm really liking these interviews as well. Changes my perception on who I root for and why a little bit when you know more about the player  :D

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Totally agreed, great stuff an unexpected feature that gives us some real insight.

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BUMP!!!

 

Nice win by Brendan Steele in the Safeway.  We ran this 5 Questions piece early last year when Brendan was in contention at the Honda (He faded, but Wilson Staffer Padraig Harrington won in a playoff).  

 

Click here to read the full piece.

 

What did you think of the finish?  

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Great win!!  It was a great finish by Brendan; birdie, birdie, birdie.  Doesn't get much better than that, and he redeemed himself.  He had help.  Kizzire couldn't hit a fairway all day.

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After watching Steele win yet another Safeway, decided to bring this thread back -- got to meet him at the Wilson photo shoot in December of 2014. Very nice guy with, as he says, a unique looking swing. Give it a read...

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