Spokane’s Alex Prugh took a much-needed break last week – he’s got a not-so-distant-future wedding to help plan – after playing every tournament on the PGA Tour’s “West Coast Swing” where he had three consecutive top-10 finishes (and was 5-for-5 in cuts made).
Money won’t be an issue. He’s earned nearly $600,000, easily inside the top 20 on the 2010 earnings list.
After this week’s Waste Management Open, the season’s first rookie “reshuffle” will take place. As of now, he’ll be No. 1 on that list, and will be in line to play whatever PGA Tour tournament he wants.
How did this happen?
I got some insight from Matt Thurmond, his former coach at the University of Washington.
“He’s always assumed this is where he’s supposed to be,” Thurmond said.
The times I’ve covered Prugh in college – and at the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania – here is the scouting report I’d put together:
• Fluid, aggressive swing with the ability to hit is as far as anybody (I once saw him drive it to the apron on an uphill par-4 at McCormick Woods that was well over 370 yards … of course, he was a little peeved after a rough stretch, too). … Streaky putter. … Makes birdies AND makes bogeys. … Streaky mental game, too (with a little bit of a high-voltage fuse).
In other words, a slimmer version of J.B. Holmes.
Something happened in between the time he was in college (2004-07) and when he won last year in New Zealand on the Nationwide Tour.
“He got better with his wedges,” Thurmond said.
“When he started college, he was a hothead and had a real temper. He just realized it was hurting his game, and he went the other direction,” the coach added.
“He has an explosive game, and his putting has gotten better. That belly putter has been good,” Thurmond continued.
“And he’s smart. He plays percentages,” Thurmond said.
“The biggest thing is he’s comfortable out there. You can’t overstate that.”
Goes to show you don’t have to be a big winner in college (Prugh won one tournament) to know how to be a good professional.