Feb. 13, 2014
After playing a five tournament fall schedule, Chris Whitten's Wolverines have spent the last three-and-a-half months prepping for the upcoming spring season schedule. Concentrating on conditioning, technique, swing work and overall short game play, the Wolverines had a very busy winter break; one Whitten hopes will pay off when postseason play begins in early May. After a winter training trip to Florida, the Wolverines are ready to open its five-tournament schedule with the Big Ten Match Play Championship in Bradenton, Fla. Exploring that topic in-depth, Whitten took a few minutes from practice to talk with MGoBlue.com for a spotlight segment.
On the winter break ... "I really don't think there is much of a break for anybody, actually. We've got a group of guys, after the fall season they were really motivated to get better and you can look at the winter time a lot of different ways, but I look at it almost as an advantage for us because it gives us time to focus on improving our skills and doing that away from the course, where we're always focused on scoring. I'm really excited to see how we come out in the spring with a couple guys who have made some significant improvements."
On his emphasis with the team in the off-season ... "It depends on the guy. For some guys, strength and conditioning was a huge thing for them, and even mobility for some guys. For other guys it was the chance to really look at their golf swing for the first time, clean things up and see what they do well. For other guys it was short game, so that's something we look at individually and I think they've done a good job executing what their own plan was."
On what the team hopes to accomplish in the spring season ... "We have to keep putting building blocks on top of each other, so every round is important. We just need to see consistent progress all the way through. We're going to have plenty of chances to see really good competition so I'm really excited to see how the guys perform. As long as we start developing momentum and continually get better, I think we're doing what we need to do."
On whether or not he likes match play as a way to start the season ... "I think when we started this event, coaches thought it would be a nice way to ease into the spring but the reality is, when we get here every single team wants to win and in match play format, when you're on the very first green, you're going to have a put to win, tie or lose the hole. There's really pressure on every single shot and it's really, really fun and I would say it's probably one of the most fun tournaments that our guys have every year, from what they say. We're excited to play and we'll just take it match-by-match, shot-by-shot."
On how he spent his break ... "Our two boys at home are two and almost four, so we're having fun with them this winter, and I've been busy but it's been fun with them."
Previous Spotlight: Reed Hrynewich