April 9, 2014
As U-M's most experienced player and the only upperclassman on the team's roster, junior Noori Hyun has been through the ups and downs of a long season of golf in the Big Ten before. Now preparing for his third career Big Ten Championships, his veteran presence is more valuable than ever on the young Michigan roster. He has been one of Michigan's most critical pieces this season, and head coach Chris Whitten often praises Noori for his consistency. Discussing the offseason changes that have led to his steady play, the benefits of the recent warm weather in Michigan and the rigors of the Big Ten Championships, Hyun took a moment to sit down with MGoBlue.com for this week's edition of In the Spotlight.
On finding his consistency this spring season ... "My weakness has been my short game these three years (at U-M), so this winter I spent pretty much 80-90 percent of my time on putting and chipping, the simple stuff. Doing that over and over again, I had enough confidence to execute those shots regardless of the situation and pressure. Especially in this last tournament, my shot wasn't really good and my ball-striking had me in trouble. I had some bad shots out there that really put me in trouble, but with the improved short game I was able to play smart. I had one birdie the whole tournament, but just lots of pars out there got me in the feel. I was never off with doubles or triples (bogeys), so by eliminating those big scores I was able to keep myself in a situation where, if I play well on the one day, I can step up and get closer to the top 25."
On the advantages and disadvantages of having a two-week break before the start of the Big Ten Championships ... "As the oldest guy on the team, this is going to be my third Big Ten Championships. Having all the academic things going on -- we have final exams just before the Big Ten Championships -- and traveling three weekends in a row, sometimes five days in a row, those kinds of things sometimes wear people down. I had the same problems as a freshman; I was struggling with time management. I still have a hard time doing well in both things, but I just know that it's going to be tough and just learning to accept those things really put me in a different mindset. I'm sure the younger guys will be able to figure it out and it looks like they're adjusting as quickly as me, if not more quickly."
On whether or not there is a big difference between regular season play and Big Ten Championship competition ... "No, not really. We are just basically doing the things we need to do every day; it's not as if there is one different thing. All the preseason and tournaments we played in, we think of that as preparation for the Big Ten Championships. There is going to be some more pressure in a way, but we're going to have more focus and motivation to go play. We might be tired from everything this season, but we're going to start off fresh in these last two events."
On how the emergence of warm weather has changed the team's practice approach ... "With the warm weather, we finally got to play on our course today (April 9). Just hitting balls outside and being at the practice green makes our practice go a little different. We were doing our drills and routines inside (before), but now we have the whole course to work with. Now we can actually practice the shots we're going to play out there. Also, practicing how to score better instead of working on mechanics; it's really timely for us to excel in our games and shoot better scores out there and then make the transition from practice to the tournaments."
Previous Spotlight: Reed Hyrnewich