Cassidy Refocused on Junior Year
Known as "Big Smooth" to his team, junior Ryan Cassidy showed just how smooth he is this past weekend during team qualifying at the IU Golf Course.
By far the highlight of the weekend, Cassidy, who only played in one tournament last year, recorded rounds of 69 and 68 on the par-72 IU layout. The Arlington Heights,Ill., native led the team is qualifying and was selected by Mayer as the Hoosiers that will play as an individual this weekend at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational.
"Ryan can flat out play golf," Mayer said. "He has one of the best golf swings I have ever seen. I couldn't be happier for Ryan because this kid works hard and never complains. We're thrilled to have him back in the lineup."
As for Cassidy, he has learned over the years that bad shots don't exactly lead to bad rounds. Not only has he changed his approach to the game, but he has matured as a player as well.
"My approach to the game this year has changed drastically," said Cassidy. "I am still just every bit committed to playing well as I have been in the past, but if there's one thing I've learned going through what I have these past two years, is that you just have to lighten up a little. Bad shots are just that; they're not life and death anymore. It is still necessary to give 100 percent on every shot, but its impossible to "try harder" which is what I was doing. I put so much effort into hitting a good shot that when I produced a bad one (which seemed to happen more often than not), I couldn't handle it. Also I realized I needed to change when I played a couple of tournaments back home this summer and my playing partners had some pretty bad tempers. I kind of thought to myself "Man, I hope I don't look like that on the course."
Cassidy also noted that although his qualifying scores were the team's best, he realizes that he still far from where he and his game needs to be.
"My game does appear to be coming around, but I know its still not there," he said. "Even though I shot some good scores this weekend, I felt like I left a lot of opportunities out on the course. I don't know if I can look back on the way I've hit the ball the past two years and say, 'I'm glad to be out of that phase,' but I know that if I keep working hard and keep a good head on my shoulders I'm going to develop to my fullest ability. That's all I can ask for."
Last year, Cassidy played in one tournament-the Big Red Shootout, which was organized primarily for Hoosiers who had lacked playing experience. He finished 10th in a 12-man field in the event, carding an 84 and a 78. Even though he was limited in play, Cassidy explains that he actually took quite a bit from that tournament.
"The Big Red Shootout tournament I played in last year actually helped me out a lot. I was still struggling a lot just getting the ball in play," he said. "It just taught me that no matter what you are doing, or how bad you're hitting it, you just need to find a way to get the ball in the hole. Shooting 78 and telling the coach you still hit it good, or shooting 82 and blaming it on your putting, won't help the team at all. Sometimes you just have off days, but you still need to shoot a good score."
Cassidy and the Hoosiers compete this weekend at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational in Yorktown, Ind., just outside of Muncie.
"All I want to do this year is to see how good I can be," Cassidy said. "I'm the type of person whose mind runs a mile a minute, so if I set goals, when I get in the situation to fulfill one, I think it might create a lot of unneeded pressure. I've always just tried to work hard and perform my best. I guess if I had to set a goal for me at IU, it would be to leave here knowing that I didn't leave anything behind. I don't want to be one of those guys who, five years down the road, looks back and says, 'I wonder what I could've been if I had only tried harder.' I think that is why I enjoy practicing so much, it is just part of the process to seeing how good I can be."
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