The struggling pro explains the mentality that helped him shoot the 62

Harry Higgs and Mayakoba.

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When you think of Harry Higgs, what do you see?

Just nine months ago Higgs was at the center of one of the most iconic scenes of the 2022 PGA Tour. Playing in the 16th-ranked hubbub at TPC Scottsdale, Higgs poured Birdie Putt and then, dressed up by the cheering crowd, pinning his shirt over his head. . He was quickly followed by playing partner Joel Dahmin, possibly creating the first topless duo in PGA Tour history. Higgs ran across the green and took two steps to a jumping fist pump, Michael Jordan style. Nobody ever has I’ve seen anything like that. The powerful crowd, numbering in the tens of thousands, roared in approval. The People’s Open Championship has found its own people’s golfer.

The months that followed were decidedly more isolated.

Higgs is well aware of his image (he admitted on Friday that “I’m very self-conscious”); The 30-year-old has amassed a group of followers as a cheerful guy who uses as few buttons as possible and keeps a glass of Tito on hand. His deeply provocative words serve as a metaphor: life – and golf – are meant to be enjoyed. Let her breathe.

But Higgs is also well aware of the realities of the PGA Tour. Golf facts. If you’re out and about – even just a little bit – there are dozens of pros waiting to get past you.

Higgs said he “had an explosion” on Friday in tech world championship. Logical; He scored the best result of the day, a nine under 62 which included seven birds, an eagle and plenty of Higgs’ signature smiles. He finished the tour with bold effort From the bunker of the bunker at No. 9—”probably a bunker shot I shouldn’t have tried, big big slide,” he said—slither to a stopping point just two feet from the hole. Every round is better with a kick bird at the end.

But 2022 was not easy for Higgs. He has only two places better than the T36: T11 in the Barracuda Offcourt and T14 in the Masters. He finished the PGA Tour season missing four of his last six cuts to finish 130th in the FedEx Cup and lose his completely exempt status. He went to the Korn Ferry Finals but missed three cuts there as well. And in three starts on the PGA Tour season, he lost three cuts as well.

All this means is that Higgs entered the sponsor’s exemption this week in Mayakoba with a lot on his mind and extra pressure on his plate. He opened with a walker of 1-under 70. Then came 62 who vaulted him well inside the top 10. who – which also?

“I mean, everywhere,” Higgs said as he opened up to reporters afterward. “Like, I’ve had a lot of bad days and some bad days in a row, and then I’ve had too–not as much as I’d like–but I had some days that were great where I had complete control, I was making good decisions, I was kind of, as we all say, get out of my way “.

Those days of merchandise, said Higgs, were few and far between; Maybe two or three rounds a month. this is not enough. He is fully aware. He has been pressing to find more.

“For the last five, four, five or six months probably, I show up, I prepare the same way, maybe I work a lot harder at home and here,” he said. “Very few times, actually, sorry, almost All The time I go to the first tee for a competitive tour and I don’t really know what’s going to happen, and it’s not really a fun place.”

This is one of the toughest battles a struggling professional faces: the vicious circle. The descending spiral. Higgs described where his stance could improve: “I have to be careful when I hit a bad shot or make a bad decision not to respond as badly as I was because that moves me straight,” he said. “Honestly, I acted really badly for a long time on shots that weren’t really that bad, like, I don’t have a chance to gain that certainty and gain that confidence, right?”

In other words, when things start badly they tend to get worse. But on Friday Higgs channeled the inverse, something he used to be very proud of: the rising spiral.

“I allowed myself, as I would say, to spiral up to constantly begin to feel more comfortable with making good decisions, such as thinking through shots and where to miss, picking a good club, good fantasizing before I hit it, but then also trusting Just “.

The Higgs golf swing doesn’t feel perfect. He knows it probably won’t happen. “But it obviously doesn’t really matter,” he admitted. “If I can keep going up tomorrow and feel more comfortable and more and more certain in what I’m doing, I’d love my chances, right?”

surely. On any given day a pro shoots a 62, it’s hard to make holes in his game. Higgs admitted it’s going to get tougher from here. There is a lot of pressure on him to stay in competition for two more rounds. “I have a lot to play for,” he said, acknowledging his limited situation. But he also realized that Friday’s run was worth celebrating. Achieving that first cut since early August was no small victory.

Higgs’ brother, Alex, is his caddy, which means he saw Higgs as the cheeriest and most desperate. He loved what he saw on Friday.

“He said he saw something different in me today. He said it kind of opened it up, right? So I’m going to go sit down and have lunch and I’ll hear what he has to say about it,” Higgs said. “Yeah – coach, girlfriend, everyone is so helpful in dealing with this. Mom, dad, we all have teams. I hate for everyone to say ‘team,’ but it’s definitely a team effort. So there’s going to be some phone calls and conversations about how we can continue to do that.”

In other words, the Higgs are prepared for an afternoon.

‘I’ll have lunch,’ he said, ‘and then I’ll probably go to the beach for a bit – that would make it more fun.’

Then he will try to do it again.

Dylan Diether

Dylan Diether

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Diether is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine / GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Massachusetts native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years of squabbling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, majoring in English, and is the author 18 in Americadetailing the year he spent as an 18-year-old living out of his car and playing a round of golf in every state.