Greyson Sigg has arrived at the place he always believed he was destined to be – making his PGA Tour debut as a card-carrying tour member. He’s comfortable he belongs at this week’s season-opening Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.
The former University of Georgia All-American and Augusta native is not shy about what he hopes to achieve at golf’s highest level.
“My goal, as it was on the Korn Ferry Tour, is to win,” said Sigg, who won twice and finished second in the super-season points list on the top developmental tour to earn his promotion for 2021-22. “I want to put myself in position to win and see what happens. The more and more I feel comfortable out there doing that the more and more I feel I can get it done. The quicker and sooner I can get in that position and the faster I can learn, the better off I’ll be.”
Sigg has always been a guy who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to put a little pressure on himself to achieve it. That comes in handy on a golf course.
Of course, every sport defines its greats by how they perform under pressure. A two-minute drill in football. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer or free-throw attempt in basketball. Two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth in baseball. Overtime playoff hockey.
Golf has the pressure baked into every element of the game from the first tee to the last putt – and you don’t need a clock or a defender to feel it. Whether it’s a narrow fairway or a hazard guarding a green or just a 4-footer with the outcome on the line, golfers get asked to handle a lot of pressure moments and have the unwelcome luxury of having to think about it instead of just reacting on impulse and training to a circumstance like athletes in other sports get to do.
Golfers who pursue the game at the elite professional level have to cope with this pressure every step of the way – to qualify, make cuts, make checks or win.
How might a rookie like Sigg handle the pressure that comes with trying to establish yourself on the world’s best tour? Consider this – when he was being recruited by Georgia, he met a young girl his age who just happened to be Bulldogs coach Chris Haack’s daughter, Katie. Sigg started dating her as soon as he showed up in Athens and they’ve been together for nine years (since graduating they both currently reside in St. Simons Island, Georgia, where Katie works in merchandising at the Sea Island Company while Greyson has a plethora of former Bulldogs and PGA Tour players to play with).
How did Haack feel about that?
“I figured that as long as he was shooting in the 60s, I was OK with it,” the Georgia coach said with a laugh. “I figured if he was willing to jump out there and put that extra pressure on himself, that meant he was pretty confident in his game.”
Said Sigg: “(Coach Haack) told me when I got there and we started dating, ‘You better shoot a lot of 68s.’ So that kind of kept me motivated to shoot some low scores.”
“I feel like I’ve made a bunch of cuts and it comes down to a few shots or putts on the weekend that gets you into that top 10. I feel like I’m right there every week and have a good chance to have a good finish.” – Greyson Sigg
Since graduating from Georgia in 2017, Sigg has steadily worked his way up the developmental ladder with a relative minimum amount of sweat. He spent three seasons playing 12 events per year on Canada’s Mackenzie Tour, finishing top-10 about a third of the time and never missing more than two cuts a year. He became only the second player in the Canadian tour’s history to break 60, shooting 59 in the final round of the 2019 GolfBC Championship to finish third. His final top-10 standing that season earned him status on the Korn Ferry Tour for what turned into the 2020-21 “super season.”
“That’s kind of how my career has gone so far – it’s very stress-free,” Sigg said. “I feel like I’ve made a bunch of cuts and it comes down to a few shots or putts on the weekend that gets you into that top 10. I feel like I’m right there every week and have a good chance to have a good finish.”
The step up to the Korn Ferry Tour proved no obstacle for Sigg. He was among the top 25 in the truncated 2020 season and finished second in last year’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship – which would have earned him his PGA Tour card had it not been for the pandemic. But he kept on rolling in 2021, finishing the regular season sixth in points and after the KFT Finals second only to Stephen Jaeger.
More importantly, he learned how to win – rallying to beat Jaeger in the Visit Knoxville Open in May and then rallying again with a dramatic flip on the last hole to claim the KFT Finals opener in August at the Albertsons Boise Open.
“I want to say I would have gotten my card at the end of last season for sure, so I would have liked to have this be my second year on tour but I’m looking forward to my first one out,” Sigg said of the added wait to embark on this next phase.
“Everything kind of happens for a reason. That was one of the goals that I didn’t check off from the first season out there – I wanted to win but winning is pretty hard to do. I was able to get my first one at the Visit Knoxville Open and from then on I felt … let’s say the second win was a lot easier than the first one. I definitely learned a few things from that first win.
“It’s been a long road but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s a pretty hard thing to do. You’ve got to be extremely patient. I’ve always felt my game was good enough to be on the PGA Tour and I played with a bunch of tour players when I wasn’t on tour and felt like I was good enough to do it. It was definitely frustrating at times that I was not out there with those guys. But my main goal coming out was just to get better every year and I think I’ve done that. As long as I can keep doing that, I’ll have a really long career out there on the PGA Tour I believe.”
Sigg has already gained a level of comfort on the big tour. He made seven PGA Tour starts in 2021 and made the cut in his last five, including the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He tied for ninth in the Dominican Republic event in March and finished 15th in the Barracuda Championship modified Stableford event.
“Being so highly ranked after the first half of the super season on the Korn Ferry Tour, I wanted to get into as many tour events as possible just to make myself feel comfortable as possible when I get there and it’s not super foreign,” he said. “I’d say I’m fairly comfortable with it.”
His former Georgia mates on the PGA Tour believe he’s ready.
“Greyson’s a stud. He stripes it, absolutely stripes it,” former teammate Sepp Straka told PGATour.com.
Nicknamed “Pigeon” by former Bulldog teammate Lee McCoy – who thought Greyson looked like a cartoon pigeon that he found and stuck him with the moniker – Sigg possesses a natural game envied by his peers, some of whom witnessed him shoot 58 in a casual round in 2019.
“He hits a 5-yard draw with every single club throughout the bag, and he hits it dead straight and doesn’t try to do it. His natural game is perfect,” Keith Mitchell told PGATour.com about his old collegiate teammate. “Not everybody wakes up and just hits it perfect like Greyson. A lot of people have to actually try to do that, but he just wakes up out of bed and hits a five-yard draw.”
Haack knows Sigg has the game, but more importantly he says “he doesn’t get too caught up in the ego of golf.”
“He’s one of the better ball strikers on a consistent basis,” Haack said. “He drives it really well and gives himself a lot of opportunities. With him, if his putter heats up a little bit, he can really go low.”
His high standing from the Korn Ferry Tour presents him with an opportunity to get off to a good start by getting into a bunch of the early-season fall events starting with this week’s at the Silverado Resort and Spa North in Napa. He expects to get into the next two events as well in Jackson, Mississippi, and Las Vegas as well as a few more in November.
“There’s a chance I could even get into the Zozo Championship, which is a pretty big no-cut event,” Sigg said of the late October tournament that moves back to Japan. “I don’t think a lot of guys are going to go all the way over to Japan for one tournament.
“If I can get six or seven of these first events it’ll be pretty good.”
Sigg has the added comfort of having so many former Georgia golfers he calls friends on tour already to help make the transition smoother.
“It can be lonely out there when you’re on the road five or six weeks at a time, so having those guys out there will be huge and they’ll be able to help me a lot. They’ve already been there to answer those questions for me,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be a fairly easy transition. I’m not going to treat (his debut this week) like anything but another golf tournament, which it is. In the grand scheme of things, it is bigger. But I’m not going to put more pressure on myself because I’ve already got enough. What I’ve been doing has been working so keep doing what I do and see what happens.”
Top photo: Steve Dykes, Getty Images
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