Quick Bit: Sporting News has all you need to know about Travis Vick, the amateur who is taking the field by storm at the 2022 U.S. Open.
When Travis Vick made his U.S. Open debut Thursday, there was a familiar face greeting him in the gallery.
Former Yankees and Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte was on hand to watch Vick take on some of the world’s best golfers in Brookline, Mass. You see, Pettitte and fellow former MLB All-Star Lance Berkman coached Vick on the diamond when he was in high school in Houston.
In the years since, Pettitte has become something of a mentor to Vick, who is now a golf star at the University of Texas. Vick led the Longhorns to a national championship in 2022.
“Andy has been very helpful as a guy who’s been there and done that,” Vick said, according to Golf Channel. “He helps with mentality — he knows a lot about golf, but it’s more from a big-league level, like, ‘This is what I’ve done. This is what I’ve tried. This is what I’ve experienced.’ Based on what he’s done in the game of baseball, him just having the thought of helping me is such an honor.”
Pettitte’s advice seem to paid dividends. Vick secured a spot in Round 3 after posting an even-par 70 on Thursday and a 1-under 69 on Friday.
So, who is Travis Vick, and how did the Texas golfer develop such close ties to Pettitte? Sporting News has you covered.
Who is Travis Vick?
Vick is an amateur golfer competing in the 2022 U.S. Open. He finished the first two rounds with the lowest score among amateurs in the tournament (-1) and is tied for 16th place, four strokes off the lead, heading into Saturday’s Round 3.
Vick may be a newbie to the pro game, but’s he’s very familiar with performing on the golf course. Vick sank the national championship-sealing putt for Texas just two weeks ago.
Before Vick was a national title-winning golfer, he was a three-sport athlete in high school at Houston’s Second Baptist School. Vick played football and baseball in addition to golf and was fairly successful at all three.
And even though Vick decided to take his talent to the course, Pettitte took to the kid — and his family.
“Just a wonderful family, great Christian people, the same values as my wife and I,” Pettitte said of Vick and his family. “And Travis, he just loves to compete, in all the sports, and was very coachable.”
Why did Andy Pettitte go to Brookline, Mass.?
Pettitte wanted to be there for Vick. He’s not the most popular figure in Boston — most Yankees players, past or present, aren’t. But here was a chance for him to see one of his proteges strut his stuff on golf’s biggest stage. Pettitte spent his 50th birthday traveling to The Country Club in Brookline to visit Vick.
He didn’t stay long, leaving after 15 holes to catch an afternoon flight. But Pettitte said he was able to imagine the feelings Vick was experiencing on the course — he could feel the nerves, sense the tension in Vick’s muscles. It’s a feeling Pettitte was more than familiar with during his playing career.
“He had to have butterflies,” Pettitte said. “His stomach had to be turning in knots. Mine did every start I made.
“But it’s about controlling your emotions and relaxing your body and relaxing your muscles in pressure situations and being able to make the game out here be like on the range — or if someone’s pitching, you make being on the mound feel like you’re in the bullpen. You try to trick your mind.”
Vick was able to do that. He overcame a rough patch in the middle of Round 1 — he bogeyed the 10th and 13th holes — to finish with an even-par 70. On Friday, he did one better with a 1-under 69. He had earned a spot in the weekend field.
Vick now has two chances to put up one of the lowest rounds by an amateur in the U.S. Open. The record is a 6-under 65 by James McHale in 1947.
And if Vick can really find his footing during the weekend, he might just match or surpass Jack Nicklaus’ 72-hole score of 282 in 1960 when the Golden Bear was still an amateur. Nicklaus was just a wee pup competing at Cherry Hills Country Club that year. His score stood as the 72-hole record for an amateur for 59 years; Norway’s Viktor Hovland posted a score of 280 at Pebble Beach in 2019.
Vick could be on the cusp of something special. And regardless of what happens this weekend, he’ll have Pettitte on his side.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More