PGA Tour Pro Bud Cauley Talks Golf, Fitness, His First ‘Big’ Purchase And Playing With Tiger Woods
Earlier this week, I had the chance to speak with PGA Tour professional, and all-around nice guy, Bud Cauley. The former University of Alabama standout is having a terrific season thus far and, with only a third of the 2017-2018 season left, he is on pace to have his best year since his rookie campaign in 2012.
During our chat, we talked about this week’s event at Muirfield Village (The Memorial) as well as Cauley’s fitness regimen and the importance of having Massage Envy Player Performance Centers at each TOUR stop. We also discussed Cauley’s first time playing with Tiger Woods and some other completely random stuff, like golf nightmares, white belts and more. Enjoy!
BB: Lets start with this tournament this week. This will be your fifth time playing in the Memorial and you have had quite a bit of success making the cut in every appearance including a top 25 last year. What is it about this course that fits your game?
Bud Cauley: First of all, it’s just a place I enjoy coming to. The course is always in great shape. It’s challenging off the tee and it demands a lot of the second shot which is usually a strength of mine. All in all, it’s just a fun place to play and it really challenges all parts of your game.
BB: It’s one of the strongest fields of the year that’s a non major. Do you think that has to due with the course or more so it being Jack Nicklaus’ tournament?
BC: A big part of it is because it is Mr. Nicklaus’ tournament. Obviously everyone wants to show their respect for what he’s done in the game and for the game. But it’s never a bad thing either to have a great golf course to come to and play for four days either. Even like the practice facilities are great here.
BB: You obviously had a great year last year, and with about a third of the season left, this year is shaping up to be possibly a career year for you. Is there a specific part of your game or preparation that you think has attributed to your solid play the last few seasons other than finally being healthy and fully recovered from having shoulder surgery?
BC: Being healthy certainly helps. To have to sit out for a year was difficult. It was hard watching golf on TV, wishing I was out there playing. The first season coming back where I think only played 14 events, but I was able to fulfill my medical and get my full card for the next year was obviously huge. Then last year was kind of a full year to play and have a normal schedule and assess my game and figure out where I needed to make some improvements. And I really have done that this year, I struck the ball really well last year and it could have maybe taken advantage more of putting and chipping and things like that. Then this year I’ve improved my chipping and putting quite a bit and just my ball striking hasn’t quite been what it was last year. So that’s kind of what I’m working on now. But I’ll hopefully start to strike the ball a little bit better and try to finish this year out with hopefully a win or two.
BB: How has that injury and time off changed the way you prepare for the season or individual rounds. And how vital have the Massage Envy Player Performance Centers on TOUR been to your preparation?
BC: It’s been massive. Since tearing my labrum and having surgery, my preparation and how I approach fitness, stretching and preparing for around and then recovering after around has totally changed. For anyone who hasn’t had shoulder surgery, it’s something you’d never want to have to do, but you definitely don’t want to have to do it twice.
Everyday I go to the trailer to do my physical therapy and make sure that my shoulder is stable and stays strong so that I never have that same problem again. And after the round it’s just as important to go in there and do the necessary things to recover from from playing all day and be able to play the following day and not at risk anymore injuries. So it’s a huge help for me and I know all the other guys out here that know whether they’ve been injured or not, they take full advantage of it.
BB: When did you really start getting into the fitness aspect of golf?
BC: I’d probably say high school. I’m the first person I worked with was in Jacksonville. His name was Jeff Fronk and he and I worked together through college and into the first couple of years of turning pro. Now I work with Kolby Tullier down in Jupiter who’s been a great help to me ever since I got injured. I have always worked out but sort of how I approach working out has changed. And everything I do has a purpose and an end goal in sight.
BB: Wait a minute. I did see you do some inclined bench press on your Instagram.
BC: That’s just to make the shirts look good.
BB: Fair enough. You grew up in the Tiger Woods generation and this year at The Bay Hill Invitational you had a Sunday tee time with him. What was that like? And what do you take with from a day like that?
BC: Growing up and playing golf, it’s almost the same story from everyone out here now. When we were growing up he was dominating the game. And that domination was definitely inspiring for me. I can’t even count how many times on Sunday afternoon I’d go to the golf course and practice before it got dark just because watching him win a tournament was so motivating for me. I wanted to practice and get better so I could do the same thing.
But the final round on Sunday was definitely was a great experience. We were obviously playing at a place where Tiger’s had a ton of success and he played really well that day. It was just fun to be in that environment. I’ve spent a little bit of time with Tiger in person, but that was the first round of golf we had played together.
I had the best seat in the house and it was good to watch him hit every shot and watch the way he goes about things, the shots that he hits. Also, one thing I remember from growing up is how it seemed like everybody who played with Tiger would blow up or not play that well when they were paired with him. So it was nice to get out there and see how I would react to it. And I was pleased with how comfortable and confident I felt.
And Tiger was great too. We talked throughout the round and if I hit a good shot, he would say, “good shot.” He was a lot of fun to play with.
BB: Ok, now we are going to shift gears and I’m going to ask you a few random questions. Answer them with one word if you want. Sound good?
BC: Sounds good.
BB: What’s the first thing you bought for yourself with your PGA Tour winnings?
BC: The first I remember it was a pair of Beats headphones. I was walking through the airport after I got my first professional check and I bought a pair of Beats that I never would have worn before for like $220.
BB: Favorite course on tour?
BC: Probably Hilton Head.
BB: Worst dressed player on the PGA Tour?
BC: You’re really putting me on the spot here, huh? I’ll just say anyone that wears white belt. Not a fan of white belt.
BB: The correct answer would have been Hideki Matsuyama, but I will also allow white belts. Moving on…What’s one thing you would change about the PGA Tour (slow play, ability to wear shorts, etc)?
BC: I would make the hole bigger.
BB: Do you have a nickname (other than Bud) that people might not know?
BC: A lot of people call me BC. Some guys call me Young William. But that’s pretty much it.
BB: Better golf movie… “Caddyshack” or “Tin Cup”?
BC: I’m going to have to go with “Tin Cup.”
BB: You and Justin Thomas are huge Bama supporters, so this one might sting to answer… what is the best college football program other than Alabama?
BC: It is probably Georgia. They almost beat us last year and they have been doing a lot great recruiting with Kirby Smart there. They really strong on offense now now with Jake Fromm and I know they have some solid freshman coming in this year. It will be interesting to see what they do these next couple years.
BB: Do you ever dream about golf? Do you have a golfing nightmare you can share with us?
BC: It’s funny you ask, because I normally don’t ever dream about golf, but I had a weird dream a couple of weeks ago. It’s so random. I don’t know what it means, but I was playing golf with a couple of buddies of mine. I hit it down the first fairway and I have an eight iron into the green. For some reason I hit it like 30 yards to right. There is a green side bunker and I hit it right of the bunker. So I get up there and I get my 60 (degree wedge) out and my 60 has a putter grip on it. And so I have to hit this flop shot and because the putter grip is square I skulled it over the green and made bogey. Then I woke up. I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean, but it was the weirdest dream I’ve ever had just happened to be with golf
BB: Final question, if you weren’t playing golf for a living, what would you be doing?
BC: I always been a huge fan of like astronomy and I think I would have loved to have been an astronaut. It would be fun to go to space and do stuff like that. I just think the whole thing is fascinating.