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Meet The Golfer : Rory Hie

By: Simon Reynolds

Rory Hie

We caught up with Rory Hie at Pantai Indah Kapuk for the final leg of the Road to Panasonic Open – Qualifying event. A huge congratulations to Rory Hie for finishing top of the points list after all three events to secure his invitation at the Panasonic Open in Japan on the 26th– 29th of September at the Ibaraki Golf Club in Osaka, Japan. He will have the opportunity to compete against some of the leading Japanese professionals: Ryo Ishikawa, Masanori Kobayashi, Daisuke Maruyama.

 

RORY, NICE TO MEET YOU—CAN WE HAVE A BRIEF INTRODUCTION?
I was born in Balikpapan, Kalimantan. My father was stationed there working in the oil and gas industry. We moved to Jakarta when I was five years old. I later moved to the USA when I was 10 years old, where I was based right the way through to my completion of University at South California.

WHO WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO TAKE UP THE GAME OF GOLF?
My dad, he loves the game of golf, and he wanted me to pick up the game as soon as possible. I first started hitting balls when I was five, but it wasn’t until I moved to the United States that I really got into the game itself.

GROWING UP AS A KID, LEARNING THE GAME, WHO WERE YOUR FAVOURITE IDOLS?
When I was young, before the emergence of Tiger, it was Ernie Els and Nick Faldo. They were my dad’s favourites to watch. When Tiger appeared, I was a huge fan, so I guess he was my biggest golfing idol, just like most kids.

Rory Hie - Medan GolfINDONESIA IS BLESSED WITH SOME BEAUTIFUL GOLF COURSES. WHICH ONES ARE YOUR FAVOURITE TO PLAY?
Yes, we’re lucky here in Indonesia, there are some great courses. The one here at PIK is a great course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones. Emeralda is another of my favourites, the clubhouse is really nice, and it makes such an impression as you come into the driveway and there it is welcoming you. The 36 holes on offer are challenging with one course designed by Arnold Palmer and the other by Jack Nicklaus. There is also a really nice golf course in Surabaya, the Taman Dayu, with excellent accommodation in a stunning setting.

HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU FIRST BROKE PAR?
I first broke par when I was 12 years old. Playing off the blue tees at a course at Long beach in the United States called the Big Recreational Park, it’s a public course. I shot one under, very proud of that.

YOU MOVED TO THE UNITED STATES TO PLAY HIGH SCHOOL THEN UNIVERSITY GOLF AT SOUTH CAROLINA. WHAT EXPERIENCES BURN BRIGHTEST IN YOUR MEMORY FROM ALL YOUR TIME PLAYING GOLF THERE?
I shot 62 on two occasions in my sophomore year at USC, which was the all time lowest score in the history of the University of Southern California. I was also a first team All American when I was a sophomore; this was a pretty big achievement for me.

YOU ARE NOW COMPETING ON THE ONEASIA TOUR FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS. WHAT TOUR WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMPETE ON IN THE FUTURE: THE EUROPEAN OR THE PGA?
I’ve been competing and developing my game for the last three years on the OneAsia Tour. I would like to go straight back to the US, and play on the PGA Tour when I’m ready. I feel my game matches most of the kinds of courses they play out there. I would not mind playing on the European Tour as it’s a great tour, but if I got the choice I’d definitely choose the PGA Tour.

AS A PROFESSIONAL GOLFER, WHICH TOURNAMENT/MAJOR, WOULD GIVE YOU THE MOST JOY IN WINNING AND WHY?
Definitely the US Open, when I grew up in the US it was the most popular major, there are US Open qualifying events and just about every decent golfer will try and qualify for the event. To win the US Open would be the ultimate achievement. I almost qualified for the Britsh Open this year: they had an international qualifying event in Bangkok where the top 4 players qualified for the Open Championship. I came fifth out of 90 qualifiers, I was a couple of strokes out.

WHAT DRIVES YOU AS A GOLFER AND A PERSON?
I just want to get better. The ultimate experience that I could have in life is just to have that one perfect round of golf where I can hit every shot that I want to hit when I am required to hit it. It is possible.

RoryPROFESSIONAL GOLFERS DEDICATE VAST AMOUNTS OF TIME TO DEVELOPING AND IMPROVING THEIR GAME. WHAT DO YOU DO TO WIND DOWN AND RELAX WHEN YOU ARE NOT PLAYING GOLF?
I love to watch movies, download new songs from iTunes and spend good quality time with my friends. I like to do a lot of fitness, and other sports like swimming and tennis. I enjoy keeping myself fit.

I NOTICED YOU WERE USING A LONG PUTTER FOR THIS LAST EVENT, HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD THAT IN THE BAG AND IS PUTTING A PART OF YOUR GAME YOUR WORKING HARD TO IMPROVE?
It’s a new addition actually, ever since the last tournament I have been putting with it. I seem to see a lot of good successful putters on the pro tours, and I’m yet to see a bad putter who uses a long putter. My putting average is about 31 putts per round and it’s not good enough at this level. When you are playing against the pros winning the OneAsia and Asean tour events, you should be averaging about 28–29 putts per round. I want to shave off about three putts per round so I’m experimenting with a lot of different options right now.

MATT KUCHAR AND BRANDT SNEDEKER, AS EXAMPLES, HAVE BEEN WINNING ON THE PGA USING LIGHTWEIGHT 95G AEROTECH—MULTI COMPOUND, STEEL AND FIBRE SHAFTS – HAVE YOU TRIED THESE? PERHAPS THEY MAY HELP IN THE HOTTER ASIAN CLIMATE?
I’m not really interested to be honest, not for my Irons. I am more of a traditionalist. I like the feel of the heavy hit at impact, I have tried lighter shafts before but they really don’t feel very good. So I would not consider changing for lighter shafts for my irons at least.

WHAT ITEM(S) OTHER THEN EQUIPMENT DO YOU ALWAYS CARRY IN YOUR GOLF BAG?
I always have the iPING cradle for my iPhone to attach to my putter, which has an app, which I use to check and monitor my putting stroke. I’ve been really enjoying that the last few months. I have the Indonesian 1,000 Rupiah coin which fits perfectly into my divot repair tool. I carry this around every where with me, it makes a good ball marker.

*You can also read this post on Rory Hie official website

About Simon Reynolds

Simon fell in love with the game of golf at an early age. Watching Happy Gilmore when he was 12, Simon was hooked, and to this day thanks Adam Sandler's genius in the film for his passion for the game. His golfing hero is more refined and mature these days, and he continues his spiritual quest to model his golf game on Ben Hogan's perfect golf swing.

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