Allison Fouch Finishes 2008 LPGA Season As Top 2007 Duramed FUTURES Tour Alum
Article Courtesy of Duramed FUTURES Tour
As one of the five top money winners on the 2007 Duramed FUTURES Tour, Allison Fouch moved on to the 2008 LPGA Tour. The native of Grand Rapids, Mich., played her first full season on the LPGA this year, posting three top-10 finishes that included a tie for second at the Michelob ULTRA Open, and ties for seventh at both the Grand China Air LPGA and the Mizuno Classic in Japan. She finished 50th on the LPGA's money list.
In 2007, the former Michigan State University collegian played her fourth season on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, winning twice and posting 10 top-10 finishes. She bounced back from a disappointing sixth-place finish on the 2006 season money list to miss earning an automatic LPGA card for 2007, to finishing second on the Duramed FUTURES Tour's 2007 money list and "graduate" to the LPGA.
Here's what she had to say in an interview with the Duramed FUTURES Tour's Lisa D. Mickey about her first full LPGA season in 2008:
DFT: This season, you placed the highest on the LPGA's money list of the 2007 card winners on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. How does it feel to finish 50th on the 2008 LPGA money list in your first full season?
FOUCH: It's an amazing feeling of relief and a sense of accomplishment of just knowing that I belong out there. It's gotten me really excited to play next year. I appreciate how hard it is. My parents and my coaches helped keep me grounded and focused on one shot at a time. Their advice and support made a huge, huge difference. I want to go out next year and do even better, but this gives me a base.
DFT: It was a good return on your investment of time and effort when you made just over $54,000 on the 2007 Duramed FUTURES Tour and converted your earning power to more than $375,000 this year in your first full LPGA season.
FOUCH: Yeah, I guess the thing about the LPGA Tour is you can make more money doing something you love. The money is awesome and the reward for the time and effort you put into it is definitely worth it. But I had so much fun playing on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. What a wonderful experience it was for me - just learning how to be a professional in a stressful, competitive surrounding. I have so many wonderful memories. I don't want to go back, but I have to say it was pure golf, pure competition, pure heart out there. I look at it as a huge springboard to the LPGA. For me, it was an amazing experience of throwing myself out there and logging a lot of highway miles. I fly more now and it's easier, but the urame FUTURES Tour toughens you up. It made me what I am.
DFT: I guess all the hard work you put in for four years out here finally paid off this year.
FOUCH: Well, I appreciate everything. At the LPGA tournament in Kapalua, for example, you look out and see the ocean. My dad tells me tells me to stop and smell the roses at every tournament. It's easy to be spoiled on the LPGA, but I still stay in private housing every week. I would rather stay in housing because I enjoy being with people. I developed so many great relationships staying in housing on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. They're like family. I send out e-mail blogs to them during the season and within three days, I get about 200 responses. When you're out there playing and maybe a little down, just hearing from them brings you back up.
DFT: Does making more money change you?
FOUCH: I feel like it does. I have a hands-free Bluetooth telephone now. I got a new car. No more Chevy Malibu. I bought a Buick Enclave. It's big enough that I could put my Malibu in the back.
DFT: How many miles did you have on the Malibu and where is it now?
FOUCH: I had 149,000 miles on it. My grandfather is driving it now.
DFT: Obviously, your tie for second at the Michelob ULTRA Open was this year's playing highlight, but you had two ties for seventh in your last three tournaments in Asia. Was that a surprise?
FOUCH: Not really a surprise. I was able to get myself back in contention. Once I got back up there, I was ready for it. There were no distractions during those Asian tournaments. For three weeks, I couldn't really talk to anyone in the U.S. And there was no tournament cut, so I felt comfortable and more relaxed than usual. I think I sort of let go in Asia and just played.
DFT: Was that your first trip to Asia?
FOUCH: No, I was in Taiwan for a week as a college player for the 2001 World University Golf Championship, but this was the first time I was over there for three weeks. I love Asia and I'll go back every year that I qualify. I loved the food, the golf courses and the wonderful people.
DFT: One of the biggest transitions from this tour to the LPGA is the amount of international travel you have. Did you have any other surprises along the way this year?
FOUCH: Well, I learned a lot just from going through the motions this season. I had a little hiccup on the way to the RIO Women's British Open. I traveled on a Sunday and my luggage was lost and I didn't get it back until Tuesday night. I was emotionally wiped out by the time I played. You have to allow plenty of time for international travel or when you are changing time zones. And I learned to be patient through customs and immigration.
DFT: What are you most proud of this season?
FOUCH: I'm proud of the fact that I didn't force it too much in the beginning and I think I have to thank Gary Ganakas for that. I've worked with him for five years on the mental part of my game. I took off a lot of time before the first tournament in Hawaii this year and I was tinkering with my game. I went into that first tournament completely off track and I missed the cut, but I gathered myself and didn't get too anxious about what the rest of the season would bring. I thought about what I had done in the previous season on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. I knew how to handle the pressure and I talked myself through it and stayed confident.
DFT: You also had some injuries for the first time in your professional career.
FOUCH: Yes, I had a pulled hamstring and some back problems. So this off-season, I'm already seeing a personal trainer [David Donatucci in Port St. Lucie, Fla.] and my goal is to get in a good workout routine that will keep me healthy throughout the 2009 season.
DFT: Did any veteran LPGA players help you this year?
FOUCH: A lot of them did, especially Pat Hurst. I played with her a lot. And Karrie Webb. It's pretty neat to walk out on the range and have Karrie say, "Hey Allison, how are you doing?" I got to know some of the young ones too, like Morgan Preel and Paula reamer. And it was Annika's orentam last year, so I watched that. I wish that I'd had a chance to know her a little bit. I watched the way she chipped, how she carried herself and how she handled everything this season.
DFT: Even though you are in the "big league" now, was there anything you missed on the Duramed FUTURES Tour this year?
FOUCH: Oh my gosh, yes, other than the three-round tournaments and being able to use carts in the practice rounds! Laugter I guess I went from being a big fish in a little pond to being a little fish in a big pond. I knew everyone on that tour and I was a veteran. This year, I was a rookie. I really missed the relationships I had built on that tour and traveling with [former Michigan State teammate] Sarah Martin Olsen. I have some really great memories.
DFT: Is there something you'd like to tell every pro on the Duramed FUTURES Tour that you wish someone would have told you during your time there?
FOUCH: I would tell them that the way they hit the ball, putt and chip is good enough or better than the bottom half of the LPGA Tour. Other than the top 30 players in the world, stop putting the LPGA Tour players on such high pedestals. With the exception of the top 10 finishers each week, the rest of the LPGA field is shooting around even par. I think it's easy to get lost in what the winners are shooting, rather than looking at the entire field. Sure, the top players in the world get up and down from 100 yards most of the time, but the best players on the Duramed FUTURES Tour have just as much talent. It's a matter of getting experience. Good wedge play and making more birdies was something my game needed to get better to take that next step, and I did it over time. The biggest thing though, was surrounding myself by people who continuously pointed me in the right direction. You have to manage your game, your thoughts, your emotions, your everything with a lot of help. That has to start before you get to the LPGA.
DFT: How has your mindset for the game changed this year?
FOUCH: I think the better I get, the more I see it as a game. The biggest challenge is to get beyond the expectations of having another good year and to just take care of today - just play golf. I learned that lesson during my last season on the Duramed FUTURES Tour as I prepared for the final tournament in Albany [N.Y.] where the LPGA cards were awarded. Leading up to the [next-to-last] tournament in Gettysburg [Pa.], I was just a nervous wreck and didn't play well. I knew there was so much at stake at that last tournament in Albany because there was about $5 between Liz Janangelo and me on the money list for that fifth LPGA card. But how I prepared for that Albany tournament really changed my life. For seven straight days, I managed every single thing I thought. I knew if I wanted to do it, I could do it. I knew I was about one round of golf away from never playing again and I just did what I needed to do. [Note: Fouch finished second at the 2007 Albany tournament to win one of the five LPGA cards for the 2008 season.] So after that experience, I'm so much more informed about what I need to do for the next level. I "get" what the competition is, what the travel is, and I have a much better idea of what I need to do to get better. It is one long journey with no end in sight.
DFT: How do your expectations now change for 2009? Talk a little about your goals.
FOUCH: Making the U.S. Solheim Cup team is my main goal for 2009. I had a few top 10s and a few top 20s to earn Solheim Cup points and now I'm ranked 14th in points. [Note: The top 10 point winners automatically qualify for the U.S. team and two players are captain's picks.] That puts my name and face in captain Beth Daniel's mind. I also want to finish in the top 30 on the 2009 money list and I want to become one of the better American players on the tour. And, I want to keep a good solid workout routine, get better at keeping a journal, and stay on task with how I progress. I'd like to shoot for being No. 1 in the world within the next five years and to be able to compete with Lorena Ooa and Paula reamer.
DFT: Have you had a chance to celebrate the 2008 season with your family and if so, how?
FOUCH: A little bit. I was home in Michigan for two weeks after Asia, but it was nothing too crazy. My brothers, their wives and kids showed up at the airport. My parents opened a bottle of wine. My mom made my favorite meal.
DFT: And what is that favorite meal?
FOUCH: Hungarian goulash.
DFT: Are you Hungarian?
FOUCH: No, it's just a Betty Crocker thing.
DFT: Your dad Jerry Fouch was a very successful high school coach in Michigan for many years and you grew up as a coach's kid -- a gym rat, so to speak. Did the "coach" have anything special to say to you this season when it was all over?
FOUCH: Well, he always tells it like it is and he said, "When you're good, you're among the best and when you're bad, you're really bad. Let's bring the bad rounds down." I think he's starting to feel that I'm making good decisions and he doesn't have to "coach" as much. He helped me with tons of stuff this year. He helped me with my travel and he's been there every step of the way. He even lets me take my frustrations out on him. But he also lets me know when he's happy and proud. There's no lack of love. I know how lucky I am and I love that I got to share the season with him.
Topics: Duncan, Allison