Meet LPGA Futures Tour Graduate Sydnee Michaels
Rookie Sydnee Michaels made the most of her first professional season. She finished No. 4 in 2011 season earnings with $56,232 to earn 2012 LPGA Tour membership. She also won honors as the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour’s Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year.
Michaels, 23, of Temecula, Calif., was a top-2 finisher in three of her final four tournaments this year, and won the LPGA Futures Tour’s last two events held in Vidalia, Ga., and in Albany, N.Y.
In 15 starts, she recorded five top-10 finishes, including her two wins. The former UCLA All-American finished second in scoring average (71.233), second in sub-par rounds (49 percent), third in sub-par holes (150 in 43 rounds), third in putting average (28.976), third in birdies (149), second in par-3 average (2.995) and second par-4 average (3.995).
Here’s what Michaels had to say to about her 2011 season on the LPGA Futures Tour and her thoughts about heading to the LPGA in 2012:
LPGA: How would you describe your 2011 season?
MICHAELS: I would describe my first year on the Futures Tour for the 2011 season as a time of experience and growth, both personally and for my game. It was my first time being on my own and traveling on my own without a team or my parents. I had a good time getting to do what I love and getting paid for it and I was focused on the opportunity to work toward my ultimate goal of playing full time on the LPGA.
LPGA: Were you surprised to finish as the Futures Tour’s 2011 Rookie of the Year?
MICHAELS: I was honored to be the top rookie. There were a lot of strong players in my rookie class and I’m happy I came out on top. I did not really pay much attention to it in the beginning of the year, but as the season came to a close and I was moving up [the money list], I definitely had my eye on it. I was thrilled that I was able to get the title and I hope I can do the same next year on the 2012 LPGA Tour.
LPGA: You seemed to have a lot of fun in 2011 with your Irish caddie, Lorcan Morris. Why did you two work so well together?
MICHAELS: Lorcan was definitely my little “luck of the Irish” charm for the final part of the season. For the majority of 2011, I traveled alone and didn’t have a caddie. I think I suffer from slight dyslexia and I am known to miscalculate my yardages on a regular basis, either flying over the greens or coming up short. So, having someone who could properly add and subtract was a big help! Laugter He keeps me loose. A couple of times, when I was frustrated, he made me kick my golf bag really hard. The gallery looked at me like I was nuts, but it made me feel so much better! We communicated great, stayed calm in every situation and trusted each other 100 percent. I was lucky to find him and I am excited to see what we can do together next year.
LPGA: What were the biggest challenges in earning your LPGA card on the Futures Tour?
MICHAELS: The biggest challenge was mostly in between the ears! It was all about pacing myself, learning every week, trying to improve what went wrong the week before, and move on if there was failure – fixing the problem instead of dwelling on it. I know what works for me and I stuck to it, even if my approach was somewhat unconventional. Most importantly, I believed in myself. I have no doubt in my mind that I deserve to play on the LPGA Tour, and that belief never wavered throughout this entire season.
LPGA: What are you looking forward to the most about next year on the LPGA?
MICHAELS: It has been my dream since I was 9 years old to be one of the best players in the world competing on the LPGA Tour. I had one goal and one goal only for the 2011 season after I failed to get my card at LPGA Q-school in 2010, and that was to get full status on the LPGA. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to live out my dream and to be able to complete alongside the women I grew up watching on tour.
LPGA: Have you set any goals yet for the LPGA Tour?
MICHAELS: I want to take one step at a time, but I have short-term and long-term goals for myself on the LPGA. I would love to get rookie of the year for the 2012 season and I would LOVE to be a member of the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup team. As far as long-term goals, I want to win a couple of majors – to be exact, the U.S. Women’s Open and the Kraft Nabisco Championship. And I hope to be an impact player and a role model to little girls and young women.
LPGA: If you weren’t a golfer, what else would you want to do?
MICHAELS: If I weren’t a golfer, I could see myself doing several different things. I love the performing arts. I probably would have pursued either a dancing or acting career. I was a state-champion tap dancer when I was little and I performed in a lot of plays, including putting on some of my own. I was a tennis player and a figure skater before I picked up golf, so I could see myself pursuing a career in either one. I am also somewhat musical, so maybe I would have a record out right now! And I enjoy writing, so maybe I would be an author. I would definitely be doing something either artistic or athletic.
LPGA: Everybody knows you can play golf, but do you have any hidden talents?
MICHAELS: My hidden talent is that I have a sixth sense. I’m very intuitive with people and I usually know something has happened before I’m told. Sometimes it’s a little scary!
LPGA: What’s at the top of the list on your iPod?
MICHAELS: My musical tastes range from Ben Harper to LMFAO, but right now, I’m into Adele, Coldplay and Train. I am always in the mood for classic rock.
LPGA: Your season earnings of $56,232 were above average for a recent college graduate. Did you make any fun purchases?
MICHAELS: In our profession, that money goes fast, but I was able to go to New York City for the day and I bought a very nice Marc Jacobs purse. Now that the season is over, I’m also trying to cook dinner every night, so I’m spending most of my cash on groceries!
LPGA: How have the steppingstones of your career fallen together and is the progression what you thought it would be?
MICHAELS: There is no “right” way to making it. Every stage of my career was a steppingstone to the next level. I did not skip any steps and I believe that’s going to help me. I have paid my dues and learned so much at every level. Going through the different steps in junior golf, college golf and on the Futures Tour, I was able to mature at each level. I’m excited to take this next step on to greater things and to what I have worked so hard for since I was a little girl.
LPGA senior writer Lisa D. Mickey
Topics: Michaels, Sydnee