Q&A With Tadd Fujikawa
Tadd Fujikawa qualified for the U.S. Open at the age of 15, finished 20th at the Sony Open in his home state of Hawaii last year and turned pro at 16. Now 17, he has already made four holes-in-one and an albatross.
Where are you now?
In a hotel room on Sea Island in Georgia.
Are you staying at the Lodge or the Cloister?
Oh, no--I wish. [Laughs.] I'm staying at a Quality Inn place.
Are you working with Todd Anderson there?
I'm working with Todd Anderson, Mike Shannon and Randy Myers. I'm working on everything. I'm excited about playing. My game is looking a lot better; I'm feeling confident about it.
What's the biggest improvement you've made?
I think consistency. I was able to hit the shots before, but not on a consistent basis. I'm feeling really confident about my game.
Any tips for traveling to Hawaii?
I've lived in Hawaii all my life, but I haven't really thought about it that way. When people come over, they enjoy it, but I can't think of anything they definitely have to see.
Are you a surfer?
No. I've done it a few times. It's fun, but it's hard. Surfing isn't bad, but paddling out is tough.
What's your favorite course in Hawaii?
A course on the big island--Hokulia. I'm not sure why it's my favorite course. It's really tough. Conditions are always really nice. Scenery is really nice.
Any tips on playing in the wind?
Learn how to hit the same shots. Being able to control the ball flight and control your spin is really important. I'm still trying to learn that.
Talk about some of the disadvantages about being based in Hawaii.
It's really tough traveling from Hawaii. It's so far away from every place I have to go. It's hard, but I really like it there. For now, anyway. I'll finish school first. I like the people in Hawaii. They've all been really supportive. I plan to stay there for the next year or so, and we'll see what happens from there.
Did the high costs of living and traveling from Hawaii play a factor in your decision to turn pro?
Yes, it did. A lot. My family is not well off. We don't have the money to travel wherever we want to go and not worry about it. For me, to play in the tournament, and go to lessons in Georgia, where I want to go and where I'm improving, for me to do that, we'd have to get some kind of help with money issues and stuff. I think by turning pro it's going to help that a little bit. And when I get some endorsements, that should help. My game is looking good, and I'm really excited about it. To play out here on tour, on any tour, on the Japan Tour, the Nationwide Tour, or the European tour, it's a lot of fun to experience it. I'm ready to go out there and win. It's always been a dream of mine, so I'm going to do my best to do that.
Was your family talking you into turning pro, or vice versa?
I think it was mostly me. This is something I always wanted to do. I couldn't do it by myself. The only way I could do it is with the help of my family and their support. It's nice to have that.
Professional golf highlights?
I had a hole-in-one in Boise, Idaho -- at Hillcrest. It was about 135 yards. I saw it go in the hole. It was pretty exciting.
Was it your first?
No -- it was my fourth. My first was at Doral.
At the Blue Monster?
No--I wish. One of the other courses when I was playing junior golf. The other two were in Hawaii.
In 2007, the third round of the Sony, you had a stretch of being six under for 10 holes. What's it feel like to be that hot?
It's a good feeling. You never really notice it. You're really in a zone, and you don't think about anything other than getting it in the hole. Hopefully in the next year I can have more stretches of holes like that.
You qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot at the age of 15 by way of the Hawaii sectional. I hear the Hawaii sectional no longer exists. Is that true?
It's tough. The year I qualified was the last year they had it. I'm not sure if they're going to have it this year. It's tough to travel to different places, and I don't think the USGA understands that, but they have to do what they have to do.