American Century Championship

ACC contender T.J. Oshie sounds off on his knuckle-puck swing and whether or not Ovi is still alive

July 13, 2018
2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
Patrick McDermott

T.J. Oshie has had a pretty damn good summer. First, he won the Stanley Cup. Next he partied with the Stanley Cup. Then he partied with the Stanley Cup some more. Now he's in Tahoe playing some golf after hanging out in Truckee all weekend playing some golf. For most mere mortals, that would be a solid summer vacay—time pack up the ol' Ticonderoga no. 2's and schlepp it to the bus—but not for Oshie. To get a glimpse of the Caps winger's seemingly eternal summer, we caught up with him on the range at the American Century Championship to chat about everything from Alexander Ovechkin's liver to his slap-shot swing. A word of warning though: This is going to make you VERY jealous.

So you just won the Stanley Cup—has that sunk in yet?

Oh man it really hasn’t. It’s been crazy—a dream come true.

Is Ovi still alive?

I haven’t seen him since the Championship Parade, but I haven’t seen any headlines so I’m sure he’s doing fine. He definitely enjoyed celebrating the cup though, and deservedly so. He’s taken so much flak from the media over the years for not getting it done, so he definitely deserves this. He’s a huge part of what we do and I’m happy from him.

It’s probably been a crazy summer, how much have you got to play?

It’s been busy with the celebrations and media and all, but I’ve gotten out there a few times. I’m looking forward to playing a few rounds in front of the fans this weekend, even though I still get a nervous with a gallery watching.

What was more nerve-racking: Your first time playing in front of a gallery or an Olympic penalty shootout?

Oh definitely playing in front of a gallery. The first time out here a few years ago, I played with [Jeremy] Roenick and [Joe] Sakic, and my hands were shaking so bad, I couldn’t even fill out Joe’s scorecard until like fourth hole. Imagine trying to play with your hands shaking that bad. Needless to say, it wasn’t great.

How long have you been playing and how did you start?

I used to just go with my dad to the range and would practice Happy Gilmore shots, just trying to hit as far as I could. I didn’t start practicing and taking it a little more seriously until about the time I was a sophomore. I’ve stuck with it since then.

How do hockey and golf differ psychologically for you?

It’s totally different. Golf is definitely less emotionally up and down than the NHL, but my competitive streak always ends up coming out no matter what.

When you guys are in-season, how often do you get to play?

It’s tough, but we have a California swing every year and me and a few guys always try to get out there and play a bunch. We have a good crew of guys who play both there and in the D.C. area.

There are so many good courses around there but by favorite course is probably TPC Avenel [TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm]. My neighbor is a member there and he gets me on every now and then. It’s incredible.

Do you find your slapshot ever affects your swing or are they two totally different movements?

Totally. My swing is way to wrist-y. My hips are always unwinding too quick and I end up just trying to slap it out there. My driver is definitely the worst club in my bag because of it, but that's what I'm working on the most right now.

What’s your handicap at the moment?

Oh man, I haven’t logged my last two rounds so it’s probably going up. I was a four for awhile and now I’m probably more like a seven. Hopefully after a couple of good rounds here this weekend, I can get it back down to a six.

When it comes to golf, what is your Stanley Cup? What is your biggest aspiration or dream?

For me, I’m just never going to have enough time to practice and compete with these young kids and pros out here [at the American Century Championship], so the one thing I really want to do is get to the Masters one day and check out Augusta National. I’m always surprised by how flat it looks on TV and I’d love to get out there and experience it for myself.

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