124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2


Life On The Road With Kevin Chappell

July 06, 2016

Photo by Nathaniel Welch

MY NAME IS MISPRONOUNCED ABOUT HALF THE TIME. People try to jazz it up by saying "Shaaa-pell." But it's "CHAP-el."

THIS YEAR HAS BEEN ABOUT EXTREME GROWTH—PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY. I've had to adapt to my new role as a father and to manage that with my golf career. The combination has been fantastic, and both are helping each other. I'm by no means satisfied with three runner-up finishes early this season, but any time the trajectory in your career is going up, there can't be too many complaints.

YOU HAVE TO GET USED TO THOSE MOMENTS IN CONTENTION TO GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL. Even at the Players Championship, I probably didn't have a chance to win, but finishing second was kind of like winning financially [$1.13 million]. I hit some shots down the stretch that were pretty high quality, and I was extremely comfortable doing it.

I TRAVEL 80 PERCENT OF THE SEASON WITH MY WIFE, Elizabeth, and our 1-year-old son, Wyatt. The hardest part of traveling with an infant is the stuff you need to bring. Whether it's a crib, or toys he needs to stay entertained, or the amount of outfits you have to bring because you never know whether there's going to be an accident: It's a ton of stuff.

IF IT WASN'T FOR HOW QUICKLY I've grown into my new role as a husband and father, I probably wouldn't still be out here.

THIS WAS NOT STAGED. I was really doing my family's laundry when they took this photo. Road life.

I HAVE A GUILTY CONSCIENCE WHEN IT COMES TO LIFE AND PRACTICE. If I don't have that warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside, I work until I get that feeling. When I do something, I'm all in.

WHAT'S BEEN THE DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR? I shoot lower scores. [Laughs.] My short game has improved. The weeks that I'm contending, I'm scrambling in the high 70-percent range. That's huge because if you miss a green, it's not an automatic bogey.

“The hardest part of traveling with an infant is the stuff you need to bring.”

I WAS THE NATIONAL COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AT UCLA, but if you look in-depth at my amateur career, and not just the victories, I started from the bottom. I was a non-scholarship player, and I played my way into a full scholarship. That's kind of the way my professional career has gone, too. From no status on any tour to being in the top 40 in the world. I had to grind it out.

AM I A VETERAN ON TOUR NOW? Well, I use my GPS a lot less.

BIGGEST HOTEL ISSUE FOR ME? Where's the bathroom in the middle of the night? Is it a right turn or a left turn?

PEOPLE CONFUSE ME FOR DUSTIN JOHNSON ALL THE TIME. I sign more autographs as Dustin than as Kevin Chappell. And I actually sign his name. I told him that, and he just laughed.

—Interviewed by Ron Kaspriske

AGE: 30 on July 8
LIVES: Seattle, Scottsdale
NOTED: Chappell finished second to Jason Day at the Players Championship, his third runner-up finish this season. Chappell joined the PGA Tour in 2011 after winning on the Nationwide Tour (now Web.com Tour) in 2010. In 2008, he led UCLA to a national championship and was the NCAA individual champ. His wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to their son, Wyatt, in 2015.