LUMBERTON, N.C. – As he tees off in his first PGA Tour event of 2016, Fairmont native William McGirt doesn't know what to expect from his golf game, but he's pleased with where he's at in regard to changing diapers.
"My diaper-changing game is about a plus-5 right now," McGirt told The Robesonian. "(I'm) glad to be back playing golf again. It's going to take some time to knock the rust off."
The arrival of a second child in November prompted McGirt to shut down for the remainder of 2015, but at the Sony Open in Hawaii this week, he'll be riding the momentum of back-to-back top-10 finishes. In his last two tournaments of 2015, McGirt finished in a tie for eighth at the Shriners' tournament after posting a final-round 62, then earned a runner-up finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
He's earned $592,700 in three events this season and 258 FedExCup points.
"It was nice to get off to a great start in the fall," he said. "I'm starting January in a much better position than I have ever started before."
Currently 16th in the FedExCup standings, McGirt said he's only played three rounds – a pro-member tournament near Hilton Head in December – since his runner-up finish at Sanderson.
The time away from the course allowed McGirt to recuperate from a taxing 2014-15 season that saw him finish 69th in the FedExCup standings. He made the cut in 22 of 30 events, claiming seven top-25 finishes and one finish in the top 10, earning a payout of $1,004,696. It's the third time in his five full seasons on the Tour that he's earned over $1,000,000.
"I finally feel rested for the first time in many years," he said. "(The time off) allowed me to be home with my family and not feel like I had to go practice every day. I was able to spend time with my wife and kids and rest my body."
McGirt plans on playing again next week in California at the CareerBuilder Challenge before taking a week off to focus on improving his game.
"I'm using these first two weeks for finding out what I need to work on in the off week so that I can hit it hard in my practice," he said. "I'm mainly trying to knock the rust off and get some rounds under my belt."
McGirt has spent the last two weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona, preparing for his first start of 2016.
"I really don't have a lot of expectations for this week," he said. "I expect some loose shots and I really don't know what to expect with my putter as I haven't done much to work on it.
"My swing feels pretty good, but the putter feels more like a sledgehammer. I'm planning to put in a lot of work on the putting green (during the practice days)."
McGirt finished in a tie for 71st last year at the Sony Open, with Jimmy Walker winning the event for the second consecutive season. Walker will look to become the first player since Steve Stricker to win an event for three straight seasons. Stricker won the John Deere Classic from 2009-11.
For McGirt, the goal is much simpler.
"I would be happy with making the cut and I feel like a top-25 (finish) would be a great week right now," he said. "It's more of a week to ease back into golf and get the competitive juices going again."
This article was written by Rodd Baxley from The Robesonian, Lumberton, N.C. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.