198: From Quitting to US Open Qualifying with Chris Naegel | Professional Golfer

This week, we’re going to tell you a bit of a story about Chris Naegel, a golfer from here in St. Louis that went from almost quitting playing professional golf, to 3 weeks later playing in the U.S. Open. You might recognize his name from the top of the leaderboard on the first day of the U.S. Open, but just week’s prior he was on the phone with his wife after a tournament where he missed the cut and decided he was quitting golf for good.

In this episode, you’re going to hear Chris’ incredible story, from the trials and tribulations from playing on the Web.com tour, the experience of playing at the U.S. Open, and the whole stretch from almost making the decision to quit, to playing in the U.S. Open and really the mind-shift that happened when he made that decision to hang up the clubs.

Chris Naegel’s Background

  • He had never played a round of golf until spring break of his freshman year in high school.
  • He walked onto the team at the University of Mississippi due to a lack of playing time, decided to transfer to Missouri Baptist, an N.A.I.A. school.
  • He led the Spartans to the 2006 American Midwest Conference championship.
  • Chris has played in events at every level from the Adam’s Tour, WebDotCom, and PGA Tour.
  • He played in the 2017 John Deere tournament, and most recently qualified and made the cut in the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

Highlights from this Episode

  • Christalks about his background: what got him into playing golf and what led him to go the professional route. His fall and return to the finals and playing in almost every tour imaginable to climb his way up the ranks.
  • How he almost ended his career after interpreting some of his missed cuts and recent poor play as red flags as a sign to hang up the clubs.
  • We hear his point of view from the mind of a professional golfer playing this years U.S. open and what that mindset looks like under pressure: The good, the bad, and the ugly of being a touring golfer.
  • What changed that made him do the complete 180 from quitting to playing some of the best golf of his career.
  • How his laissez-faire mentality of letting go of the pressure revolutionized how he played, and the little details throughout his tour experience that he got to experience that differs from his weekend golf with his buddies.
  • What’s next on the books for him (since he hasn’t quit the game,) from playing the remaining 6 events of the season and hoping to grab his PGA card for next year.
  • When talking about the future, he reflects on the hardest parts of playing for the last few years.
 Parting Questions:

Caddy Shack or Happy Gilmore?  Caddy Shack

What would be your walk up song?  Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses

If you could play 18 holes with anyone, who would it be and where would you play?  My dad at Olympic Club in San Fransisco

What has you most excited for the future?   Playing for the next 6 weeks, working toward the top 25 on the WebDotCom Tour and everything that it has to offer.

Find out more and follow Chris Naegel on:

NY Times Article

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