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Matthew Wolff Says He’ll Return for Sophomore Year, Still Has Amateur Goals to Reach



Talk started swirling after a magical week at Karsten Creek last month. Could OSU’s superstar wunderkind California freshman, Matthew Wolff, turn pro after just one year in Stillwater? Could the owner of that bafflingly-great swing speed and an oversized personality to match his game eject for the PGA Tour after what amounted to a coming out party during the NCAAs?

It wouldn’t have been unprecedented, but it would have raised a few eyebrows. The answer to the question, by the way, is that he probably could have but that he’s not going to.

“I realized I did have a really good year, but there are a lot of things I need to do first before I turn pro,” Wolff told Pistols Firing this week. “Coach Bratton (thought the same thing). Yes, I had four runner-up finishes, but I still haven’t gotten a win yet, and I feel like you have to win or at least be dominant in some fashion before you can make that step to the next level because I know how hard it is.”

This is not necessarily unexpected, but it was interesting to hear Wolff chose his words so carefully. It’s clearly something he’s thought about maybe even more than I would have imagined him thinking about it.

“There was a lot of thought into it because I know there’s a lot of money out there, but … the money is always going to be there, the PGA tour’s always going to be there,” added Wolff. “There’s a lot of things in amateur golf that I could do that haven’t been done so I think I’m going to try to work toward those and hopefully achieve a couple of goals of mine in amateur golf. I would especially like to play in a major as an amateur.

“I have thought of it. I would like to turn pro, but I don’t think I’m ready yet. I’m definitely going to return to school my sophomore year, and we’ll play it by ear after that. I’m in no rush to turn pro because, like I said, the money on the PGA Tour will always be there.”

Wolff recently joined PGA Tour stars like Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas (varying degrees of stardom there, I suppose) as the national Freshman of the Year. Here’s when all of them turned pro. You can see an after-their-sophomore-year trend.

2008 — Fowler: After sophomore year (Walker Cup)
2009 — Hoffmann: After sophomore year
2010 — Williams: After senior year
2011 — Cantlay: After sophomore year
2012 — Thomas: After sophomore year
2013 — Stone: After freshman year
2014 — Shelton: After junior year
2015 — Scheffler: After senior year
2016 — Horsfield: After sophomore year
2017 — Xiong: After sophomore year
2018 — Wolff: ???

This makes sense. College athletes often mature most between their freshman and sophomore years. Things slow down. They get used to the routine. The game comes easier. That’s a scary thought for the opponents of an Oklahoma State team returning two superstar soon-to-be sophomores and four players overall from a team that rolled in the national championship. And Wolff will lead the way.

There is (and will be) an expectation on Wolff this year. He was never the plucky, upstart freshman, but now he’ll be expected to win (maybe a lot) individually and at least contend for the Ben Hogan Award. He certainly has the game and the makeup — and seemingly now the plan — to do it.

“I realize there are a lot of things I have to do,” Wolff said. “I have to mature mentally and physically … once you (turn pro) you’re on your own. You have to practice every day and get up out of bed and work out. There’s a lot of things that go into it. Me and coach were talking about it, and we’re going to make a little plan of what I probably should accomplish before I feel ready.

“I’m going to try and improve my game to the point that when I am ready to turn pro, I feel like I can go out and win instead of going out there and trying to make cuts. I’m trying to go out there and be the best player in the world.”

But first … one more year as the best player in Stillwater.

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