Newcomer, but no longer a rookie, Sahith Theegala, played 32 PGA Tour events in the 2021 season. It’s unbelievable the stamina he has had up to this point, and he seems to be continuing that pattern.
This fall he played six events, finishing with the last tournament of the year, the RSM Classic. He hasn’t won yet, but it seems to be just a matter of time. Meanwhile, he’s learning more and more about Tour level golf.
Theegala, a standout at Pepperdine in college, seemed to find the adjustment to the PGA Tour relatively easy; if we can go by his backbreaking schedule and his growing bank account. He’s already won over $4 million in prize money alone.
In his first full season on the PGA Tour, Theegala entered six events in the fall of 2021, but that was just an appetizer. After the start of 2022, he played six in a row starting with the Sony Open and ending with Genesis Invitational.
After a week break, he signed up for every tournament he could between the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Mexico Open, which was eight tournaments in a row. That’s almost unheard of on the PGA Tour.
“I’m an addict, and I just love to play.” – Sahith Theegala
During 2022, he was successful enough to earn his way into the FedEx Cup Playoffs in his first full season. He made it all the way to the top 30 at the Tour Championship.
“I was definitely worn out after 32,” he admitted after round two of the RSM Classic where he is contending. “I put down my clubs for seven days, which for me is a lot.”
The PGA Tour requirement for tournaments has been 15, and that includes majors. However, most players in the past have participated in more than that, something in the high teens or low 20s, although this year we will see a lot of top players entering 20 events or more because of the agreement they made with the Tour over the elevated tournaments.
“I’m an addict, and I just love to play,” he explained about his passion for golf. “So, I’m still going to be playing a lot I think, but definitely toning it down. I’m trying to hit like 26, 27 this year.”
That’s still a lot. But in his first full year, he was having success, and it didn’t seem right to not continue to play when he could.
"“I think as long as I make sure my body — No. 1, is my health — and just make sure my body can handle it and not really push it too much,” he said. “Last year I definitely pushed it, but it was also my first year, and I kind of got into some events that I didn’t think I would get into. So, it’s a great problem to have.”"
He also made some discoveries and decisions. He moved to Spring, Texas, where he has learned more about playing on Bermudagrass.
Like the rest of the west coast natives, Sahith Theegala grew up on poa annua and bentgrass greens.
"“A lot of the stops we make on Tour are Bermuda and grainy Bermuda with that. So it’s been really helpful for me to move there and kind of practice with guys and play on courses that are grainy.”"
There are five tournaments in Texas, which is a Bermuda haven, and the Tour Championship is on a combination of Bermudagrass and zoysia.
Sahith Theegala has not quite figured out how to putt the way he wants to on the tricky surface.
"“I have a really hard time reading Bermuda greens, or I did have a really hard time, and now I feel like I have — I don’t think you ever figure out actually how to read Bermuda, but I feel like I have a really good idea at least of speed, and that’s helped so much.”"
In fact, right now, he’s of the opinion that luck has a lot to do with putting success on Bermuda greens. But the longer he lives in Texas, the more used to it he will become.
Getting to the Tour Championship in 2022 means he will get an invitation to the Masters in 2023. He has already been in The Players once and no doubt will return this March. Now it’s just a matter of time before he gets his first victory. With a long schedule ahead, Sahith Theegala is at least giving himself plenty of chances.