Life on Tour can be a grind, but that hasn’t kept rookie Ollie Schniederjans, 23, from a strong start this year. Oh, and a “heads” up to would-be sponsors: Though he doesn’t wear a hat, he is open to offers.
You had a celebrated career before you turned pro. You were the No. 1-ranked amateur as well as a three-time All-American at Georgia Tech. Now that you’re a PGA Tour rookie, what has surprised you most about the bigs?
I was able to play a good amount of PGA Tour events right after I graduated and before I turned pro, so I more or less knew what I was getting into. But the biggest surprise was the difficulty of the travel. In college, I was playing 54-hole events maybe 11 times a year. Now I’m playing 72-hole events and traveling week to week. It’s pretty taxing, even for us young guys.
Is the Tour more taxing physically or mentally— or is it about the same?
I would say both but more so mentally. You don’t really have a day off. You’re either traveling, preparing, practicing or playing, so it feels like you’re on seven days per week. It’s not easy physically, but it’s more exhausting emotionally.
Still, you’re having a very good rookie year. Through February of the wraparound Tour season, you’ve notched three top-10s. Not every rookie adjusts so quickly. Have you gotten any advice that’s helped?
Many guys have been helpful and generous: Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar—and even some of the younger guys, like Jordan Spieth, have helped, which is great because I can relate to them a little more. They’ve all told me that learning how to balance your schedule is one of the most important things for a rookie to learn to do.
When you’re a young rookie, you probably want to go out and play every week, but you also have to guard against burnout, right?
Yes, the temptation is to just play everything you can get into until you get higher in the shuffle, and then you can pick and choose. But you have to figure out which tournaments suit your game and how many weeks [of competition] in a row is too much, so you can find a balance. That’s the big learning curve. [On Tour] it’s all about high finishes, so you’re better off picking your battles and then taking a week to rest. You want to have energy on the weekends to push for a top-five finish. You don’t have to play every week. For me, playing four tournaments in a row is total max out. And I can’t do five in a row.
The Georgia Tech grad…