Auburn Summer Spotlight Series: Blayne Barber
June 21, 2011
Video and story by: Michael Stagno, Auburn media relations
A wedge shot that dropped the ball within a foot of the cup to set up a birdie on the 18th hole was how Auburn junior and United States National Team member Blayne Barber closed out his singles win at the 2011 Palmer Cup. His strong play helped Team USA claim the Palmer Cup with a 13-11 victory over Europe at the Stanwich Club Golf Course in Greenwich, Conn., further cementing the 13th-ranked amateur golfer in the world as a rising star.
"It was an incredible experience," Barber said. "We were on the course from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday, hosting junior clinics and signing autographs for kids. The competition was great and I'm happy with the way I played."
The Palmer Cup features two eight-man teams, an American squad versus a European squad. The competition includes singles matches, a foursome match and a four-ball match. Barber defeated Henrik Norlander, 2 & 1, and split with Ignacio Elvira in his singles matches. He also won his four-ball match, playing alongside Russel Henley.
Being selected to represent one's country is both an honor and a privilege, one that Barber took full advantage of in performing to the upmost of his abilities.
"It was a great honor as so many athletes aspire to do it," Barber said. "It was a great feeling to have 'USA' on my golf bag, my hat and everything as I represented my country."
Barber started playing golf when he was three years old with his father for fun. When he was a seven-years-old, he told his mother that he wanted to play on the PGA Tour. When he was 12, he gave up baseball and soccer and focused solely on golf and it was at age 16 that he envisioned his future in golf while playing in the Future Masters in Dothan, ala.
"I always think back to that tournament," Barber said. "It kind of kick-started my career and put everything into perspective for me."
Whether one plays golf professionally, at the amateur level or just for fun, they rarely maintain a smile on their face the entire round as golf is one of the most frustrating sports to play because of the fundamental physics and precision required to be perfect on the course. Barber believes that 90 percent of the sport is mental while a mere 10 percent is physical.
"There are obviously things you can do to make yourself more consistent," Barber said. "Though you have to believe in your abilities and remain positive or you're not going to get it done."
While already an accomplished golfer, he has a list of things he wishes to accomplish before his career is over and as of right now, he just wants to play a round at Augusta National.
Barber draws his inspiration from his family and notes that without them he might not be in the situation he is in today as they have been the supportive and loving foundation of his career.
"Both my parents have been the biggest support and inspiration to me as I pursue my dream of playing professional golf."
From his driver is where Barber derives the strength of his game, it's his best club. The drive is what sets the tone for a hole for a golfer and though it is possible to recover from a bad drive, it is more valuable to one's psyche to stay in the fairway. It is important to have confidence not only in the game of golf, but in life as well and he exudes it on a daily basis. With career aspirations of playing professionally, he is doing big things on the course as a student-athlete and as an amateur to ensure that he gets that chance.
"My ultimate goal is to play on the PGA Tour," Barber said. "That is what I'm working toward. It's what I want to do and it's exciting to see what the future holds."
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