Aaron Crawford was on his way to his first practice round at TPC Twin Cities on Tuesday morning when he answered my call. The putting-icon from Calgary, Alberta, Canada shot a 63, an 8-under-par at Victory Links alongside Jake Kneen to qualify for the 3M Open, making it Crawford and Kneen’s first PGA TOUR start.
“You basically just got to go for broke,” Crawford said going into the Monday qualifier. The 25 year old who planned on playing in this year’s Mackenize Tour turned pro in November 2012. Canada’s decision to cancel the Mackenize Tour left Crawford with basically nothing to do this golf season. So, he called up a good friend and for the last four weeks has been caddying for Martin Trainer who’s been on the TOUR but will now need to find a new looper for the bag.
“Martin’s a good friend and he had a spot on the bag, and I thought it would be a good learning experience,” Crawford said. Now, the caddie has better odds to beat the golfer he’s recently been caddying for. Believe it or not, the two are rooming together during this trip and celebrated Crawford’s success at Victory Links with Indian food on Monday night.
Crawford credits a lot of his success to his psychology coach, Todd Halpen, who runs an academy based in Calgary, Alberta, offering best-in-class programs for golfers of all ages, abilities and aspirations. “I think he knows a lot more on how to perform well under pressure than a lot of other teachers I’ve had in the past,” said Crawford. “If you believe you can sink a 10-foot put, I can guarantee you that the chances of that ball going in for whatever reason will go up.”
On the 18th tee box, Crawford joked with his pairings and kept it fairly relaxed on the last par 5. He was fortunate to get paired up with Connor Isley, who’s a good friend from the Phoenix area. He’s learned that stressing out isn’t going to help, and at the end of the day he plays his best golf when enjoying the day. “It was a very comfortable environment to be in. I felt very at home in Minnesota with the hockey rink right beside the golf course. So, that didn’t hurt either,” Crawford said. “My goal is to be on the PGA TOUR full time, and this is a great opportunity to do this.”