February 5, 2014
By Jesse Piper
Robert Streb ranks among the greatest golfers in K-State history. During his four-year career from 2006-09, Streb earned 12 top-five finishes, was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 2009 and became just the fourth golfer in Kansas State history to qualify for the NCAA Championship when he did so as a freshman in 2006. Since graduating, Streb has competed professionally and earned his PGA Tour card in 2013 where he will continue competition at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this weekend in Pebble Beach, Calif.
K-State Athletics Communications student assistant Jesse Piper was able to talk with Streb last week.
Piper: What is the best thing about playing on the PGA Tour?
Streb: "The best part is that you get to play all of the courses that you see growing up as a kid. Obviously, you catch all of the courses in the very best condition one week of the year, which is pretty cool. You get spoiled a little bit because you go back and play another course and you are like, 'Well, this is not as good,' but they spoil you rotten. It's just fun to play against the best in the world."
Piper: What is the one thing you underestimated about being a professional golfer?
Streb: "I underestimated how many good players there are. I came out of college thinking that there were some good players but I thought, 'How many could there really be?' but there are quite a few."
Piper: What was it like playing with Tiger Woods in last year's Honda Classic?
Streb: "It was busy. There were a lot of people, but I enjoyed it and thought it was fun. A lot of people don't like playing with him because as soon as he gets done, the crowds kind of run off and such. But I thought it was a lot of fun seeing how I stacked up against him. He didn't have his best, but it was pretty fun to get to play with him on a Sunday."
Piper: What was the best shot that you hit last season?
Streb: "I don't think I holed out any, but I did have a pretty cool up-and-down in the Frys.com Open this fall. I hit 15 yards long to the left and I had to go down a long slope. I dropped in at about eight feet and made it, so that was pretty nice. I was somewhere I should not have been but I got out of it."
Piper: What's your secret to hitting a long drive?
Streb: "It helps if you are bigger, but I am not very big. A lot of it is just your swing mechanics and your timing. You don't necessarily have to be the biggest, strongest guy to hit it a long way, but if you have some good mechanics and good timing, you can hit it a long way without being overly strong."
Piper: Are there any aspects of your game you're trying to improve upon?
Streb: "I have been focusing on my short game and trying to improve my wedges. I feel like my putting was not very good last year, so I am trying to get that turned around. It has been a little bit of a process, but it is starting to get a little better."
Piper: What are your favorite stops on the PGA Tour?
Streb: "Pebble Beach is always really cool. The weather is hit and miss but the scenery is pretty awesome. I thought the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C., was pretty fun even though I didn't play that course worth a darn. I really enjoyed the Green Brier, and I guess the last one would be the Quad Cities. It is not everyone's favorite thing, but my wife has some family there and it is just a fun tournament."
Piper: What are your goals for this season?
Streb: "I am not going to get a whole bunch of starts, but I just want to capitalize on the starts that I do get. I always want to improve on some things that I didn't do well last year."
Piper: What do you miss the most about K-State and Manhattan?
Streb: "My wife and I always like being in Manhattan. It is just a fun place to be. In college, I lived with all golfers for the most part, so there was always someone to go play golf with, hang out or go to dinner. There was always something fun to do with your friends."
Piper: How did playing at Colbert Hills prepare you for the PGA Tour?
Streb: "It has such good practice facilities, obviously. You get good practice in the wind there. The course is long, so I got used to some of the distances that they stretch it out to (on the PGA Tour). A lot of times they dry the courses out, so you are used to seeing the ball run."
Piper: Have you played any courses during your time as a professional that are similar to Colbert Hills?
Streb: "I don't know if I have played on any courses that have resembled Colbert Hills. It is kind of its own beast."
Piper: How did (K-State head coach) Tim Norris help you on your path to the PGA Tour?
Streb: "He was the one who sent me my first recruiting letter, so that meant a lot to me. I knew that he had played on the PGA Tour and that is something that he has always helped me with."
Piper: Tell me about your top-20 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last month.
Streb: "It was nice to finally get a good tournament in because I had not had a top-20 finish in almost 10 months. I played very well throughout the week. I putted very poorly on the first day and had to make a putter change. I caught a little fire on the second day with the putter and putted well on Saturday. Sunday, I got off to a quick start then had a poor three-putt on the fourth hole from about 15-18 feet. I hit my driver very well on Sunday but hit some loose iron shots for about six holes, which slowed me down a bit. I was able to finish with a nice birdie on 18 though."
Piper: Is there anything you hope to improve on in 2014?
Streb: "I had too many three-putts and some bad decisions that led to bogeys. I am just going to work on being smarter around the course and try to eliminate the three-putts. (At the Farmers Insurance Open), I felt like I was playing well enough to be in the hunt but a few silly mistakes kept me from being right there."
Piper: What does your upcoming PGA schedule look like?
Streb: "I will be chasing a lot of Monday qualifiers over the next couple of months, but I expect to get into Puerto Rico Open (March 5-9) and the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio (March 27-30). This week, I am playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California."
To view Streb's progress on the PGA Tour this season, you can check out his profile page here. K-State men's golf kicks off its 2014 spring season on Monday, Feb. 10, as the Wildcats compete in the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational in San Antonio, Texas.