POTOMAC, Md. -- Golf is a fickle game. Ask any golfer. But us mere mortals kind of assume the pros don't have quite the same violent swings in form that we're accustomed to facing.
On Thursday in the first round of the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship, Matthew Wolff found himself on the good side of one of the widest pendulum swings a pro could imagine. From seemingly out of nowhere, Wolff opened at TPC Potomac with 5-under 65 to take a share of the lead through the morning wave of the one-off event in the D.C. area.
While Wolff has been open about the mental and physical struggles he has faced in making his life in professional golf, what he revealed after the first round opened a window into the depths Wolff has traveled recently.
"I played my home course like four days ago, and I lost every golf ball I had in my bag, so I realy didn't come here expecting to play well," Wolff said after the round. " I was just trying to work on my attitude and have a good time."
Wolff had never played TPC Potomac, which last hosted a PGA Tour event in 2018. He said it may have been helpful to not know the course.
"I think sometimes I play courses better when I don't see them just because it frees me up," he said. "When you know a course too much, you know where the trouble is and stuff and you might get a little guidey."
Stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, Wolff explained that he's been trying to stop comparing himself to the two big-name guys who debuted on the PGA Tour around the same time and just trying to be himself.
"I think it's just more defining my own success," he said. "I think coming out with Viktor (Hovland) and Collin (Morikawa), they're really good friends of mine and I think all the success they've had is great and I'm very happy for them, but I think just like getting put in that group and everyone talking about everything that I could do with the golf ball or all my skills or anything like that and I just felt like there was so much pressure and so much expectation around me that it was just really hard to live up to."
Wolff said he's focusing on attitude largely because his attitude truly does impact everyone around him: himself, his playing partners, his family and his fans.
"I feel like I call myself a people pleaser because I kind of just like to please everyone," he said. "I feel like that's why I love signing autographs and love doing stuff like that because I just want everyone to be happy. I've kind of learned that you can't really make everyone happy. If you have a good attitude, most people don't even care how you play, they just kind of like to see that you're having a good time, and especially the people most important to me."
He added, "I never want to affect anyone else, and I was obviously affecting myself a lot. But just the fact that I knew that kind of with my shoulders down or anything that I was struggling with, it was -- it's hard to play good when you're playing with someone who's like that. Like I said, I wish I could go back and redo what I did, but the only thing I can do now is from here on forward."