Kennedy Swann is 23. And three days. She’s 23-years-and-3-days-old, if you’re going by this publish date.
There have been times when she felt – behaved – younger than her age. Now, she feels – behaves – a little older than her age.
But 23 is the number and golf is all about numbers.
Especially those that come after dollar signs.
Kennedy estimates that she has secured about 26,000 of those post-$ numbers as she enters her first full year as a professional golfer. She also estimates that will last her about half, maybe two-thirds of the season.
“That 26-grand is going to go quickly,” she says, adding, “If I go out on Symetra and make money. I’m gonna be doing good.”
Kennedy has Category I status on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental/pipeline circuit, in 2022. That’s an ‘i’ not a ‘1,’ so she’s a little further down the priority list. How she got that status, we’ll come back to.
First a Kennedy snapshot: Born in Austin, Texas (23 years ago), attended Clemson, transferred to Ole Miss, won a national title, turned pro.
Of course, there is a lot of information that can go in between those commas. She played two years as a Tiger, but a coaching change didn’t mesh with her personality. She eyed Ole Miss, but they weren’t sure if they wanted her.
No thank you, said Rebels head coach Kory Henkes. At first, before relenting. “After I thought about it,” she now says, “I kind of like second-chance kids.”
Kennedy, by her own admission, had some maturing to do. “I was a 21-year-old when I transferred that acted like a 16-year-old,” she says.
She needed accountability.
Coach Henkes was happy to oblige: “Oh, I can do that.”
“I don’t even think it took two days before she started yelling at me,” recalls Kennedy. “The coaches were riding my ass.”
Tough love doesn’t work on everyone, but it made Kennedy do just that: work. She worked primarily on course management – that was the area her coaches targeted.
Hit it hard, hit it far, find it, hit it hard again. That was how Kennedy played. Past tense. She rewired her competitive mindset, also improved her putting, and bettered her results.
As a senior in 2019-20, she lowered her scoring average by nearly four shots (71.39) and finished in the top 20 in her first six starts. And that’s all she got. Golf was finished, canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Time to “enter the workforce,” she figured. Head out west and find something in the golf industry. But the …….