We caught up with Titleist Brand Ambassador C.T. Pan ahead of this week’s RBC Heritage where he will be teeing it up on Harbour Town Golf Links to defend his 2019 title – his first PGA Tour win.
The 28-year-old from Chinese Taipei enters the week with one career victory and a 2019 Presidents Cup appearance for Team International. Hear more from C.T. below as he discusses defending his title, a detailed look at what's In the bag, and more. Thanks, C.T., for joining in!
Team Titleist: After three months without any events how much did you practice and/or play during the break?
Pan: In April, obviously, the whole nation was shut down, so I didn’t play much, but I practiced at home. Actually, I set up an indoor range in my garage so I was doing some drills and I actually created a YouTube channel to share my golf tips so check it out: CTPanGolf. And then in May, obviously, I played more getting ready for the tournaments — so half and half. I definitely really appreciated a three month break.
Team Titleist: You restarted at Colonial last week. Can you share what the overall experience was like compared to what you were used to?
Pan: Last week was very different, no offense. Definitely good and bad. No more “mashed potatoes” and weird stuff, yelling and screaming. But you know, tournaments are still the same. The only thing I don’t appreciate, I want to complain, is the nose swab before tournaments. It doesn’t feel good even though it’s only five seconds, but it’s something we need to do to make sure everyone is safe and it will be a new normal — so that would be something I feel is different, but you know, tournament is still great. It’s good to be back seeing guys and having fun with them. And actually, the competition is stronger than ever.
Team Titleist: You won your first PGA TOUR event here at the RBC Heritage. Can you share how it felt to win for the first time and what your feelings are having to defend under these circumstances?
Pan: Well, last years’ experience is a pretty long story actually. I wasn’t supposed to play because I had my first AJGA event in the same week. Somehow my wife convinced me. She said she was going to take care of the kids from Taiwan — we invited 12 kids from Taiwan to play my AJGA event — and she told me she’s going to take care of those kids so I can go on and play the tournament, which I did, and it turned in to really good results. So listen to your wife. Make sure she’s happy. Happy wife, happy life.
Another surprise would be one of the girls we brought from Taiwan, she won my AJGA event so that means a lot to me. Hopefully that will help her career and in college golf as well.
And the feelings to defend the title: No, I’m just excited. In April this tournament was cancelled so it’s great to be back and it’s great to compete. It’s probably my favorite stop on the TOUR so it’s great to be back — just awesome.
Team Titleist: You’re returning to Hilton Head where you have a win, a top 25 and a tied for 44th in the three years you’ve played. What suits you about this course?
Pan: I love the course. First of all, the tee shots fit my eyes really well. And obviously this course is all about precision, about where you hit your first shot, that you give yourself a good angle, and where the pins are. So I think it’s all about precision which suits my game really well and that’s one of my strengths so hopefully we’ll have a good result this year as well.
Team Titleist: You participated in last year’s Presidents Cup for the International Team and posted a 2-1 record. What did it mean for you to qualify and can you describe your experience?
Pan: It means a lot to me. Every year I set my goals to achieve. For example, in 2016 I wanted to make the PGA Tour – it’s my dream. After that, I wanted to win a tournament, which I did. And after the win, I told myself I wanted to make it to the Presidents Cup and I finally did it. So, it means a lot to me in a sense of accomplishment. It’s super amazing and fulfilling.
The whole experience of the Presidents Cup is amazing, it’s great. You get to hang out with 20 guys, legendary players, golfers. It was fun to play with Hideki Matsuyama, he’s a great teammate. It was fun, we talked a lot. You know, we were just a good team and put up a good fight even though on Sunday the American team played great – congrats to them. And it was fun. The commute is the most unbelievable part of the experience. It took about an hour to get to the course, but we sang, we danced, and it was just so fun – the team bonding moments come out during that commute. It was really cool to be part of that.
Team Titleist: You’ve played the Pro V1x golf ball since you’ve been with Titleist. Why did you switch to Titleist when you had the chance and what are the most important performance characteristics for you in a golf ball?
Pan: For a golf ball, I’m looking for reliability, consistency and obviously performance. And I think Titleist Pro V1x has proven to me my whole life. Basically that the ball is amazing in every way.
I love how when over the ball, I just know that the ball provides such good performance and I can hit any kind of shot. Especially at RBC Heritage I will be looking for lower launch, and less spin on shots – so I think it will be really helpful this week.
Team Titleist: Can you give us a closer look at WITB?
Ball: Pro V1x
Irons: T100 (black finish)
Wedges: Vokey Design SM8 (46°, 53°, 59°, 64°)
PAN: Four wedges is pretty common for most guys, but a 64 is not that common. The reason I use it is because I’m quite an aggressive iron player so I give myself some harder shots to get up and down. That’s why I need the most loft as possible. My short game is my strength too, so having this helps me reduce a lot of shots around the greens.
For Pan, one of the most special items in his bag is his customized yardage book cover, which features the logo from his AJGA junior tournament – the CT Pan Junior- and the logo of his alma mater, the University of Washington.
Every time Pan opens his yardage book, he is able to read three sentences that hold true:
"I am prepared.
I am ready.
I am a dawg."
PAN: That’s something I always try to remind myself: I’m actually ready.