Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
David Muttitt recently walked into the Los Altos Golf Course clubhouse as his charming self, wearing bright white pants and a matching polo shirt a week before playing in yet another major championship.
In his English accent, he was engaging a few golfers on the topic of the PGA Championship.
On the inside, however, Muttitt wasn’t so bright and cheery.
“I’m ready to go,” said Muttitt, the Los Altos teaching pro who will play in the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club beginning today in St. Louis. “These are the worst few days before you leave. You feel like you’re not ready. I wish Thursday morning was tomorrow. The hardest part is the lead-up to it. Once I’m on the golf course, I’m OK.”
Muttitt has shown he has been more than OK on the golf course, especially at the PGA Professional National Championship (PNC) in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018. He qualified for the PGA Championship in each of those years via a top-20 finish. He qualified after a playoff in 2016 and 2017.
He made it easier on himself this year, on June 20, after a tied-for-fourth finish at the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif.
He finished tied for ninth at the PNC in 2013. That was his best performance at the PGA Championship, missing the cut by two shots.
Muttitt said he endured a miserable experience last year at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., after posting 84-83 on the par-71 course.
The 35-year-old, who played for New Mexico Military Institute, deals with an ailing back. It’s not ideal for him to play every day or hit on the driving range for more than an hour.
Last year, he had planned to play nine holes the day before the PGA Championship began. But he was playing with Jason Day, who asked Muttitt to continue playing with him after nine.
Who would say no to that?
After playing 18, Muttitt felt as if he overdid it. He never felt right.
This year, he says he feels good. He arrived in St. Louis on Saturday.
“Obviously I want to make the cut,” Muttitt said. “My goal is to just go play golf with a free mind and play well. If I do that and it’s not enough, then I’m fine.”
When Muttitt is not teaching at Los Altos, he’s on the road as an equipment fitter for Titleist, working with customers in western Texas, southern Colorado and New Mexico.
The job is just another reminder how important equipment can be. He uses that standard in his teaching. He also stresses improving his students’ short game.
Muttitt has used his skills to win several tournaments, including three PGA Sun Country Section championships.
But it’s hard to top qualifying for four PGA Championships within six years.
“I don’t mind hanging out with him,” said Steve Manning, a pro at Santa Ana Golf Club. “Something always happens with him.”
Manning gave an example of that from two years ago during the Challenge Cup (Sun Country amateurs vs. professionals) at Picacho Hills Country Club in Las Cruces. That’s where Manning basically called his own hole-in-one.
It was on the par-3 No. 8, where earlier in the day Muttitt had said if he used his pitching wedge and hit it extra hard, he could sink it from 150 yards.
Sure enough, Muttitt did just that.
Muttitt is also known for his generosity. He helped his friend Zach Hoefel in the Hoefel Open, a charity golf tournament organized by Hoefel, on Friday. The event is also known as the Folds of Honor, which benefits children of fallen military veterans. Hoefel is a pro at Twin Warriors Golf Course, where the event took place.
Two years ago Hoefel’s mother, Suzanne, died. At the reception after her memorial, Muttitt noticed a plaque dedicated to Hoefel’s mother for when she made a hole-in-one. It was from 121 yards.
At the Hoefel Open, Muttitt tries to ace hole No. 2 from 121 yards and raises money for his attempts.
“It was David’s idea to make it a memory for my mom,” Hoefel said. “He’s a hell of a person to help us out.”