Junior Pierceson Coody rises to top of golf amateur rankings with standout junior season, sets sights on PGA Tour with debut at AT&T Byron Nelson Tournament

Stephen Wagner

Walking into the Texas men’s golf locker room, junior golfer Pierceson Coody can feel the pressure of being a Longhorn –– pressure set by college All-Americans and Masters Tournament winners like Ben Crenshaw, Jordan Spieth and his grandfather, Charles Coody, who won the 1971 Masters.

It’s nothing Coody isn’t used to. Growing up in a family of golfers, golf was less of a habit and more of a way of life. He can’t remember ever not knowing how to hold a golf club and can recall caddying for his grandfather as a small child. He even played so much that he began to despise the sport from first grade through his prepubescent years before he rekindled his love for golf as a middle schooler.

And now, even though his time as the No. 1 amateur golfer in the world last week was short-lived, he’s following in his family’s footsteps.

“Whatever sport you’re playing, you aspire to find a way to get to the top,” Coody said in a Thursday press conference. “To know that I’m taking the right steps is nice, but we still have a long way to get to the (PGA) Tour.”

But after this season, Coody’s path to the Tour is significantly clearer.

Coody had his best season in his three years as a Longhorn in 2020-2021, winning his first collegiate tournament as an individual and notching four total top-three finishes this spring as he briefly rose to the world’s top amateur ranking in late April. He also helped the Longhorns score six top-five team finishes in the spring alone and said he’s felt like he’s played at a special level for the last two months.

However, not much has changed in his routine.

“I still go out there and do the same thing I’m doing with the guys and have fun,” Coody said. “I think that I’m pretty focused on what I want to accomplish this year and let the other stuff kind of fall in line after that.”

He’s more than accomplished a few of his goals this year, even if the Longhorns didn’t win the Big 12 championship at the conference tournament in Kansas earlier this week. Coody wanted to crack the top five of the amateur golfer rankings, and he’s now No. 2. Coody wants to qualify for the PGA Tour; he makes his professional debut at AT&T Byron Nelson Tournament in 2 ½ weeks.

Coody joked that he needs to reassess his personal goals after his individual success this spring, although his sights are still set on a national championship and team success in the NCAA regional and national meets. But one goal hasn’t changed: putting on the green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

“I think you have to … Making it to Augusta is the pinnacle,” Coody said, adding that he pictures celebrating on the 18th hole. “I (imagine it) all the time. It’s not just standing there on the first tee.”