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Ty Tryon positive about Tour card loss

Ty Tryon, the American teenage prodigy who has so far failed to live up to his promise after becoming the youngest man to earn a card for the PGA Tour, is taking a positive outlook on his demotion to play the Nationwide Tour next season.

"The big advantage is that it will give me some space to grow up and learn my golf game," the 19-year-old said self-effacingly in the Royal Dar Es Salam clubhouse in Morocco after a one-under-par 72 for a 5-over aggregate of 297 and 19th place in the Hassan II Golf Trophy.

Even before he gained his Tour card at age 17 and had to wait until he was 18 before he could use it, he was labelled the White Tiger, a moniker that was always going to be near hopelessly difficult to live up to.

As an amateur, he had played all four rounds in the Honda Classic and B.C. Open and expectation was high that he would shoot to the top.

Tryon, born in Raleigh, N.C., and now based in Florida where he is under the wing of David Leadbetter, conceded that this had been a big burden to bear.

"I don't know how I would do it differently if I had it again," he said. "I just wanted to play golf but I put too much pressure on myself. It is hard to get better if all you are thinking of is results."

There was the matter of going down with mononucleosis, an infection which causes extreme tiredness and has other effects like sore muscles. He missed five months of last season and played this year on a medical exemption.

Tryon missed 17 of out 21 cuts, had just one top-10 finish in the Bay Hill Classic, and ended well below the water line at No. 196. Off the course, he has no airs and graces. When he couldn't find a seat in the players' dining room he made no fuss and sat on the floor.

He still struts the fairways with an almost arrogant air of confidence and possesses a Seve Ballesteros-like sense of derring- do. At the par-5 12th, he looked in a seemingly hopeless position from the tee, surrounded by cork trees. Against his caddie's advice he went for the green through a narrow gap in the trees and almost made the green, carrying water by inches. He made his birdie from there and gave his caddie a "told you so" look.

He certainly had the space he desires with a gallery of no more than 20, and his appearance in Morocco is part of a plan to travel more. He has Australia, Germany, and Scotland (for the Dunhill Links Championship) pencilled in for next year.

He would also like to qualify for the Open Championship at Royal Troon, especially as his close friend is this year's surprise winner, Ben Curtis, with whom he shares the same IMG management.

"It's easier to go abroad when you are playing the Nationwide, which is less demanding than the PGA Tour," said Ty, which is a nickname given to him by his father Bill after Ty Webb, the character played by Chevy Chase in the film, Caddyshack.

Traveling broadens the mind, as they say, and this is all part of his aim to grow up as well as allow his game to develop.

"I have the clubhead speed but need to be more consistent, learn to work the ball, have more control, and better accuracy -- be more professional and ready when I next get a chance on the PGA Tour," he said.

Once all that is in place then presumably the results will take care of themselves.

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