Three-time (and reigning) World Long Drive champion Phillis Meti arrived in Maricopa, Ariz., at the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun ready to kick off her 2019 campaign following a “jam-packed offseason.”
“I was flying back and forth from Australia to New Zealand (her home country) and then to the [Cook] Islands. I’ve really only had eight to 10 weeks of an offseason to get prepared.”
Between building a house in the Cook Islands with her mother and competing on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, Meti only had a couple of months to ready herself for the season.
Despite the chaos in the months since winning her third world championship, she stunned the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun onlookers last week – both in-person and on television – with her 413-yard blast to successfully defend her 2018 title at the event, and kick off her season in the same fashion that she closed out 2018.
“It hasn’t really even sunk in,” said Meti. “I didn’t even think that was possible. That’s probably the fastest I’ve ever swung it to be honest. Hopefully I can stay on this path and keep riding the rollercoaster for the rest of the season.”
The continued momentum for Meti is led by her three victories in last five World Long Drive Tour events.
“2018 was by far one of my most successful years in long drive to date. There were just so many great things that happened. There are so many people that I worked with that were awesome. There were also a lot of things away from the course that contributed to me being happy on the tee and compete to the best of my ability. I couldn’t have wished for a better year.”
Entering the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun, Meti became the first-ever female competitor to earn the No. 1 spot in the newly-established Women’s World Long Drive rankings. The victory further widened her lead atop the rankings.
“It’s an honor and a blessing. People always talk about being in the right place at the right time, and I’m not saying that it’s luck because I worked really hard to get where I am. But it really is such an honor that I get to be the first number one ranked female in World Long Drive.”
Despite her career success on the World Long Drive circuit, Meti admits that she still gets nervous prior to events.
“At every event, I always get the jitters. I always get a little bit nervous. But to me nervous is good because that means it means something to me. The form is going okay.”
As the newly-minted World No. 1, Meti appears to be up to the task.
“I know that this comes with a lot of expectation and a lot of duty outside of the event, but all I can do is hit my golf ball and the rest should fall into place.”
As for goals outside of winning the World Long Drive Championship for a fourth time, she expresses her desire to be more consistent.
“I’m looking at trying to hit the grid more often, and that goes hand-in-hand with consistency. Being able to be consistent month-in and month-out at each event.”
Meti has become a very familiar name amongst long drive fans, and she’s enjoying watching the sport grow. She knows that not only is the sport of competitive long drive moving in the right direction, but golf as a whole is as well.
“It was such a proud moment for me,” she says of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. “For amateur girls to compete at such a prestigious place like Augusta National leading up the Masters shows that we are definitely heading in the right direction. I can only imagine what it’s like being a young girl, who just won, being a pioneer of that tournament.”
Meti will compete next at the Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson on the U.S. Army base in South Carolina, on Tuesday, May 7.