Young, Brash and Pure - A Candid Conversation with James Nitties


James Nitties is a young, brash and out going 27-year-old Aussie having a great first year on the PGA Tour. Nitties comes out of Q School where he finished second overall in what many consider the hardest way for one to earn their PGA Tour card. James’ attitude on the golf course is all about having fun, looking sharp and playing powerful controlled golf. This approach is leading a new charge for his generation in proving golf can be cool and fun.

There is truly nothing boring about Nitties; he comes right out with his thoughts on golf and the way he plays the game. We caught up with James at the Transitions Championship inside the Rolling O Lab after the final day of practice just a few short weeks ago.

So James you qualified second in Q School, walk us through that time:

“Q School is pretty growling man, six rounds of golf is pretty tough in any tournament, but in Q School it’s all based on your future in golf. The fact is you play well, you are on the PGA Tour, if not, you go home. I mean its pressure packed. But by being on the TV show that highlighted Q School on NBC that believe it or not helped a lot for me. The golf itself was honestly the easiest part, it was the nights that were toughest… you just sit in your room thinking about what might be or could be for that matter.”

Leading into FBR you had a great round of golf:

“Going into FBR I felt good by having my best missed cut with a 62 at the Bob Hope Classic. I went into the second round knowing I had to shoot 59 to make the cut, so my caddie and I just had a good time. And I ended up shooting a 62 and missing the cut by one stroke, which brought me into FBR with some great momentum.”

FBR was your first breakout tournament, what was that like:

“It was awesome; FBR was the one tournament I was looking forward to the most all year. I mean Hawaii and Bob Hope are kind of Mickey Mouse type tournaments… or more casual you might say. So FBR was when I finally realized ‘hey I am on the PGA Tour’ and I had the early morning tee time for my first round and the result was me taking the lead. It was such a great feeling, the tournament is my type of scene, and it’s a party atmosphere, a fun course and really good conditions.

How is FBR your type of scene:

FBR itself is my type of scene because the 16th was the one hole I was looking forward to playing all year. I had seen it on TV and when I finally got there it was more then what I imaged, the whole stadium hole and the crowd were amazing. All the Oakley guys up in their VIP suite and it’s loud. I mean on Sunday it was so loud, I couldn’t hear my caddie talking to me and he was five feet away. So it feels like a whole entirely different sport, it offers the feeling of other sports to golf, like a hockey stadium or football stadium. And to incorporate that into golf with 50,000 screaming fans on one hole is out of this world. In the end the tournament is all about a party and that is what I like about it.”

You signed on with Oakley this year, how did that relationship develop:

“First off, I was attracted to the brand because it was edgy, cool and appeals to my style. I wanted to take the old man out of golf and that was why I went with Oakley. I want to keep away from the normal boring look and we need to bring more cool things back into golf these days. We need to form a new generation, golf’s a fun and cool sport and it needs to appeal more to this new generation. And Oakley offered that to me and to be a part of the Oakley team, that gives me the extra confidence to be cool out on the course.”

What makes Oakley cool to you:

“Yeah I mean Oakley obviously is leading the way when it comes to sunglasses and since I started wearing Oakley’s when I was 19 I have never played without them. And it’s good to see that the clothing has come along and matched that quality. I mean out here on tour everything is baggy and white and boring, and Oakley is bringing that young surfer look, but in a classy way.”

“I get so many complements on tour now that I am wearing Oakley with people asking where did I get it or how can I get some… And I tell them it’s all Oakley stuff.

Oakley came out with a new shoe that you wear (Superdrive):

“I mean the shoes are awesome, put it this way about the shoes. I was in second at FBR going into the last round and I put my first pair of ”" target="_blank">Superdrives on and normally people need to wear there shoes in a few times to play a round on tour because of blisters and such, but I wore them fresh for the first time that day – the final round. And I played great that day and I never had to break them in and have worn them ever since. Plus the thing is they look like a good golf shoe, it’s a classy but edgy shoe, with good colors, while not being plain and boring like a lot of what is on tour.

“I mean overall the gear is just ‘pure’ I don’t just sign with any brand or I just don’t go with anyone because of a contract – I have to like and want to be a part of the brand. And with Oakley it’s just that. I want to be a part of this brand.”


Matt Murray


April 01, 2009