May 28, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
You can easily make a case that Rusty Mosley was one of the most improved players on this year’s Florida State men’s golf team.
You could begin by scanning his personal statistics that show an overall improvement in most categories as compared to his freshman season. His statistics show that his stroke average has fallen nearly three strokes per round during the course of this year’s fall and spring seasons. His numbers tell you he carded his career-low of 68 in the third round of the Mason Rudolph Championship during the fall season. They also show you he has earned four top-25 individual finishes including a career-best tied for 10th-place standing at the Gary Koch/Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate also during the fall season.
Or you could just ask Mosley himself.
“I played pretty well this season, probably the best I have ever played,” said Mosley. “The changes I have made helped me become a better golfer. Those changes have also allowed me to realize when I am doing something incorrectly out on the course. I can realize what I am doing wrong and I know what I can do to correct it.”
The changes in his game Mosley talks about almost didn’t happen. After competing in nine events as a freshman, Seminole head coach Nicky Goetze suggested he take the 2001-02 year off from competition to work on his mechanics and his mental approach to the game. Not that he was playing poorly according to Goetze, but that he could be playing so much better and helping the Seminoles even more that he already was.
“After playing some solid golf his freshman season, it was not an easy decision for Rusty to redshirt during his sophomore year,” said Gietze. “However, a year of hardwork which was dedicated toward improving his swing mechanics has provided him with more consistency and better control with his ballstriking. Rusty’s missed shots are not nearly as penalizing and the precision he’s gained allows him to capitalize on his excellent putting ability. Mosley has all the tools necessary to become a successful college player and his scoring this season is an indication of more good things to come.”
Goetze began working closely with Mosley during the second semester of his freshman year and brought up the idea of a redshirt season at the beginning of the fall 2001 semester. When the idea was first posed to the third-year player he was very much against not competing for an entire year. He played well and felt he had earned his way onto Florida State’s starting five with his performance as a freshman. Mosley ranked fourth on the team in stroke average (76.15), earned three top-25 individual finishes and helped the Seminoles to six top-10 team finishes during the spring 2001 season.
Why then, Mosley thought, should he not be in the Seminoles’ lineup?
“I didn’t like the idea (of redshirting) at first,” remembers Mosley. “But once I began realizing the results and seeing what Coach Goetze was able to help me with, I began to grow comfortable with it. I changed the mechanics of how I swing and how I approach the game of golf. I am definitely a better golfer now than I was before I took the year off.”
Following his stellar freshman season, it was hard to anticipate a year away from competition helping his game.
Mosley took off like a drive down the middle of the fairway upon his arrival as a freshman. He was a regular in the Seminoles’ starting lineup his first year and competed in 10 events his freshman season including his first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Mosley’s best career tournament came at the Coca-Cola Tournament of Champions his first semester in campus when he carded a 219 score for the 54-hole event and finished in a tie for 23rd-place. He shot his season-low single round score of 69 during the second round of the event.
“When I came to Florida State, I believed I could compete right away,” said Mosley. “I’ve never been a real shy person and I thought I could play at the collegiate level. I told Coach Goetze I felt I was good enough to start. I guess I earned my way after that and things worked out well for me. Fortunately, I played a lot my first year.”
Mosley had every reason to believe he could compete at Florida State upon his arrival. He had competed in the 2000 U.S. Amateur Open only weeks before his arrival in Tallahassee where the participants list read like a who’s who in amateur golf. Among those competing in the event were Georgia Tech’s Bryce Molder (who now plays on the PGA Tour) and Clemson’s D.J. Trahan (the 2003 ACC champion and current No. 1 player in collegiate golf). The event was held at the famous Baltusrol Golf Club – the same place Jack Nicklaus won his 1967 and 1980 U.S. Open Championships.
“That was the most unbelievable golf tournament I have ever played in,” said Mosley. “Anybody who was anybody in amateur golf was there. There were 300 other players there – and I was one of them. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”
Mosley played well despite missing the qualifying score, but his spirits weren’t dampened.
“The experience allowed me to come into my first year at Florida State knowing I belonged at this level and knowing I was good enough to be here.”
Mosley has been preparing to play at this level ever since he can remember. He would accompany his father to local course and drive the cart while he played 18-holes. It wasn’t until the seventh grade that he picked up his first club and began playing competitively for the first time. Mosley’s love for the game exploded when he and a group of friends began a team at his middle school and continued through his outstanding high school career.
“I had to choose between baseball and golf during my freshman year and I selected golf,” said Mosley. “My dad was the one who got me my first set of clubs and began to really teach me the game. But I really got into the game with a couple of friends who took me out to the local course. We started a team in middle school and we played right through high school.”
Mosley’s goals include continuing to play right though college and into the professional ranks. He wants to continue his overall improvement during the remainder of his career as a Seminole and put himself in position to play at the next level.
“I want to improve each year I am here,” said Mosley. “If I do that, heading into my senior year I can look forward to golfing after college.”
A social sciences major, Mosley has positioned himself to succeed both professionally and academically.
“I want to give playing professional a try,” he said. “In addition to working hard on the golf course, I am also going to give myself something to fall back on educationally, which is why I am working hard in my classes. My parents and grandparents are behind me 100 percent and they don’t put any pressure on me so I want to give it a try.”
Mosley will give his parents and his grandparents a chance to see him play this week as he returns as close to home as he can get on the Seminoles’ schedule as Florida State closes out its season at the Atlanta Intercollegiate at Eagles Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Ga. The course is a little less than three hours from Mosley’s home in Vidalia, Ga.
And yes, Mosley’s hometown of Vidalia is the same one famous for its world-renowned onions.
But don’t cry for Rusty Mosley who is on is way to becoming one of Florida State’s top golfers during his collegiate career.
By Chuck Walsh
Florida State Sports Information Office