Q&A: Norwegian Mikkelsen describes golfing, living in U.S.

By Tyler Alley

Joakim Mikkelsen had a busy fall semester. He not only attended Baylor classes, but he participated in four golf tournaments, one of those being held in Argentina. He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about that tournament and Baylor men’s golf, among other things.

Q: What did it mean to you, personally, to be able to represent your home country of Norway in the World Amateur Team Championship in Argentina?

A: It meant a lot. I have played for Norway before but not in a real championship kind of setting.

Q: What did you take away from the experience?

A: I’ve played in big events before. This probably the biggest one I’ve played in. It’s just the same as all the other tournaments. It’s good to play against the best amateurs in the world. You try to learn from some and beat others.

Q: Your Baylor teammates had a tournament a couple days after that you could not be at. Was it difficult to not be able to participate in Baylor’s final tournament on the fall schedule or were you just completely focused on the WATC?

A: It was a little weird. Our tournament is one of my favorite ones. I like the course in Dallas real well. I went from straight from the airport in Dallas. I watched them play the final round. It was canceled the last day.

Q: Baylor men’s golf got off on the right foot at the beginning of the year. In the first tournament, three guys shot under par. What contributed to the team’s good start?

A: I think our finish in the first tournament is what we expected, at the very least; that’s how we want to play. I think some of us played a lot over the summer and got prepared. I think that’s pretty much it.

Q: Since then, the team has had declining results. It went from fifth place to seventh to ninth and again ninth. In your eyes, what is the reason for the slide the team has gone through?

A: I don’t think there is any specific reason. It really varies how you play in golf. I think it was just a little slump. We just need to get ready to get back in the spring.

Q: What is your view on the results of the fall schedule?

A: Oh, we all feel bad about it. We feel like we’re way better than how we’ve done. I think we are all confident we’ll come back and do well in the spring. We had a rough stretch in the beginning of the spring last year and we came back and played well in the postseason.

Q: The team just got two letters of intent from an Italian player and a Norwegian player, Mikkel Bjerch-Andresen. Do you know him personally?

A: Yeah I know him a little bit. He’s from a golf club about 40 minutes away from where I lived. So I don’t really know him that well but I’ve met him through tournaments and national team stuff back home. So I think he’ll be good for us.

Q: What was the transition like for you, over two years ago, from living and playing golf in Norway to going to college in Central Texas and playing on courses in America?

A: Well moving here was pretty much a whole new life. You leave all your friends and your family, everything back home. There’s the culture. You have to speak another language in your everyday life. There’s a lot of new people and a lot of new things to get used to. And golf-wise, it’s different. The grass can be a little different, and the course can be longer and have different layouts. Eventually, it’s still the same game; you just have to adapt.

Q: Final question. I have a quote from you earlier in the year. You said, “We want to make it back to nationals. And then we want to take it one step further and make the cut at nationals.” Do you still think this goal is reachable, and what is it going to take for the team to reach this goal after a disappointing start?

A: I think we should be disappointed if we do not make nationals. And then, when you first get to nationals, you never know what’s going to happen. Making match play is hard, but if we can make it to the tournament there’s no reason why we wouldn’t be able to compete with the teams there. But for us to get there, I think we all need to get after it right when we get back from Christmas. Hopefully we can make good progress as the tournaments move on and be at our peak for the postseason.

The men’s golf team returns to action Feb. 14 at the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational in San Antonio.