As the PGA’s new official wine, Meiomi wanted to make a big splash within the golfing community. So, when it came time for the last event of the season, Atlanta’s TOUR Championship, the coastal California label did what any savvy newcomer would do — get a well-connected local to show it around.
In the case of Kevin Kisner, the University of Georgia graduate and South Carolina native just happens to also be one of the best golfers in the world. “[Meiomi] wanted to have a big kickoff here,” said Kisner, who’s earned one tournament win and more than $3 million on the tour this year. “I knew there would be a lot of Georgia people that loved to drink wine. Plus, it’ a great way for me and my wife to come and hang out. We like to have a good glass of wine when we’re relaxing.”
Kisner enjoys a night out, sure, but after a grueling golf season — “I’ve been home four days in the last 12 weeks,” he said — we understand why he’s looking forward to some quiet time at home, too. Forbes Travel Guide caught up with the 35-year-old between sips of Meiomi’s smooth rosé to talk family, his frenetic travel schedule and finding time to take out the trash like a normal person.
Recently on your Twitter timeline, you said the TOUR Championship was like a “home game” for you. Is there really a competitive advantage to playing near familiar surroundings?
Any time that I feel like I can have more of the crowd on my side, I feel like I have an advantage. To be in the Atlanta area — close to Athens, where I went to college — and have so many Bulldogs fans to support me, that always makes you feel comfortable. We travel all over the world to play this game. To feel like you’re at home and have people on your side is a big advantage in my opinion.
Do you get to hang out much in Atlanta?
I don’t get to come back nearly as much. But [my wife] Brittany is from Madison, Georgia, which is halfway between here and Augusta. We come to Atlanta when we can. People ask me all the time to go somewhere on my weekend off and I’m like, “Man, I travel for a living. I’m gonna sit on my couch.”
Has the stress and the strain of all the season’s travel gotten to you yet?
We’re fortunate that this is the first season that we’ve moved [the schedule] up. We’re used to finishing close to the end of September. We’re a month ahead of schedule, so that helps. Normally, towards the end of September, you’re pretty sick of the travel. You’re ready to be done for the year and pack it away for a little while.
But I feel pretty good. I feel pretty fresh. As you get older, you can tell that the travel weighs on you a little more. I have kids. When they come up, your time is a little different. I used to spend so much time at the golf course, now I get to go very little compared to what I used to. But that’s just what happens in life when you get older. You can definitely tell that travel is harder on your body.
Does your family get to travel with you to different tournaments?
Yeah, they go a lot. They used to go about 75 percent of the time. Now, it’s closer to 50. My daughter is five. She’s gotten to an age where she wants to stay at home and see her friends. She’s got so many activities lined up that she doesn’t want to miss that, so she doesn’t travel nearly as much.
But we’re fortunate on the PGA Tour to have a traveling school. We have the same teachers every week that come out. The kids can feel like they’re getting some type of school environment. The kids love it. She looks forward to coming out for “Tour school.”
The TOUR Championship is the last official event on this season’s calendar. What will your next few months look like?
I kinda reward myself. If I make it to the TOUR Championship, I take some time off in the fall. I’m going to take eight weeks off. I don’t leave again [for an event] until October 20. I’m looking forward to having a lot of time at home, watching college football. That’s one of my passions — watching Georgia play. And hanging out with my family. And doing things that regular people do every day that I don’t get to do, like taking the trash out, getting rid of boxes, cleaning out my truck and helping my wife around the house.
I interviewed Bryson DeChambeau the other day and he said he plays Fortnite to unwind. What do you do to relax?
He doesn’t have kids!
Exactly. How do you kick your feet up?
My wife and I bought a farm about two years ago. It’s about 45 minutes from our house. We noticed a trend of children loving their screen time. We’re big against that. We try to get them outside. We said, “What better way than to go out where there’s no internet and no cellphone service and make them be outside?”
We were fortunate enough to buy a place that already had a play set and a trampoline. They love it. That’s what I look forward to doing this fall. On Fridays, I’ll pick up Kate from school and go to the farm and let them run around the woods and get dirty and messy. I think that’s how you spend the best quality time.
For me, it’s a total destress. Nobody can text me. Nobody can find me. I’ll catch you on Monday like a normal person.
You have a PGA Tour win and more than $3 million in winnings this year. How would you define your 2019 season?
Our No. 1 goal at the start of the year was to make it to East Lake [Golf Club] in Atlanta for the FedEx Cup championship. The TOUR Championship is the ultimate goal. You can’t win it all if you’re not here. To be here is obviously a big goal of mine and I made it.
I love the chance to win, to be in the heat of the moment. I won a tournament [WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play], but the rest of the year I was right around that cusp of breaking through. I was 20th or 15th [on the leaderboard]. Those [finishes] are great and they pay the bills, but they’re so close to being great.
I feel like I was so close to having an unbelievable year. I’m going to keep grinding and keep working and try to come back next year better than ever.