Why don't you just start. You had a little bit longer afternoon
than you maybe would have hoped for but then it turned out okay.
I played extremely well. I don't think I can hit my irons any better
than I hit them today. Started out the first hole I hit a great
drive, didn't have -- I just had a 9-iron to the first hole.
I killed my opening drive. Knocked a 9-iron to six inches. Won that
hole with a birdie. My second hole I hit a bad 5-iron off the tee
in a left rough. I hit a pitching wedge all over the flag. Just
a little long. Had a fun little chip. Chipped it about two feet
or less than that. Probably about a foot. I had that over par.
Number 5, I
hit a real good drive but -- or number 3, real good drive, but I
didn't turn it over into the right rough. I had like -- didn't have
very far. Had like 110 to the hole. Hit a little gap wedge to the
left of the green. Hit a good chip about four feet away. About maybe
five feet. My playing partner had made about a six-footer for bogey
and I hit a bad putt and pulled it. Halved that hole.
Number 4, I
hit a poor drive in the bunker. Blasted out a 52 just to advance
it down the fairway. Had 235 to the green. Hit a 4-iron about 15
feet. Hit a great putt. Lipped it out. My competitor made it for
a birdie four.
Number 5, 2-iron
down the fairway, wedge or sand wedge to about three-and-a-half
feet, four feet. I missed so we halved that hole. Still all square.
Number 6, I
hit a 7-iron about eight feet left of the hole; about 15 feet left
of the hole. Perfect placement. My playing partner hit it over the
green where I thought he was dead. He holed it out of the bunker
for a birdie two. I lipped my putt out. I'm now one down.
7, hit a really
good drive. Had 9-iron to the green there. About 30 feet left of
the hole. 2-putt par.
8, I hit a 4-iron
left bunker, he hit it way left in the garbage. Wedged it out about
20 feet. I went out of the bunker about six inches. Made that for
par. So match is again all square.
No. 9, I thought
I hit a pretty good drive. I absolutely creamed it and ended up
in the ditch over there and didn't have much of a play. And I kind
of looked -- I saw where the pin was. I knew there was no way short
left you could 2-putt. Thai hit it short left front of the green.
I knew there was no way he could make a four. Unless he made a 20-
or 30-footer so I tried to pull off a miracle shot. Hit an 8-iron
in the bunker. Thought I hit a good one, had about an 8- or 9-footer
for par. Didn't make it. Bogey there.
Number 10, hit
a real good 2-iron down the fairway. Hit an 8-iron about 15 feet
just above the hole. My playing partner had about a 6-footer for
bogey. I just laid it up there. He conceded four. So the match is
I'm back to 1-up.
No. 11, hit
a good 2-iron, I think I had 117 yards. Hit a gap wedge to about
three feet. He was just a little inside me. He hit to about five
feet. He made it for birdie and I made it on top of him for birdie.
So I'm still 1-up at 11.
12, I hit a
great drive, I had 230-something to the hole. I hit a 4-iron. Just
short of the pin high. He was chopping around. Just knocked it to
down there, he conceded the hole for a four. So I'm 2-up.
13, I tried
to hit an 8-iron. I kind of lost my balance a little bit and my
left foot slipped. I pulled it left in the bunker. Hit a bad bunker
shot just over the green. Didn't matter though; he holed it out
of the bunker again for birdie two. So I'm 1-up.
14, I hit a
driver off the tee. I was about 10 yards short of the green just
in the left rough. Didn't hit a particularly good chip; probably
20 feet, 25 feet. He was just barely inside of me. Hit a good putt;
I don't know how it missed. I thought it was in. Didn't go in. Then
naturally he made his putt for birdie.
About 25 feet
there. So we're all square again.
15, hit the
probably the longest drive I've hit in a long long time. Hole's
500 yards and I had 112 to the hole I think. Hit a gap wedge again
just trying to -- I was a little bit in the rough, just tried to
knock it up there. I was about 15 feet; pretty easy putt and I kind
of pulled it. Didn't make it. He made a nice four- or five-footer
there for the half.
16, par-3 he
was hitting first. He hit probably a 2-iron on to the green. Probably
60 feet. No, probably not that far; probably 35 feet. He ran it
probably 15 feet by. I hit a 4-iron probably about 20 feet. Just
above the hole. I made that putt for birdie.
17, I hit a
3-wood, just short of the green. He was left. He hit first. Knocked
it probably 18, 19 feet by. I was kind of in a weird spot. I was
in the fairway but up against the collar. Normally would be a 3-wood
shot but I didn't like the way it was sitting and so I elected to
putt it. Hit a not very good putt about 15 feet or so. Not 15 feet.
Probably about 20 feet because I was a little outside of him. Hit
a good putt and left it right in the middle short. He missed his
putt and made a par.
Then 18, I hit
a dream drive right down the middle of the fairway. I had 164 yards
to the middle of the green. I think the pin was a little up. He
hit a poor drive off to the right. I hit a 7-iron that was probably
eight feet behind the hole, nine feet behind the hole. And he kind
of conceded the match there.
So all in all
it was a good day. I played extremely well. I feel if I was Ty Harris
I would have a good cry someplace tonight, if I was him, because
I don't know how any other matches were but he would probably have
won about 30 of the other matches. The kid was under par at Oakmont
and he loses. That doesn't consider there was one round under par.
It was a hard
course today hard and fast. It's a monster course out there. I'm
very fortunate to get through this match. It was a touch match and
we'll see what happens the whole time -- I knew I was in a dog fight
and I just kept reminding myself of '94 a little bit the first round
match I played, a fellow named John Grace then and I had to go extra
holes. So I knew it was a gut check time, especially when he birdied
15 to suck it -- or not birdied 15, when he birdied 14 to square
the match -- that I had to look down deep inside myself and
see how much I wanted this. And I found some stuff and it was good
preparation hopefully for the rest of the week and more importantly
some good preparation for going overseas in a couple weeks for the
Walker Cup. I proved to myself again it's been a long time since
I've been in position like this that I want the ball when the game's
on the line. And I was able to drop on some past experiences and
get the job done today.
Q. How far
was the drive at 1?
I have no idea. I could probably look at my pin sheet. I had 134
yards to the front, 157 yards to the hole. So I don't know how far
that hole is; 480, 330.
Q. Was there
a point -- you talked about how you were feeling about it, but was
there a point where you were thinking maybe this isn't going to
When he holed it out of the bunker on number 6, for all practical
purposes I said, I could be screwed today. I played great. I couldn't
play any better through six holes and I'm now one down. This guy
holed out of the bunker where he didn't have a prayer really to
get up-and-down. But he hit an incredible shot; it went in and it
was good for me. Because right there a smidgen of doubt crept in.
And that's when I had to look inside myself and say, hey, you know,
this is the U.S. Amateur, you need to suck it up and let's go. Prove
to yourself and prove to everybody that you can play in a tough
match. And I was able to do that today.
Q. When he
did it again at 13?
Well, 13 for all practical purposes it didn't matter because I was
over the green. I was chipping for par. But when he did it again
I was like, you know, hey, there's nothing I can do about it. I
can't control his ball and then I was thinking to myself, hey, he
wasted one, he would have got up-and-down and probably beat me.
So just things like that are good. Because they make you test yourself
and like I said, I got to see what was deep inside, deep down inside
Trip Kuehne again today. And I liked it, what I saw.
Q. Is that
the beauty of match play; you just don't know?
I mean it is. It's the beauty of match play and it's also the agony
of match play for Ty Harris, because the kid played phenomenal.
He hit lots of good shots. When he was in trouble he hit good shots.
He played a phenomenal round of golf and unfortunately he happened
to draw a guy today that also played a phenomenal round of golf
and he unfortunately got beat. I don't think there would be -- there's
a winner and a loser in every match but I'll tell him the same thing
I got from Tiger in 1994, there were two winners that day. Ty Harris
didn't win the match but he's a winner in my book.
'94 is in your mind. How do you approach that now?
Well, I got it planted in my mind before I even teed off. I'm in
there and they start talking about 1994. I had to get up and leave.
I had to cut lunch short. They were talking about it in there. So
it's always in the back of my mind; how could it not be? I got to
used to it as a springboard. I know what it takes to get to the
finals of the U.S. Amateur, I know you're going to have hard matches.
I know hopefully to get there you're going to have some easy matches.
But you know, I only think about '94 when I'm reminded of '94 for
the final match. There's some stuff along the week that I take,
that I draw back on just like I did today in my match against John
Grace. It was a dogfight. And there's going to be lots of dogfights
out here and I was lucky to get by this dogfight today.
Q. Was it
the TV preview?
I guess that's what it was. I don't know what it was; I never seen
a tape of that match and, you know, I saw, I have seen
his shot on 17 one time in my entire life. I was going through an
airport in Atlanta, sitting there and it was the same time that
Tiger's triple thing was going out and I happened to look up and
saw his ball and got a little sick to my stomach. But I never watched
the tape nor do I want to watch the tape and I saw it came up and
I was sitting right behind Bob Ford and I said, I don't want to
see this. I'll see you boys later.
Q. How long
did it take before you could reflect back on that and take the positives
out of the week out of there versus the negative?
I played great. I shot 66, 73 at Sawgrass and lost. How could I
not take positives away from it. It was an incredible week. I just
happened to lose to a guy that was supposed to win that day. I'll
contend the same way with Ty Harris today; there was two winners
that day. I mean if I would have won that match in 1994 I wouldn't
be sitting here today. I wouldn't have the wife I have today and
I definitely wouldn't have the child I have today. That match changed
two lives. And I think both for the better.
Q. You frequently
have such an advantage off the tee with your distance; do you find
yourself having to fight ego very often as far as club selection
pulling the driver out?
Not really. There's a couple holes that test me out here like that.
The two holes are 14 and 17. 17, I can't hit a driver because I
hit a driver solid I'm over the green. And on number 14, I basically
made a decision there, it's 294 to the front of that bunker, that's
on the left. If I hit a solid drive I can fly the bunker and if
I get it far enough right I could knock it on the green. You just
got to play the hand that's dealt you. I've been driving the ball
extremely well. I drove the ball well again today and I'm going
to continue to hit driver because if I can consistently be past,
in the fairway, a guy that I'm playing, 30 or 50 yards, the more
holes we play, the better chance I'm going to have. And it's just
that simple. These greens will get extremely hard and fast and they're
difficult to putt. And if I'm going in there with a 9-iron or an
8-iron and they're going in there with a 5- or a 6-iron, over time,
I'm going to beat them. It's just a matter of whether it's going
to be in 18 holes or whether it's going to take longer, maybe 36
holes. I just got to keep doing what I'm doing. And if I continue
to drive the ball the way I'm driving it I'll hit driver on basically
Q. Is that
what you were able to do at 1? Did you try to fly it all the way
back and bring it back?
I had a 9-iron and hit it like a foot to the right, took one hop
and stopped. It was six inches. So it's a big advantage. And in
my last few USGA and match play events the round that's killed me
is -- and this is not looking past my opponent tomorrow, but I know
in the back of my mind the round that's killed me in USGA events
is the second round of the 36 hole day. Because the greens get a
little bit harder and a little bit faster and I usually can control
my distance with my ball pretty well. And I find myself hitting
where I want to hit, but the greens being so firm and fast I have
a lot of 40 and 50 footers and that's not my strongest suit. So
I know what I got to do, only thing I can concentrate on is, tomorrow
morning I got to figure out when my match is, but get ready, get
prepared to play whomever I play and knock the ball in the fairway
on the first hole. That's all I can control from here until tomorrow.
And that's all what I'm going to be thinking about. I'm going to
go home relax, take a dip in my host family's pool and kickback,
pat myself on the back and say, "Job well done today, let's forget
about it and go tomorrow."
Q. Is it
better even to have to put yourself through such a tough test the
I contend in order to win a match play championship or anything,
whether it be college basketball or the U.S. Amateur or the Mid
Amateur you're going to have rounds where you're going to get tested.
And I had a round where I was tested today, I was tested to the
max. I'll be able to draw on this later in the week or tomorrow,
if I have a tough match, I'll be able to draw on what happened today.
Also, I also contend that you have to get past one of your bad rounds.
Over the course of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur you play 36 holes,
the stroke play to get here is another 36 holes, I believe I counted
the other day when we were talking it was 11 rounds in order to
make it to the finals and win the championship. And at some point
in those 11 rounds you're going to more than likely have a bad round.
Hopefully when you're having your bad round your opponent isn't
playing that well either and you can somehow gut it out for a win.
And that's the way it is. '94 gave me experience and I have some
experience over these guys and that's about it. When you step on
the first tee. I'm 31 years old, I have a wife and kid at home,
golf isn't near as important to me as it is those guys and I have
been in this situation before and playing against a guy that they
all know. So if I continue what I'm doing, play like I did today
I think I'll be around for awhile.
Q. I think
you have been to this course probably more than most of the guys
that are competing this week. You also played at Olympia Fields,
could you kind of just quick compare, contrast between the two.
I don't mean this in any way, any harm to a member of the Field's
Club, but because the people at Pittsburgh have kind of embraced
me, it's been nice to see.
Fields, I'm sorry.
Olympia Fields, oh. Not really any comparison. This course is six
or seven shots harder. That Olympia Fields could be overpowered.
The greens weren't quite as fast and they were, the last day there
was, there couldn't have been a sterner test of golf than Olympia
Fields was on Sunday. The pin placements were brutal, the greens
got to where they needed to be, because it was firm and fast. And
if Oakmont Country Club ever gets firm and fast, the scores will
be through the roof. Prior to this week the first time I ever played
it, I probably played the course 25 times, Oakmont is a single hardest
golf course I ever played in my entire life. There's many courses
you go and you can step on a par-5 or a par-4 and know there's no
possible way you can make a bogey. You can bogey every single hole
out here and you can have a five-footer for birdie and make a bogey.
But every single hole is demanding, almost every par-4 is 380 yards
or 480 yards. You have to drive the ball in the fairway and you
have to get the ball in the right spot on the green. And it penalizes
bad shots. You look at the scorecard and you say, well 15 or 14
and 17 are easy holes. Well, there's a fellow that's a pretty damn
good player named Danny Green who wishes he could play those two
holes over again. He made a 7 and a 8 on holes that don't even measure
700 yards probably combined. That's the beauty of this course. It
tests every facet of your game. It tests your patience, it tests
your driving ability, it tests your long iron ability, it tests
mid irons, wedges, short irons, chipping, putting, bunker play.
It's the ultimate test of golf. And it's going to be an incredible
venue for the 2007 U.S. Open. But I just hope that Craig's peers
here at the USGA don't make it just ridiculously difficult. I know
the members are concerned how their course stacks up, how does their
course stack up, we need to make it harder, we need to make it harder.
All you have to do is, you got 312 of the finest amateurs in the
world playing this golf course and one person broke par, I think
three people shot even par. That's a pretty good indication of where
the golf course is. And that was with some rain on Saturday two
days before the qualifying so the course wasn't set up exactly how
the USGA wanted it to. I know they're talking about making a couple
changes and they're going to make it even more difficult, which
is hard to believe because I don't know how you can make a course
that that's this hard harder. Long answer for a question, but it's
an incredible golf course.
by ASAP Sports ....