JONATHAN BYRD: Well, it’s kind of hard to process because I’m still kind of in shock. I’ve got to go back to the putt before on 18. I hit a poor shot into the green and get kind of fortunate that it stays up in the rough and hit a chip and gave myself a chance to stay in the golf tournament and just made a great putt from about 12 feet, I guess, stayed in the tournament.
We’re sitting there on 18 green trying to decide whether we’re going to keep playing or not, and I wanted to — I felt like we could get one more hole in on 17, and the other guys did, too. We decided just one more hole, and if we get to the green and it’s too dark, we’ll stop.
So I’m up first, and I’ve played that hole well in regulation and in the playoff, hit good shots, and just went through my same process, and for me it was put a 6-iron kind of back in my stance and try to play more of kind of a sweeping draw into that left pin and curve it over to it. It started perfect, it turned perfect, and it was coming right down the flag. I thought I hit it too good. I thought I hit it too far, and I couldn’t see anything. But to hear the reaction as it went in, I was just in shock.
I was trying to be considerate of my playing partners because two more guys had a chance to keep playing, and I didn’t want to overreact. I’m numb pretty much.
Q. When were you sure it went in? I’m sure it wasn’t right away.
JONATHAN BYRD: Well, it was almost like I thought I heard somebody say it went in, and then I wasn’t sure, and then my caddie said, “I think it went in.” Then he said, “It went in, it went in.” I don’t know, it’s like any hole-in-one if you don’t see it. You’re not really sure until you can go down there and look in the bottom of the hole and you can see it. I didn’t have that luxury. But like I said, when everybody was just kind of yelling and screaming, then I knew.
Q. There’s a difference, isn’t there, between hearing a shot that’s close and a shot that goes in, right? You don’t need to see it; you can hear it?
JONATHAN BYRD: Yeah, they kind of roar and then they just kind of go nuts and then people just start yelling, I think it went in, I think it went in, it did go in, it did go in. It just kind of keeps going.
Q. I’ll take you back to 18, too. I’m sure you haven’t seen the shot yet, but were you just as surprised when you got up to the ball to see it didn’t go in the water?
JONATHAN BYRD: I really thought when I hit the shot I thought it was going to stay up on the green. It landed on the green, and I thought the wind was going to hold it up. I obviously wasn’t trying to hit it there. And then when I saw it go down the hill and I heard people going, aww, like that, I thought it was in the water, and I thought I was going to be done.
And then right at the last second I kind of heard somebody cheer. And they don’t cheer when it goes in the water unless they’ve really had too much to drink. So I figured, hey, it must be up. I might be standing in the water. You don’t know what you’re going to make of it. Fortunately it was good enough for me to get it on the green and have a chance to save par.
Q. Why was it so much tougher today for everybody to kind of get on a run? You know, everybody, yourself included, has been able to really make a nice run each day. What was going on out there today that made it so much tougher? Was it because it was Sunday? Was it the wind? Was it the greens were harder, or was it a whole lot of stuff?
JONATHAN BYRD: Well, I don’t think it was the golf course. I think it was Sunday. You had a lot of guys — you had one before me who hasn’t had a great year, so you’ve got a lot of things going on there. You’ve got guys in the mix who are still trying to keep their card, and just a lot of things going on mentally.
And then I think the hole locations were a little more difficult. I think they tucked them and had some good hole locations up against the edges to where if you got a little greedy you could make some mistakes. And I kept trying to fight that balance all day of not getting too greedy and force things but stay aggressive and try to hit some shots close. I wasn’t able to do that until the end. I started to kind of free things up coming in. I didn’t really have anything to lose at that point.
Q. What did your playing partners say to you when they learned the ball went in the hole?
JONATHAN BYRD: I mean, they were pretty excited, I think. I mean, it’s pretty hard to follow that. They came over and were very gracious and congratulated me and told me, “great shot.” Both of them did and the caddies. And everybody was smiling. I think when something like that happens that’s out of their control, there’s not much they can do about it. They’ve got to figure out a way to follow it up.
Q. What was the yardage?
JONATHAN BYRD: I don’t know what the actual yardage was. We were playing it downhill, but my caddie Adam told me it was 194 yards adjusted. That’s with the downhill and the percentage. We had a little cross help wind, and for me it was just about a 185-yard shot.
Q. Have you hit a hole-in-one at any level before?
JONATHAN BYRD: I’ve had one hole-in-one at a tournament, and that was at the Deutsche Bank on the 11th hole in the tournament. That was the only time I’ve ever had one in a tournament. I’ve had one in qualifier. I’ve had probably three other ones. And actually I’ve had a hole-in-one on a par-4, and it was actually the 15th hole in a practice round here one year. I one-hopped it in the hole playing with Phil Mickelson and Billy Mayfair in a practice round. That was probably five years ago.
Q. Have you ever heard of anything like somebody winning a golf tournament on the last shot from either the fairway or — not counting a chip-in, but with a shot like that?
JONATHAN BYRD: I mean, I saw Craig Parry do it — it was Craig Parry, right, at Doral on 18, holed out against Scott Verplank. I remember watching that. I’d like to say that was probably a little more difficult shot. But I had water, too. But it was just as hard a shot. Robert Gamez made it on 18 at Bay Hill, but I don’t remember anybody that hit a hole-in-one in a playoff.
The only thing in my mind is I kept thinking, you know what, I want to keep playing, I obviously want to win the golf tournament, but I haven’t seen my wife and my kids in two weeks and I’m going to miss the flight tonight and we’re going to be playing, so that doesn’t sound too good. It all worked out as good as it could have.
Q. Can you talk about what you had to do to get into the playoff? I think you birdied three of the last four holes.
JONATHAN BYRD: Yeah, I was three back standing on 15 tee, and fortunately this tournament, this golf course lends some eagle opportunities coming in, and if you get hot coming in, you can make up some ground, especially if somebody else makes a mistake. Unfortunately my buddy Webb Simpson got it to 22-under and hit it in the water on 17 and made a double. Obviously if he wouldn’t have done that I would have had to birdie the last hole to get into the playoff. So I’m sad for him because he played so well this week.
But I hit good shots coming down the stretch. My goal was to birdie the last four. I birdied the last three, and then I kind of wimped out in the last hole in regulation and just kind of hit it in the fat of the green.
Walking you through the playoff, I hit good shots in the playoff other than two poor tee shots on 18 and made a great save on 18 the second time and hit a great putt on 17 the first time. I don’t know how that putt didn’t go in.
Dr Mo’s student, Nick Watney has a plan for 2011. In an artical published by the Fresno Bee, Nick enters the next stage of his career–Winning. Watney wants to raise his game even higher.
JULIUS MASON: Good morning, everyone, I am the PGA of America’s Julius Mason, and I would like to welcome those of you joining us on the phone lines from around the world and those of you right here at the New York Stock Exchange for the United States Ryder Cup Captain’s pick news conference.
We have some guests in attendance that I would like to introduce. So if you would please, first, from The PGA of America, vice president, Allen Wronowski; secretary Ted Bishop; honorary president, Brian Whitcomb; Chief Executive officer, Joe Steranka; PGA of America board members, Rod Loesch and Derek Sprague; from the New Jersey PGA Section, president Dan Pasternak; vice president, Bryan Jones; secretary, Andy Brock; and Executive Director, Scott Kmiec; from the Metropolitan PGA Section, president Joe Felder; vice president, Carl Anderson; treasurer, Brad Worthington; secretary Brian Crowell; and Executive Director, Charlie Robson. And all the way from Wales, Sir Terry Matthews, owner and chairman of the Celtic Manor, site of the 38th Ryder Cup.
Ladies and gentlemen, at the head table joining us today are Ryder Cup assistant captains, Tom Lehman; Davis Love III and Paul Goydos; and now it gives me great pleasure to introduce all the way from Ludlow, Vermont, the 36th president of The PGA of America, Mr. Jim Remy.
JIM REMY: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for being here, taking time out of your busy schedules to join us here for what is certainly an exciting day. I would also like to thank all of those tuning in for taking the time to be with us.
You know, I have the wonderful job of representing 28,000 men and women who go to work every single day in this business to grow the game of golf, run the business of golf, and most of all, teach golf at such a high level. The best teachers in the world are from The PGA of America, and it’s a true honor to be here and represent those 28,000 strong throughout the entire country who really are the backbone of golf.
You know, it’s hard to believe that nearly two years has passed since Valhalla and that in just 23 days, the first ball will be struck in the 38th Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. It seemed like just yesterday, the great victory at Valhalla, and here we are preparing to head overseas with our team.
As you can see, and as most of you know, the European Ryder Cup Team was selected some nine days ago, and you can see by the list on the wall, it’s a great team and we look forward to competing against the European squad.
Eight of United States Team were identified on August 15th by our points program at the conclusion of the PGA Championship, and they are listed right here.
You know, really, what awaits us today, and I’m sure it’s why you are all here, is when our captain, Corey Pavin, will identify the four men who will complete Team USA as we head off for the 38th Ryder Cup. But before I turn it over to the captain with that information, I just want to say that nearly two years ago, we chose Corey Pavin as our captain and there was never any it doubt in our mind that he was the right man for the right job at the right time. He certainly has a great task ahead of him as we defend the Cup overseas.
We are proud of the job that Corey Pavin has done and we continue to be proud of him and his assistant vice captains, Paul and Davis and Tom, and we look forward to what will be a great competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, with great pleasure, I’m very proud to introduce the captain of the United States Ryder Cup Team, Corey Pavin.
COREY PAVIN: Thank you, Jim, I appreciate the comments and Sir Terry Matthews who came owl the way over here from Wales, thank you for everything that you’ve done for us and for making us feel welcome in Wales. We appreciate that very much.
I would like to thank Captain Lehman, Davis Love, Paul Goydos and Jeff Sluman who could not be here today, he’s over on the Champions Tour playing overseas today, but I thank you gentlemen for your help and conversation last night, as well.
We are very excited to be going over to Wales and to play The Ryder Cup. I’m very pleased with the eight players that have qualified, and I’m here to add four to that list of eight, who the eight are Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Jeff Overton, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson.
The four captain’s picks for the 2010 team are: Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler.
I am very pleased to add these four to Team USA. I think our team is very good. I think these four players complement those eight very well. That was the goal of these four players. I’m very proud to have Team USA completely assembled now, and I’m looking forward to the matches in three weeks. Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Captain Pavin, thank you very much. Let’s go ahead and see if we can’t hear a good morning for your captain’s picks, starting at the top, Stewart Cink, are you with us today?
STEWART CINK: Yes.
JULIUS MASON: Stewart, say good morning to everybody in the room here in New York City and give us your thoughts on being a selection.
STEWART CINK: Well, good morning, everybody there in New York City and everywhere else, too. It’s really exciting to be included in the team. I thank Corey for the consideration and the rest of the assistant captains. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s my third time to be picked; so I’m starting to probably be close to being a record there. I guess all that means is I’m not very good in qualifying in the Top-10, I don’t know.
I’ll be excited and pumped up to play and representing the U.S.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Stewart.
Zach Johnson, good morning. Say hello to your captain.
ZACH JOHNSON: Good morning, and good morning, Captain.
I am thrilled and excited to be on the team. Team play, team sports in general, it’s really something that drives me as a competitor and when you incorporate a team element and chemistry into golf, it makes it just that much more special.
Having your nation’s flag on your sleeve and being led by Captain Pavin and his associates, just, you know, makes it that much more special. So I thank you guys and I thank you for trusting in me and knowing that I’m going to go out there and play really hard. I’m excited and I cannot wait until October.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Zach.
Tiger Woods, are you with us today? Say good morning to your captain and everybody else in attendance today.
TIGER WOODS: Good morning, guys, Captain Corey. It’s great to be a part of this team. I’m honored to be selected and head over to Wales to represent the United States in The Ryder Cup. I’ve been to Wales previously in the Walker Cup and looking forward to going back and having a great time with the team and hopefully bring the Cup back.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Tiger. And last but not least, Rickie Fowler. Good morning.
RICKIE FOWLER: Good morning, guys. Just sitting here in the hotel room, tried to sleep last night but it was awesome to be selected. I have to thank Corey for giving me the opportunity to go over there, being a young player, it’s a pretty special opportunity and the last time I played overseas on a team event was for the Walker Cup, so hopefully I can take a little bit of knowledge that I learned there and help the team.
JULIUS MASON: Stewart, Zach, Tiger, Rickie, thank you.
Zach discusses his recent play and the FedEx Cup.
Zach discusses his recent win in San Antonio.
Jonathan Byrd discusses his play during the 3rd round of the 2009 TPC.
Lucas discusses his recent play in Charlotte.
Jonathan Byrd discusses his recent play in Charlotte.
Charles Warren was a two-time winner on the 2004 Nationwide Tour and finished the year ranked 8th on the Nationwide money list. Prior to his back-to-back wins in late July & early August, Charles was ranked 56th on the money list and had had a poor start to his year compared to his finishes on the Nationwide Tour in 2002 (16th) and 2003 (25th). Charles’s year started to turn around in late May after missing second-stage U.S. Open qualifying by one shot. At that time we had an honest discussion about how his game, and in particular his putting, had not improved in several years and what it would take for it to become significantly better. Following is an interview I conducted with him in early September during a week off.
Dr. Mo: What has been the biggest difference in your play from prior to May until early September (now)?
Charles: My putting has been much better. I still haven’t had an A+ ball-striking week yet, although I have had some very solid weeks, but my putting has been the difference. I’ve made a lot of 8-12 footers and haven’t missed hardly any short ones. I have a lot of confidence in both my medium and short-length putts now.
Dr. Mo: Has your practice and preparation been different lately, and if so, how?
Charles: My practice is much more structured now and it leads to more quality work getting done. In May and early June it had more quantity also, but I’ve cut back some on the quantity, but not the quality.
Dr. Mo: What do you mean by structure?
Charles: Well I used to go out and putt and work on different distances or maybe work on my stroke, but I didn’t have a set way of going about it (practice). Now I have different drills for different aspects of putting and I do the drills for pre-determined periods of time, say 20 or 30 minutes.
This way my practice is much more purposeful and once I leave, I know exactly what I’ve accomplished & I think this helps instill confidence in my putting. I guess the best way to say it is in the past I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to get done or if I had accomplished it once I left (the putting green).
Now I know what I want to get done, how long I’m going to work on it and which drills to utilize to ensure that, and when I leave, there’s no question about whether I got it done or not.
Dr. Mo: O.k., let’s switch to another subject. Talk about the mindset you have when you are in contention to win a tournament.
Charles: I love it. I love being in the hunt. That’s when it is really fun for me. I kind of get into a zone. Not a zone where everything is necessarily going great, but a zone where I don’t care as much.
I don’t think about negative possibilities (of where the ball might go), I just more or less see-and-do. I see where I want the ball to go and I just try to get the ball to go right there. But I’m not worried that the ball might not get there, I just kind of expect it to (go where I want it to go).
Dr. Mo: And how is this different from your mindset when you make the cut close to, or right on, the number and you are not in contention?
Charles: When I just make the cut I don’t try to do anything differently (than when in contention after 2 days), but I do probably put pressure on myself to get off to a good start on Saturday. And then if I don’t get off to a good start, I can lose interest.
I try to fight it (losing interest) by giving myself small “in-round” goals (i.e. 2 birdies in the next 3 holes), but it can be a struggle. That’s something I continue to work on and although I’m getting better, I can still improve, and hopefully I will.
Dr. Mo: What do you have to improve from 2004 to have success on the PGA Tour in 2005 (players finishing in the top 20 on the Nationwide money list at years end automatically qualify for the PGA Tour in 2005)?
Charles: Well in a way everything needs to improve because the competition will be against the best in the world. But in another way, nothing needs drastic improvement. That’s one thing I need to be careful of — not trying too hard to improve and making changes that aren’t needed.
But if I had to pick areas that I need to improve, that I need to be better at more consistently, I would say putting, wedges, and driving accuracy.
With putting my good days now just need to be my average, solid days next year. As far as my wedges are concerned, I need to give myself better chances again more consistently. I need my average wedges to end up 5-10 feet away as opposed to 12-15 feet away. And that just takes good disciplined practice, which for me with my wedges, is behind my putting and my irons.
And my driving just needs to improve in terms of fairways. I didn’t hit many unplayable drives this year, but I also didn’t hit enough fairways. And next year the fairways will be tighter so I just need a little more consistent accuracy off the tee.
Dr. Mo: What will you do differently next year on tour vs. your other year on tour, 1999 (in 1999 Charles qualified for the PGA Tour via Q-school following college)?
Charles: Well first off my preparation in the off-season prior to the year will be much better. I mean I prepared the best I knew how in 1998, but now I know what I really need to focus on and more importantly, how to go about practicing it.
A second thing I’ll do is focus more on myself, my game, my progress week to week than I did in 1999. Back then I probably paid too much attention to other players and what they were doing, and I didn’t stick to what had made me a successful college player — and that was having confidence in what I was doing and letting others watch me as someone who knew what he was doing. But that (paying too much attention to others) probably isn’t too uncommon for a rookie like I was and so I’ve learned from it.
And the last thing I’ll do differently is not really something I’ll do, but rather just some things that are different which should help me. I have a much stronger team supporting me now primarily with my wife traveling with me, but also I’ve been with the same caddy and sports psychologist (Dr. Mo) for several years, and my swing teacher has my game built around really solid fundamentals, much better than they were even just two years ago.
So I don’t know that I’m necessarily doing anything different per se, but my foundation is really solid right now. And so hopefully that will lead to a solid year on tour.
In the next to last week of the 2005 PGA Tour, Lucas Glover won the Funai Classic in Orlando, FL with a score of 23 under par. It was his first win on the PGA Tour and put him in position to qualify for the season-ending tour championship (which he ultimately made with a good showing (tie for 35th) the following week). The win and the 2005 season are a good illustration of the progress Lucas has made from 2001 when, after missing qualifying through Q-School, he didn’t even have status on the Nationwide Tour. Following are questions I asked him during the week of the Tour Championship.
Dr. Mo: What did you learn from your experiences at Atlanta & New Orleans (in contention on the last hole) that helped you coming down the stretch in Orlando?
Lucas: Well it was a little different because I was behind instead of ahead or tied. I just thought about keeping everything in front of me and staying aggressive. The two close calls were a big help at Funai because I had been there before and knew just to stay in the present. And this time I was actually able to do it (stay in the present) better.
Dr. Mo: Did you draw on anything from the Orlando tournament in 2004 (where Lucas finished 10th & played with the eventual winner on Sunday) in this year’s tournament?
Lucas: Yes. I knew I had some good “vibes” there. There were a lot of birdies to be made and that is my game, aggressive with a lot of birdie chances.
Dr. Mo: What role did your caddy play coming down the stretch in Orlando? What were y’all discussing on the course?
Lucas: He was great. He is very level on the course, good or bad. We were walking up 17 talking about making 2 birdies, and we decided that we were going to do it.
Dr. Mo: What were your thoughts on 18 tee, 18 second shot, 18 bunker shot?
Lucas: My thoughts on 18 were not what they needed to be. I hit it right there last year and had some issues. That was in the back of my mind and I believe that is why it went a little left. It wasn’t that far from the fairway, but my brain wasn’t going to let it go right this time. When I got to the ball and saw what I had to deal with I was thinking par and par only. All I could do was try to run it up to the front right of the green. I hooked it a little too much and it went in the bunker. I was still thinking about par when I was preparing to hit the bunker shot. All I was hoping for was a playoff at that point. I hit it and knew that it was pretty good, and then it went in.
Dr. Mo: How long did it take to get over the win and start preparing for Tampa?
Lucas: Honestly only about 2 hours. I knew that I had to play decent in Tampa to make The Tour Championship. I celebrated Sunday night but in the back of my mind I was thinking about getting ready for Thursday already.
Dr. Mo: What has been the biggest difference in your play from 2004 to 2005?
Lucas: My putting is more consistent. I wouldn’t say it is great, but it is consistently better that last year.
Dr. Mo: What has been the biggest difference mentally from 2004 to 2005 (or have there been any?)?
Lucas: I have been a lot more patient with myself and my game. That has helped me with my temper and my all around attitude. I can be hard on myself so that’s been big.
Dr. Mo: What will be the focus of your off-season in 2005?
Lucas: Becoming a great putter will be my focus. I have some great stuff that I am working on and I am looking forward to getting ready for a great year in 06. My fitness will also be a focal point. I want to be in the best shape possible when I start out next year. That will also help me mentally. Knowing that I won’t get tired physically will obviously help with the mental side of the game.