David Duval British Open Press Conference Transcript
DAVID DUVAL: Obviously the weather was extremely cooperative. My golf game was fairly cooperative. I played pretty well. I feel like today was kind of a resemblance of a lot of my rounds this year where I've been right on the edge of playing very, very well, but just haven't quite gone over that edge. I hit a lot of nice shots, hit a couple of tee shots that I hit into the rough and from there obviously you're in trouble. Really, on the back nine I had a few putts I thought I had holed; a couple more that I could have holed, really fairly easy putts from 8 to 12 feet, and that didn't go in, and it really was not far from shooting 68 or 69.
Q. Do you think with the weather conditions, the potential is there for somebody to take the score down?
DAVID DUVAL: Yes, I think that you could shoot a very good, very good score today. You've seen a few. The problem, I think the thing that could possibly prevent any 6, 7, 8 under pars from happening is the golf course. The bunkers and the rough and such, they kind of sneak up on you at times, and some of the good shots end up there, and I think that's what's probably kept the scores from being lower, and at the same time there is probably a club wind that's not prevailing, from what I understand, at least from the way the trees are leaning, (laughs) so it makes it a little more difficult.
Q. How about the pin positions, were they tricky for the first day?
DAVID DUVAL: A company of them were a little funny, a little tough. There was some pretty good slope -- number five was a very difficult pin. 15, same thing, where there was a lot of break right around the hole, but nothing unfair and nothing unreasonable.
Q. The link courses and the challenges it presents, do you think everyone else is more tentative the first round, a little more cautious?
DAVID DUVAL: That's probably a fair assessment, especially when you face days like this where the golf ball is not running a whole lot on the fairways and there's not much wind. The game plan, you may have put together are out the window. You're hitting different clubs off of different holes than you thought you would, and everybody has some nervousness, I'm sure, in the first round, it's normal, when you get into the groove of the week, things might loosen up a little bit, and things might free up a little bit.
Q. What is the game plan out there?
DAVID DUVAL: I don't actually mean the game plan, but the clubs used to accomplish that, to putting the ball where you want are a lot different on a day that where I guess there is more of an east wind as opposed to a west wind. So the holes where were are drivers are sometimes, you're hitting 4-irons off tees now. It's just entirely different.
Q. Given these kind of glassy conditions, are you a bit miffed that you didn't take more advantage or was it a day it just wasn't there for you?
DAVID DUVAL: Again, I'm not upset or mad. I feel I could have had a better score. I feel like that a lot, though. I played fairly well, like I said. Nothing great. It could have very easily been a few shots better.
Q. The year you've had, is today's round like encouraging that you are almost there now. Any reason to feel that way?
DAVID DUVAL: I felt that way for a long time. I felt like I've been close, just not quite getting it done, and missing -- I missed that one fairway I shouldn't, or that one extra fairway today and shortside myself on a green that one time I shouldn't and that totals up over the course of, for me, two days or four, if you make the cut. In this game, with the players today, you can't make those mistakes. I haven't been on top of my game. I've been making uncharacteristic mistakes and that's not a formula for success any longer.
I know I sound like a broken record, but I feel like I'm right there, and at times for anybody who plays the game, you know, when you're right close to playing well, it's sometimes when it feels the worst because you know you're there but you're fighting it a little bit, but I think that for me there's a lot of great stuff left this week. There's a lot of big events left this year and I have every intention of being fully prepared.
Q. Is it an issue of not forcing it but letting it come because you know it's there?
DAVID DUVAL: It's a balance I think, I've put in the time and work to make it happen. I don't know if that makes sense, working on letting it happen. But that's what I'm doing.
Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.
The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up right where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.
"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."
Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.
It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.
Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.
Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.
He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.
Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.
The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.
''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''
Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.
''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.
Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.
“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”
Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.
Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.
Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.
Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.
“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”
Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.
“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.
This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.