Duffy Waldorf British Open Press Conference Transcript
DUFFY WALDORF: It feels great. I was happy with my play. I really didn't feel I was hitting it that solid. But I was hitting it straight.
I missed quite a few iron shots but I was missing them in the middle of the green, which is really important out here. So I had a lot of putts at it. For a long time they were long putts and I didn't get a chance for a birdie putt until No. 9 and I took advantage of that. And I just kept playing down the fairway, fortunately, and took advantage of the opportunities I got. I didn't have that many, but when I got them, I was able to make the putt and stay away from having a lot of par putts, which obviously you want to do in any tournament, and probably even more so here.
DUFFY WALDORF: Obviously from the greens, I didn't have a lot of close birdie putts but the ones I had were pretty close. I could have hit my irons a lot closer, but on the other hand, just about every pin there is a chance for missing it on the wrong side. I played fairly conservatively. I hit a lot of irons off the tee, and most of my irons were starting int he middle of the green. If they got towards the pin, they got close, otherwise they stayed 30, 40 feet from the hole.
Q. Why were you playing conservatively?
DUFFY WALDORF: There's a lot of rough out there. Those bunkers are kind of deep too. If you had seen me play bunkers a couple of days ago, you would probably aim for the middle of the greens, too. There's a lot of high rough. I think the most important -- obviously the most important thing is get the ball in the fairway. It's important to put the ball in the fairway and give myself the best chance, in other words find the widest part of the fairway, and most of the time that was with an iron and it gave me a chance to play for the green, so I really didn't have -- the only time I got in trouble was 17, Par 5, I was able to get back in play and still have a shot at the green. I had a good shoot here, but it was just as important to stay in play and keep kind of getting my irons going. I think I hit my irons as the day went on and I was getting comfortable out there, and I was putting from the middle of the green.
Q. I don't want this to sound nasty but earlier this week somebody from the British press said Duffy Waldorf will not win a British Open at Muirfield (inaudible)...
DUFFY WALDORF: He may be right. He didn't say, He may not lead at the Open (laughter).
Q. What's your feeling after your round today?
DUFFY WALDORF: Obviously I'm happy to have played well. If I had to rate my career because of how many wins I have and how I do in tournaments, I probably would be a pretty unhappy guy, but I don't look at it that way. I go out there and enjoy playing the game, and coming to a course like this is exciting to play golf out here. We don't get to play great courses like this in America that often, this style, so I'm excited to play the game. And if I can keep my game going, I'll be very happy doing that, no matter where I finish, 15th, 30th, 80th or 1st. I would just be happy to play my game, that's the important thing to me.
Q. Duffy, if you were us, how would you describe your shirt and your hat?
DUFFY WALDORF: Matching (laughter).
Q. What's on it and who designed it?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, these are actually skins games shirts, a company down in Southern California, San Diego, it looks like Hawaiian flowers to me and a Duffy Cap and it has flowers on it, too. This is one of the few days where they get together. This shirt, I haven't worn in a tournament, it's a new shirt. There's something about it, it's a white and blue shirt, but it seems to stand out. (Laughter)
Q. Why isn't it blue and gold?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, Mr. Meriton (ph) was out here this week, but I don't wear the old school colors anymore.
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, probably, at least until my first tournament, I would say. I was pretty good in college. Then all of a sudden everyone else was as good as me again. It was nice to be one of the best college players in the U.S. But when you get out on the pro tour, you find the conditions are a lot more difficult and the players are a lot of better. You kind of take a big step up, and it was a big step up, and it took me a while to get used to that and really raise my game, and my thoughts have always been to keep getting better even as I get older, because I think you can, you have got -- for example, guys playing well into their '50s, so I hope I can continue to improve and work on my game and also take the experiences that I get with all these tournaments and use those to my advantage in the future.
Q. Thomas Bjorn was asked earlier whether it would help him down the road having beaten Tiger head-to-head in Dubai. I'm curious, you played at Disney a couple of years ago. Is that something you can draw on down the road?
DUFFY WALDORF: Ideally that's the way we would like to play all the time. Where you're in a situation where you're going against top players, you're at the top and you're able to turn off all the distractions and turn on your game, and those experiences, whether you go against Tiger Woods or whoever, are very important. I mean, those are the kinds of experiences you want to draw on when you get in situations where you're in a big tournament and the course may be tough, but you need to pull out really great shots and you need to have that calm that you have there and also the expertise that you exhibit when you're right on top of your game like I was in Disney.
DUFFY WALDORF: Obviously, I look at the board. I look more at the scores than the players, kind of what's a good score and if I'm doing okay.
For the most part, I don't like to do that too much, because you get in a situation where you might be doing well, but then you might not press harder and get more birdies if your game is on. In Disney I was six shots behind and I birdied the first six out of seven holes. That's a great round if I par in most of the time, but a lot of times you're better off -- I didn't really look at the leader board that day and I felt I had to keep going all the way. Here, this course is hard enough. Standing on the first tee, you're pretty much engaged with what you've got to do standing on the first tee and not worrying about what the other guys are doing.
Q. What's the finest remark anybody has ever said with regard to your shirt?
DUFFY WALDORF: To which part of me?
Q. To your shirts.
DUFFY WALDORF: Oh, well, there's no doubt the funniest thing is -- and these shirts I used to wear a shirt that was probably a little more colorful, that was vertically striped and someone, I think he was an Englishman, mention that had I looked like the pizza delivery man. It wasn't about this particular shirt, but it was a shirt that I wore probably five years ago. So I've really toned down my shirts. I used to take a lot of heat for them, now I just wear the Hawaiian look.
Q. How about today, anybody say anything?
DUFFY WALDORF: No, I was playing with a sweater. I'm quite plain with a sweater. No, I looked normal out there.
Q. Why? Why do you like this kind of statement?
DUFFY WALDORF: Because when I'm home, I wear Hawaiian shirts most of the time. When I go out, I either wear T-shirts or Hawaiian shirts. That's my life style. In two weeks I'll be in Hawaii wearing T-shirts and Hawaiian shirts.
Q. Do you plan in advance what you're wearing tomorrow?
DUFFY WALDORF: I've got three clean shirts left, let's keep it that way, so it will be one of those three.
Q. What's the message written on the ball today?
DUFFY WALDORF: All the balls were from last week from Milwaukee, so there was a lot of references to Cops Custer, which is my favorite food staple in the U.S. in Milwaukee, and I think the last ball was something they say in Wisconsin, Yardahey. I'm not sure why they say that. I'll have to call my wife.
Q. How do you spell that?
DUFFY WALDORF: Y-A-R-D-A-H-E-Y. It's one of their greetings. I think there are a lot of Norwegians in Milwaukee, so they have a lot of those terms they stick in their dialect.
Q. Did you withdraw in Milwaukee?
DUFFY WALDORF: I did. The second round. After my first round, my back was hurting and my game was hurting and so I figured I could take a day off and get over here a little sooner, because it wasn't -- I wasn't 100 percent and I would rather be 100 percent for here than play the second round. I was going to miss the cut anyway, so I felt it was a good time to take a little rest.
Q. British Amateur -- (inaudible)?
DUFFY WALDORF: You must have been about 15.
Q. Is that your first experience at links golf?
DUFFY WALDORF: Yes, that was my first experience. I think it was the first time I had come over here. It was a good experience. They had a lot of different weather there. The best thing about that trip was getting here early in the week for the qualifying rounds. They were having a heat wave and everyone was going crazy. Their shirts were off and they were going in the ocean. And the people at the bed and breakfast were having to stay in. They were an older couple, and it was just so hot, it was like 78 degrees. These people had to stay inside, and I was like, Are you kidding? The ice machine was broken in that whole area. I couldn't find a cube of ice to save my life.
Q. And the golf?
DUFFY WALDORF: The golf was a good too. I qualified. I played into the quarterfinals and lost to the eventual champion, Garth McGinty. I think we were probably two of the better players left in the draw. We met in round eight. I struggled there that last time. I remember how different the course could play with the weather. It was warm and then it got by that round, by that round of eight, it was cold. I was hitting Persimmon woods, I can't imagine hitting a Persimmon wood when it gets cold around here anymore.
Q. Could you explain? Was it custard?
DUFFY WALDORF: Yes.
Q. What is it?
DUFFY WALDORF: It's kind of like -- have you ever had Haagen Daz ice cream? If you go to the store and get regular ice cream, Haagen Daz is creamy and rich. Custard is the next level. It's like the Haagen Daz of Haagen Daz. It's the next level. It has eggs in it and it's creamy and smooth and tastes like a million bucks, and it only costs a buck/50. The way they do it there, they have a different flavor every day, so the flavors are quite good. Key lime pie was on my ball today and I had some balls with some of the other flavors, there was three chocolate flavors, and there was.
Q. Crushed squirral?
DUFFY WALDORF: No, this stuff is good.
Q. Did you bring any over to eat?
DUFFY WALDORF: No, it melts ultra quick. It would melt out here. It's probably perfect for here because it would last a while.
Q. You're so casual about talking about your career, but did you ever think about or gear up for a major championship before?
DUFFY WALDORF: No, I was just happy to get in them really. I gear up to get in them. I couldn't gear up for this one, I got in with a good finish at the Western Open, and at this pint in my career, this isn't the easiest thing to qualify for, I gave the U.S. Open a shot and didn't make it. That's a lot easier qualifying than this one, it's still stuff. I look at majors, they are just a great benefit for me to play. I think for the most part, they favor my game, the way I play. They're all set up -- for the most part you have to hit the ball in the fairway, and I'm reasonably good at doing that.
Q. Would you have ever come over and qualified and tried to qualify?
DUFFY WALDORF: Not this year.
Q. You're familiar with Tom Lehman. Have you been tapping into his natural and expertise to help you?
DUFFY WALDORF: Fortunately we haven't had to play links golf yet. It was more American golf out there today.
Yeah, I haven't gotten to see him that much this year, but we have -- in other years we played the British Open, we've gone to Loch Lomond together, and just hanging out with Tom Lehman is good, he's good for your soul.
Q. You were close at Western, right, in terms of getting in here. Did you barely make it with your 65 on the last day?
DUFFY WALDORF: I had a good 66 the third day and then the last day I was kind of in the lead there for just a brief moment and then I finished -- I made some bogeys, I finished fifth so I actually made it by two or three shots.
Q. Did you go into the Western thinking -- with this on your mind?
DUFFY WALDORF: No, I had no chance if I did that, no chance at all. Just like at Disney if I'm thinking I'm 6 shots behind, I have no way to make it up. I had been off three weeks before the Western, so sometimes expectations are good not to have.
Q. In your wine cellar, what wine do you specialize in?
DUFFY WALDORF: It always is changing. I've got no Scottish wine. I used to really like French wine and I still have quite a bit. Right now I have a lot of California wine obviously, and lately I've been focused on Italian reds and Australian whites are my two favorite kinds. Rieslings and Pinot Blancs and the Pinot Gris and Gris Vitlaner from Austria. Italy, I like the Barolos and the Brunellos, and Barbarescos.
Q. How many do you have?
DUFFY WALDORF: About 2,000.
DUFFY WALDORF: That's like you're supposed to fantasize about good rounds. I fantasize about how long my wine will last. 2000 should last a long time even with a lot of friends.
Q. What's the most expensive?
DUFFY WALDORF: The most expensive I ever bought or most expensive in my collection? Because what happens is, you buy these wines and some of the older French ones have really gone up in value. Probably my most expensive, my dad gave me a bottle of '75 Le Mission Haut Brion, and that's a pretty valuable bottle, probably 400, 500 dollars a bottle, unless you get it at the Greywalls and then it's an 800 dollar bottle (laughter). They don't have it there either, I looked. They have a '76, though, which was reasonably priced.
Q. Are you staying there?
DUFFY WALDORF: No, but Davis Love, he invited me to dinner a few nights, so I ate there earlier in the week with him, we had a little Claret.
Q. Who paid for the wine?
DUFFY WALDORF: So far Davis has but he's supposed to send me a bill. I picked it out. Usually if you pick it out, you have to pay for it, so I should be getting a bill.
Q. Is that ability not to evaluate yourself in a tournament, is that something that you speaks to who you are or is that a point you reach in life when you realize how things are?
DUFFY WALDORF: It's a point you probably should reach in life. I think people get there at a different time. I had to turn around about 12 years ago or I would have been heading in another direction. In other words, I wouldn't have been probably playing golf anymore. You have to be able to separate things and evaluate your game in a safe place and not have it affect your life, not have it be you who is a bad person because you play bad. That's something Tiger has been doing. How old is he now? He's 26. He's probably been doing that for 24 years, maybe even longer. And some of us take a lot longer to get there. It's important to look at yourself, I think in a lighthearted way and realize where golf sits in your life and where everything else sits in your life. It's a matter of when you get there.
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.