David Duval Saturday Masters Press Conference Transcript
Q. Saturday in '98 and last year, you backed up a little. How encouraged are you that you played better today than you did in those few Saturdays, and do you think that gives you more of a chance tomorrow?
DAVID DUVAL: Yeah, it probably does. You know, it's just taking each step as it comes, and I was faced with a situation earlier where I could have gone backwards quick, with 3 and 4, and I ended up making a par and a bogey and could very well have made 5 and 5 and gone bogey, double-bogey. Goes to maybe a little bit of experience and maybe some extra patience paying off.
Q. What happened with the tee shot on 3?
DAVID DUVAL: I don't know. Just a terrible shot. Maybe, as much as anything, I knew the pin was back right, and when that pin is back right, I hit driver. You know, I tried to hit it by everything, and I got to the tee and I was expecting to hit driver, but there was some wind coming in and just -- probably just didn't convince myself I was hitting the proper club. I didn't expect to be hitting driver and had 2-iron.
Q. Was it the same thing at 14 and 15 where, you know, what you said -- you kind of held it together?
DAVID DUVAL: You know what, at 14 -- I don't know how to say it -- I feel like I got hosed pretty much, on 14. (Laughter.) You know, I hit a perfect tee shot. I really don't know -- I don't think I could hit a better tee shot than I did. And I hit it -- if you see me, I just pick up the tee and turn around and all of the sudden the ball is on the ground. It's like the tree just reached out and grabbed it. I mean, baseball season started, but come on. (Laughter). Then I hit what I thought was a very excellent golf shot for my second shot. I hit a nice hook around there and tried to play it -- get it through the green, and I thought I had executed perfectly because I saw it release through the green and there was applause, but when I got there, I knew I was in trouble. So, excuse my French. I had a couple of good shots and I made five. That's the beauty of this place, you can do that.
Q. Do you ever set a number in your mind?
DAVID DUVAL: Not really.
Q. Do you think that is a bad thing for you or is that just something that doesn't occur to you?
DAVID DUVAL: It doesn't really occur to me to do that. I don't see any benefits from it, you know, because what if you reach your number and lose? I mean, that's no good. I don't do that. It could be a lot of different things required tomorrow.
Q. Are shots on 7 and 9 two of the better shots you've hit this week?
DAVID DUVAL: 7 was a good shot I hit up there. I was very pleased with that shot, obviously. And 9, again, I just hit a very good shot. But at other place, I don't think the shot I hit on 9 or 7 was really any better than the shot I hit on 15. I hit that exactly where I tried to. So, some shots here, although they might not be a foot and they are 40 feet, you have to hit them exactly how you want to. One thing I have learned, that left pin over there on 15, hits a sucker pin. You can't hit at that pin. It's silly to try. I did that. I laid up a few years ago and tried to hit it up there and spun it back in the water and tried it again and spun it back in the water and got home that afternoon and watched Nick Price who had been playing here for a lot of years and he had a shot just like I did and hit it just like today, 40 feet right. Just experience. Never aimed over there since.
Q. What about 13, before you took that chip, Venturi said on TV, if you got this up-and-down, he was going to give you a Gold Star. You've been chipping good this week. Is that one of your better chips?
DAVID DUVAL: From over the green? Yeah, that was really good. Kind of like the shot on 12, I didn't hit it as close on 12, but off of a lie that wasn't very good, and thin, and hit a really good shot. I hit a really good shot. I felt like I could have tried to get a little cuter, but again, if you're going to try the shot, it's silly.
DAVID DUVAL: I just hit it right up. There's two rocks as big as this thing wedged behind my ball so I was trying to get in behind those and underneath those. You could see that it shot out because the rocks just forced it out. I didn't see where it landed, because I was down in there.
Q. What did you have, the number to the hole there and what did you hit?
DAVID DUVAL: About -- I was trying to hit about 185 yards, 186 yards, and I hit a 6-iron.
Q. It's going to be Woods and Phil in the last pairing tomorrow. Is that maybe better for the rest of all of you, maybe that they will get so caught up in each other that somebody from behind could come catch them?
DAVID DUVAL: Yeah, I guess it could be better. And maybe they do. Hopefully they do get caught up in -- I don't know. That's just how it is falling out this year, and, you know, there's a lot of people that have a chance to win the tournament now. And I think I'm one of them.
Q. What are you feeling right now, considering last year, and considering where you were a couple weeks ago; you came in here kind of flying under the radar, expecting some things, but not sure, and here you are with another chance at Augusta?
DAVID DUVAL: Well, I'm very excited about that, that chance, that opportunity. Again, I feel like -- a little disappointed. I feel like I should be a little bit better than I am, score-wise, because I certainly think I've played well enough to be a few shots better. But again, I just think that the place sets up well for me, and I feel like I have a pretty good knowledge of how to play the golf course. I've done that well so far this week.
Q. This course, as you are mentioning, has some strange things and you have to hit away from pins, and yet, you look at the leaderboard: Yourself, Els, Tiger, Mickelson, some of the great golfers in the word, there must be something that brings it all out on this golf course?
DAVID DUVAL: You know, I don't really know how to respond. I mean, I don't know if that is much of a -- I would -- I don't know what to say about that. I guess as much as anything, I would -- I hope that the golf fans are happy and I hope that the writers are happy and I hope that the Augusta National Committee is happy. Because it is seemingly what you want. In a major you want some of the names to come up and have that be the chance. I think it goes to show that the golf course has been set up very well and the people who are on top of their games have kind of risen to the top, and the players who have been playing the best for the last few years are there again. I think that's everything that you want in a Masters Sunday.
Q. You're three back now, what do you think about that position, and is that -- what do you think about being three back?
DAVID DUVAL: You know, if I shoot 66 or 65 or 67, I don't think it is very tough at all. If I don't, it is -- it's just up to me to be able to play well tomorrow, I guess, is what I'm saying. And I can't be real concerned with what he is doing or anybody else.
Match Play security tightens after Austin bombings
AUSTIN, Texas – A fourth bombing this month in Austin injured two men Sunday night and authorities believe the attacks are the work of a serial bomber.
The bombings have led to what appears to be stepped-up security at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.
“I was out here [Sunday]; typically that's the most relaxed day. But they had security officials on every corner of the clubhouse and on the exterior, as well,” said Dylan Frittelli, who lives in Austin and is playing the Match Play for the first time this week. “It was pretty tough to get through all the protocols. I'm sure they'll have stuff in place.”
The PGA Tour told The Associated Press on Monday that it doesn't comment on the specifics of its security measures, but that the safety of players and fans is its top priority. The circuit is also coordinating closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of players and fans.
Despite the bombings, which have killed two people and injured two others, the Tour has not yet reached out to players to warn of any potential threat or advise the field about increased security.
“It’s strange,” Paul Casey said. “Maybe they are going to, but they haven’t.”
Rosaforte Report: Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind and stroke
With all the talk about rolling back the golf ball, it was the way Rory McIlroy rolled it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that was the story of the week and the power surge he needed going into the Masters.
Just nine days earlier, a despondent McIlroy missed the cut at the Valspar Championship, averaging 29 putts per round in his 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort. At Bay Hill, McIlroy needed only 100 putts to win for the first time in the United States since the 2016 Tour Championship.
The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week. What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks.
The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.
As a professional courtesy, Faxon laid low, respecting McIlroy’s relationship with Kenyon, who also works with European stars Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. Knowing how McIlroy didn’t like the way Dave Stockton took credit after helping him win multiple majors, Faxon let McIlroy do the talking. Asked about their encounter during his Saturday news conference at Bay Hill, McIlroy called it “more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”
“There was nothing I told him he had never heard before, nothing I told him that was a secret,” Faxon, who once went 327 consecutive holes on Tour without a three-putt, said on Monday. “I think (Rory) said it perfectly when he said it allowed him to be an athlete again. We try to break it down so well, it locks us up. If I was able to unlock what was stuck, he took it to the next level. The thing I learned, there can be no method of belief more important than the athlete’s true instinct.”
Without going into too much detail, McIlroy explained that Faxon made him a little more “instinctive and reactive.” In other words, less “mechanical and technical.” It was the same takeaway that Gary Woodland had after picking Faxon’s brain before his win in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Sunday night, after leading the field in strokes gained-putting, McIlroy was more elaborative, explaining how Faxon “freed up my head more than my stroke,” confessing that he was complicating things a bit and was getting less athletic.
“You look at so many guys out there, so many different ways to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “The objective is to get the ball in the hole and that’s it. I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”
All of this occurred after a conversation I had Sunday morning with swing instructor Pete Cowen, who praised Kenyon for the work he had done with his player, Henrik Stenson. Cowen attributed Henrik’s third-round lead at Bay Hill to the diligent work he put in with Kenyon over the last two months.
“It’s confidence,” Cowen said. “(Stenson) needs a good result for confidence and then he’s off. If he putts well, he has a chance of winning every time he plays.”
Cowen made the point that on the PGA Tour, a player needs 100-110 putts per week – or an average of 25-27 putts per round – to have a chance of winning. Those include what Cowen calls the “momentum putts,” that are especially vital in breaking hearts at this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.
Stenson, who is not playing this week in Austin, Texas, saw a lot of positives but admitted there wasn’t much he could do against McIlroy shooting 64 on Sunday in the final round on a tricky golf course.
“It's starting to come along in the right direction for sure,” Stenson said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there this week, even though maybe the confidence is not as high as some of the shots were, so we'll keep on working on that and it's a good time of the year to start playing well.”
Nobody knows that better than McIlroy, who is hoping to stay hot going for his third WGC and, eventually, the career Grand Slam at Augusta.
Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same
AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.
According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.
The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.
The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption
Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.
The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.
"As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."
Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.
Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.