Hal Sutton Press Conference Transcript
Q. Looking at the scores today --
HAL SUTTON: Well, you know, when nothing was going on early in the round, I knew something had better happen in a hurry or I was going to get outdistanced by everybody. When I got those four in a row, I knew, well, that was good.
Q. How does your game feel right now compared to last year, Saturday and Sunday?
HAL SUTTON: Honestly, I'm not hitting the ball as good this year as I was last year and I really haven't made a lot of putts. I made a couple of putts on the back nine. For the way I played, I feel pretty good for where I'm at, to be honest with you. I haven't done anything real bad and I haven't done anything real good, either. It's just, you know, I've missed a lot of greens, from what I normally miss. None of them real bad. None of them put me in real trouble. But sometimes, if you just short-side yourself here, you're not going to get up-and-down.
Q. Does it get to the point where you can score, while you may be are not playing as well as you could?
HAL SUTTON: Well, I feel good on this golf course. You know, I know kind of where we want to be, and I tend to hover around -- hover around that spot, even if it is a poor shot, I'm going to favor the side of the green that I need to favor. I thought they were pretty tough. I don't know what everybody else thought, but -- you know, I'm glad I was not in those last three or four groups, because those greens are going to get crusty and quick. 13, it got quick around that green there. I'm surprised that we've seen a few of the pins that we've seen, on the days that we've seen them. I didn't expect to see that pin on the front of 17 on Saturday, you know. I expected to see that on the first two days. They are just throwing something different at us.
Q. Is there a sense of urgency when you get to a point like 9, that front nine and you are still spinning your wheels a little bit? Do you have to get a little more aggressive?
HAL SUTTON: I didn't get any more aggressive. I actually just got some shots in there close and happened to make the putts. I made about a 10-footer on No. 9 and about an 8-footer on No. 10. Then I hit a really good shot in there, almost made eagle at 11, about 14 feet, something like that. A 4-wood in there. Then on 12, I hit it about six feet. You know, so I hit four really good shots in a row, and that's what -- that's what you need to do to get it going.
Q. How realistic is this now with the leaders at 11 right now?
HAL SUTTON: You never know on this golf course. You know, a lot of it depends on what the weather is going to be. A little bit earlier tee time is not all that bad sometimes, either, because, you know, two or three groups could make a lot of difference in the way the green feels. You know, all you can do is go out and put it on the fairway and put it on the green and make a few putts and see where that puts you at the end of the day. I'm not concerned with how close I've got to be in order to win the golf tournament. I'm just trying to play the best that I can.
Q. Defending this championship at all this week, when you come back is that a factor in a tournament?
HAL SUTTON: Not really. It puts a different twist than normally coming into a golf tournament. If you try to think about defending a tournament, that's not what you are normally thinking about. You are normally thinking about trying to win a golf tournament, to play smart shots. You don't need the added pressure of trying to defend it. I haven't even thought about that this week.
HAL SUTTON: People have been extra nice to me here. It's a real warm, fuzzy feeling when people are cheering for you like that. 17, they just cheered for me all the way around, which was really a nice feeling. It was nice to be able to make a putt for them.
Q. How long was it?
HAL SUTTON: Ten feet.
Q. Talk about defeating Tiger head-to-head -- (inaudible) -- and you were tough talker this week last year?
HAL SUTTON: I wasn't a tough talke. I was only responding to what everybody else said.
Q. Talk about your confidence?
HAL SUTTON: I think -- you put me in a bad position here. All I did, first of all, was respond a little to what everybody else was saying. It just wasn't in my nature -- I had never been taught by my coach or my dad or anybody else that taught me about competition to give up before you're done playing, and that's what everybody was trying to get me to do. Just because Tiger was there, I can't imagine why they would want me to do that. Anyway, just because I stood up for myself, which is what I would expect anybody to do, I think the fans really, actually, endeared that. And the fact that, you know, I was able to go out and win the tournament on top of that. I wasn't trying to be cocky with what I was saying. I was just trying to defend myself.
Q. After that, how much in the locker room did people say, 'Way to go'?
HAL SUTTON: A lot of people were for me last year. That was a tough time right along there. Tiger, nobody had defeated him in a while. He had pretty much gone through everybody, and everybody was wondering if anybody was going to be able to get to him. So, golf needed that at that time. Tiger, as I say every week, when I get an opportunity, he lives up to his No. 1 billing all the time. In no way do I say anything to take away from him, because I think he is a fantastic player and a credit to the game.
HAL SUTTON: I'm a big Paul Azinger fan, so if I can't win, I've love to see him win the golf tournament. So I'll be pulling for Paul.
Q. (Inaudible) -- withdrawing from the tournament?
HAL SUTTON: They'd have to just about roll me out in a wheelchair on the first tee, almost. I love coming here playing. I didn't think about it.
Q. Guys withdrawing for sinus problems or things like that, you're a guy who is not going to pull out for any reason?
HAL SUTTON: I think that everybody wants their stars to line up just perfect and feel like they have got to get it all just exactly right. And having been out here for roughly 20 years now, I realize that there's very few days that all of your stars line up, and you just have to go out there and make the most of it.
Q. Can you go out tomorrow, if the weather really changes, and just grind away and see what happens?
HAL SUTTON: Yeah. You know, the weather, we've faced a little bit different wind every day. I don't know if it got cooler, if it got windy or something of that nature and they allowed the greens to stay the way they have -- it's going to be tough. It will play really hard. So, you never know what will happen. You get three or four birdies early, and boom, you're right there and everybody else is worrying about how they are going to make their par, and you've already got three or four birdies. You know, you've pulled yourself close.
Q. Any holes that you feel like you should birdie?
HAL SUTTON: I hate to think about it like that, because you might find yourself in a position where you didn't do it and you count yourself out. Like today, I birdied 2 and I hit it perfect.. Came off the second shot, didn't get up-and-down. That was frustrating, because I was right in the middle of the fairway to get the birdie and didn't get it. If I looked at it the way we just talked about it, I might have looked at it and counted myself out. All you can do is deal with what you've done, and whether you deal with it or don't, you just go to the next hole and try to do the same.
Q. Have you been in the fitness trailer or done any --
HAL SUTTON: I'm not a fitness guy. I go in there -- I go in the other trailer and get stretched and -- you can tell I'm not much of a fitness guy.
Full Coverage of the Players Championship
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18