Golf Talk Live - Goosen Gossett Transcript Segment 3
DID YOU EVER HAVE ANY REASON TO THINK AFTER WARMING UP AND WALKING TO THE FIRST TEE OF THE PLAYOFF THAT YOUR LONG GAME WASN'T GOING TO BE UNDER THE USUAL CONTROL THAT YOU'RE ACCUSTOMED TO?
WELL I UH, I STARTED OFF A LITTLE BIT SHAKY. ACTUALLY ON THIS FIRST HOLE, I HAD A VERY GOOD TEE SHOT, AND A VERY GOOD SECOND SHOT. I JUST UNDER CLUBBED REALLY. THE SECOND HOLE I HAD A BAD DRIVE.
WELL HANG ON, BEFORE YOU GO, BEFORE. LET'S GO AHEAD AND TAKE A LOOK, WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT THAT, THE BUNKER SHOT WHICH YOU LEFT OUT WHICH IS MAYBE ONE OF THE BEST SHOTS ANY OF US HAD EVER SEEN HIT SO LET'S GO AHEAD AND, AND PICK IT UP FROM THAT FIRST HOLE OF THE PLAY OFF.
IT WASN'T REALLY THAT DIFFICULT BUNKER SHOT, FUNNY ENOUGH. ALL I HAVE TO DO IS JUST GET IT OUT OF THE BUNKER AND IT WAS GOING TO JUST FEED DOWN THE SLOPE. I'M GOING TO LOOK, PROBABLY AROUND TEN YARDS TO GET TO THE HOLE. I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING IN AND SOME REASON IT JUST MISSED... BUT
UM, YOU KNOW THE SECOND HOLE I DROVE IT IN THE ROUGH AND I CHIPPED OUT AND HIT A VERY GOOD 8 IRON AND THAT'S MY THIRD AND HOLED A GOOD PUTT FOR PAR, AND THEN I SORT OF STARTED SETTLING DOWN AND FELT VERY COMFORTABLE.
YOU KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE THAT NOTHING'S MORE UNSETTLING TO YOUR OPPONENT IN MATCH PLAY THAN IF YOU MISS EVERYTHING TEE TO GREEN A LITTLE BIT FOR A WHILE AND MAKE EVERY SINGLE PUTT FOR EITHER PAR OR BIRDIE.
DOESN'T THAT REALLY UPSET THE BALANCE OF THE OTHER FELLOWS INSIDES?
YEAH, THE THING ABOUT MATCH PLAY, YOU GOT TO ALWAYS EXPECT YOUR OLD PARTNER TO MAKE HIS SHOT AND ALWAYS EXPECT HIM TO MAKE A BETTER SCORE THAN YOU AND JUST TRY AND HANG ON
TO THAT AND IF YOU HAPPEN TO WIN A HOLE THAN YOU, YOU KNOW, THEN, THEN IT'S GREAT, BUT, YOU KNOW, IF YOU HIT A BAD SEVEN IRON IN ON THE THIRD PLUGGED LIE AND HIT A PRETTY GOOD SHOT OUT, PROBABLY (??) BE NOT A GOOD PUTT SO, BUT MARK MADE A GREAT BIRDIE THERE SO HE WENT ONE AHEAD.
BUT I KNEW, YOU KNOW, I HAD A LONG WAY TO GO AND THERE'S A LOT OF PRESSURE INVOLVED.
IT DIDN'T LOOK LIKE YOU FELT ANY PRESSURE ON THE GREENS. I THINK YOU HAD ELEVEN PUTTS THE FIRST NINE HOLES, DIDN'T YOU?
AND THEY WERE ALL GOING IN PRETTY MUCH LIKE THAT ONE AS THOUGH THE HOLE WAS A CIRCLE AND NOT A HOLE WHEN IT STOPPED IN THE CENTER OF THE CIRCLE.
ON THE INSIDE YOU'RE NERVOUS. IT'S, IT'S ALL PART OF THE GAME, YOU KNOW, BUT YOU KNOW, I MADE A FEW VERY GOOD UP AND DOWNS, SO I MUST ADMIT BUT YOU KNOW THAT'S PART OF WINNING GOLF
TOURNAMENTS. YOU DON'T WIN GOLF TOURNAMENTS IF YOU DON'T HAVE GOOD CHIP AND PUTTS HERE AND THERE AND, IT WAS NICE TO HANG IN THERE YOU KNOW AND REALLY THE TURNING HOLES WAS NINE AND TEN WHEN, WHEN
HE MADE TWO BOGIES AND THIS WAS A TOUGH PUTT. I HIT IT ABOUT TWO YARDS LEFT OF THE HOLE AND JUST LET IT SOMEHOW GET DOWN TO THE HOLE. IT WAS SIMILAR PUTT I HAD AT NUMBER TEN TO MAKE.
WERE YOU STARTING TO FEEL AT THAT POINT THAT YOU'D GOTTEN YOUR SWING UNDER CONTROL, WHATEVER MECHANICAL MISFUNCTION WAS GOING ON EARLY WAS NOW GONE AND YOU WERE YOURSELF AGAIN?
YEAH, I, I SORT OF, YOU KNOW, FELT LIKE I GOT INTO THE GROOVE THAT I WAS THE REST OF THE TOURNAMENT AND IF I CAN JUST PLAY THE WAY I PLAYED THE REST OF THE TOURNAMENT I'LL BE ABLE TO PULL IT OFF.
DID YOU GET TO A POINT WHEN YOU GOT A PRETTY DECENT LEAD DOWN THE BACK NINE WHERE YOU ALLOWED YOURSELF TO GET AHEAD OF YOURSELF AND THOUGHT ABOUT TROPHIES AND THAT YOU'VE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP? DID YOU HAVE TO FIGHT THAT AT ALL COMING DOWN THE STRETCH?
NO NOT REALLY. I WAS, I WAS TRYING TO KEEP MY MIND ON THE GAME AND TRYING NOT TO THINK AHEAD WHAT, YOU KNOW, IS COMING UP. 16, THAT PUTT I HAD TO MAKE THERE, THAT WAS PROBABLY THE
MOST DIFFICULT PUTT I HAD TO MAKE THE WHOLE, WHOLE ROUND. I RECKON IT WAS A DOUBLE
ING PUTT, STRAIGHT DOWN THE HILL , FIRST GOING RIGHT ON ME AND THEN COMING BACK TO THE LEFT,
SO THAT WAS A KEY PUTT TO MAKE AND STAY, KEEP THAT LEADER AHEAD, YOU KNOW.
WAS THERE A PARTICULAR PUTTING KEY OR ANYTHING GOING ON THAT DAY THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE SUCH PHENOMENAL RESULTS INSIDE 15 FEET ALL THE WAY AROUND THE GOLF COURSE?
WELL FOR SOME REASON I PUTT BETTER ON FAST GREENS SO I LIKE TO JUST STROKE THE BALL, GET A SMOOTH ROLL ON IT. I DON'T LIKE REALLY SLOW GREENS WHERE I FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO REALLY HIT THE BALL.
IS THERE ANY OTHER CHOICE BESIDES THE PUTTER HERE, IN YOUR VIEW, YOU PULLED THE PUTTER OUT OF THE BAG PRETTY QUICK ON THIS SHOT.
WELL I KNEW, YOU KNOW, FROM WHAT I'VE HEARD THE COMMENTATORS WERE SAYING, YOU KNOW IF, HE CAN CHUNK IT, HE CAN DO THIS, HE CAN DO THAT, THEN, THAT WAS GOING THROUGH MY MIND AS WELL, AND I, AND I SUPPOSE WHAT I'VE
LEARNED AT THE OUTFIT DOWN HERE, I'VE COPIED (?) ENOUGH PUTTING FROM LONG RANGE OFF THE GREENS, HELPED ME
A LOT WITH THAT SORT OF SHOT. I KNEW, YOU KNOW, ALL I HAVE TO DO IS MAKE FIVE AND I WIN THE TOURNAMENT.
HOW MUCH FUN WAS THIS?
IT WAS, IT WAS A RELIEF MORE THAN FUN I THINK. I COULDN'T REALLY, I DON'T THINK I HAD ANY, ANY ENERGY TO JUMP UP AND DOWN OR ANYTHING BUT, LATER THAT NIGHT, THEN IT REALLY SORT OF STARTED TO SINK IN.
WHAT DID YOUR WIFE TRACY HAVE TO SAY WHEN YOU SPOKE TO HER FIRST AFTER WINNING THE U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP ?
WELL I COULDN'T REALLY GET MUCH IN. THERE WAS SUCH A NOISE BACK HOME. SHE HAD SO MANY FRIENDS AROUND THE HOUSE AND I COULD JUST HEAR IN THE BACKGROUND, EVERYBODY GOING
WILD SO IT WAS, IT WAS NICE, YOU KNOW, I THOUGHT I WOULD JUST RING YOU IN THE MORNING OR SEE YOU IN THE MORNING. I TRIED TO RING MY DAD BUT HE COULDN'T, HE COULDN'T SPEAK, HE WAS JUST TOTAL TEARS, YOU KNOW.
THERE WAS JUST NO WAY OF GETTING WORDS OUT OF HIM.
PERFECT, JUST WHAT YOU WANTED.
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.
Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.
Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.
“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”
Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.
“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”
The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.
“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”
Koepka still has chip on his chiseled shoulder
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brooks Koepka prepared more for this Open than last year's.
He picked up his clubs three times.
That’s three more than last summer, when the only shots he hit between the summer Opens was during a commercial shoot for Michelob Ultra at TPC Sawgrass. He still tied for sixth at The Open a month later.
This time, Koepka kept his commitment to play the Travelers, then hit balls three times between the final round in Hartford and this past Sunday, when he first arrived here at Carnoustie.
Not that he was concerned, of course.
Koepka’s been playing golf for nearly 20 years. He wasn’t about to forget to how to swing a club after a few weeks off.
“It was pretty much the same thing,” he said Tuesday, during his pre-tournament news conference. “I shared it with one of my best friends, my family, and it was pretty much the same routine. It was fun. We enjoyed it. But I’m excited to get back inside the ropes and start playing again. I think you need to enjoy it any time you win and really embrace it and think about what you’ve done.”
At Shinnecock Hills, Koepka became the first player in nearly 30 years to repeat as U.S. Open champion – a major title that helped him shed his undeserved reputation as just another 20-something talent who relies solely on his awesome power. In fact, he takes immense pride in his improved short game and putting inside 8 feet.
“I can take advantage of long golf courses,” he said, “but I enjoy plotting my way around probably - more than the bombers’ golf courses - where you’ve got to think, be cautious sometimes, and fire at the center of the greens. You’ve got to be very disciplined, and that’s the kind of golf I enjoy.”
Which is why Koepka once again fancies his chances here on the type of links that helped launch his career.
Koepka was out of options domestically after he failed to reach the final stage of Q-School in 2012. So he packed his bags and headed overseas, going on a tear on the European Challenge Tour (Europe’s equivalent of the Web.com circuit) and earning four titles, including one here in Scotland. That experience was the most fun and beneficial part of his career, when he learned to win, be self-sufficient and play in different conditions.
“There’s certain steps, and I embraced it,” Koepka said. “I think that’s where a lot of guys go wrong. You are where you are, and you have to make the best of it instead of just putting your head down and being like, 'Well, I should be on the PGA Tour.' Well, guess what? You’re not. So you’ve got to suck it up wherever you are, make the best of it, and keep plugging away and trying to win everything you can because, eventually, if you’re good enough, you will get out here.”
Koepka has proved that he’s plenty good enough, of course: He’s a combined 20 under in the majors since the beginning of 2017, the best of any player during that span. But he still searches long and hard for a chip to put on his chiseled shoulder.
In his presser after winning at Shinnecock, Koepka said that he sometimes feels disrespected and forgotten, at least compared to his more-ballyhooed peers. It didn’t necessarily bother him – he prefers to stay out of the spotlight anyway, eschewing a media tour after each of his Open titles – but it clearly tweaked him enough for him to admit it publicly.
That feeling didn’t subside after he went back to back at the Open, either. On U.S. Open Sunday, ESPN’s Instagram page didn’t showcase a victorious Koepka, but rather a video of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dunking a basketball.
“He’s like 6-foot-2. He’s got hops – we all know that – and he’s got hands. So what’s impressive about that?” Koepka said. “But I always try to find something where I feel like I’m the underdog and put that little chip on my shoulder. Even if you’re No. 1, you’ve got to find a way to keep going and keep that little chip on.
“I think I’ve done a good job of that. I need to continue doing that, because once you’re satisfied, you’re only going to go downhill. You try to find something to get better and better, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Now 28, Koepka has a goal of how many majors he’d like to win before his career is over, but he wasn’t about to share it.
Still, he was adamant about one thing: “Right now I’m focused on winning. That’s the only thing I’ve got in my mind. Second place just isn’t good enough. I finished second a lot, and I’m just tired of it. Once you win, it kind of propels you. You have this mindset where you just want to keep winning. It breeds confidence, but you want to have that feeling of gratification: I finally did this. How cool is this?”
So cool that Koepka can’t wait to win another one.
Despite results, Thomas loves links golf
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Despite poor results in two previous Open Championships, Justin Thomas contends that he has what it takes to be a good links player. In fact, he believes that he is a good links player.
Two years ago at Royal Troon, Thomas shot 77 in the second round to tie for 53rd place. He was on the wrong side of the draw that week that essentially eliminated anyone from contention who played late Friday afternoon.
Last year at Royal Birkdale, Thomas made a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 sixth hole in the second round and missed the cut by two shots.
“I feel like I’ve played more than two Opens, but I haven’t had any success here,” Thomas said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I feel like I am a good links player, although I don’t really have the results to show.”
Although he didn’t mention it as a reason for success this week, Thomas is a much different player now than he was two years ago, having ascended to the No. 1 position in the world for a few weeks and now resting comfortably in the second spot.
He also believes a high golf IQ, and the ability to shape different shots into and with the wind are something that will help him in The Open over the next 20 years.
“I truly enjoy the creativity,” Thomas said. “It presents a lot of different strategies, how you want to play it, if you want to be aggressive, if you want to be conservative, if you want to attack some holes, wait on certain winds, whatever it might be. It definitely causes you to think.
“With it being as firm as it is, it definitely adds a whole other variable to it.”
Reed's major record now a highlight, not hindrance
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The narrative surrounding Patrick Reed used to be that he could play well in the Ryder Cup but not the majors.
So much for that.
Reed didn’t record a top-10 in his first 15 starts in a major, but he took the next step in his career by tying for second at the 2017 PGA Championship. He followed that up with a breakthrough victory at the Masters, then finished fourth at the U.S. Open after a closing 68.
He’s the only player with three consecutive top-4s in the majors.
What’s the difference now?
“The biggest thing is I treat them like they’re normal events,” he said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I’ve always gone into majors and put too much pressure on myself, having to go play well, having to do this or that. Now I go in there and try to play golf and keep in the mindset of, Hey, it’s just another day on the golf course. Let’s just go play.
“I’ve been able to stay in that mindset the past three, and I’ve played pretty well in all three of them.”
Reed’s record in the year’s third major has been hit or miss – a pair of top-20s and two missed cuts – but he says he’s a better links player now than when he began his career. It took the native Texan a while to embrace the creativity required here and also to comprehend the absurd distances he can hit the ball with the proper wind, conditions and bounce.
“I’m sort of accepting it,” he said. “I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with doing it. It’s come a little bit easier, especially down the stretch in tournament play.”