Paul Azinger Press Conference Transcript

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 23, 2001, 5:00 pm
PAUL AZINGER: I'm trying to think who is here that didn't already hear it. (Laughs ). Well, I thought it played a little bit harder today than it did yesterday, and I didn't hit it quite as good, but I managed to get a good score out of it. The wind was -- you know, I think we were just talking about it on the seventh or eighth hole today; the wind started to kick up. So even though we were probably on the good side of the field, I felt like it played a little harder this afternoon than it did at any point yesterday. I was not quite as sharp. I missed a few fairways, but all in all, I did a good job of scoring. My short game was really good and I putted really well. So, you know, I'm in pretty good shape.
Q. Through the years, you guys have always said that sometimes after a great round like you had yesterday, it is really, really hard to follow it up with another great round. So can I assume that you are pleased with the 2-under par round today and also with your position?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, yeah. I mean, it just played a little harder. I didn't hit it quite as good. It is hard to follow-up that kind of ball-striking round. Yesterday was one of those things that -- I'll never forget that ball-striking round. If I could have another couple more rounds like that this week, I'll be in great shape. Today, I had a few miscues. I really only made one mental mistake, and I did have to chip out on the sixth hole, but I managed to make a par. I missed the fairway to the right on No. 1 and was not able to get to the green. But, you know, it's just -- I didn't expect to hit it like I did yesterday. You know, I just wanted to think any way I had to think to get the ball to the hole.
Q. What was that club you put back in your bag twice before going to the ninth green and what did you finally hit?
PAUL AZINGER: I hit 9-iron. I had 114 yards. I had the pitching wedge out, you know, and the wind was gusting. I still could have gotten the pitching wedge there. I could have played a different kind of shot. So I kind of hemmed and hawed and decided to hit the 9-iron down. I hit it really easy and got a good dredge out of it, and it turned out to be the right one. I apologized to my partners for taking so long.
Q. Outside you talked about changing your state of mind in the most recent years. How do you do that?
PAUL AZINGER: Are you going to write about it or can we keep it a secret? (Laughter.)
Q. Depends on how good of an answer it is.
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I think that -- I probably went for probably three or four years. I feel like, you know, there's three things that can cause to you play really lousy: It could be your equipment, it could be your state of mind or you could just be really playing lousy. I changed my equipment. And it was probably an improvement, but I was still playing lousy. So the next step, really, was my state of mind. So I actually hooked up with Bob Rotella and worked with him. I realized I was maybe going through the motions a little too much; going to these tournaments out of a sense of obligation rather than being committed. So I decided to be more prepared before I left town to go to all of these tournaments, and that's maybe about it. I'm going more maybe with a purpose. I played really solid golf all of last year. Even when I played my best back in the late 80s and early 90s, I would still miss six or seven cuts a year, and I only missed a cut one time last year, which is pretty good. So I've just gotten a lot more consistent and going to each tournament with more of a purpose maybe.
Q. I'm confused, which is not usual, but you said that you didn't expect to hit the ball as well as you did yesterday. I know you had a good round, but why would you not come out and say --?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I don't know that I said that. Did I clearly say that? Is that the court stenographer, Steve, or is that you? Because if that's you, we all know.
Q. You said 'I didn't expect to hit it like I did yesterday.'
PAUL AZINGER: Well, yesterday was like an anomaly. That's how good I hit it. Hogan, I mean, how many times did Hogan come off the course totally satisfied? Probably never by his standard. But for me yesterday, was just a great day. I don't know what else to say. I don't know what you're looking for. What are you looking for?
Q. I'm just surprised that if you play really well that you could come the second day and you would not feel that you would play as well.
PAUL AZINGER: Are you saying today I didn't expect to hit it? Well, I'm just saying yesterday was like an incredible day. You just know that you are going to have to think anyway -- the reality is that day-in, day-out -- you change every day out here. Everything changes. The weather conditions, the way you slept, the time that you have to get up to go tee off. You know, just one of those things where you just go out there and think any way you have to think to get the ball in the hole. I was very confident starting the day. I expected to play well. Let's just say this: I was prepared maybe to hit it not quite as well because yesterday was pretty special for me.
Q. Once again, what about your position now heading into the weekend? A little change in the mental attitude or are you thinking, 'Well, there are certain holes out here that I can charge if I have to,' or same pace of play for you?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I think it doesn't really matter where you are after two days or after three; it's where you are after four days. That's what really matters. So I'll try to do everything the same, but I don't want to share too much because Scott Hoch just walked in the room. I don't want to give him any information.
Q. How have you changed since you won the PGA?
PAUL AZINGER: I've grown up a bit. I've been through quite a bit since then. But I would say that physically I'm a bigger man. I weigh 190 pounds instead of 165. I'm in a little better shape. I really should be just as confident.
Q. Has your game changed at all, how you play the game?
PAUL AZINGER: Not really. I probably know a little more about it. Probably a little better chipper and putter than I was. Probably a little better than I was, really. But I'm older. Old age with bad technique. Bad combination. (Laughs).
LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you take us through your birdies real quick.
PAUL AZINGER: Started on the back nine. No. 11, I was just short of the green in two, between the two bunkers and pitched it about ten feet. I bogeyed No. 1. I hit it in the right-hand rough and could not reach the green. I hit it in the bunker, but it didn't get up-and-down. 2-putted for birdie from 35 feet on No. 2. I hit 7-iron on No. 3. I would say 25 feet there, 30 feet. 8, I hit it in the left-hand bunker with no chance. I made a bogey there. 9, I hit -- we talked about. I hit a 9-iron a foot.
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With eye on Masters, Howell wins Match Play group

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 8:15 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Charles Howell III appears to have solved his match play mystery, advancing out of pool play for the second consecutive year after failing to play the weekend his first eight trips to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The timing couldn’t have been better.

At 65th in the Official World Golf Ranking, Howell needs to advance to Sunday’s final four to move into the top 50 in the world and earn an invitation to the Masters, which is always a primary goal for the Augusta, Ga., native.

“Knowing that I need a big week here to get through, obviously, it's massive in match play,” said Howell, who will face Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the first stage of knockout play on Saturday. “Kiradech is an awesome player. I feel like I'm the underdog, and nothing to lose, I like that.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Howell, who began the week as the 59th-seeded player, was unbeaten in pool play, defeating Phil Mickelson on Day 1 and securing his spot in the weekend with a 2-and-1 victory over Satoshi Kodaira on Friday.

Although Saturday’s matches may have a qualifying feel for Howell, who last played the Masters in 2012, he’s also in the field for next week’s Houston Open and could earn a spot at Augusta National with a victory there.

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McIlroy to rest, play Augusta after early exit at Match Play

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 7:02 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – For the second consecutive year, Rory McIlroy failed to advance out of pool play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but there was a silver lining for last week’s champion.

McIlroy, who lost on Friday, 5 and 3, to Brian Harman, said he didn’t have much time to recharge following his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and having the weekend off will give him a chance to prepare for what promises to be an intense build up to this year’s Masters.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

The Northern Irishman will travel to Augusta National on Wednesday for what he said will be a 54- to 72-hole, two-day practice session.

“Me and [caddie Harry Diamond] are going up, two members are hosting us, we're going to have a couple of social runs Wednesday and Thursday,” McIlroy said. “I’ll rest up a little bit, recharge the batteries, get into the gym. Sort of have a good week training and a good practice week. And just get myself ready for Augusta.”

McIlroy is listed among the favorites at the Masters, where he could complete the career Grand Slam if he were to win.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 6:35 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

(Note: Group winners are highlighted; * equals won in playoff)

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0 (2) J. Thomas: 3-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-2-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 1-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 2-1-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 3-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 1-2-0 (43) C. Reavie: 1-1-1 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-1-0
(60) L. List: 0-3-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-1-2 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-1-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 1-2-0 (7) S. Garcia: 3-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-1-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 1-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 2-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 2-1-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-1-0
(46) C. Smith: 2-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-2-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 1-2-0 (42) J. Dufner: 1-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-2-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 2-1-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-3-0 (56) J. Hahn: 1-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 2-1-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-2-1 (12) T. Hatton: 2-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 1-2-0 (23) B. Grace: 1-1-1 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-2-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 2-1-0 (35) B. Watson: 2-0-1 (36) B. Steele: 1-1-0
(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 1-2-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-1-1 (55) A. Levy: 1-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 2-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-1-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-2-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-1-1 (27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-3-0 (37) W. Simpson: 1-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0
(61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 3-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 1-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1
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Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 3

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 5:44 pm

Here is how things played out on Day 3 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play. Click here for Day 2 match results:

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) vs. Kevin Kisner (32)

Group 1: Adam Hadwin (38) vs. Bernd Wiesberger (52)

Group 2: Justin Thomas (2) def. Francesco Molinari (21), 7 and 5: Looking like the man to beat, Thomas put Molinari in an early 3-down hole and kept applying pressure, putting him away with seven birdies in one of the most lopsided results of the week – and in a battle of two unbeatens. Thomas can become world No. 1 with a victory this week.

Group 2: Patton Kizzire (48) def. Luke List (60), 4 and 2: One down through seven holes, Kizzire won four consecutive holes around the turn and coasted to his first win of the week.

Group winner: Justin Thomas

Group 3: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Jon Rahm, 4 and 3: Unbeaten through two days, Aphibarnrat put the hammer down on Rahm, last year’s finalist. Barnrat needed only three birdies to secure the group win, while Rahm dropped to 0-2-1 for the week.

Group 3: Chez Reavie (43) vs. Keegan Bradley (63), halved: With the group already decided as they played the closing stretch, Bradley coughed up a late lead for the third consecutive round, halving the match on 18 and finishing the week with a 0-1-2 record that could (and should) have been so much better.  

Group winner: Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Group 4: Jordan Spieth (4) vs. Patrick Reed (19)

Group 4: Haotong Li (34) vs. Charl Schwartzel (49)

Group 5: Hideki Matsuyama (5) vs. Patrick Cantlay (30)

Group 5: Cameron Smith (46) vs. Yusaku Miyazato (53)

Group 6: Brian Harman (18) def. Rory McIlroy (6), 5 and 3: Harman took advantage of McIlroy’s missed putts and uncharacteristic mistakes to build a 3-up advantage on the front nine, then cruised to a lopsided victory. At 2-0-1, Harman wins the group, while McIlroy can begin his prep for Augusta.

Group 6: Jhonattan Vegas (44) vs. Peter Uihlein (57) def. Jhonattan Vegas (44), 4 and 3: Even though Uihlein won the first two holes on his way to routing Vegas, it wasn’t enough for the former U.S. Amateur champion to advance. He finished the week 2-1.

Group winner: Brian Harman

Group 7: Sergio Garcia (7) def. Xander Schauffele (20), 3 and 1: Two down with seven to play in this battle of unbeatens, Garcia birdied the 12th and 13th holes to square the match, then pulled ahead with a pair of birdies on 15 and 16 and a conceded birdie on 17, after Schauffele tugged his tee shot into the hazard.

Group 7: Dylan Frittelli (41) def. Shubhankar Sharma (62), 1 up: In a match with nothing at stake but a little extra cash and some world-ranking points, Frittelli shot 4 under and held off Sharma throughout to earn his first point of the week.

Group winner: Sergio Garcia

Group 8: Jason Day (8) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (25)

Group 8: Jason Dufner (42) vs. James Hahn (56)

Group 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9) vs. Daniel Berger (26)

Group 9: Kevin Chappell (33) vs. Ian Poulter (58)

Group 10: Matthew Fitzpatrick (31) def. Paul Casey (10), 3 and 2: After looking unstoppable over the first two days of pool play, Casey never led against his fellow Englishman, going 3 down after five holes. It was Fitzpatrick’s first point of the week, and Casey lost on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Group 10: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Russell Henley (51), 1 up: Stanley flipped an early 2-down deficit and rolled in a 10-footer birdie putt on the final hole to beat Henley and earn a full point to force the sudden-death playoff with Casey. On the second playoff hole, Stanley poured in a 5-footer for birdie to advance.

Group winner: Kyle Stanley

Group 11: Marc Leishman (11) vs. Branden Grace (23), halved: Already eliminated, Leishman kept Grace from reaching the pool-play playoff by never trailing in the match. Though the South African holed a 25-footer on 17 to extend it, both players halved the 18th hole with birdies, including a 6-footer from Leishman, to earn a half-point.

Group 11: Bubba Watson (35) vs. Julian Suri (64), halved: Needing just a half-point to advance, but two down with two to go, Bubba stuffed his tee shot on 17, then hit his driver pin-high on the home hole. After Suri couldn’t get up-and-down for birdie, Watson sank his 8-footer for the halve. It's the second consecutive year in which Watson has won his group.

Group winner: Bubba Watson

Group 12: Charley Hoffman (22) def. Tyrrell Hatton (12), 3 and 2: After playing poorly for the first two days, Hoffman finally found his form against the previously unbeaten Hatton, making five birdies en route to a stress-free victory.

Group 12: Brendan Steele (36) vs. Alexander Levy (55)

Group 13: Alex Noren (13) vs. Tony Finau (29)

Group 13: Thomas Pieters (39) vs. Kevin Na (61)

Group 14: Phil Mickelson (14) def. Rafa Cabrera Bello (17), 1 up: Mickelson needed help to advance, but he took care of Cabrera Bello, making birdie on the last two holes to edge the Spaniard. The group was already decided, however, with Howell closing out his match while the other group played the 18th hole.

Group 14: Charles Howell III (59) def. Satoshi Kodaira (40), 2 and 1: Needing just a halve to advance, Howell won the 14th and 16th holes with par to gain a 2-up advantage and complete a perfect week in pool play. It’s the second year in a row that Howell has won his group.

Group winner: Charles Howell III

Group 15: Gary Woodland (24) def. Pat Perez, 1 up: Though the group was already decided, Woodland surrendered a 2-up lead but made a birdie when it mattered most, on the final green, to secure his first full point of the week.

Group 15: Si Woo Kim (50) def. Webb Simpson (37), 2 up: Kim led 4 up after seven holes, but he played only 2 under the rest of the way and, fortunately for him, ran out of holes. He won the group with 2 ½ points.  

Group winner: Si Woo Kim

Group 16: Matt Kuchar (16) vs. Ross Fisher (27)

Group 16: Yuta Ikeda (47) vs. Zach Johnson (54)