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Harris English & Matt Kuchar - December 10, 2015

TRANSCRIPT

DAVE SENKO: Well, Matt and Harris, thanks for joining us. Shot 14-under today and now 79-under in your seven rounds here. Maybe just get us started, talk about your day, included eagles on 1 and 17.

MATT KUCHAR: It's an interesting way to start. Harris and I both just missed the fairway on each side. I missed the fairway right on 1, Harris missed the fairway just left. We were able to get a somewhat clear enough lie on the right side in the right kind of waste area and Harris was table to put it on the green 45-feet away and it was looking like that was a great shot. We would happily walk off with 4. Harris made a great putt that rolled over the edge and I actually made it from 45-feet. It was a fun way to start and just kind of got going from there. Knew the putter was working. Harris started driving it just enormously long and so we had a lot of opportunities. From where he was hitting it, we were able to put approach shots kind of within makeable range having two chances. We really didn't need two chances very often. It seemed like Harris was just rolling in putts beautifully. I got to stand behind him and watch putt after putt go right in the middle of the hole. It was a fun day for me.

HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, we both had it going pretty well. Having Kooch as a backup guy is pretty good. I know if I mess up or I miss a putt, I wouldn't want anybody else hitting a shot or putting behind me. I feel like he's got it pretty good. So it was good, just kind of me free-wheeling it. I felt like I got in a pretty good rhythm on that back nine. We played well. I hit some drives, he hit some second shots and we found a way to make a lot of birdies. Ending with an eagle-birdie on the last two holes feels pretty good, jump started, get us jump started in the morning.

DAVE SENKO: Your second shot on No. 1, what was that, Harris, do you remember?

HARRIS ENGLISH: I think I had about 243 front, 265-ish hole and I knew I had to hit a pretty good 3-wood to get there and crept it on the right side of the green. Like Matt said, we would have been happy walking away with 4 on that hole, and making a 45-footer is a huge way to start.

DAVE SENKO: 17, what was the shot sequence on that, on the eagle?

HARRIS ENGLISH: Driver down the left side, had about 177 hole?

MATT KUCHAR: 76 front, 82 hole.

HARRIS ENGLISH: 82 hole. A little downwind, so it was a pretty hard 8-iron for me full out and landed right on the front of the green and rolled to about three or four feet.

Q. When the Golf Channel opened their show today, they talked about you two guys saying they're in position to make a run at the 55 last year. Did that go through your minds at all when you were off to that hot start?

MATT KUCHAR: No, no, completely forgot that we would have shot that sort of number. It was a good steady day. There were a couple opportunities. I remember the par 3 on the back, Harris hit a great approach to 12 feet and we both hit good putts that didn't go in. There seemed to be a couple of the other par 3 on the back, 12 I think, had another 12-footer. But hard to complain. We made a lot of putts. It felt like a pretty easy day. But never did we think about any sort of record or how deep you go, you just kind of keep plodding along.

HARRIS ENGLISH: You never really think about a number, you just think about trying to keep going, trying to get a good look every single hole and I felt like we did that. Yeah, you miss a couple 12-, 15-footers, but if you've got two chances on it, I would say we're going to have a really good shot of making them. So we made some good putts, missed a couple that I guess you could say we should have made, but all in all it was a good day.

Q. Graeme and Gary were playing well, too. Does that kind of help the dynamic of the group at all when everyone's playing well or somebody else starts to play well and you guys want to catch up or stick with them?

HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I feel like we get along with those guys really well. They're fun to play with. They had it going as well. Gary was driving the ball really, really well and Graeme had some really good approach shots and bunker shots. It's fun when you both get it going like that and try to oneup each other coming down the stretch.

Q. Just want to get both your guys' thoughts on pin placements today. A couple of the other guys mentioned how they thought there were a couple tricky ones, particularly on the front nine.

MATT KUCHAR: There were. We talked about it. The second hole I thought was a really tricky pin placement. Harris hit one of the longest drives of the day there and we only had a sand wedge in, which was a huge bonus. I think we had a hundred yards total to the hole and was able to hit one fairly close there, but that one kind of got on a ridge, a falloff area right behind it. It was a tough one. Aside from that, I can't think of others that really stood out as the par 5, is that 7?

HARRIS ENGLISH: And the par 3 before that, I thought 6 was pretty tough.

MATT KUCHAR: That was right on a downslope falling off the green, 6 and 7 were tough. I think 7, as par 5, it ought to be tough. It's a reachable par 5, it ought to be a tough pin placement.

Q. Any tougher than years past would you say?

MATT KUCHAR: Hard to remember. I keep some of my old notes and I don't remember them being all that different. I'm sure we had similar pins. I don't know if maybe there was just more today than normal.

Q. You've got alternate shot tomorrow. That's the toughest format so to speak and you guys have one up on everybody else at least. Just your thoughts going in with that advantage?

MATT KUCHAR: It's a fun day. It's certainly more pressure but the modified format keeps it a little easier to handle. It's certainly a nice way to do it, the modified format. But with only one approach and one putt at it, it's harder to make a bunch of birdies. You certainly don't want to let the other guy down when you're looking at a makeable opportunity. However, it's a day I think you may see a little more separation, just some team's going to shoot a low number, it just always happens. Guys get in a good groove and somebody shoots a pretty low number and you see some guys start to separate on this alternate shot format.

Q. You guys won a couple years ago. Obviously off to a hot start. What is it about this tournament that makes you guys play so well? Are you guys trying to rename the tournament after yourselves or trying to leave a legacy?

MATT KUCHAR: It's amazing what Greg's done with this tournament. We just talked about that on the course today. I'm not sure how many years now it's been going on, but an amazing event Greg has put on for so many years now. It's really a cool format. The players love being part of it. I know we love being part of it. Harris was talking about his enjoyment on the golf course and his ability to read these greens really well. He kind of steps up as the first one to putt and most of the time we haven't really discussed a whole lot. He just has a good feeling, steps up and strokes it in. I think that's been a big bonus watching a bunch of putts go in. Having a comfort level on these greens is a big help. And then having a partner lets you be a little bit more aggressive, lets you be a little bit more free swinging. We've just formed a good partnership and get in a pretty good groove out there.

HARRIS ENGLISH: Exactly.

Q. Do you find that you rely on your caddies a lot less in this format because you're watching each other hit putts or hit the ball?

MATT KUCHAR: Probably so. The caddies are still important. Caddies certainly still play a good role in helping with club selection, but you have some other guys to feed off of. I know on the approaches on a day like today in the scramble hitting the same shots, kind of getting to know how far Harris hits his irons and then get a good barometer to figure out what club I'll hit off of there. We kind of help each other on the greens when needed. I stay out of his way for the most part unless he asks for help, and he didn't need a whole lot of help out there today.

HARRIS ENGLISH: Smitty, my caddie, we kind of go through the same thing. I would say it's a little more aggressive play, especially today when you know you've got two chances at it that you're probably going flag hunting a little more than you would in a regular golf tournament. I think tomorrow will be a little more strategy with the modified alternate shot. When you've got only one ball in play, it's a little more strategy than today.

 

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About The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples
The AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Four Star Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples is renowned for its exceptional personalized service, inventive cuisine and luxurious accommodations, with panoramic views of the adjacent Greg Norman-designed Tiburón Golf Club. The 295-room Mediterranean-style resort, ranked as one of the top hotels in the U.S. by U.S. New & World Report is home to a pair of 18-hole signature Greg Norman golf courses at Tiburón. The course is the host location for both the annual PGA TOUR Franklin Templeton Shootout, held in December and the LPGA’s CME Group Tour Championship Event, held in November.
About Tiburόn Golf Club
Tiburón Golf Club, offering two Greg Norman-designed golf courses, was carved from 800 acres of prime Southwest Florida real estate. The courses reflect Norman’s appreciation for pristine natural settings and his passion for great golf. The Black and The Gold courses contain a combination of stacked sod-wall bunkers and tricky coquina waste bunkers. Tiburón features a 27,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style clubhouse with fine dining, private member locker rooms and lounge areas, and a fully-equipped golf shop. The member-only Fitness and Health Club offers state-of-the-art cardiovascular and strength training equipment, a spacious aerobics room, massage treatment rooms, men’s and women’s locker rooms, steam rooms and a club room for private functions. Certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International, Tiburón reflects a strong commitment to enhancing and protecting the natural resources. Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, annually hosts the Franklin Templeton Shootout, the LPGA CME TOUR Championship and is home to the Tiburón Golf Academy and Tiburón Golf Performance Group, featuring top industry professionals in golf instruction, custom club fitting and building, sports psychology and fitness.

Contact

Lee Patterson
Franklin Templeton Shootout
704-553-4790
lee.patterson@gwse.com

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