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PGA TOUR MEDIA CONFERENCE


October 1, 2014


Tim Finchem

Chesson Hadley

Rory McIlroy


LAURA NEAL:¬† I'd like to welcome and thank the media for joining us this morning.¬† We're pleased to have PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem with us as well as the soon‑to‑be‑announced PGA TOUR Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year for the 2013‑14 season.¬† Mr.Finchem will announce each award winner and ask for a few remarks from them and then we will open up the lines for questions for any of the three gentlemen on the phone.¬† At this time it is my pleasure to introduce Commissioner Finchem to share with us today's exciting news.
TIM FINCHEM:¬† Thank you, Laura, and thank you, all, for joining us this morning for this announcement of the 2014 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.¬† As I've said in the past, we're excited about the new structure of our wrap‑around season and how everything comes to a conclusion at the end of the FedExCup season, and that's when the ballots went out for these two awards.
This past season has featured a lot of breakout stars, new stars being developed and a lot of strong performances from our known champions.¬† This year's honorees have played superbly over the course of 2013‑2014 season, and they've been recognized by their peers and a vote of the membership.¬† A vote by the members makes these two awards unique and special.
I'm pleased to announce today that the 2014 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year is Chesson Hadley, and the PGA TOUR Player of the Year is Rory McIlroy.¬† First I'd like to say a couple things about Chesson.¬† What Chesson was able to accomplish last year was a credible and very strong season.¬† He came to the PGA TOUR after winning twice on the 2013 Web.com TOUR and followed that up with a strong rookie season this year.¬† He played in 29 events.¬† He had four top‑10 finishes, including his first career victory at the Puerto Rico Open.
Chesson, it's my honor to announce that you are the 2014 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year.  Congratulations on a great season.
CHESSON HADLEY:  Thank you, Mr.Finchem.  It's a privilege, and it's really cool to be on the PGA TOUR, let alone win Rookie of the Year.  Obviously that wouldn't be the case if I didn't have people voting for me, so thank you very much for all my peers who voted for me, and thank you to everybody who has been a part of this throughout my career, and obviously congrats to Rory on Player of the Year.  That's outstanding.
It's a privilege, and I learned a lot, and I'm looking forward to getting going next year.
TIM FINCHEM:  Thank you, Chesson, and I should add, in addition to your great play this year, thank you for the way you've handled yourself inside and outside the ropes.  You've been a credit to the game and a contributor to what we consider our strongest asset, and that is the image of our players.
CHESSON HADLEY:  Thank you.
TIM FINCHEM:¬† Rory McIlroy has had an exceptional season, and it should come as no surprise that he's been voted Player of the Year by his peers.¬† This is the second time that Rory has been awarded his honor, the first being in 2012.¬† He had really a phenomenal year with three victories, including the British Open, what we call the Open Championship; the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational; and the PGA Championship, those three wins in successive starts.¬† He played in 17 events on the PGA TOUR and finished in the top 25 in all 17 with 12 top‑10 finishes.¬† He finished third in the final FedExCup standings and won the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR's leading money winner for the second time.
Rory, also to you I would commend you on the way you continue to handle yourself publicly inside the ropes and outside the ropes and the contributions you have made to the image of the TOUR, but for the moment I'd like to congratulate you on a terrific year and for the recognition the other players have provided you by naming you Player of the Year.  Congratulations, and I should also add congratulations on an unbelievable performance throughout the Ryder Cup, most particularly the singles match on Sunday.  Rory McIlroy.
RORY McILROY:¬† Tim, thanks very much, and thank you to‑‑ I just want to echo what Chesson said there, and thanks to everyone for voting for me.¬† It's a very important honor for players to be voted Player of the Year by your peers.¬† They're the guys that you're trying to beat week in, week out, and the other guys see you put the hard work in, and to know that they appreciate what you've put into it and how well that you've played, it's a great honor and a great honor to win twice in the space of three years, and hopefully I can win it for many more years to come.
But a great honor, and a nice way to cap off what has been another great PGA TOUR season for me.  I just want to congratulate Chesson, as well, something that I wasn't able to achieve, Rookie of the Year.  Very strong play from him.  To get a win in his first season, as well, is always very important, and I'm sure he'll go on to bigger and better things.
I think the PGA TOUR is in great hands, a lot of great players, a lot of young stars rising, a lot of known champions playing very, very well, and the PGA TOUR continues to go from strength to strength, and just very glad to be a part of it.

Q.  Rory, this year started off kind of slow, but you really caught fire.  What was the turning point in your year that allowed you to feel like you had all this confidence to run roughshod the second half of the season?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, I don't feel like I got off to a slow start to the season.  It was a solid start, quite a few top 10s, without really getting the wins.  I think Honda was a big point for me just to get myself in the mix again at a PGA TOUR event and nearly pull off the win.  I didn't quite play well enough on Sunday, but that gave me a lot of belief going forward that I could play well this season.  I think the catalyst for this year probably wasn't even on the PGA TOUR, it was probably back on the European Tour in Wentworth when I won there.  To get that first win of the season is always important, and then to go on from there gave me the confidence going into the summer, and obviously I had a great stretch in the summer.  It's been an incredible run, and just trying to keep it going as long as I can.

Q.  A couple different questions for each of you.  Chesson, I guess we'll start with you.  What was maybe the hardest part or adjustment for you in your rookie year, and how did the success that you had this season kind of change things moving forward in terms of goals and so forth?
CHESSON HADLEY:¬† Sure.¬† You know, I think the biggest adjustment was getting used to the courses.¬† I mean, I hadn't seen any of these courses before, and I mean, that's nothing new going to a place, trying to figure out these courses, but they're harder, they're longer, they're firmer, they're faster.¬† There's definitely an adjustment as far as game plan and kind of mindset going into the tournament because 20‑under isn't going to win many of these golf tournaments, so par is a really good score on the PGA TOUR.¬† So that was probably my biggest adjustment.
But the win was huge because it allows me to pick and choose a little bit.  I have some security, which is everything in a young career.  To know I have two more years out on TOUR is nice.  I'd like to think it's not going to be a problem.  I would like to think I'm not going to be struggling with status, but you never know, this is a tough game.  But it's nice knowing I can pick and choose my schedule a little bit.

Q.  Rory, when you look at this year compared to 2012, similar in some ways, I guess.  Now that they've maybe soaked in a little bit, how would you kind of compare the two years?  Obviously you won two majors this year compared to one that year, but just in terms of how you actually played, how would you compare which is the better year, and maybe are you in a better position to kind of handle the aftermath or the expectation or all the things that go with that than you were say two years ago?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, if I compare 2012 to 2014, I'd say that this year's play was much more consistent.  As Tim said, that start I played in 17 PGA TOUR events, finished in the top 25 in all 17 and had 12 top 10s, so I think the consistency of the play was much better this year.  Obviously to win an extra major, I feel like it was a much more consistent year, even after that great year in 2012.  I still had a patch there where I missed four or five cuts and there was a bit of inconsistent play, but this year was much more consistent.  Every time I teed it up I felt like I had a good chance to win, and that's what I feel like I need going forward.  It's consistency in my game and being up there each and every week.

Q.  The aftermath of kind of winning and everything that goes with it and the success that you've had, are you sort of better prepared to handle it going forward if that makes sense than maybe last time around just from whether it's a maturity standpoint, comfort standpoint, that sort of thing?
TIM FINCHEM:  Yeah, I think just because I've had the experience of being in this position before, I felt like I handled it pretty well in 2012 and there was a few things that went on last year that didn't help, but yeah, I feel like I'm in a better position, obviously No.1 player in the world and everything that comes with that.  I feel like I've held on to that title long enough know to know how to handle it and I've had a bit of experience at it now.
Yeah, I don't go to tournaments thinking that I'm world No.1, I need to perform like that, I just go out to try to play as best I can and compete as hard as I can and try to win tournaments.
Yeah, I mean, I think just from a maturity standpoint and from being in this position for a good bit over the past couple years, I'm probably better equipped to handle it now than I might have been when I first got to No.1 back in the middle of 2012.

Q.  Chesson, hearing Rory talk about how he's learned from his past experiences and maturity that's helped him play better and better in recent years, I wonder how you look at your rookie year in review and particularly if you have learned from your experiences, and I ask that because it was streaky; you had some periods of success and then stretches where you missed a whole bunch of cuts and then another stretch of success.  Have you been able to figure out what's different about your game when it's going well versus when it's not, and can you apply that moving forward so that hopefully you put together more consistent seasons in the future?
CHESSON HADLEY:  Yeah.  Yeah, I think everybody is always searching for that key, that formula.  I mean, so much about this game surrounds putting, and I don't feel like I was putting particularly well during those poor stretches, and I'm sure the statistics back that up.  I mean, just from teeing it up next year on TOUR, I'm going to be a better player just because of the experience I gained this year with playing some veterans and picking their brain about how they've handled things and getting in contention and handling stuff.
The next step is to be‑‑ I would look for me to be more consistent just from the aspect, just from the perspective of I have had a year on the PGA TOUR.¬† You know, to answer your question about the one thing, like I said, putting is so important, and just to be a little bit more consistent on the greens would go a long way.

Q.  Rory, you really came out and made a statement on Sunday at the Ryder Cup in your match against Rickie Fowler.  Talk about what your mindset was going into that match and sort of how it compared to your two majors this year.
RORY McILROY:¬† Yeah, you know, I guess at the Ryder Cup on Sunday there, I guess when you know that it's a straight head‑to‑head battle, you don't really have any other option than to win.¬† That's basically what it is.¬† That was my mindset going out.¬† I just wasn't going to lose to him.¬† I just wasn't.¬† It wasn't an option, and I knew that I needed a fast start, and that's exactly what happened.¬† I got off to a good start and got up early and never really gave him a chance to get back into it.
Yeah, really proud of how I played on Sunday and really proud of how I went out there and got a blue point on the board early for the European team.  It was just great to be part of another winning Ryder Cup team, and very happy for everyone involved and obviously very happy for Captain McGinley.  I thought he did a fantastic job.
It was a team effort, and it was great to be able to celebrate as part of a team, and yeah, obviously personally very proud of how I played during the week, especially Saturday and Sunday, and just glad I could contribute to the team.

Q.¬† We've had a year of the wrap‑around season under our belts.¬† I wondered how you might change your schedule for this upcoming '14‑'15 season?
CHESSON HADLEY:¬† You know, I like the new wrap‑around schedule.¬† I mean, I love playing golf tournaments.¬† I love traveling to these places and experiencing the new cities, so I love it.¬† Even from a golf standpoint, if you're not playing well, okay, you finish the season, you have some time off, you can go work on your game, and then you're excited to get back into it.¬† It's a new start, and the same thing‑‑ can be the same if you're playing well.¬† You just kind of feel like you carry the momentum into the start of the new season.¬† So I'm excited about getting over to Napa for the Frys.com Open, and I love it.
RORY McILROY:¬† And yeah, for me, I guess because I'm more of a global player, I play all over the world and play‑‑ I play on two different Tours.¬† I guess my schedule won't really change a whole lot.¬† I'll probably try and cut out a couple tournaments next year, try and slimline my schedule a little bit and maybe not play as many events.¬† I feel like I've got a pretty good formula at the minute:¬† I go to golf courses I like; I go to golf courses that I've done well on before; I go to golf courses that I feel comfortable on.¬† That's what I usually do, and even with this wrap‑around schedule, I'll play‑‑ I don't really get a chance to play in some of the early events in the season like Frys or McGladrey or Vegas just because I go to Asia and play over there, and there's so many options and so many golf tournaments you can play, and being a global player and playing all over the world, you've got to pick and choose sometimes, and it won't really affect my schedule too much.
TIM FINCHEM:  Thank you, guys, for joining us.  I know you're busy, and thank you spending a few minutes answering these questions.  Keep up the good work.  And Rory, I know you're playing this week, so good luck over there at Dunhill.
RORY McILROY:  Thank you.  I'm currently on the 18th tee at St. Andrews, just waiting to hit my tee shot.
LAURA NEAL:  Chesson, are you anywhere close to that that you can brag about?
CHESSON HADLEY:  I'm at a coffee shop in Raleigh, but hopefully I'll be on the 18th tee with Rory next year at the final round.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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