home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 10, 2020

Justin Leonard

David Duval

Brandel Chamblee

Orlando, Florida

Q. Justin, what hole out here do you think -- not necessarily your favorite or the one you think is the toughest, what hole out there captures Pete Dye's vision and what he wanted out of this golf course? Is there one that kind of takes all of his talents and genius into account?
JUSTIN LEONARD: I think of 16, where it's right to left off the tee, then you need to move it left to right into the green. There's a little area left of the green to bail out, but you can't see it because of the tree and because of the area under the tree that's raised up. You can't see the right side of the green because of the bunker that's kind of pushed up. You can't see the sand but you know it's there. The little things that are hidden from your view that make you feel like it's there but I can't see it. It just plays little tricks in your mind. To me that's kind of the essence of Pete Dye and what he tried to do to a player.

Q. David, do you have a hole that you think really epitomizes what Pete wants out of a golfer?
DAVID DUVAL: On this golf course, I think -- we were going through it a little while ago, basically you're talking about what Justin is talking about, actually doing different things on 9 or 10 at the par-4s, forget about the par-3s, it's moving the golf ball both ways, and Brandel made an excellent point, that just because you get in the right spot, you can't just stop thinking either, you still have to properly execute your golf shot and actually hit into the green, if you've executed off the tee well.

And I think -- I would look at where the biggest movement, you can maybe say it's like off the second tee where you really have to kind of sling it around that corner, really kind of have to get it moving to the right into that green. If you really pay attention to 7, it's a very similar thing. 10, very similar thing. So I think it's the discomfort that he creates in a player, and therefore that creates indecision, and that's where you get tripped up.

Q. You used the word discomfort. You hear players use the word uncomfortable here a lot. Is that pretty much what you feel?
DAVID DUVAL: Yeah, we talked about it last night a little bit, that really your eyes get pulled away from where you're supposed to be going and what you're supposed to be doing, and if you look at this golf course, especially if you get out into the landing zone and look backwards, you can see kind of see, oh, okay, I see. This thing over here, like Justin's point, has nothing to do with anything. And same thing with the green, get on the back of the green you can figure it out and see the little things that you can try and do.

But it's forcing players to kind of execute and play the game like he thinks it should be in a way, and you can't really overpower anything here. That's why you see such a range of players who win.

Q. During the final round of both of your victories, was there a time, a hole where you felt the most, not necessarily nervous, but maybe concerned or this is a hole I really have to pull off or else I may not win?
DAVID DUVAL: For me, that's easy. The 9th hole. Honestly I forget where I drove it but I laid it up in that left bunker, and I've got nothing. I can go out to the right and try to wedge it close. But I was standing there and Mitch who was caddying for me at the time, I'm like, there's this little opening up here in this tree, and so I took out sand wedge, I said, I'm either going to pull this off or I'm going to make double and be out of the tournament, and I got it up into the greenside bunker and then made the bunker shot. If I hit it around those trees I'm going to make double out of it.

Q. You said the bunker shot was not nearly as hard as the shot before that.
DAVID DUVAL: The greenside bunker shot was simple compared to the fairway bunker shot.

JUSTIN LEONARD: For me it was 17. I wasn't really nervous throughout the day until then. I saw Len Mattiace across the lake making a 7, and I knew the possibility of that for me was there, and so for me it was -- that's probably one of the quickest pre-shot routines I've ever had because I heard the number, said it's a 9-iron, and I teed it up and hit it as fast as I could because I didn't want to get into the what-ifs and everything. It's pretty black and white on that hole. I don't know if you know that. (Laughter.)

And so I just like hit it over that bunker and -- so that was my kind of make or break moment that day.

Q. A quick Pete Dye question since you were just talking about him. From whatever experience you had, can you talk about what he was like personally and maybe if there's any stories you have from your interactions with him?
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: He was inspiring, personally. If you've ever been lucky enough to spend time around him, he was just lit up. I think he came up on our set 2010 PGA Championship, sat beside me and the entire time he was talking I said, I hope that I have half this vitality when I'm his age. Incredibly creative, controversial, wasn't afraid to take chances, did things that didn't really make sense, certainly didn't make sense to me, that were not at least to me esthetically appealing, but the more I looked at them the more I realized that there was value in his designs. Every hole out here is a bait and switch nature to it. I mean, every single hole has some psychological confusion built into it where he's asking you to take a risk that you think you should take that risk, but you just shouldn't take that risk. Like 18. There's nobody that plays in this tournament that is good enough to take on the risk to gain that angle. Not a single player in this field is good enough to take on that risk to get in that angle, but yet you get up there and think this is the coolest most macho thing I can do is get up and hit a draw around that corner and get on the left side of the fairway and I'm a stud if I do that. Actually you're just an idiot if you do that. There's way too much risk to gain that angle, and by the way, if you do gain the angle you're more apt to score a higher score there than if you play it down to the right and have a worse angle, because there's psychological chaos going on there too because now you're imbued with the fact that you're a stud enough to get it in that left side of the fairway and you've got this great angle so you feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof and you feel more apt to make something on the right side and the scores go up. Every single shot out here asks you for a technical sort of huge problem to solve, mental huge problem to solve, and then there's the psychological battles that go with it.

I don't know where he came from. He has no precursor -- everybody always says, Alister MacKenzie is who I follow or whatever. But not with Pete. Pete just showed up and he had no precursors and nobody could even copy him. Nobody even tries. He was a complete original, and that's genius.

DAVID DUVAL: I personally only met him a few times and didn't get to know him or sit on set with him. The best explanation you could have is play his golf courses. You get a really good insight into his brain and into his mind about what he thinks.

Q. Brandel, how concerning is it for a former world No. 1 and PLAYERS champion like Jason Day to have this many back injuries as a 32 year old?
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: You know, if you've got a short, quick golf swing, you're going to have a short, quick career. I know especially if you've got a violent transition the way he's had. He had a wonderful run in his 20s, nice run through his early 30s, but I can remember a point where he got up and said he was trying to shorten his golf swing, and I thought, that's the exact opposite thing you need to be doing. Just go back and look at people with short, quick golf swings and you tell me which one of them had a wonderful extended career, from Doug Sanders to Nick Price. They were brilliant players, but they're not Sam Snead, they're not Julius Boros, they're not Phil Mickelson. And you know what, I think one of the things that we can all learn from even Rory McIlroy sitting up here, I don't know if he talked about Woot, the thing that he has under his arm. You can't even see it. But he has a device under his arm that looks like a wrist watch and it's right here, and that Woot measures the amount of stress that you're under every single day, practicing, training, and it impresses upon you recovery and it impresses upon you the importance of sleep. So when I would hear Jason Day talk about all the sacrifices he needed to make in the gym and practicing, I never really heard him pay proper attention to recovery. So Rory, I think one of the great things we're seeing with Rory is this thing that's under his arm, we're learning from Brady and we're learning from Federer how to extend your career, and I think Rory in his late 20s, early 30s when you think you're physiologically bulletproof has learned from them, and I think Jason Day could learn from Rory and Federer and Brady.

So I don't know that the calamity is irreversible, but it might be.

Q. Why do you think no one has defended this tournament?
DAVID DUVAL: Well, just basically on why we hit on everything about this golf course. You know, there's places that you can kind of fake it and get around. This place you have to be on top of your game physically and mentally, period, and that's just an incredibly difficult thing to do. And year to year the conditions are different, so, you know, the year Justin won, it was a lot different than the year I won, just the very next year. It's just a situation where if you're not, for lack of a better way to put it, firing on all cylinders around this golf course, it will expose you. That's the beauty of the design.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Well, and the golf course doesn't suit any particular type of player, so there's a lot of events where you can narrow the field down to, and you'll have the aberration here or there, but you can narrow the field down to 25 or 30 players and say this is the group that has the best chance this week. Today that group is like 156 people because everybody here, that's in this tournament, has the ability and the game to win. You know, you see that with some of the winners here being maybe further down the field or maybe it's guys who have contended deep into Sunday, but it's just -- if anybody gives you a bet, take the field bet this week, because everybody here has got a chance to win.

DAVID DUVAL: We talked about it at Augusta where you have the field in front of you, you could pick out probably eight or ten players and just about guarantee the winner is going to come out of that.

BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: Yeah, definitely Augusta for sure. Augusta is a top 15 in the world has a chance and nobody else does. But here it's different for those reasons. The straightest players are generally, from a technical proficiency standpoint, the most arrogant, so they're not used to not being able to go at things, because they can do it. But you get here and you make mistakes of precision, arrogance, and you pay the price for it. Longest hitters are the most arrogant when it comes to trajectory. They can solve problems with trajectory. They've got wedges in their hands so they can get over anything and around anything to difficult pins, but you make the mistake here of trajectory or angle because of your distance and you get punished. I mean, this golf course is like a five-sided Rubik's Cube. Nobody really is proficient at that thing. It's a technical battle. It's a mental battle. It's a psychological battle. It's a patience battle. And the odds that somebody -- so much luck goes into winning a golf tournament anyway. Even on golf courses that are far more prejudiced to power. But on a golf course like this with the importance of having great luck and then the unlikeliness that you would have the perfect demeanor that week -- I mean, the absolute perfect demeanor, absolutely perfect clarity, great judgment, great technical proficiency, luck on your side. It's just hugely unlikely that someone would come here and be able to do that.

Rory comes in here, besides Tiger Woods, as having the best chance ever to successfully defend. I mean, you'd be crazy not to bet on him, but I mean, the odds that he'd have all of those things and then the luck? There's not another -- there is not another golf course that I can think of that asks what this one asks of you. The closest would be Augusta National, at least in my view.

Q. It's the longest, the longest TOUR spot that someone hasn't defended.
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: Yes, that's right.

Q. There has to be a reason for that.
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: Right, other than just coincidence, there has to be a reason. If there was just coincidence we couldn't fill up a two-hour show.

Q. I don't want to bring up the whole fifth major thing, but both of you guys won here and you won the British. When people ask you about victories or to take a picture with one of your trophies, what's the difference between them talking about the British and THE PLAYERS?
JUSTIN LEONARD: Honestly, there's not a lot of difference between the two. And I think particularly from the players' standpoint. You've got the four major championships, but people will say -- I've heard other players, I had a conversation with another player in Mexico, he said, will this guy get in the Hall of Fame. I said, what's his -- he said, he's won 14, one major, and a PLAYERS. Like that's a qualifying statement. You know, you've got the four majors, you've got THE PLAYERS, and then everything else is in varying degrees, but they're right behind.

I mean, I don't know -- I haven't seen David's house where he's living now, but I know in my house, there's a shelf and there's a few things on it. The Open, the Claret Jug is on one side and THE PLAYERS jug is on the other. They get their equal share of attention when people come over.

DAVID DUVAL: I think it's just simply not major in name. Yeah, I think we had this discussion -- I believe it was last year, and it might not be called a major, but it might simply be better, might be the best golf tournament in the world, because it is open to basically everybody who's in the field. Everybody who's here has an opportunity and the ability to win this golf tournament, and I think it's proved year in and year out by the variety of players who win it. And the fact that the golf course is, again, arguably the best tournament golf course in the world, I think it lends credence to it. It's just simply, it hasn't been deemed a major. The Masters wasn't a major until '52, '51 --

BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: Maybe somebody here knows --

Q. 1960, when Arnold Palmer won the Masters and the U.S. Open and he was on a plane flying to the U.S. Open and Bob Graham says what would it mean if I won the Masters, the British Open, the U.S. Open and the PGA, and Arnold Palmer said, it would be the equivalent of Bobby Jones playing a Grand Slam.
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: So it's just sort of evolved into one.

DAVID DUVAL: Is the evolution there? Yeah, it will be. But you have this stretch, especially with how they set it up now with the schedule that's just incredible for the game of golf and for the fans of this game.

Q. Are your trophies on the same shelf, too?
DAVID DUVAL: Well, I have, very similar to Justin, I have three trophies displayed. I have THE PLAYERS, I have the Claret Jug and I have the Bob Hope with the scorecard. That's what I have out.

Q. Earlier today Jay Monahan called Rory's rejection of the Premier Golf League a moment of leadership and then when he was speaking, Rory talked about how he is becoming more outspoken, he thinks it's a responsibility to the other players. One, have you seen evidence of that? And two, is that a hard thing to do in what is really an individual game, to try and take a leadership role in the field?
DAVID DUVAL: I think it's important. I think it's imperative to professional golf and the PGA TOUR. You know, I mean, I love the fact that Rory isn't afraid to speak out and speak his mind and be an individual. I kind of raised the question, I won here in '99, and I believe I was No. 2 in the world, and I woke up Monday morning No. 1 in the world. So I had the mantle thrown on me for that bit of time. Was I the most comfortable with it? No, certainly not like Rory. I certainly spoke my mind, but the fact that somebody with something -- somebody like Rory will speak out and voice his opinion and take that role I think is imperative to this game.

Q. He says he's taking on more of a leadership role, being more outspoken, feels it's his responsibility. So my first thought was have you seen any evidence of that, but I think the more apparent question is is that a hard thing to do in what isn't a team game.
BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: Well, I think he just pointed out the flaws in what it would mean to take the money, and the flaws would be that these TOUR players are called independent contractors. If you're lucky enough to ascend to a place on the PGA TOUR, I can't think of another -- I can't think of anything else in life where nobody gets to tell you what to do. I can't. The TOUR can't tell you what to do. You can fire your caddie if you don't like the pants he's wearing, and they do it. Ed Fiori famously fired his caddie. Why did you do it? I don't know, I just got tired of looking at him. Managers kowtow to you, the TOUR kowtows to you, caddies kowtow to you. Nobody tells a TOUR player what to do.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Well, maybe their wife.

BRANDEL CHAMBLEE: Fair point. Fair point. But at least nobody in the business world, outside of their wife, gets to tell them what to do. You find me another sport where they have that autonomy, and now all of a sudden they are no longer autonomous, they are beholden, and not only are they beholden, they're beholden to people that in my estimation are not unlike a drug cartel. You're talking about the most egregious acts against humanity. These people put homosexuals in bags and throw them off buildings for sport. They chop up journalists. So every morning you'd have to look in the mirror and go, do I really like where this money is coming from, am I not somewhat complicit, am I not being a ventriloquist, am I not sort of being a part of the euphemizing of these atrocities and you've got one guy to stand out and say these are the problems here. Yeah, there's a lot of money, but there's a lot of existential baggage that comes with that.

And he thought it through, and he said -- it was a beautiful line. I wasn't really happy with where the money is coming from. And that one line, that one line is his brilliance. I wasn't really happy with where the money is coming from, because think about that philosophical question. Somebody comes to you and says, I'm going to pay you 10 times the money you're making to do the exact same job but with it comes a little baggage, and then we all sort of hedge a little bit here and a little bit here, and the next thing you know you don't care if they're throwing homosexuals off of buildings for sport, chopping people up and killing them because they changed their religion. I applaud the man. What he does on the golf course is one thing, but what he did in the media center, I mean, that's -- that's rarer than the athletic skill that he has.

Q. Do you guys have any thoughts on Bryson? Seems to be kind of resurgent after making material changes to his body and his golf game.
JUSTIN LEONARD: I think it's always appealing when somebody strikes out on their own path and tries to go against like convention, what has worked in the past. I would call Bryson an innovator.

The science and things, it's only going to take you so far, but it can take you a pretty good ways, and I think he's taken it to a level that's caught a lot of other players' attention. You know, the -- when I read last fall where he was going to get in the gym and put on 20 pounds and all this stuff, it's like, oh, boy, here we go. But I mean, you backed it up; it works. I think his driving average is 20 yards further this year than it was last year, and we've had a couple of big samples. We've got a big enough sample to go, yeah, this is the deal. And so, you know, to see an innovator in a game, no offense, but it's this old and this kind of stuck in its ways -- Pete Dye was an innovator. He was the contemporary artist in a roomful of classical painters. Bryson DeChambeau, he's cut from that same kind of cloth.

DAVID DUVAL: I think there's a situation addressing -- we've talked about it. Obviously this game is power based now, and he's figuring out a way to pick up more power and distance, and ultimately the stats tell you, the closer you are to the green the better score you make, doesn't matter where you are. And so he's addressing that. I think part of that is just simply because of -- if you look at the top of the world, what is this game. The way it helps this week is that you don't have to hit as much off the tee, but other than that, you've still got to play golf here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297