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TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY


May 14, 2013


Chris Berman

Andy Bessette

Jimmy Canton

Nathan Grube

Marcquille Johnson

Marc Leishman

Merritt McDonough


NATHAN GRUBE:  We are 33 days out.  The next 33 days are going to be a lot of fun.  Thank the members of the media for being here and thank you for your support and time to come out and state and local officials who are out.  The board of directors, thank you very much for your effort, for your service, it is often unheard of and unknown but thank you for all of the time behind the scenes to put this event on.
To TPC River Highlands, to Bill Whaley and his team, J.R., Larry, Tom is here, we have an incredible golf course and the players love it, and that really is where you start.  If you have a bad golf course, it is very hard to recruit players; and Tom and his team put an unbelievable facility out there for us with the practice facility and the course, so TPC thank you very much.
I get to introduce, real quick we are going to do a video, a little recap to remind everybody where we ended last year, highlights to put everybody in the mood and I'm going to introduce Andy and then we are going to get started.
(VIDEO PLAYED).
NATHAN GRUBE:¬† Thank you, two and a half minutes of highlights, so much work throughout the year that a lot of you participated in to the baby shower‑‑ we do so much more than a golf tournament, and we are so excited about that, we are so proud of that but we do it all so raise as much money as we can for charity.¬† There's only so much that we can raise inside of the golf elements but every element we add adds to our dollars to charity.
I want to say something about Andy.  I probably spend 15 hours a week with Andy outside of his real job, and when I tell other tournaments that; one, they don't believe me, but when I actually walk through the meetings we have and the time, they say why does he spend so much time on the tournament with you.
The only answer is that if you want it to be that, you have to have that; you have to have your title sponsor that engaged and you have to have them diving into the event; and what can we do, lending their resources to it and we wouldn't be able to do that unless we had them 15 hours a week.
So he is one of our top volunteers with our committees.¬† We wouldn't have the economic impact that we have, close to $30million every year on the state without that kind of involvement and we have would not have won the awards we won last year.¬† In DecemberI got to go out and meet with all of the other tournaments on TOUR.¬† There's 45 events on TOUR and they handed out 11 awards to those 45 events and you're really hoping that you can get one of the awards for the tournament; you're in a room with your peers and you want to be recognized.¬† The Travelers Championship won three of the 11 that were available, and it's because of the dedication of a title like that that wins you awards like that ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ with the players during tournament week‑‑ (inaudible) ‑‑ the most fan friendly event on the PGA TOUR.¬† That is 45 markets across the country, and your peers voted that we have the most ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ ticket prices to concerts to fan zone so what we do as junior Pro‑Am, everything.
And that title sponsor integration, the relationship that we have at Travelers, they said is better than any other tournament on TOUR, and that is something that we are very proud of and I'm very proud of, the fact that I get to work with him.  He's going to come up and say a few words right now, the executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Travelers, Mr.Andy Bessette.
ANDY BESSETTE:  Just a story to get you started, last night I had a long day in New York City and was driving back to my place in west Hartford, 10:30, quarter to 11 and, come off the Park Road, and it and not a living soul around, and there's ten police cars off to the right.  And I'm looking over there saying what the heck is going on here and it's surreal.
Right in front of my eyes, this thing runs across in front of me and I'm looking at it going what the heck is that.¬† I thought it was a donkey, actually.¬† I said‑‑ well, my light turned green, they all stopped‑‑ took a look, followed this thing, look a right on Raymond Road and a left on the next street.
I'm following this thing, and so I call 911, and the woman answers:  West Hartford 911, how can I help you, what's your emergency?
I said:  I don't have one, but you do.  There's a donkey running down the middle of the street and I'm chasing him for you.
And she said:  Sir, that's not a donkey, that's a moose.
I said:  Oh, okay, really.  So I followed the moose all the way down the street, and she's still on the phone.  And I said:  Do you want me to apprehend the moose for you?
And she said:  No, sir, the police are chasing it down.
I said, Listen, I'm looking all around, I don't see one policeman anywhere.  So it cut off and went into a backyard and then I went home.  But the moose was real, there was a moose running around west Hartford.  That's my moose story.
But on a serious note, on behalf of everyone at Travelers, thank you for being here.  Whenever Media Day comes around, it's exciting; I see Chris Berman again.  Marc Leishman, our defending champion and we are happy to have you here and know what it means for you to come back here, busy guy.  Playing great golf recently; you're always playing great golf, but you put your game together and the Masters was phenomenal and THE PLAYERS was phenomenal and we are so happy to have you here.
2013 is important for Travelers because it's our 160th anniversary of the company this year, and when you look back at the company, we have a lot of firsts throughout our history like in 1897, we had the firstauto policy.  Then in 1919 we had the first air flight policy.  And in 1969 I think a lot of you probably know we insured the Apollo space flight, so a lot of firsts within the company, and a lot more than that just naming a few.
So it's very appropriate to have Marc win his first PGA TOUR event here with us and something we'll remember for a long time to come.  We are looking forward this year to the tournament, in 33 days, the start of the seventh tournament as the Travelers and Marc is going to be defending his title against people like Bubba Watson, Michael Thompson, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, and young guys coming up, like Derek Ernst, and David Lingmerth played very well last weekend at THE PLAYERS.
So it's very exciting for us, as I've said many times before, the tournament is very important to Travelers because it's good for our brand, good for our company; but more importantly it's good for the community and great for charity and that's what's so important to us.  And what this means to all of us and you we can't make it a success without all of you.  It's about all everybody who is a part of what we are trying to accomplish here.
If you remember back in 2010 we launched our military appreciation initiative and we really wanted to honor brave men and women who are serving or have served our country, and it's been great ever since.  And just the parallels, Travelers is recognized many times by GI Jobs magazine as being one of the top military friendly employers.
So we are committed as a company and we are committed as a tournament to doing the right thing with our veterans.  What's really cool about this year is we tried to take a different angle to our honorary chair position that we have always had and this year we have five honorary chairs, five honorary military chairs for the tournament, and each of them represent a different branch of the service.
I'd like to take a quick minute to introduce them via video and then I'll introduce each of them to you, we have three of them with us here today.
(VIDEO PLAYED).
ANDY BESSETTE:¬† I don't know about you, but whenever I watch that, it sends shivers up my spine and it's a really moving piece.¬† At this point I would like to ask three of our military honorary co‑chairs to stand:¬† Linda Botek, U.S. Navy; Kelley McDowell, U.S. Air Force; and Seth St. Armand, U.S. Marines.¬† There's not a lot to be said after you watch the video but each of them have such a compelling story.
Linda served in the Navy ten years after she graduated from the Naval Academy in 1980 which was the first class to include women.  That's just so extraordinary and I think the one thing that sticks, when you said, we were wearing guy's uniforms because they didn't tailor stuff to women.
And Seth, you were recently deployed in 2011 to Afghanistan; it's very real and recent in Afghanistan and it's dangerous and we really appreciate what you did and how you do it and we appreciate more for all of you what you do at Travelers.
And then Kelley really told most of the story in the video, 1999 what happened, and again, a compelling story as you were telling us when they flew you into Antarctica to rescue Dr.Nielsen, I think you said you had like 30 minutes to land and pack her up and get her on board and take off, because the oil would freeze in the engine or you would have to spend the rest of the winter in Antarctica.
Thank you for being with us and serving as our military honorary co‑chairs and the other two will be with us throughout tournament week, all five of them will be around different events operating the shower and Pro‑Am day.
With all that, just say thank you to all the players and sponsors and media that are here today, state officials and fans and everybody that makes the Travelers Championship such a success and we are really looking forward to having a great week, the 17th through the 23rd.
Please feel free to call us and we'll do everything we can to accommodate you and make it great experience for you and help you provide great coverage of a great event with a great field.  Marc, thank you for being here again, we appreciate it.
NATHAN GRUBE:  A golf analogy for introducing our next speaker.  Obviously Travelers, you need a title sponsor to put on a PGA TOUR event, that's the driver in your bag but you need a lot of other clubs in your bag, but one of the other clubs in our bag to putt this event on, we have one presenting sponsor and that's Saint Francis Care, and they have bought into this tournament for not just the X's and O's; only so much you get for branding and hospitality.
But Merritt and Chris, have bought into this event for the big picture and what it means for the community and how it affects people's perception of Connecticut and what it does to quality of life here and what the economic impact of the region is; the things you want to be able to talk to a sponsor about.  So I get to introduce Merritt, very, very fortunate to have them and here to say a few words, the president, CEO and officer of the Saint Francis Foundation.
MERRITT McDONOUGH:  Thank you very much for those kind words.  It's a distinct honor for me to be with you here today on behalf of Saint Francis Care and Chris Dadlez, our Chief Executive Officer, who regrets he was unable to attend this morning.
The rewards to the Travelers Championship to Connecticut are many and we are justifiably very proud to call this gem of an event hours and a nation to share.¬† The tournament clearly contributes to the overall health and well‑being of our city and at Saint Francis, we understand and appreciate such a role and we are honored and proud to extend our support to the Championship for the last 25 years.
This year for the 15th year in a row, we will be providing free on‑course medical attention to players, fans and volunteers.¬† In addition, hundreds of our employees will volunteer in the food concession tent and in the fan zone and military outpost.
This year we once again share a great enthusiasm for our involvement in the week long military appreciation salute for our service people.¬† This is initiative is our way of saying thank you to those who serves country and still do so today.¬† Our support of the military appreciation salute includes complimentary admission to the event for all active, reserve and retired military service members and their dependents as well as discounts for U.S. veterans.¬† The climate‑controlled Patriots Outpost, which is serves as a gathering place for military personnel and their families, also offers complimentary refreshments.
The Military Caddie Program, which gives active‑duty military to carry the TOUR players bags during the Travelers Celebrity Pro‑Am and opportunity for three Birdies For the Brave Warriors to play in the Pro‑Am.
This year with our partnership with the Travelers Championship and Birdies For the Brave we are also pleased to present our Warriors especially fitted Callaway golf clubs which they will use during the Pro‑Am.¬† In fact, all three of our Birdies For the Brave Warriors were fitted by Callaway on this practice facility last week.
We are truly honored to support these efforts, and we hope our military service members share our enthusiasm for this special salute.  In closing, on behalf of the Saint Francis leadership team, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Travelers Championship board of directors, Nathan Grube and his stellar staff, Andy Bessette and the Travelers, PGA TOUR, the entire Saint Francis team and the countless other volunteers who make local events a natural showcase.  Over the course of a championship for a quarter of a century, we look forward to June and another successful event, thank you very much.
NATHAN GRUBE:  The club fitting was very special last week, something that was on my mind.  I was back for the tournament, drove down there and three guys are getting fit, and one guy started doing an interview about his injury and everything got wiped away and nothing mattered to me.  He was telling the most compelling story and all I could do was say thank you, it's a special program and thank you for your support of it.
Next, one of my favorite people on the planet, Jimmy Canton, CEO of The Hole in the Wall Gang, our primary charity that we support and it's a privilege.  The reason I like Jimmy so much, he's a rare person that actually believes in what he does.  How many people have you met who truly believe in what he does?  He believes in the power and healing of the Camp for kids, the parents, the doctors that are involved out there, the volunteers and it becomes contagious when you spend time with him and you become a believer when you spend time with him.
It's my privilege to introduce, Jimmy Canton.
JIMMY CANTON:  We are so thrilled to be part of this incredible championship.  Paul Newman founded The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp so children coping with cancer and other serious illnesses could have a special hideout.
The Camp served 288 children in that first summer in 1988, and since then it has grown to serve more than 20,000 children and family members annually throughout the northeast.  All of the Camp's services are provided free of charge.
At Hole in the wall, children find a safer environment where a strong but unobtrusive medical presence allows them to experience enjoy the joys of childhood free from the limits of their illness.  Programs and activities are modified constantly; so that all of the children can participate in everything that we offer and do things they never thought possible.
When the Camp first opened, no one could have anticipated the extraordinary impact that being surrounded by a community of 100 or 120 other children could have.  That sense of community and that feeling of finally belonging is what our founder described as a different kind of healing.
We are in our 25th anniversary and it's been a remarkable journey.  Last summer we had a special privilege of putting together the soundtrack of that anniversary using Natalie Merchant's top song, "Wonder," in 1996.  She came to Camp and performed it with our campers putting a video together and the action film director, McG, came and shot the video for us, an incredible team of volunteers.  So I would like to share with you the soundtrack of our 25th anniversary.
(VIDEO PLAYED).
JIMMY CANTON:¬† The Camp's different kind of healing doesn't happen just in the summer season but in the 20 off‑season programs where we serve parents families and caregivers and allow them the same kind of fun and friendship that we share with our Campers during the summer.
Camp is no longer just a place in Ashford, Connecticut.¬† We have a staff today of 20 of the finest cabin counselors that we can find whose full‑time job is to bring Camp into 20 hospitals right to the bedside of hospitalized children throughout the northeast.
In reflecting on Camp, our founder said:  In the final analysis, we'll be about as good as what people allow us to be.  We'll need a lot of help to get this realized and the only thing we can do is to find the people in the community who feel the way we do.
All of us at Camp want to thank Travelers Championship and its title sponsors for answering that call.  Their generosity has allowed Camp to maintain an unwavering commitment to serve as many children as we possibly can and provide their families with deeper, more meaningful support.  As the Camp celebrates its 25th anniversary, there's an awful lot to be proud of and grateful for; but the thing we are most proud of and grateful for are the children that we are privileged and blessed to serve.
Their courage, their spirit, their joy, their capacity for friendship and willingness to open up their hearts to crazy strangers is remarkable.  One of those young people is here right now, Marcquille Johnson, a former Camper from 2001 to 2009, who is now studying music in college.
MARCQUILLE JOHNSON:¬† My story, I was diagnosed with sickle‑cell disease, a blood disorder when I was 13 days old.¬† For those that don't know, it's a blood disorder in which the red blood cells are oblong‑shaped or what my mom described as banana‑shaped, kind of weird like this.¬† Red blood cells normally last 120 days; well, my cells own last 30 days.¬† When these red blood cells bunch up, they can constrain blood flow, which can lead to a pain crisis, and can happen anyplace; it can happen in the heart or it can happen joints.¬† Most of the time I had my pain in the joints.¬† That could anywhere from one minute to a hundred days depending how intense the pain is‑‑ (inaudible)¬† normal kid, sleepovers, birthday parties because my friends would have parties in the middle of winter and I couldn't go because I was worried about getting sick.
It was fine for me because I didn't know any different but around the time I was six I found out about The Hole in the Wall Gang and that was a place where having a disease would not be a problem as the Camp specialized in Campers with illnesses.  I was excited and I got happy.  I tried to jump off my bed, but they are like, wait, you have an IV attached to you.
The following summer, I went to Ashford, Connecticut, which at that age, kind of the middle of nowhere; I know where it's at now but then I was like, where's Ashford.  Now I'm all set with that.  As we pulled through the gates and over the bridge my heart started beating fast with hesitation and there was a bus and older kids and they told me you are going to love it, and I thought they were being funny, and they said, no, you are not going to want to leave.
The next thing I knew I was standing in front of a cluster of red cabins and saw clowns and counselors and random people cheering as I got off the bus and they walked me to my cabin.  That week I spent at Camp changed me and taught me everything, that everyone has differences and we should accept them for who we are.
And then we had a thing called stage night, like a talent show at the end of the week so we decided that we were going to sing a song so we got all the counselors on stage to sing the song with us and one of the clowns brought us a bunch of pies and we pied our counselors.  It was a good day in the Camp.
As I got older I learned about the leader and training program which gives previous campers a chance to come back and be counselor and mentor campers.¬† That was something I wanted to do and so last year I applied to the program and got to give back what Camp gave me.¬† Hole in the Wall Gang made me the person I am today.¬† I am currently employed at Apple Wetfarms (ph) and a full‑time student at Manchester Community College and going to transfer to Western Connecticut State University to finish my degree.
Just want to say thank you, because without you guys, none of this stuff would be possible and all of people that donate money or just take your time, the kids really appreciate it.  And I really appreciated it growing up and thank you for all of the lessons and time and effort that Camp has given me and as Camp founder, Paul Newman, said:  In order to make a change, you have to raise a little hell.  So, thank you.
NATHAN GRUBE:  Marcquille, thank you very much.  We never get tired of telling our story that we are one of the most unique events.  We are a professional sporting events that puts on an incredible tournament that we are very proud of and 100% goes back to Camp and charities, because it's not a normal situation in promotion physical sports, just say that.
I get to now introduce Chris and Marc.  But before we do that, Marc, we put together a little video for you, and then Chris is going to come up as well.
Before we do that I want to publically say thank you to Chris for his time and dedication to this event.  You guys know Chris:  You know that he gives and he gives and he gives, and he will call me throughout the year with ideas, he brings celebrities to come play in the tournament, he gives his time and energy.  We would not be here as an event without Chris caring how much he does about this event, so thank you very much and we have a little video for Marc.
(VIDEO PLAYED).
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† Ricky (Ponting) was the Australian cricket captain, about probably eight‑‑ seven or eight years, so the Peyton Manning of cricket I guess, I don't know, or Tom Brady, I don't know who the quarterback is.
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† What's bigger now‑‑ move on to golf.¬† Cricket or Aussie rules football?
MARC LEISHMAN:  Cricket is more of a nationwide thing.  Football, Australian Rules Football is more down south and it goes rugby the more north you get.  Cricket is a Nationwide sport more than football is yet.
CHRIS BERMAN:  On to golf.  You could have played cricket or Aussie football but this golf thing was okay; is it really a growing sport in Australia?
MARC LEISHMAN:  Yeah, golf, obviously with Scotty winning the Masters, that will make it a lot bigger and I think there will be a lot more juniors wanting to play golf, which is awesome.  Hopefully it will make it a bit more like cricket and football, not just the poor kids playing football and the other kids playing golf, someone like Scotty, good for golf, brings the girls out, young kids, I guess that's what teenagers and that want.  I think Scotty has got a big chance to do that with golf.
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† You growing up in Australia, hard for us‑‑ well, maybe it's The European Tour, if you get that good at home, hey, I want to be the best at golf, well, you're going to have to go, 20‑hour flights away from home and for a long time, that's pretty tough at 16 or 18; that's very difficult.
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† It is, yeah.¬† I remember my first trip to America was when I was 17, and I got home one day, I had been in Melbourne for a golf tournament and spoke to a couple of the boys, had been over to the Junior World in San Diego and they said, oh, next year, you've got to go.¬† Got home, three‑hour drive from Melbourne and said, "Hey, Dad, I'm going to a tournament next year."
"Oh, yeah.  That's good.  Where's that?"
"Well, it's in San Diego."
He's like, "Oh, yeah.  Where's that?"  (Laughter).
I said, "It's in America."
He's like, "Oh" (pausing) "how you getting there?"   (Laughter).
So they raised the money for me and got me over there.¬† That was my first trip out of the country, me and Michael‑‑ both 17 and jumped on a plane and away went.¬† That was our first trip away, or my first trip and that's what you've got to do, being from Australia.¬† You don't think about it.¬† It's just what you've got to do.¬† It's not like‑‑ it's closer than the moon.¬† You don't have to go there.¬† It's 15‑hour plane trip and a direct flight once you get to L.A.‑‑ sleeping on the plane.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Now you have nonstops, it looks far but it's not that far.
So you take that young man, young boy that went to San Diego to a tournament, and I'm fast forwarding to last summer, make no mistake about it, after the Pro‑Am day, it was summer.¬† And you're winning‑‑ the fact that it's a million dollar check, I'm using that, it must be when you get to walk by yourself or maybe with your wife or whatever and say, this journey, and I won a tournament, which they pay me this, and‑‑ really?
Like you didn't really sign up because you knew you would win money like that, you signed up because you wanted to play golf and be good.  How do you then come to grips with winning on the PGA TOUR and it was a considerable amount of money and we didn't get the names on the trophy yet, but take a while to kind of settle in.
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† It did for sure.¬† Starts off, like you said, in San Diego and then before that‑‑ you just want to get as good as you can and you try to beat who you're playing against and all of a sudden you're in a PGA TOUR event and beating everyone and then you're holding a trophy and the check and it's like‑‑ it's hard to believe it happened really.¬† But looking back on it now, it's sunk in and I've got one of these sitting at home.¬† It's a great feeling.
Hopefully I can add to that, in the next few weeks, or 33 days, when the Travelers and will defend it.  But yeah, it's going to be a lot of fun being back here to defend a PGA TOUR event.
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† I want to go back a little bit to last year here, we did this this morning too, but you're done 2 1/2 hours before the leaders, 62 is unbelievable, like we said earlier.¬† So how is that 2 1/2 hours spent going from, this is good; I guess I have to stick around just because I'm low man posted, but you know the way it's going to work out, should I pack, should I change, should I‑‑ take us through, was it a long 2 1/2 hours or was it fast?
MARC LEISHMAN:  Felt like about 2 1/2 hours.  I really can't remember.  I remember watching some of the golf and soccer on TV.  I remember thinking that, whether I win or whether I don't win, it's going to be a good day, nothing bad can happen, no point stressing, so just relax and I'm either going to win, be in a playoff or be second or third.
Then I thought, I'd better go to the range.  That was after Charley finished.  Went to the range, warmed up, went to the putting green and ended up having to play.  Went down to the 18th green and collected a trophy.  I kept pretty busy during the 2 1/2 hours but I probably had that amount of time go by a lot quicker other times.
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† You told us this morning, you started looking at the names on here, which is‑‑ we've been around over 60 years and they are all on it, as you know, Sam Snead, hello, he was all right; Arnold Palmer, he was okay; Billy Casper was all right, won four times; Lee Trevino; Greg Norman, your countryman; Mickelson; Nick Price, we could and will go on, Zinger is on a couple of times.¬† Pretty cool, huh.
MARC LEISHMAN:  It is, yeah.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Do you look at it and go, are you sure that's my name there?
MARC LEISHMAN:  Yeah, like I say, I still pick up the trophy at home and have a look at it and it's still amazing to see the names on there.  It's pretty good.  It's a weird feeling but hopefully there will be more of these trophies that will have my name on them further down the track.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Your young son likes it; he really took a shining to it at home.
MARC LEISHMAN:  At five months old, we put him in the top of it for a photo.  He actually fit in it then.  He has no chance now.
But yeah, that was a good photo and a good moment for me and my wife, just to‑‑ once everything settled down, have that little bit of time with the trophy, it was good.
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† Just as an aside, just off the top of my head, I didn't look them all up, but our winners, not our 60 winners, but just our‑‑ like Billy Casper won four times so that's one winner.¬† Close to 20, probably 17 or 18; I said 15 this morning, I think I'm wrong.¬† Maybe 17 or 18 of our winners have won a major; and that's not the number of majors, that's they have won majors.¬† Smells pretty good, doesn't it, Bubba a couple years ago and look at him.
MARC LEISHMAN:  There you go.
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† That's my point.¬† Now let's fast forward to the Masters, you almost did; had the lead, played in the final group, played with Adam Scott, final day.¬† And not only were you there to cheer him but there to win the thing and almost did.¬† What was that experience like, and how much from winning here even though it was a different thing; and you were not being chased down at the end‑‑ your name is on it last time I checked, but how much of this experience did you put into use at the Masters when it came to crunch time?
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† It was huge.¬† Even after the first round, the rest of the tournament‑‑ winning here and playing good.¬† I did post, there, was still a little bit of pressure, because I knew I was close to the number I wanted to post.¬† I knew my swing held up under this sort of pressure, and it's not that much different, it's still a golf tournament, the last round; fair bit of pressure, see how it goes.
I was drawing on this to give myself confidence.  I knew I had done it before and no reason why I couldn't do it again.  It was good to know that it held up again under the pressure, so next time, hopefully I'm in contention in another major fairly soon, I'm know that obviously it's not a given that you're going to play great but I'll know that I can and I've got the right tools that week.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Talk about Adam Scott winning, Jason Day close, you close, three of the top four and then Cabrera so apparently everybody below the equator were the only ones eligible to win the Masters this year.  Talk about the pride, you being an Aussie, knowing your country; talk about the pride from being down under for that.
MARC LEISHMAN:  It was great.  Obviously I would have rather had that putt to get into a playoff or win or whatever it was, but once I lost my chance to win I was hoping him or Jason was going to get over the line.
And after he holed that putt, loudest thing I've ever heard in my life.¬† It was exciting, to see a friend of mine hole a putt after he needed to hole a putt after what he had been through the last British Open, it was awesome.¬† Went over and gave him the high‑five after he holed it‑‑ (inaudible) and it hurt.¬† Right hand went over my 3‑footer but glad it was that far and not this far.¬† Over that putt I couldn't feel my hand and managed to knock it in, but it was just awesome to be there for that.
Obviously Cabrera hit his shot into 18, made the putt, Scotty, you know, rest is history.  But to be there when he won that was just unbelievable and to be there, to play with him in the last round, to see how he did it and how close I was to actually doing it was exciting.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Has the party ended down there or is it winding down?
MARC LEISHMAN:  Winding down by now but probably a couple of weeks where it was all anyone was talking about.  I don't think any businesses opened until Masters was over on the Monday morning.  I think the Masters finished about ten o'clock Australian time in the morning and I nearly guarantee that 80 percent of businesses just didn't open until then, like seriously.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Living the right way down there.
MARC LEISHMAN:  Exactly.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Not as far as the moon, we are all going, we are there.  Questions to Marc.

Q.¬† Is that a prevailing opinion‑‑
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† I think for some it's okay, but others, it's not.¬† Some camera angles are just‑‑ there's a lot of great camera angles but some camera angles are terrible and they don't know what actually happens.¬† Like for instance, Tiger's drop on 15, it looked like he was, you know, in his divot‑‑ two yards or whatever it was.
So I think maybe to protect the players, I think it's a bad thing, just because players aren't going to take bad drops and there's a lot of rules officials out there, you have got the other guys you're playing with; there's enough people to handle it.
There might be, what, one or two a year that it happens, and for that one or two, is it worth it for all the trouble it causes?  I don't know.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
MARC LEISHMAN:  I can't talk for them but I'm guessing so.  I wouldn't think they would like it either.

Q.  How has your work with Neil Smith made a difference and is there any advice in particular that sticks in your mind?
MARC LEISHMAN:  I think the biggest thing; I used to get a little bit angry, not really angry but I would get down on myself more than anything, and I've stopped doing that, which stopped the runs of, you know, four or five bogeys in a row, trying to cut it down.
He's given me a few things to work on under pressure, really simple things; but when you're nervous or under pressure, you breathe really shallow.  He's given me some techniques for breathing that just when you're nervous, take a few deep breaths and you feel fine, you feel nervous.  He's helped me with that.  I think that's probably one of the biggest things.

Q.  What are those tools and how do they come in?
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† You're just going to have‑‑ a course like Augusta, where off the tee you have to hit draws, and your short game has got to be really on that week.
So it's different for every course obviously but I think Merion, you're going to have to, your long irons are going to have to be really good because I think there's going to be a lot of long irons off the tee and you're going to have to shape them both ways and obviously you're going to have to, the rough next to the green under control and get a little bit lucky with the lies.
The tools I'm talking about are the shots that I'm needed for that golf course.

Q.  What are the tools for this golf course?
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† This golf course?¬† I think you've got to drive it straight.¬† Look, that's one of the most important things.¬† There's a lot of holes here that, for instance, 13, water right, OB left, there's no bail‑out.¬† There's a few holes like that around here, even 15 to an extent.
It's reasonably generous up near the green but there's water left, trouble right, and there's no real bail‑out unless you hit a 7‑iron off the tee.¬† So I think if you are driving the ball straight and then I think every week, you've got to be putting well.
CHRIS BERMAN:  In the film we saw obviously Greg Norman was a hero, but Ernie Els was your guy.  Why him growing up.
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† I think that he was‑‑ his demeanor on the course was‑‑ well, still is, really good, and he's someone that I wanted to be like.¬† I used to have that sort of kind of demeanor in a way, same sort of kid and all that‑‑ similar to him, so I thought, he's a pretty good bloke to try to be like.
And of course Greg Norman, every kid in Australia wanted to be like Greg Norman.  But a really good mate of mine, we used to go out on the course and have putting competitions and all that, he was a couple years older than me, he liked Greg Norman, so I had to choose someone else.
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† When you go around, and I don't know if you will, I don't know what your schedule is, will you go to some of the holes, not just to drive out and look, oh here is where I hit, but when you go by there, do you take a look at‑‑ do you have a memory or two of a shot; yeah, let's go over to this hole for just a minute to take a look, because you haven't been back since that Sunday.
MARC LEISHMAN:  There's quite a few, but my second shot on 14 on Sunday where I hit it to about two feet is a good shot, sort of landed near the front edge and released to the green.
My second shot, or third shot, I hit it in the water on 15 on Saturday afternoon, and took a drop and then had this really tough chip left and had probably about a three‑foot square to land it in and landed it in the three‑foot square and bounced up, went in the hole for birdie after hitting in the water.¬† One of the most memorable shots of the week I would say.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Do you find yourself, like if it's par that's really needed, it's almost like a birdie, one of those courses; do you feel that will suit your game, as well?
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† Actually, that's what suited my game for the first‑‑ until mid‑tournament last year.¬† I really enjoy playing tough golf course, just for the challenge, I like that.¬† I played Torrey Pines; I like Torrey Pines.¬† Bay Hill is similar to that.¬† Cog Hill in Chicago, I've played well at those places.
And if you had told me or if you had asked me what do you think the Top‑10 courses are that you could win on, I would probably not have picked this one.¬† So it was a little bit, not surprising, but it was definitely not one of the courses I would have picked.¬† So to answer your question, I do play well on courses where par is a good score.¬† Hopefully I can prove that at the U.S. Open.

Q.  After your victory last year, can you talk about how you set your schedule up for 2013?  I assume you start here and then how your schedule fills in?
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† Winning here obviously got me into Maui, Augusta.¬† Also, I wanted to be fresh, or somewhat fresh for this event, provided‑‑ hopefully I get to the U.S. Open.¬† I generally don't like to play more than four in a row, which I'm playing four in a row, played THE PLAYERS last week and then I'll play the next three.
Memorial is definitely a big one with Presidents Cup being there this year.¬† Obviously love to get in that; the Masters, wanted to prepare properly for that, so I had a week before that off.¬† And then as far as the U.S. Open and the British, I'm not in them yet so hopefully I can play good these next couple of weeks, get inside the Top‑50 and sew them up and play the Travelers and then set the rest of the schedule.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Beer taste really good out of there.
MARC LEISHMAN:¬† Tastes really good, stays really cold, too.¬† Probably the best‑tasting beer I've ever had.
CHRIS BERMAN:  How many will it hold?
MARC LEISHMAN:  About three or four.  (Laughter).
CHRIS BERMAN:¬† Almost a six‑pack in there.
MARC LEISHMAN:  About six weeks of the tournament, having my first beer out of it, that was a great beer.
CHRIS BERMAN:  Applause for our defending champion, Marc Leishman. (Applause).
NATHAN GRUBE:  I think we all know we should never take it for granted to have our champion come back, it's not a given.  He's set out lofty goals over the next three weeks with his schedule, and we wish you all the best.  Thank you.
We started a concert series and this year we have Three Dog Night coming in on Saturday and McCain on Friday night, and then we have friends at Power Station that are sponsoring that.
And players this year, we are announcing Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood is going to make a run, Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner has not been in a while and he's coming, Freddie a past champion and Pádraig Harrington as well.  Those are good names and we'll have more in the next few weeks.
Marc, thank you very much for being here, and thank you all for being here, as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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