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AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
June 4, 2013
THE MODERATOR:¬† The Harrah's Tahoe Casino sports book has posted early odds on the competition, and the favorite is Billy Joe Tolliver, two‑time championship, former NFL quarterback, at 3 to 1.¬† Steph Curry 3 to 1; Hank Haney client, Charles Barkley, 500 to 1; Ray Romano, 300 to 1.¬† Other notables:¬† Dan Quinn, former NHL player who is caddying for Ernie Els next week in the U.S. Open is 5 to 1.¬† John Smoltz also 5 to 1, John Elway 10 to 1, Michael Jordan 40 to 1.
So let me start it off.¬† Hank, how do you think Michael Phelps will do in the environment of the American Century Championship that you're familiar with?
HANK HANEY:¬† Well, I think he'll do pretty good.¬† He's a proven golfer. ¬†Basically when we started our showing, he was pretty much a beginner, and then he just jumped right out and played in the Pro‑Am for The Ryder Cup and said he could barely get his ball on a tee in the first hole.
So hopefully that experience and then the experience of playing at the Phoenix Open, he played in the Pro‑Am there with Bubba Watson, so that experience, too, will hopefully help him in Tahoe.¬† I think he's going to enjoy it.¬† I think he'll hit some good shots.¬† I think he'll hit some bad shots.¬† But I think overall, I think he's going to do pretty good.¬† He's a passionate golfer.¬† It's just great to have him in the game of golf.
THE MODERATOR:¬† What about, is he going to be subject to the nerves that hit these guys when they tee it up with the big gallery and the live TV?
HANK HANEY:¬† I think that the‑‑ inaudible‑‑ since he played in a big event over in Scotland, the Dunhill Cup (Dunhill Links Championship); he played in the Phoenix Open Pro‑Am, and I think those events are going to help him‑‑ it's not his environment.¬† It's not a swimming pool.¬† So I'm sure based on what everybody says that competes that the American Century Championship, I'm sure he's going to be nervous, there's no doubt about that.
THE MODERATOR:¬†¬† Steph, tell us about 2010, you didn't play last year, and what do you think of the 50 to 1 odds that you have?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Have expectations, but I played in my rookie year, and it was a great experience to kind of get inside the ropes and play some real competition golf. ¬†¬†That was my first real experience in a tournament setting.¬† So it was a lot of fun and got to know the course a little bit and how to deal with those nerves.¬† You know, especially I don't get to play that much in the NBA season, but I'll be practicing the next month and a half getting ready, hope to have a good performance.¬† Winning it, not sure but we'll see how I finish.
Q.¬† Steph, just wondering, I know your family does a tournament in North Carolina at River Run, wondering if you had ever worked with any of the pros there on your game and how you compare practicing golfto basketball.
STEPH CURRY:¬† I don't really know how to practice.¬† I just go on the range and try to get into a groove and a rhythm.¬† I have watched shows like Hank Haney Project and all the other shows on the Golf Channel and try to pick up some information on how to get better.¬† Mostly when I got out, I play ‑‑ I don't get that much time during the summer.¬† If I have a club in my hand, I usually just try to go play nine or play 18 and get comfortable over the ball.
But NBA season, obviously the basketball is a lot more comfortable in my hands, but I have a lot more fun practicing basketball because it's my craft and what I do day‑to‑day.¬† But golf always has a special place for me.
Q.¬† Working with someone like Charles Barkley or Steph Curry, what do you see about the way they approach learning the game, given that they have already mastered another sport?
HANK HANEY:¬† It's obviously an advantage to coach anybody that's used to having coaching.¬† This year on my show with Michael Phelps, it was great because he's been coached his whole career by Bob Bowman, who is obviously one of the greatest swimming coaches ever.¬† And Michael is so used to taking instruction on being coached that it's a big advantage and obviously great athletes are easier to coach, there's no doubt about that.
Charles might be the exception.¬† He's a little tough, but you know, when it's all said and done, he's one of my favorite people in the world and I love helping him.
Q.¬† My question is related to the Sacramento Kings and their hiring of Michael Malone, he spent the last two years coaching you at golden state.¬† What kind of impact did he have on you and the team during his time there, and how do you think he will impact the Sacramento kings going forward?
STEPH CURRY:¬† I think he'll do great.¬† He knows the game well, and the way that he approaches day‑to‑day with the X's and O's of the game, I think he'll acclimate really well to being that head guy and just a matter of getting players behind him and getting the right roster can accentuate his style of play.¬† I don't know exactly what that will be.
Obviously Coach Jackson was our head coach and you don't know how much influence Coach Malone had in all the game play from Coach Jackson.¬† So see Coach Malone takes that head job and what kind of style he plays, it will be a work‑in‑progress but I think he'll do a great job.¬† I think it's a good hire for the Kings moving forward.
Q.¬† Obviously he'll have a pretty big personality to handle in DeMarcus Cousins; in your dealing with him as a coach, how do you think he'll approach that relationship going forward?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Strictly business, and I don't think he'll accept any kind of drama on his team, because there's a task at hand.¬† I'm sure that I have conversations to see what to expect with each other.
DeMarcus is one of the main guys on the team so you have to make sure that he's on the same page as the head coach, so I'm sure they will work that out and they won't waste any time in practice and especially in games to continue to get better.¬† Especially DeMarcus, he's a really young guy, so this is an important time for him.
Q.¬† I met you when Michael was taking batting practice for the Orioles; he seemed to adapt pretty well as he kind of morphed into hitting.¬† I'm curious with the amount of time you've spent with him, how competitive do you think he'll be in a tournament situation and how long does it take you to get someone who is basically green into a situation where they can play competitively.
HANK HANEY:¬† Michael is incredibly competitive, he's the greatest Olympian ever.¬† I've seen him in competition, even just having a friendly bet with some friends, and he can really turn it up.
So I expect that he will give his best but having said that, a year ago, he was pretty much a beginning golfer.¬† He played six times in the Olympics and shot between 98 and 117.¬† Now the last time we played, he shot 85.¬† But that weren't at the American Century Championship, and it wasn't in front of all the of people with the television cameras on.
So I don't expect that he's going to win the tournament, but he's going to hit a lot of good shots and he's going to show some improvement, and I think that everybody is going to enjoy having him play in the tournament for sure.
Q.¬† Most diehard Warrior fans in Lake Tahoe believe that if 80 percent of the Warriors had not been hurt in the playoffs, it would be you guys instead of the San Antonio Spurs in the finals of the NBA.¬† Now a lot has to do with the health of Andrew Bogut, and do you see his role expanding as he becomes more healthy?
STEPH CURRY:¬† No question.¬† I've got to assume this is the toughest year for him, up until our playoff run, just dealing with the chronic injuries of his ankle and not feeling right throughout the course of the season, missing 45‑plus games.
He showed when he was healthy in the playoffs how dominant he can be and how much he can help our team, so I do see him using the summer to continue to strive towards being 100 percent.¬† When he went back to Australia the last time I talked to him, he felt pretty good after our playoff run, but you have to assume come October when exhibition season and training camp starts, he'll be ready to go.
The way he played, especially in that Denver series, and bits and pieces of the Spurs series, that's what we have to expect out of him for the whole next season and moving forward.¬† He's a huge part of what we were trying to do, caught up in that paint when he is healthy.
Q.¬† Do you think the odds on Barkley are not high enough?
HANK HANEY:¬† I think the bookmakers are safe no matter what the odds are with Charles.¬† It's not going to happen.¬† He's the best athlete that I've seen that plays golf is Tony Roma.¬† He to me is just a great player.¬† He probably doesn't putt to the level of a player on the PGA TOUR, but I think the rest of his game is pretty darned good and he's shown that in some big amateur tournaments.¬† He's obviously shown that before at the American Century Championship.¬† He's a real player.¬† He can play the game of golf for sure.
Q.¬† When you deal with a golfer like Michael Phelps, what's the quickest thing to come around and what's the latest thing to come around?
HANK HANEY:¬† Believe it or not, the golf swing comes along pretty fast.¬† When Michael started, he felt like putting was the best part of his game, and then the last round we played, he shot 85 with five 3‑putts.
The putting is tough, the short game is tough, but especially the putting, because it's almost like you have to hit a certain amount of putts in your lifetime before you develop the touch and feel that it takes to get the speed right on the greens, and no beginning golfer is even close to that number.
And that's why with everybody that we teach, we just stress, you've got to hit a lot of putts.¬† You've got to putt, putt, putt.¬† Because a big key to golf is avoiding 3‑putts.¬† At every level of the game, that's a big key to golf.¬† But that's where amateur golfers will tend to waste their most strokes is 3‑putting greens.
Q.¬† With the NBA Finals, do you have a preference who you would like to see do well?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Just like in college when we made it to the Elite Eight and lost to Kansas, I wanted to lose to the eventual champion, and that's what happened then and hopefully it happens this year.¬† So you can say that the champs got the best of you and you'll go at them next year.
Q.¬† How do you see the matchup?
STEPH CURRY:¬† It's going to be tough.¬† I think it's going to go the distance.¬† I think it's a seven‑game series.¬† I don't know if the heat have an answer for Tim Duncan in the post, and I don't know if the Spurs have an answer for LeBron just like the rest of the league.¬† So it's going to be which one of those two I think plays the most consistent over the course of the series.
The Spurs are tough because they are so deep and they move the ball so well that most defenses.¬† No matter how well they rotate and they talk on defensive end, the Spurs always try to find an open man.
But the Big Three, when they play, when they play well, they are almost impossible to beat.¬† So I see it going seven and I see the Spurs winning in seven on the road.
Q.¬† Can you envision your team playing ball or any other team other than golden state, and do you see your brother in the NBA?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Right now, I can't.¬† I can't see myself playing for another team.¬† I just signed an extension.
I know not many players play their whole career in one city with one team, but I don't see a better place to play basketball in front of the fans that we have and obviously we have an opportunity to build on the foundation and success that we had this year, and I want to be a part of that and be a leader.¬† It's somewhere that I want to finish my career and hopefully that works out.
My brother I do see in the NBA next year.¬† I don't know if he'll get drafted or not.¬† Never really know how it's going to happen, so it's going to unfold until draft night.¬† I know he'll be in the training camp and he'll have an opportunity to make a team and not only make a team, but help a team.¬† He's a veteran college player that's been through a lot of experiences, and basketball IQ will hopefully take him a long way in the first step.¬† We'll just have to see where he ends up.
Q.¬† I whereas hoping you could offer a little detail on how you first got involved in golf and maybe some childhood memories on why the game grabbed you; any good story about how you first got involved?
STEPH CURRY:¬† My dad started playing, I think after his third year in the league, and he used to take me out in the summertime and I just chipandputt as a little kid coming up.¬† I don't know what made me gravitate back to it, but maybe just how passionate about how I was about it.¬† I got a little better each year.
I actually played on the golf team in high school for three years, mostly to get out of schoolwork.¬† I wasn't that serious about practicing.¬† Loved to play it was nice to get out at 12 and go play a round and compete.¬† But ever since then, I've been pretty good at it, and just challenging myself to get better whenever I could.
My favorite memory of golf is just beating my dad for the first time.¬† It was on his birthday, which kind of sucked for him.¬† I think I was 13 at the time.¬† I know I shot somewhere in the 70s and finally beat him for the first time, so that was a big moment for me as a kid.
Q.¬† Are there comparable skills from basketball, or how would you sort of‑‑ is there anything from your basketball background that helps you in golf?
STEPH CURRY:¬† I don't know, I've got pretty good hand‑eye coordination.¬† The best part of my game I think is my short game, so I guess the touch and feel around the greens.¬† I shoot a lot of threes, so got to have some balance and touch when you're doing that, so maybe that translates somehow.¬† Just trying to have some mental focus and concentration and toughness when you're out there on the course and on the court.
Q.¬† How did your dad take it when you beat him for the first time?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Oh, that wasn't a good birthday for him.¬† Looking back, it was our family vacation in Myrtle Beach, and I don't think he expected it to go down like that.¬† But I'm sure it was a cool moment for him in retrospect.
Q.¬† Do you remind him of that occasionally?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Oh, of course, every year we come back down here and have a week of golf and play the course that I beat him on.
Q.¬† Earlier today you said that Michael is one of the best athletes that you've ever worked with, but a year and a half ago, basically he was a beginner.¬† Has there ever been any thought going forward with the concept in your show of having a player perhaps even an ex‑athlete or former football player like someone who will be competing at the American Century Championship later in the summer, taking a five or seven handicapper and trying to take them down to scratch?
HANK HANEY:¬† Yeah, we are always thinking about ways to take the show and that's definitely a possibility.¬† I mean, I like the idea.¬† You know, I get so many people that ask me, why don't you do a show with the Average Joe on it; that's something we've considered.¬† But everybody wants to be the Average Joe, and I'm not sure if anybody wants to watch the average Joe.
So we'll definitely consider that, and I like the idea of seeing if we can go from a five to a scratch.¬† That's definitely not easy to do.¬† The better you get, the harder it is to improve, and that's one of the things about the game of golf.¬† I guess it's pretty much in any sport; from a beginner to where they can play a little bit, it seems really hard, but once you get there, you realize that it's even harder to go the other way.
Q.¬† Great season, and you really helped with the NBA, the Golden State Warriors on the landscape for the league but because of that, you're kind of a marked man and you took a lot of physical abuse this year, getting bumped off of screens.¬† Is there anything that you can do to prevent that from happening in the future and to give you a better shot at staying healthy?
STEPH CURRY:¬† No, you've just got to embrace it, and I'm going to continue to work in the off‑season to get better, get stronger.¬† So I can't make it through another season playing the minutes I need to play and the way that I play.¬† I embrace that challenge and that style of play.
It's fun for me knowing that, I make people uncomfortable on the floor and I'm going to try to get under your skin somehow, some way.¬† Just go out there and play and not worry about that.¬† I'm going to try to get to the free throw line a lot more next year so hopefully use that against them and become more efficient on the court.
But there's nothing you can do to avoid physical play, especially when you get to the setting where that was highlighted the most.
Q.¬† With Denver, Faried actually seemed to go after your injured ankle, do you think about that, or also, do you think about the All‑stars?¬† Everybody on the planet thinks you should have made the All‑Star Team except for the people that voted.
STEPH CURRY:¬† Yeah, I passed that.¬† That was a difficult situation.¬† Obviously I played well the first half of the season before the voting, and it was nice to hear the support from so many fans and teammates and other players in the League, and also analysts, legends that watch the game on a daily basis that think I should have made it.
So that was cool enough, and it is a sense of motivation for me over the summer to get back to that level and even play better so that hopefully there's no question next year?
Q.¬† And what aboutFaried for your injured ankle?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Yeah, it was a weird situation, when you're minding your business going down the lane and you get elbowed.¬† It did look like he tripped me, but like I said, you can't get into those mini‑games.¬† I'm sure if I would have let that get under my skin, he would have won.¬† So just got to take it in stride and keep moving.
Q.¬† Could you update me on your handicap index?
STEPH CURRY:¬† Two.
Q.¬† So looking at the odds, the opening odds on you are 50 to 1, and I'm trying to figure out, Ray Allen and Michael Jordan are at 40 to 1.¬† So how do you feel about that?
STEPH CURRY:¬† I've played with Ray before and I've played with Michael Jordan before.¬† I feel like I can beat them on any given day but we'll see, when we take it out from a friendly match on a vacation somewhere to the certain century championship.¬† Like I say, in front of TV cameras and big gallery and all that.
But I think I can hold my own against those four, so we'll see what happens.¬† Maybe there's odds who will finish higher among the NBA guys.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Appreciate your time today and we'll see you in Lake Tahoe in July.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports