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June 22, 2014

Kevin Streelman


THE MODERATOR:テつ Okay.テつ We'll go ahead and get started.テつ I'd like to welcome our 2014 Travelers champion winner, Kevin Streelman.テつ Kevin, it was an exciting finish.テつ You hit the record books with seven birdies to close out the round which has never been done.
THE MODERATOR:テつ If you want to make some comments on what you were thinking out there.
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I wasn't thinking about much.テつ Yeah, I made a great putt at 9 to finally make a birdie.テつ I kind of had a tough start, couple ugly bogeys early, and then actually made incredible saves at 10 and 11 in order to kind of keep the momentum going.テつ And then just starting at 12 I kind of found the fairway there and stuck one right at the pin and it was kind of off to the races from there.テつ I got 10 one‑putts in a row and that's something I definitely haven't done before.テつ And coming off four missed cuts in a row I wasn't really expecting too much this week, but I just had really good perspective, and it just kind of came to fruition today.
THE MODERATOR:テつ I heard you make one neat comment about in the middle of that run you had to back off a putt because you were thinking of your vacation next week.テつ You want to share that with everybody?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Actually it was on 12.テつ I hit a good shot in there and I stepped up, and I just wasn't concentrating that well.テつ I was thinking about ‑‑ we're going off to Flagstaff next week in Arizona and doing some fishing and I was thinking about pulling in some rainbow trout, and I said, I better focus on what I gotta do here, and backed in and buried it.
But yeah, we've been gone four weeks in a row with Sophie, our six‑month old, and so it's kind of been a long run, and Courtney and Sophie have been troopers, but you know, when you miss four cuts in a row, it can be a little bit of a downer.
Honestly, had the greatest study Tuesday night.テつ We do a Bible study out here.テつ And Ben Crane kind of spoke to me for a while, and just helped put things in perspective real quickly in my life.テつ And I just said perspective was really clear and clean this week and I was doing it for the right purpose.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Okay.テつ Questions?

Q.テつ Congratulations.

Q.テつ I just want to clarify, you told your caddie, let's go shoot a 29.テつ Is that accurate?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ You know, I think I shot a 30 my rookie year here in '08.テつ Or maybe my second year.テつ I've had a really good score on that back 9.テつ It's probably my favorite nine holes on the PGA TOUR.

Q.テつ You did say that.
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I definitely said that.テつ I said we need to go shoot a 29 on the back side.

Q.テつ Do you say that to him often?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ No.テつ (Laughs).テつ Like I said, the putter was feeling great today, and you know, you can't plan for something like that to happen.テつ It just kind of falls into place, and I knew when that putt fell on 16 that kind of something special was happening.テつ And to finish it off with two more was something I'll never forget.

Q.テつ Kevin, what was going through your mind when you walked off the 18th green?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I just kind of was like, wow, it's over, I guess.テつ I guess when you're in the zone like that, when athletes talk about being in the zone, everything is really slow, and it's really clear and concise, and it's very vivid.テつ And the lines are easy to see.テつ The hole seems to appear bigger.テつ It's something we just wish we could be in every week, but to be honest, it kind of clicked on that ninth green when I started just seeing the lines very clear.テつ It's almost to a point it doesn't matter how you read the putts because you just know they're going in before you hit them.テつ That definitely kind of was there on the back 9 for a while today.

Q.テつ How many times have you been in the zone in your career?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ It happens a few times a year I'd say.テつ And people talk‑‑ you know, there's books written and people see it, and psychologists talk about it, how to do it as easily as possible.テつ But as professional athletes it can kind of come and go at times, but it's a combination of calmness, confidence, I think resting, trust.テつ And I think it just inner training can come out naturally.テつ Sometimes we try and force our training to come out, force a score or force a birdie and it doesn't happen, but when we just relax and just let it happen, I think that's when kind of greatness can come out.

Q.テつ Kevin, so what was going through your mind the first seven holes then, and I guess what was the turning point?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Yeah.テつ It was disappointing, but I knew I was playing well.テつ I knew‑‑ yesterday I just hit it awesome.テつ Really, it was probably the best I've struck the ball since Maui for me, since my first tournament of the year.テつ And it kind of had been a lackadaisical year since then.
And so I had confidence in my ball striking.テつ I knew it would come around and all of a sudden once the putter got hot I knew we could attack, and so it was I guess part of the plan.

Q.テつ (No microphone).
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I think that putt on 16 was a big one.テつ There's certain holes out here that you make birdie but you kind of know that the guys behind you will probably birdie as well, you know, like the par‑5, 13, downwind 15, the back left pin.テつ That's the easiest pin of the four.テつ People try and run up for eagle putts and stuff.
So when you birdie those, you kind of know you're staying in par with everybody, but then when you start making birdies where you're not supposed to, like I did on 14 and 16 and then 18, then you know you're jumping up the leaderboard.テつ When you're making birdies on par‑5s, you're kind of just doing status quos, maintaining your position, but as far as to jump up, you gotta birdie the ones that no one else is.テつ So that's when I kind of knew things would be special, after 16?

Q.テつ Kevin, obviously when you look at the final analysis, it's hard to make one shot any more important than another when you're in a run like that, but could you talk about the approach to 17?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Yeah.テつ Well, it actually was one of those‑‑ you know, sometimes we get a number.テつ That was 118 to the front and 124 to the pin, which would be a normal pitching wedge for me, but there was a shade of wind help.テつ And you know, my 52‑degree is probably 112‑yard shot.テつ So it's a little risky for me to pull that because that's technically a water distance as far as what I'm seeing there, but I had to tack in the adrenaline and then a little bit of wind, and then I also wanted to see it hook and spin off that slope.テつ So I pulled it off exactly how I envisioned it.テつ I knew it had to be about 10, 12 feet right of it and one good hop and then just rip.テつ And as soon as I hit it, I said go in, because I knew it would kind of come down that slope nice and tight in there.
But I guess it's part of the process of being out here a little bit longer and kind of knowing your body, and when you feel that adrenaline, you know, you gotta play for it.テつ 18 was a perfect example, too.テつ I hit that drive 30 yards longer than I really can.テつ But I knew I had so many energy, adrenaline.テつ I was goofing around with the fans there on the tee box, just trying to stay loose and enjoy it, and when I hit that thing I was like that's a different feel, and it almost went past‑‑ it was down in Bubba land down there.

Q.テつ Could you talk about the putted on 16?テつ Tell us what you saw, how you read it and how you hit it.
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ First off they had some new pins this year.テつ The TOUR set it up I thought pretty difficult, especially this weekend.テつ They kind of pushed pins an extra yard or two up against the slopes.テつ So that one was very difficult to get close to.テつ I doubt many guys stuck it inside five or six feet there today, even 10 or 12 feet.テつ So I was trying to kind of hold the 7‑iron, hit a good shot but hit it well and one of those adrenaline shots, too.テつ So fortunately it stayed on the back part of the green.テつ I was close to kind of running down into that chipping area.
It was one of those that you don't expect to make.テつ But like you said, I'd already one‑putted eight greens in a row, so I wasn't too surprised.テつ As soon as I hit it, I knew I hit a good putt, and it just‑‑ about four feet out and started to turn, started to turn, and then with about four feet to go, I knew it couldn't miss, and that was a good feeling.

Q.テつ I think you were down six or seven shots on the back 9.テつ How shocked are you that you won this tournament?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I am a little shocked, but to do it in that fashion is something that I'll never forget.テつ That was pretty cool.テつ You know, to birdie the last seven.テつ To even say it is crazy.
But it's an honor.テつ You know, this is‑‑ like I said, it's true.テつ This is one of my favorite stops on the PGA TOUR.テつ And one of my favorite courses.テつ It's the greatest fans, the greatest executive committee, tournament directors.テつ We see them all the time out on the TOUR.テつ Andy and Nathan are amazing, and it's just an honor to represent them and to be their champion, and we want to come back here for many more years to come.

Q.テつ Coming out today what was your goal?テつ What were you thinking?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I didn't really have much of a goal, but like I said, going into two weeks off and kind of a family vacation was to just kind of have some fun, have some good‑‑ hopefully have some good mojo into the off weeks and kind of get a little momentum for the John Deere and the British coming up, which are my next two events.テつ And this will kind of change any schedule up a little bit now.
But, you know, it's amazing.テつ You never expect these things to happen, but you train for them, and like I said, when I get in that‑‑ to train so hard for something, to allow it to come out in the utmost‑‑ you know, Sunday of a PGA TOUR event is‑‑ that's a dream come true.

Q.テつ Two questions, Kevin.テつ Prior to this what was your personal record, recreation and/or tournament for number of birdies in a row?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Six at most that I can remember.

Q.テつ Is that a pro event or just you knocking around?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I can't even remember more than‑‑ in a pro event more than four or five.テつ Maybe I had six.テつ I'd honestly have to look it up on line or something to see, but definitely not seven.

Q.テつ And then secondly, because you were so far back of the lead today, do you think that maybe helped sort of get it started because you knew you weren't in contention?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I felt like I was in contention on the first tee.テつ The ninth tee I knew I had some work to do.テつ But I never felt out of it.テつ I really didn't.テつ Like I said, I love this back 9.テつ You can make eagles.テつ You can make multiple eagles there between 13 and 15.テつ I just kind of felt at peace this week that I was going to go have fun and enjoy it, and you know, to do what we did was pretty amazing.

Q.テつ Can you still allow yourself to look back, and it wasn't that long ago that you were still caddying and still playing mini tours.テつ Can you allow yourself to look back at that?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ All the time.テつ All the time.テつ Especially now that I'm out of Whisper Rock where I'm now a member.テつ I used to caddie out there.テつ Seeing the guys going through the same things I went through.テつ I bring them to the house, give them some old drivers or putters or stuff, some old golf balls they need to get started, stuff that I know what it's like.テつ And it took me six years of that to get out the first year out here.テつ And to now be a multiple‑time winner out here is just amazing.テつ It's really been a dream come true for me and my family, and the people that have supported me along the way have been just unbelievable.テつ It's just the truth of surrounding yourself with great people and trying to prioritize the proper things in your life and have proper perspective on where things should fall I think allows your true training and your true kind of intentive being to come out.

Q.テつ Where does the dream go from here?テつ You were speaking about that.
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Yeah.テつ I sat down at the beginning of this year, I really wanted to try and get in the heat on the Sunday of a major.テつ I came off such a great year last year.テつ I had a lot of confidence coming into this season, and the first half didn't really go as planned, to be honest.テつ I had a great first three rounds at Augusta, but was kind of disappointed on Sunday.テつ I think I shot 77 and fell back.
Just for me as a professional athlete and professional golfer, I'm 35 years old.テつ I feel like I'm really peaking, that I want to get in the heat on Sunday at a big one and see what happens.テつ But all these building blocks along the way contributed to that greatly, and we'll see.テつ We're going to jump on that charter off the John Deere and head over seas and see if we can make that happen in a few weeks.

Q.テつ This is your second win.テつ Can you kind of characterize how you feel about your career?テつ Second of all, I think I read on TV your wife had gone through a little problem with the pregnancy.

Q.テつ And how that affected you and maybe again put more perspective on life?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Yeah.テつ I'm sorry.テつ What was the first part of the question?

Q.テつ Just kind of characterize?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Oh, the win.

Q.テつ How do you view your career?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ I just was a journeyman.テつ I was a Zach Johnson slash journeyman I kind of say to myself. テつWe were never all Americans in college.テつ We were never, you know, the guys coming out of college that were for sure to make it.テつ You know, we had to work hard for everything we got.テつ I never got a sponsor exemption into a tournament.テつ It just‑‑ I had to work for everything I got.
And it gave me the proper perspective, continues to, of what I do have today, and how blessed I am today.
Going through what we did with Sophie was the hardest thing I've ever seen in my life.テつ Courtney had a liver condition called cholestasis, which affects one in a thousand women, and she'll have it for each concurrent pregnancy as well.テつ But we found out about it with just seven, eight weeks to go, and we basically went into the doctor December 24th, and he goes these numbers we're seeing are alarming, and we need to get this baby out as soon as possible or else a stillbirth is possible.テつ So if we wait a few minutes too long, we could regret this the rest of our life.テつ So December 26th we go in, and it was the worst Christmas ever because we could not‑‑ trying to find diapers and formula and stuff on Christmas Day is not very easy to do.
And so we were pretty scared, and went to the hospital early that Thursday.テつ It was the day after Christmas, the 26th.テつ And they had emergency C‑section and got the baby out, and we were just hoping to hear a scream because they were concerned about lungs at that point.テつ And they pulled her out and she was quiet for a few seconds and then she let out this belt, this loudest scream, and we just looked at each other and started bawling our eyes out.テつ But she had to spend a week in the NICU, and I wasn't going to go to Maui.テつ After winning last year, it was like the big deal is to go to Maui, which I just realized I get to go to again next year, which is pretty cool.テつ And I just wanted to check with the doctors that everything was stable before, you know, before we‑‑ before I went.テつ And he said, she's doing great.テつ She's going to go home the next day.
I flew to Maui.テつ Long story short, I just‑‑ I didn't want to be there.テつ I wanted to be home with my daughter, and I played unbelievable, shot 17‑under, I think, and almost won.テつ Zach just clipped me at the end.テつ And it just‑‑ I just was looking back on that week and saying, wow, golf was just not that important to me.テつ But it allowed me to play great, it like freed me up to play great.テつ It seems sometimes in this sport, especially when you miss some cuts or you just make it so important, like you just lock yourself up.テつ You don't have freedom.
And so that's what I did, just say perspective this week was really true in my heart and allowed things to happen.

Q.テつ Where was the C‑section?
KEVIN STREELMAN:テつ Where was it?テつ In Scottsdale, Arizona.テつ Yeah.テつ Shea Medical Center.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Everybody good?テつ Okay.テつ Thanks for your time, Kevin.テつ Have a good two weeks off.

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