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JOHN DEERE CLASSIC


July 11, 2014


William McGirt


SILVIS, ILLINOIS

MARK STEVENS:¬† We'd like to welcome William McGirt.¬† You got it to 12‑under, have the current lead after the morning wave here.¬† Off to a bad start but finished really strong.¬† If you want to take us through the round and we'll have some questions.
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Yeah, kind of got off to a slow start.  A couple loose shots here and there, but pretty sure I either cracked my driver or put a flat spot on it because it was going short and crooked, but we've got to get that worked out here in a few minutes.
But yeah, kind of didn't have anything going on the first nine starting out but made the turn and can't tell you what happened.  Made four in a row and then made two more and had a chance to shoot 29 but missed the green there on 9, just had a horrible lie.  Ended up making a really good bogey.  But solid day, and it's tough to follow up a good round like yesterday with another good round, and I felt like I did today.

Q.  24 putts the first two days; just talk about what's going on with the flat stick right now.
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† I wish I knew.¬† I'd be doing it every week.¬† For some reason I'm able to see the line this week.¬† I hope it sticks around for two more days.¬† Last few weeks‑‑ I actually feel like I've putted better the last few weeks and just haven't made anything.¬† But they seemed to find the hole the first two days, and hopefully they'll find it for two more.

Q.¬† What was the last time you put together back‑to‑back rounds like this?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Canada two years ago.¬† I think I shot 63‑66 the first two days.¬† Best I can remember.

Q.  Where do rounds like this come from?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Who knows?  I wish they'd show up more often.

Q.¬† Did you have any indication coming in here that your game was‑‑
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Well, like I said, I feel like I've been playing really well the last month and been getting nothing out of it.  Yeah, I hit it great last week, and you could have put a garbage can out there and it would have found a way to miss.  It's a stupid game, it really is.

Q.  How do you stay in it mentally then going through that?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Well, you know, it's easy for people to tell you that you really have to focus on the positives, but I mean, it's very true.  My caddie has been telling me, look, you're playing really well.  We just need something good to happen, and then you can run with it.  You know, I look at yesterday, and it's little things, stuff you don't even think about.  Probably a half a dozen tee shots yesterday missed a divot by an inch or two, whereas the last few weeks it would just creep into that divot.  It's just little stuff like that that kind of adds up.  I won't say it kills you mentally, but it wears on you after a while.  It's nice to actually see a ball bounce the right way every now and then and not drive it in divots and see some putts go in.
You know, I've had a few that have had a really good chance to miss that have kind of caught the edge and gone down.  It's little stuff like that, and like I said, you just have to stay positive with it, and I've tried to keep a good attitude with it, which is very hard to do for me, but I've tried to stay as positive as I could.

Q.  Did you see the galleries grow as you started to make some putts?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  They definitely picked up there the last few holes.  You know, there were more people on 6, 7, 8 and 9, but I guess that's because Strick and Jordan were done.

Q.¬† Are you okay with the attention the rest of the weekend now that‑‑
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Yeah, I've been through this before.  It comes with the territory.  I mean, you play well, people are going to follow you.  Yeah, it's something you kind of have to thrive on.  I mean, if you can't deal with it, you're in the wrong profession.

Q.  Are you comfortable being who's that guy when the fans come in to follow their local favorites like Stricker or Zach and they look up on the leaderboard and they say who's that guy, I'm going to go follow him?  It's going to be great going into moving day.
WILLIAM McGIRT:  I love being in that position because you can go about your business and nobody really knows who you are.  You can go to dinner and everybody kind of looks at you and goes, are you a golfer?  Yeah.  What's your name?  William.  You just leave it at that, and they walk away, and they're like, who was that guy.
But no, I mean, it's great fun under the radar.  You don't have as much attention on you.  I'd say the expectations from a lot of people are lower so you can go out and have a chance to prove yourself.

Q.  When you hear a golfer the likes of British Open champ Stewart Cink or Steve Stricker say this course is easy by PGA TOUR standards, it's not easy, there's some tough elements to this, and I wonder what you'd say to the golf fan at home about what the most treacherous parts are.
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Well, truthfully I've never found this place to be that easy.¬† Yeah, I've played some good rounds out here, but I really don't think it's that easy.¬† I sit there and look at it every year and go, 20‑under?¬† 22‑under?¬† How?¬† Of course when you watch Strick and Zach putt, then you figure it out.
Yeah, I mean, there's a good mix of some really good shortish holes and some really good long holes.¬† 9 is one of the best holes on the golf course.¬† 7 is a great par‑3.¬† I think the par‑3s are really good holes out here, and the par‑5s aren't that easy.¬† If you go for them in two and miss it, they're all pretty tough up‑and‑downs.¬† But yeah, it's just one of those golf courses that‑‑ I mean, guys find a way.¬† I guess coming off of Congressional a couple weeks ago, everything seems easy.

Q.¬† Were you leading in Canada a couple years ago when you shot 63‑66 and how did you handle the weekend?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  I was tied for the lead after two days.  I was one back after the first day.  Yeah, I played great on the weekend.  I was standing in 18 fairway tied for the lead with a chance to win the golf tournament or get in a playoff, and didn't have a club to hit off the tee.  I left myself a downhill hanging lie trying to hit a high draw.  Not a good combo.
But yeah, I mean, I felt like the last couple times I've been in this position I've held my own, so hopefully the next two days I can look back on those and draw from it.

Q.  Was there a turning point in the round today?  You got off to a slow start.
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Yeah, I got off to a slow start, but honestly I couldn't tell you what happened.¬† I felt like I hit a few good putts that didn't go in.¬† 1, 2, I hit eight feet on 1, six feet on 2, made about an 18‑footer on 3, and then hit a kick‑in on 4.¬† It's just hard to say.¬† Just one of those things you kind of‑‑ a couple of shots fit your eye.¬† It seemed like the first nine holes I was in between clubs the entire nine and got some good numbers there the second nine.

Q.  George made the comment asked you earlier, fans looking at the board and saying, who's that William McGirt guy.  How would you answer that question?  Who is William McGirt?  What should we know about you?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  I'm just a regular guy.  I'm just like everybody else.  I think all my friends at home will tell you the same thing.  Go out, play golf, have a couple of beers, watch a football game, just nothing real flashy about me, nothing that stands out.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  It's never very difficult to tell how I'm playing.
It's hard to say.¬† I mean, I'm just like everybody else in this room.¬† I'm just like everybody out here at the tournament.¬† I didn't grow up with a‑‑ never grew up very well off, had to work for everything, and it's been the same with golf.¬† I've never been the most talented guy out here, but I'm not afraid of hard work.¬† I feel like that everything that I've gotten out of the game I've pretty much earned through hard work.¬† That's just me in a nutshell.

Q.  Are you okay with that status, or do you see some of these other guys money in their careers and say, man, that would be nice?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Well, it would be nice, but there's a lot of stuff that comes with it.  I honestly would not trade one day for all of Tiger Woods' money.  I would not trade places with him for one day.  You look at the stuff that he goes through, you know, I've been around a few times when he's just trying to get to or from the golf course.  I wouldn't want to go through that.  I mean, it would be nice to have all the money and the fame and stuff that goes with it, but it would be a massive headache, and I wouldn't want to put my family through that.  That's the big thing.

Q.  Do you come to this event feeling like why not me more than maybe you would at a more established event like Congressional or Arnold's tournament or something like that?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Well, I wouldn't say I go into that particularly‑‑ with that attitude this particular event.¬† I mean, I feel like every week when I tee it up, I play thinking I have a chance to win.¬† I mean, I didn't play Congressional a couple weeks ago because I knew I had no chance to win out there.¬† There's a couple of events out here I skip because I know I have no chance.¬† I mean, I don't hit it far enough.¬† That's plain and simple.¬† Why go put yourself through that for a week when the best you can do, you can play your absolute best and finish 35th.¬† I mean, it's not worth it to me.
It would be great if this was my first win, if it just happens with this tournament to be the 20th first time winner.¬† There's so much talent out here now, somebody is going to win for the first time, and it could happen every week.¬† That's just the way it is now.¬† If it was this event, it would be great for me.¬† I'd love it.¬† They take really good care of us here.¬† Tuesday night was probably one of the most fun nights I've ever had.¬† I have an 18‑month‑old son and he had a blast, me pushing him around in a little tractor and him trying to drive the little toy Gators.¬† It was just so much fun.
Yeah, like I said, everybody here treats us really, really well, from the volunteers, the staff, the community, coming out and supporting this event, it's awesome.

Q.  You've been at this for some time now.  Are you surprised you haven't won?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Yes and no.  I still feel like there's a lot I still need to work on.  I feel like every single facet of my game could get better, but I think if you ask every player out here they'd all tell you the same thing, they could all get better at every facet of their game.  Until somebody shoots 18, which is never going to happen.

Q.  What part of the game is holding you back the most?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  This year it's probably been the putter.  But like I said, I felt like I've had quite a few weeks here lately that I've putted really well and made nothing.  When you look at it, the big picture, it's a lot of little things here and there.  It's not necessarily one thing that you can definitely pinpoint, but like I said, everything could get a little better.

Q.  In your bio, it mentions your commitment to charity and handicapped children in particular.  Could you talk about that or would you want to talk about that?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Well, a friend of mine has a daughter with special needs, and he runs a charity golf tournament to help raise money for the campus he goes to.  I've tried to help him out with that in the past, just since I've been on TOUR I've never been home when they've had the tournament.  But I also serve on the board of a junior golf tournament.  This is our 20th anniversary coming up, and it's one of the top 5 junior tournaments in the country, and you look at the list of not only past champions but also the guys that have participated in that tournament, and it's a who's who of the PGA TOUR now.

Q.  What tournament?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  It's the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational.  It's held in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  I mean, it's a fantastic tournament, and we've been busting our butts and they've been trying to get me more involved, but I'm like, guys, I'm on the road and kind of busy.  But anyhow, I try to do as much as I can.  I wish I could do more, but one of my best friends out here is DJ Gregory, Walking For Kids Foundation.  I'm on the board of his foundation, as well.  He does a lot with UCP.
Like I said, I try to help him as much as I can.¬† DJ follows me a couple of times a year, and I think I'm going to have to start paying him to stay away because lately when he's followed me I haven't played well.¬† Hopefully‑‑ who's he following this week?¬† Is it Zach?¬† Hopefully I won't get paired with Zach so I like my chances a little bit better.

Q.  Spartanburg, South Carolina, are you a fan of the Marshall Tucker band?  It's like a religion there.
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† It is.¬† I was not growing up, but it's kind of weird, a few ago I played in a charity event and they flew us up to the tournament, and I flew with Jerry Eubanks from the band, and here's another very different story.¬† I get a message on Facebook about a month ago, I think it was during Memphis, and it was from Jerry, and he says, hey, could you do me a huge favor and have the PGA TOUR stop texting all your tee times and weather delays and all this stuff to my wife, so I sent him a message back and I said how in the world is she getting these texts.¬† Well, it was my old number she ended up getting.¬† I changed numbers four or five years ago and she ended up getting that number, and for some reason that number hadn't been taken out of the system, so it was kind of funny.¬† Jerry and Kathy live about three miles from us, a super nice guy.¬† When we flew up there, he knew nothing about golf, and it was great.¬† He didn't know what to talk to me about golf, what to say golf‑wise, and I didn't know much about music, so it was great, we just talk about everything but golf and music.¬† It's kind of random stories and how stuff like that happens.
MARK STEVENS:  Thanks for your time, William.  Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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