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 14, 2004

Todd Hamilton


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Todd Hamilton, the 2004 Honda Classic Champion.

I know you started the day with a four stroke lead and it wasn't an easy day for you, but birdieing the last two holes to win by one, talk about the whole experience.

TODD HAMILTON: I would like to say I was setting myself up to make a big comeback, but I tried 100% the first 16 holes. I hit a lot of good shots early on. Could not get the ball close to the hole. If I did, I couldn't make a putt. It seemed like I was reading the wind too much, trying to maybe hit too much club and going long a lot.

But, to finish with two birdies on the last two holes to win is very, very satisfying.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Frustrating for the first 16 holes.

TODD HAMILTON: Very much so, yes. Early on a hit a lot of good shots. I was trying to be patient. The middle of the round, toward the end, I really didn't hit the ball that well. Just tried to stay patient, got up and down quite a few times for par. I knew it was going to be a tough day with the wind blowing and tough pin placements. So I just tried to keep my composure and luckily, everything worked out.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Talk about the birdies on the last two holes and what you were thinking and what you knew was going on around you.

TODD HAMILTON: I had glanced up at the board on 17 tee and saw that Davis was 11 under. So I knew I had to at least make one birdie out of last two to have a chance.

I hit a good drive on 17. Second shot was not great but not bad. I missed it in the correct position on the right side to have a chance to get up and down. I putted from off the green, maybe ten yards off the green, left it about 12 feet short. I had not been putting very well the whole day, so that was a little nervous on that putt there. I just picked a good line, had good speed, just trickled in the front of the hole.

Yesterday I birdied 18, so I felt confident that I could maybe not do it again, but at least give myself a chance to win it out right. I hit a good drive in the fairway at had 160 yards to the pin. I hit an 8 iron yesterday to make a birdie. I had the same club today, although the shot was a little bit shorter. I was just trying to get on the front third of the green to give myself a chance.

I hit a pretty good shot, the wind drifted it over toward the hole. When I heard all of the people hollering, I knew it was a pretty good shot. It actually looked really close like I wouldn't have to putt; I could just go up there and knock it in. When I got up there, it was a little longer than I thought it was.

So bit my lip a couple of times to settle myself down. Just pictured when I was a kid, I used to putt in the house to the table leg, so I just pictured a table leg there and I hit the table leg.

Q. Do you have to send an empty bottle of Dom Perignon to Motown?

TODD HAMILTON: No. But if they call, I will do it. I will fly over there and hand deliver it to them. We'll find another place to do that.

Q. What goes through your head? You've had so many years on this journey to get here, what goes through your mind when you're trying to make that putt, do you think about the journey at all?

TODD HAMILTON: No. Just try to recall past experiences, putts that I've had before. I've spent a lot of time in the house putting at objects, kids' little toys, little balls, things like that. So I just tried to make it as simple as I could. Heck, if I'd have missed it, I would have still had a chance in extra holes.

Fortunately for me, I made a good stroke, made a good read and it wasn't such a long putt.

Q. When you say you bit your lip twice, was this serious?

TODD HAMILTON: Yes. I usually don't do it, but I could feel myself getting a little emotional. I just I didn't realize my teeth were that sharp. I bit it pretty good. I don't think it's bleeding.

Q. You did it on purpose?

TODD HAMILTON: Yeah, just to wake myself up.

Q. Was the table leg in Galesburg?

TODD HAMILTON: That's where I was born, but I actually grew up in a small town called Oquawka. Small town about 1,500 people. We had a nine hole golf course about 15 minutes away which I grew up on. But I was born, my birthplace was in Galesburg, Illinois.

Q. How far is that from Galesburg?

TODD HAMILTON: 30 minutes maybe, as the crow flies.

Q. When do you think this will sink in?

TODD HAMILTON: Boy, I don't know. I felt very at ease with myself the whole week. I heard a lot of rumbling about the golf course, the greens being very difficult. I think the Tour did a very good job setting it up.

I just tried to use it to my advantage. I played two courses in the Dallas area very similar to this, big greens with a lot of undulation. One of them is actually a Tom Fazio golf course. So I just tried to use it to my advantage.

I may not swing the club perfectly, I may not do things by the book, but I feel that I grind out. I try to grind out as much as I can. I never give up. I think that helped me today.

Q. Do you realize that this probably will get you in the Masters?

TODD HAMILTON: I didn't realize that. I was kind of checking on that here and there. That would be very special.

Q. Do you feel like this golf course really played to your strengths, set up for your game, the chipping and the putting, and the driver wasn't quite the prerequisite?

TODD HAMILTON: I think it did. I'm not a terrible driver, but I'm not a great driver. When I drive it well, obviously play well. My iron game is okay. My short game is the best part of my game. And I felt that if I didn't hit the green, I was going to get up and down.

The fairways being so new, they are very firm and they are cut down very tight. So a lot of the holes I was hitting iron off the tee just to keep in the fairway to give myself a chance to get to the hard pin placements.

I think you're absolutely right. The course did fit my game very well. Visually, it fit my eye very good.

Q. There seemed to be negative energy and momentum for 16 holes. How do you explain that turnaround, the birdie, birdie finish?

TODD HAMILTON: I don't know. Like I said, I've been hitting the ball pretty decent early on, very solidly. Just couldn't get anything going. Couldn't get in a rhythm.

Then I had a stretch where I didn't hit very many good shots at all. I hit a lot of good chips, made some good putts for par. I can't explain what happened the last two holes. Maybe it was just my turn to win. I don't know.

Q. Your caddie was talking about how he mentioned Craig Parry's name going down the fairway on 18. Just talk about that, and did you have any kind of flashback after what he did and you almost holing that shot?

TODD HAMILTON: Well, the day before yesterday, I hit the same club that I hit today to the last hole. Right at the hole, so I had good visualization for today's shot. Also, I remember seeing I didn't see Craig's shot live or on the live telecast, but I saw replays of it a couple of times.

You never think you're ever going to make a shot, but you can always hit it close. I had somebody tell me, you know, you make the shot, you make a hole in one, you're really, really lucky. But if you hit it six inches, it was a great shot.

You never think you're going to do something like that. But this game is so crazy, you see a lot of funny things playing golf.

Q. Curious, your age, you're a year, maybe two year younger than Davis, when you were at OU, did you ever play against each other?

TODD HAMILTON: I played with him, I don't remember what tournament, but I was paired with him one round. He played at, I believe, North Carolina and I can't remember the tournament or where it was, but we did get paired together, yes.

Q. Was there a point when things even though you were swinging well as your numbers were going a little bit the wrong direction through the early parts of the round you thought to yourself, "I'm blowing this," maybe you had to fight it off, but popped in your head that you might be losing this?

TODD HAMILTON: It did for a little bit, but for some reason I felt very calm about it. I felt that I had proved to myself, at least for the first three rounds, that I could compete out here.

I would have been very disappointed had I lost the four shot lead. I've got friends at home that would have crucified me had I lost a four shot lead. Maybe that spurred me on not to get a tongue lashing when I got home.

Yes, I could kind of feel it because I wasn't really doing anything, just kind of treading water, not going forward, going back every once in awhile. I had a par 5 coming up, 17; and it was playing very short today, actually, with the wind. The fairways are hard and running out. I felt if I could hit a good drive in the fairway, I could set myself up for a birdie and who know what is could happen on the last hole.

Q. At the beginning of the day, you have the lead, and then you go quickly to five when Jacobson makes a bogey. Did you ever think at least at the beginning that it was just you and Fredrik or were you considering that there were other people coming up; and then when you see Davis on the board, did your mind change at all?

TODD HAMILTON: I never thought it would be just me and Fredrik. This golf course, especially with the wind, anything can happen.

If you start being a little too aggressive, missing in the wrong spots, very easy to make a bogey. And if you try to get greedy, you can make a double bogey very fast.

I knew it was going to be very difficult for all of the players, not just Fredrik and myself. I didn't I saw Davis was playing pretty steady. I had read where he was playing well throughout the week but he wasn't making many birdies. I assumed he would play well today being the player that he is.

I just tried to stay patient. The end of the round, I did see he was leading on 17 tee. I saw a board there by 16 green, so I knew it if I had two chances to make one birdie to at least get in a playoff, and maybe do what I did, make two birdies to win it outright.

Q. Your wife said that she thought maybe the most difficult time in the whole journey that led you to here was when you almost quit before you went to Asia in the early 90s; how close were to you quitting and what were you going to do?

TODD HAMILTON: Yeah, it was '92. I started playing in the Asian circuit, I believe, in spring of '88. So I was going on my fifth year, wasn't really doing much. A few good tournaments here and there but not really making much money. The guys that were backing me decided to do it one more time, which was the year of '92. Fortunately, I did not know that at the time.

I went over there with no expectations. Ended up winning their Order of Merit and at the time I was given a year exemption onto the Japanese Tour. It really changed my life.

I don't know what I would have done outside of golf had I quit playing golf. I enjoy playing. I probably could have taught golf. I don't really know a lot about the golf swing to teach like a David Leadbetter or a Rick Smith or someone like that, but I can help amateurs get feelings for certain things they may need to do in their swings.

But I don't know what I would have done had I not played well the year of '92 on the Asian circuit.

Q. Through the years of traveling Asia, how much did your family accompany you and live with you there; what was that situation? And then, for somebody to continue on and travel and play in the areas you did, how much does somebody like that love the game?

TODD HAMILTON: I love golf, first of all. I love to play golf. When I take weeks off, I play at home almost every day.

If I take a day off a week, I go crazy. My wife, I don't think we were married at the time. She came on the Asian Tour a few weeks out of the year one time. We had some kids in '98. She actually traveled in Japan when I got in Japan. She traveled over there all the time. We had our first child in '98 and that was pretty much the end of her traveling. Although, our oldest and our middle one have been to Japan. Our oldest one has begun twice. The middle one has gone once, but it's very, very difficult. You have to take so much stuff. My wife takes a lot of stuff on her own and you throw in the kids' stuff and my stuff, it's very difficult to travel with kids.

Q. How do you feel right now maybe for the support she showed?

TODD HAMILTON: I'm very grateful. She is a very special person. When I'm at home, I play golf all the time. I help out a little bit around the house, but probably not as much as I should. She takes a lot of credit for what I've done.

Q. If you don't make it through Q School, are you back in Japan this year?

TODD HAMILTON: Yeah. I actually did that last year. I got to the finals at Q School out in Palm Springs. I didn't do very well. I had a conditional Nationwide. I just decided to go back to Japan.

Q. Money is better over there for you?


Q. What does $900,000 mean to you?

TODD HAMILTON: Well, I had my best year in Japan, ever, last year. Counting three world golf events that I got in, I think I made about a little over a million dollars, and that was my best year I've ever had. And I made almost that in one week. (Laughter.) So it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. A guy plays his rear end off for a year, and then a guy plays his rear end off for a week and it's about the same amount of money. Makes no sense.

Q. Can you put into words what it means after all of the years and struggles what it means to win and what this victory means to you?

TODD HAMILTON: I really don't think it's sunk in yet. I'm very calm right now about it. I realize what I've done is special, especially being a rookie, even though it's a 38 year old rookie.

I'd like to see some of the guys from the Tour school go on and do the same thing that I've just accomplished. I've got a lot of friends from college that have been out on TOUR for a while that have had their chances that haven't taken advantage of them. I'd like to see them accomplish the same thing.

But I'm very grateful for what just expired or transpired. I expired. (Laughter.)

Q. How do you say the Honda Classic champion in Japanese?

TODD HAMILTON: I couldn't tell you. My Japanese language is very poor. For the time I spent over there, 12 years, I probably give myself a D or a D . I can read some of the writing but to speak it, I'm not very good at. Honda Classic Champion (speaking with accent). It's English but (Laughter.) I've got the accent down. I just can't tell you the words.

Q. Which part of this means the most to you: The money, win, the exemption, the Masters, THE PLAYERS Championship? The things that come with it, what do you think is going to be important?

TODD HAMILTON: I think the money is great, don't get me wrong. I've made a very good living playing in Japan. I'm the type of person, I don't need three cars, four cars, a 20,000 square foot house. Give me a decent car, decent place to live, set of golf clubs, I'm okay, a few golf balls here and there.

The win is very special and the perks involved with winning down the line will be very, very gratifying.

Q. Go back to Augusta for just a second. Could you have pictured yourself going there last year?

TODD HAMILTON: Never, no. Not this quickly, no.

Q. Have you ever been?

TODD HAMILTON: I played a junior tournament. I believe I was 17 years old and I was at Augusta Country Club right across the fence. The tournament organizers allowed us, somehow they got a double decker bus. They allowed a lot of players to get in. They drove us up Magnolia Lane. This would have been early to mid August. Let us roam out on the golf course. It was shut down.

I remember some guy, he must have known what was up, what was going to happen. He had a golf club and he had a ball in his pocket, just happened to have them on the bus, one of the players. He whacked one off the 10th hole. I don't know who it was. But we walked out, we were out on 13 green they had straw down to keep it cool. They had big fans behind the green. So the course was closed. But I've actually set foot on it but I've never played it.

Q. That was with you with the ball, wasn't it?

TODD HAMILTON: No, wasn't. Promise. (Laughter.)

Q. Do you know whether there was a little get together of everybody at your home club?

TODD HAMILTON: I don't know, but when I get back home there will be, yes. I imagine they have already run up a little tab and I'll probably owe them.

Q. Was your wife here yesterday or did she come?

TODD HAMILTON: She was here the whole week believe it or not. It was not a spur of the moment, get on a plane and come and maybe watch me win. She actually came down I drove up from Doral on Monday. My mother and her husband have a condo I believe in Ft. Meyers. So my mother drove over picked them up at the airport at West Palm. She was here. She saw everything.

Q. When a player has never won before on the PGA TOUR and has a 54 hole lead there's always this sense of doubt from the outside that, you know, this guy can't hold on, can't win, did any of that, did you feel any of that, do you fight that and how do you deal with it?

TODD HAMILTON: I guess maybe I felt a little bit about 13, 14, 15, I had a kind of silly stretch there, I 3 putted. I'm usually a pretty good putter, but I 3 putted there on 13.

14, I didn't hit quite the tee shot I was looking for. I had a lot of club into that hole and that's a green that you want to have as little a shot in there as possible. But I end up making about a 6 foot putt for par there.

Then 15, I miss the green to the right. Tough pin there. End up chipping it up about three feet. So probably those three holes and I tried to catch some peaks at the leaderboard. I saw, I think it was Brian Bateman, I don't know if he was finished at 10 but I knew he was 10 under and I eventually saw him he was finished at 10. I think Davis at the time was 10. So I knew if I wanted to win, I'd better get going and not pay attention to the previous few holes where I didn't play so well.

Q. When you talked earlier this week about at the very least your expectations for the very year to keep your card, how much did your play last week at Doral give you a little maybe shot in the arm?

TODD HAMILTON: It definitely helped me. I've never played hardly any of the golf courses that the tour travels to. I've never played Doral. I heard, "Oh, this is a hard golf course; when the wind blows it's really hard."

It's funny, I played very well the first two days in the wind down there. It blew pretty good and I think I was 8 under after two days and then the wind died down a little bit and I didn't play as well.

So it was very nice to have a good, at least get a taste of being near the lead and having a shot at winning. Although I didn't finish it off on the weekend like I would have liked, it was nice to see what goes on when you're playing well.

Q. And secondly, you mentioned outside that there may be other guys who deserve it talent wise but no one will appreciate it more, I think is what you said. You've obviously have a lot of talent. How is it that it takes some guys 15, 17 years to get here and others get there a little quicker when the talent is not that the discrepancy is maybe not that great?

TODD HAMILTON: I don't know. There's probably some guys out there that could be sitting here instead of me talking to you that have no way financially to try and obtain their PGA TOUR card. There's a lot of good golfers around the world. I witnessed that firsthand.

The PGA TOUR here from top to bottom is very strong. I've always felt if you were good enough to acquire or obtain your PGA TOUR card, you were good enough to win a tournaments.

The Japanese Tour, we had a lot of guys that could win in Japan, and a few, a handful that could win around the world. When I started in 92, the scores, if you shot 10 under every week, you probably would have won five or six tournaments on a 30 week schedule. But now you're lucky if you win once over there. The talent there has gotten a lot better. I saw it for 12 years over there.

But this is the place, if you want to achieve and you want to feel like you have accomplished something great, this is the place to do it right here.

Q. You talked yesterday you had not won on the PGA TOUR but a lot in other places, how is your feeling today when you were playing, did you feel like there was something that you felt differently versus the other times that you won, something that you learned about yourself that you'll take from this win forward?

TODD HAMILTON: I actually felt the tournaments that I've won in the past, some I've been quite nervous and have held on. Others, I had a very, very calm feeling. Not to be cocky, but I just felt like I was going to win. If I didn't, if I finished second, if I finished third, that was an accomplishment for me in itself.

But I had this eerie feeling the whole week, very calm feeling, I wish I could have that feeling all the time. But for some reason, I had this feeling, and again, not to be cocky or anything, but I had a very good feeling about this week. Especially after the first two, first three days.

Q. You talked last night about how you wanted to instead of trying to protect the lead, make it five, six, seven. Didn't work out that way but the way things went, is it better to win the way you won, struggling and make the birdies at the end?

TODD HAMILTON: I think in the end, yes. It would have been great to go out and shoot 2 , 3 , 4 under on the front nine and coast on the back nine. But to go through the trials and tribulations for 16 holes and then bang, bang you make two birdies on the last two holes to win, that's very gratifying.

Q. What's the name of your Canadian caddie who could not get the work Visa to get in the country this week, and have you heard from him at all this week; are you going to talk to him?

TODD HAMILTON: Jeff Mulberry is his name. I actually got a call from him two or three days ago. I'm supposed to call him back but I haven't talked to him. I hope he was watching.

Q. Is he going to be happy or annoyed three missed it?

TODD HAMILTON: Probably both. More so the latter probably. (Laughter.)

Q. You said that winning breeds winning, and in retrospect we can say you've been building toward this, but in the 17, 18 years to what degree did you doubt that this would ever happen and to what degree did you maintain that faith within yourself that you would someday be where you are now?

TODD HAMILTON: I think until my got my TOUR card, I always doubted something like this would happen. But once I got through the qualifying stage last December, it seemed like the pressure was off. That was my eighth time that I tried to do it. It seemed like all of the pressure was off, the monkey was off my back. Everything else seems easy. It's not easy, but ...

Q. The years in Asia, had you given up for the most part; had you just resigned to yourself that it wasn't going to happen?

TODD HAMILTON: You know, I had a talk with a friend of mine, Brian Watts, that used play over in Japan. He and I talked one time, I think we might have been playing a practice round or something. He says, you know, if I meaning him if he never got his tour card, he'd be very content playing in Japan.

I kind of agreed with him. If something like getting your PGA TOUR card didn't happen. The Tour over there is run very nicely. You've got I think when I started there was about 35 events, there may be 30,31, they have lost a few over the years.

But anybody that enjoys playing golf I could play golf if I could play well, I could play golf in India, you know, for 30 weeks out of the year. It would be difficult. If that was the only option I had, I would do it. I enjoy playing golf.

Q. What got you into the was it Top 3 Order of Merit or winning that got you the free pass to the final stage?

TODD HAMILTON: Top 3, I think it was September 12 was the deadline, Top 3 actually sorry. You had to be in the Top 10 and they took the first three guys available and at the time I was leading the money.

Q. Given the age of your kids, did you feel anymore pressure at this Q School than the past?

TODD HAMILTON: A little bit. Our oldest is going to start school this fall. Our middle one is going to start in a couple of years or a year and a half.

Maybe a little bit. I know when I'm out of the country or when I was out of the country in Japan for four or six weeks at a time, it was very difficult on my wife. We've got some good neighbors where we live and they would help out quite a bit. We've got no Mediate family that could come over for a week and help her out. She would always fly. She's got a sister that could take off time from work. She would come down every once in awhile or my wife would fly up to Illinois where we're from to visit her family.

But when I was gone for the month, month and a half, it was really difficult on her.

Q. And then you came over and played golf?


Q. What a great wife.

TODD HAMILTON: She is, she is very special.

Q. But what are some of the exotic places you played?

TODD HAMILTON: The Asian Tour, it was a lot of fun as long as you played well. If you didn't play well, it was difficult. We played Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, one of the hardest places to play, by the way. There was one tournament in Japan. Taiwan, I spent a week in Pakistan, thought I was going to die there. Thailand, Indonesia, the Asian Tour, when I played it, it lasted about three months and we would play 11 or 12 different countries.

Q. Are there any strange stories or is it so long ago?

TODD HAMILTON: I will say that the strangest or most exotic, however you want to put it, thing I've ever eaten was in India. Of course all of the cows are sacred in India. They are just roaming along the streets. No one bothers them.

But the water buffalo, they have water buffalo that they cook up and if it's not if it's cooked decently it's not too bad. It's a little chewy.

I came from a small town,1,500 people and I remember the first year I played in the Asian Tour, we were going to all of these big cities. We'd go to Seoul, South Korea, 7, 8 million people. First year in India was in Calcutta, 12, 13 million people. Taipei, Taiwan,6,7 million people. Bangkok had 7 or 8 million. It was kind of a culture shock for me coming from such a small area. You'd see more people on a city block than live in my town where I grew up.

Q. Are your expectations different now?

TODD HAMILTON: Yes. You know, there's probably a lot of people that might think this is a fluke. I would like to prove that to not be true. It may not happen next week. It may not happen this year. Hopefully somewhere down the line I can say, hey, I won another one.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Tied for 8 in fairways this week. Tied for 20th in greens. Tied for 7th in putts. Take us through your round real quick.

TODD HAMILTON: 2, I hit a very good drive. Wind was really blowing pretty good at that time. I had a 6 iron in there right at the pin, two more steps and at worse I'm going to make a par, and if it stops quickly I might have a very good short putt at birdie. But it came up short in the bunker, didn't hit a good bunker shot out, probably 12 feet and missed the putt.

5, hit a good 2 iron off the tee. I played that hole smart all week. I could never reach it. So I didn't even try to hit driver. I hit 2 iron off the tee. 2 iron second shot, just trickled in the right hand rough.

The wind was really blowing at the time. Anything short on that hole is going to be a tough up and down. I just caught a little lull on the wind and it went over the green. I had a really tough chip which I thought I had a pretty good chip, maybe six, seven feet and missed the putt.

9, hit a good shot off the tee with an iron. Ended up just in the left rough. Thought I hit a good shot, had a good number to the hole, it was playing out to the right of the hole to use a slope to bring it back. I just got a little past the green up into the fringe, stayed up there, and I've been struggling the whole week deciding whether I should putt or chip, chip and run or lob. So I think that's one thing about this course that makes it difficult; you're given a lot of options. And a lot of guys don't practice; they just take their lob wedge and hit lob shots. Whereas the European guys, they will hit the lob wedge, they will hit a 4 iron, chip and run; they will putt.

I've been struggling the whole week deciding what to do. Ended up putting from there, probably missed about a six or seven foot putt for par.

3 putted 13. Ran it by about six feet, missed it. I was really, really struggling with my putter at that time. I felt like I had to hit a lot of good shots close to make a birdie.

Q. How long did you live in Illinois?

TODD HAMILTON: I think maybe 26, 27 years old when I moved to Dallas.

Q. What high school did you meet your wife?

TODD HAMILTON: Union High School. Biggsville Union was the name of it. Biggsville, Illinois is the town. When I was there it was just Union High School. Probably 300 kids in our whole school. I had 65 kids in my graduating class. Not much going on back there.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Congratulations on a great week.

End of FastScripts.

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