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January 13, 2015

Pablo Larrazabal


NICK TOTTEN:テつ Hello, everyone.テつ Pablo, welcome back to Abu Dhabi.テつ Obviously it must be nice to be back somewhere you've had such success in the past.テつ Tell us how it feels.
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ It's special to be in the room.テつ As I said, last time we were in this room together, I had a big trophy on my left, so yeah, it's very, very special place.テつ It's been a short year.テつ I mean, how fast a year goes away.テつ
NICK TOTTEN:テつ And obviously going back to last year, interesting final day being chased down by some big names, Mickelson, McIlroy, starting the day sort of a few shots adrift, what are your memories of that day.
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ It was a tough day.テつ It was a little wind out there.テつ I remember making a couple birdies on the front nine, and putting myself with a good chance.テつ And obviously playing alongside Rory and Miguel helped me to, I was playing like them.
So I knew that playing with Rory and if Rory is playing well, and if he's in the second to last group and he's playing well, he's going to have a chance to win a golf tournament.テつ So to be playing with the same scoring like him, I had the chance, and a great up‑and‑down on 12 and a birdie on 13 gave me the chance to, if I play the stretch, the final holes well, I had a chance to win, and that's what I did.
NICK TOTTEN:テつ And there was a putt on the last there, a slightly nervy one on 18.テつ What were your thoughts over that?テつ Did you think that would be the one that would win it for you?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Yeah, coming to the last hole one ahead, but knowing that these two guys behind you‑‑ we all know Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, one behind you, but the pin on the back right on 18 is an easy pin to make four but a tough pin to make three.
So I knew that if I make a four, the tournament was 90 per cent mine.テつ I hit a great 3‑wood from the tee, and I had a good yardage for a 3‑wood but I was quite nervous, so I thought that 3‑wood was probably long, I hit a 5‑wood and I hit it perfect to 30 feet.
Walking to the green, it's tough to feel obviously a little bit nervous, and yeah, the first putt was a little bit up the hill into the grain and the last six or seven feet was down the hill downgrain, so I didn't want to hit it too hard.テつ So I hit it six feet short.
And, yeah, I had a six‑feet straight putt to win a golf tournament and made it.
NICK TOTTEN:テつ Obviously a big win in your career, and you've had other good finishes, sort of entering the sort of prime years of your career, what sort of goals do you have for 2015 and how are you looking forward to the season?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ I'm not a player that before the season, likes to go for goals.テつ I would be prepared where in the middle of the season I would be prepared to win golf tournaments and to be prepared to fight up there.テつ You never know when or how many chances you're going to have to win golf tournaments, but the only thing I know is that I'm going to try my best to prepare myself to fight for those, and if I take one or two, it will be another great season.テつ I really want to be in the Top‑50 in the world.テつ I want to play the majors.テつ I want to play the World Championships.

Q.テつ Given that you had such a great start to the year, were you a little disappointed that you did not go onto capitalise on what you did so early in the season?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Obviously it's tough, it's tough to, I mean, it's not tough.テつ But to have such a good start puts the expectations too high.テつ And obviously last year was a good year.テつ It was a successful year because I had a win but I had a win too early.
That win, you play a lot of tournaments that you're not supposed to play:テつ Like I played in the Accenture Match Play, I played the HSBC in Shanghai.テつ I played tournaments that ‑‑ I played Nedbank.テつ So that win gave me a lot of tournaments that with free money, we're going to say, that starting the tournament you get paid to play.
So taking out those tournaments, it wasn't that great that year.テつ I think I made five or six Top‑10s.テつ That's not great.テつ 2013 I made eight Top‑10s and 11 times in the top 11 I think; that is a good year for me.テつ That's a consistent year and a good year of golf.
Six Top‑10s is not good enough for me.テつ Obviously it's a good year because of a win, but a little disappointed because I didn't perform as good as I know I can.

Q.テつ Two‑part question.テつ Firstly, you said last year, that there was a secret to the course that you found out and you weren't going to tell us who told you, and that.テつ I wonder if that's changed and you can tell us?テつ And secondly, does the secret still apply to this course this time, and as the defending champion, how different will it feel on the first tee on Thursday?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Obviously I work so hard the last year in the preseason that obviously the secret worked out very well in the first two, three, four months of the season.テつ But then, you know, during the season, like my mental game went down a little bit, a little bit frustrating in some parts of the season.
This season has been different.テつ I finished the season last year very, very tired.テつ And I had a laser operation; I had to take time off of golf and fitness and everything.テつ I come this week with very low expectations.テつ I've been practising for only three weeks.テつ You know, I'm a player that has to be prepared to perform, and for some of the players, three weeks are enough.テつ I don't think three weeks are enough for me.
But I'm going to try to compete.テつ Sometimes you have low expectations and you start performing, you make a putt or two on the first couple holes, and then you know, you start playing great.
But the secret is still there but hopefully it works well.テつ But I'm not 100 percent prepared to defend my title.
And second question, obviously, I only won three times on Tour, and only heard three times in my golfing career on the tee, "The Defending Champion" and it's very special.テつ You know, I'm not like, you know, one of those guys that wins 20, 30 times on Tour.テつ Probably I'm going to win probably six, seven, eight times in my golfing career if I get lucky.
So this is one of the weeks that I defend a title, and it will be‑‑ it's been already very, very special.

Q.テつ Obviously with Rory here, Henrik Stenson, you have Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler.テつ Who is the biggest threat to your title defense this week in your opinion?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Myself.

Q.テつ Why?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Because Rory is Rory.テつ We know Rory for eight years, seven years already.テつ We know Rickie Fowler; in Majors he finish second time he goes out there.テつ So you're fighting for the title, you have probably a little more chance against Rickie than you have Rory.テつ We have Justin, we have Kaymer, we have like last year, we had Phil last year.
I know that if I play good, I can beat all of them.テつ In France, I beat Lee Westwood and Monty.テつ And in Munich, I beat Sergio in a five‑hole playoff and last year I beat Phil and Rory in the last hole.
So I'm going to try to beat myself.テつ I'm going to try to play golf, and as I said, I know that I'm not 100 per cent prepared, but I'm going to try to go out there and play golf and play my own game and play as good as I can.テつ If as good as I can is to win a golf tournament, I will be very happy; if as good as I can is to finish top 30, I will be very happy, as well.

Q.テつ I was going to ask you about those three tournaments you won, three big tournaments on The European Tour.テつ If you're talking about maybe wanting to win seven or eight in your career, when do you start thinking about being in contention for a major and what do you do to need to get to that sort of level of being in contention for a major?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ I said seven or eight‑‑ I mean, I wish, I would love to.テつ But first of all, I have to win my fourth and will be the toughest one.
I don't know, I have to be a lot more consistent.テつ And for first time this year, I'm going to not forget, but I've been talking a lot with my team about that question you just said.テつ Starting the season, I'm going to start to prepare the big events a little bit better.
And obviously this year, I'm in The Open Championship and the PGA Championship at the moment, so I'm going to start to focus on the big events a little bit more.
Before, I try to be prepared for every single tournament and try, you know, but in professional sport, there are peaks of form, and you have to work to have your peak of form in the Majors.
And that's what we're going to try to do that starting this season and hopefully it works.テつ If it doesn't work, we maybe change again, I don't know.テつ But as you said, I never played good in a major championship and I will love to, to be up there is tough, but to perform, it's different.テつ To be able to play good and to play your game in a major championship, I would love to do that.

Q.テつ Have you ever talked to Josテδゥ Maria about sort of getting yourself in contention for the majors?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ No.テつ No.

Q.テつ Is he someone you would maybe consider approaching?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ I'm approaching my secret.テつ My secret, I'm not going to tell you about this person.テつ This person has a lot of world records and a lot of Gold Medals in Olympics, as a secret.テつ And has rings of the NBA and has a lot of great things, and he knows how to do that.
And this year, he's going to take control of everything.テつ He's going to be not only my secret; he's going to be, you know, the guy who prepares properly this season.

Q.テつ Is his name a secret?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ You know, he's a guy.テつ First of all, he's a guy.テつ He's not a girl.テつ He's a guy that he doesn't want you guys to know who he is, because he doesn't need.テつ He doesn't want to, he works with a lot of athletics, Spanish athletics, and in a secret way.テつ Obviously during the season, you're going to see me next to him.テつ If you go to some swimming pool in Barcelona you will see him around.テつ If you go to in the preseason to one of the Gasol families, you will see him around.テつ He's a very special guy and he knows what's going on in the world of sport but he doesn't want to know‑‑ he doesn't want you to know his name.テつ That's why it's a secret.テつ It's not my secret.テつ It's his secret.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about some of the changes that have been made to the golf course this year, especially the 2nd and the 16th with the water coming in and the 4th?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Different, yeah.テつ The second, I like the second hole.テつ I like the green, the piece of green they made.テつ I think it's a little bit wide open and there's a lot of space.
On the 4th, the 4th is good, but the slope is a little bit too severe. テつYou know, it's a little bit different than parts of the golf course, but I like the move.
On 12, I like the 12th.テつ It's a shorter hole, shorter flag, and they put the water into play.
16th, now to carry that bunker, one of the bunkers that is nearby the fairway is easier.テつ Before it was only for the long hitters.テつ And yes, still a tough tee shot.テつ Before if you go to the bunker, to the middle of the bunker, you had a chance with a 6‑iron or a 7‑iron to putt the ball on the green.
Now there's three, four small bunkers and if you go to one of them, it's tough to go near by the green.テつ Makes the golf course a little bit tougher, because there will be pins near by those lakes, but still, one of the top two of the best golf courses we play on this tour outside the majors and outside the World Championships.

Q.テつ Perhaps you were more famous last year for being attacked by hornets.テつ Did you ever get to the bottom of how that happened, what they actually found particularly attractive about you, and have you found‑‑
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ They were female hornets (laughter).テつ No, they were travel hornets, traveling hornets.テつ They travel‑‑

Q.テつ With you?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Yeah, they don't live on that fifth hole.テつ So I was unlucky to be in the middle of, you know, the travel of one of them.テつ You know, the bad thing of those hornets is that if they feel scared, they spray you a pheromone that they attract the other ones.テつ So this little thing, sprayed the pheromone on my hat, and was quite lucky there.
I had only a piece of my‑‑ the pheromones just touched my head behind here, and they sting 20 times, 20‑something times on my head just back here.テつ If I didn't have a hat, I would be dead.テつ If I would be allergic, I would be dead.テつ You know, it was unlucky, but I was very, very lucky to be here.

Q.テつ It went viral.テつ Everywhere you go, it was on the Internet.テつ Everybody was watching it?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Yeah, almost 3 million hits in 15 days or ten days.テつ I was like Beyonce of the world, I don't know, it was a world record, in a week, 2.4 million hits in one week on YouTube.テつ I don't know if Lady Gaga or some strange thing like that had that much in one week.
It's sad that go around the world and the people point you, oh, that's the hornets guy.テつ But it's like it is.テつ Some people, you know, Henrik Stenson got famous because he played a shot in underwear and then become the No. 1 in the world, so hopefully in three or four years, it changes things.

Q.テつ Pテδ。draig Harrington tells us that he was at mass one day and a guy asked him for his autograph at mass.テつ Was there a strange time where someone pointed you out?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ Yeah, the next day they called me up from, you know, those sprays for bees, the sprays, to sponsor me.

Q.テつ Did you do a deal?
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ No.テつ No (laughter).テつ And you see, I don't have any sponsors, so‑‑ but I'm not going to put a hornet.テつ It will be very weird.テつ But, yeah, I almost put a head cover for the people to recognise me.テつ But yeah, that story was very tough story.テつ I will be back to Malaysia in three weeks and it will be tough to play that hole again for five times.テつ But hopefully they know me in Malaysia.

Q.テつ They might put a diving board at the lake.
PABLO LARRAZテδ。AL:テつ No, thanks God I had that lake.テつ And Bhullar's caddie saved me a lot of pain.テつ I thank him all year long last year because if he doesn't tell me about‑‑ that I had to jump in the lake, I will be 60 stings on my head or whatever, a lot.テつ I would be probably hurt big time.
So, you know, that guy saved me a lot of pain.テつ If not, I cannot say he saved my life, but probably would be close.
NICK TOTTEN:テつ Well, thanks, Pablo and good luck this week.

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