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SONY OPEN IN HAWAII


January 16, 2015


Troy Merritt


HONOLULU, HAWAII

Q.  Troy, great day, just get some comments.
TROY MERRITT:¬† I hit the driver a lot better today.¬† The iron game was decent enough, but short game was great again today.¬† I think if you count the last one on 18, seven for seven on up‑and‑downs.¬† 12 out of 13 for the first two days, which wasn't my forte the last few years, but worked very hard this off‑season on short game, and it's paying off so far.¬† A lot of great bunker shots.¬† I made a bunch of four‑ to seven‑footers to save pars, a couple birdies, but didn't really leave anything out there.¬† Wasn't real thrilled about the three‑putt on 9, but nonetheless, very happy with 64.

Q.  A little different wind conditions today we're hearing?
TROY MERRITT:  Yeah, slightly, and for us it didn't really pick up until a little bit on the back nine.  Nothing like what we played in yesterday afternoon.  But it got a little trickier.  We'll see what it does this afternoon.

Q.  You've talked about the last couple years and your short game.  Is that what you think has been kind of holding you back?
TROY MERRITT:¬† Short game was a big issue.¬† When you don't have any confidence in the short game you start playing a little bit more conservative into greens, and for me that usually brings out more mistakes, so it brings out the worst in the short game, too.¬† Short game was real key.¬† My goal this year is kind of have the days where if I'm not hitting it well and not putting real well, still shoot 1‑, 2‑under because the short game is there, and then if I do make putts, I can shoot 6, 7‑, 8‑under.

Q.  What's your game been like in the weeks coming in?
TROY MERRITT:¬† I've played a lot of golf, actually.¬† I went down to Phoenix several times in December and the beginning of January, and yeah, I played probably 500 holes of golf in a month and a half, and that was on‑course stuff.¬† I had a lot of swing changes, setup changes, equipment changes.¬† Short game wasn't any good.¬† The only thing that I knew would be here in Sony was the putter.¬† So I had a lot of work to do.¬† I did that work, and so far it's paying off.

Q.  First year with Wilson?
TROY MERRITT:  Yep, first year.

Q.  How's that been going?
TROY MERRITT:¬† Good so far.¬† I can't complain with 10‑under through 36.

Q.  Where are you based out of?
TROY MERRITT:  Boise.

Q.  You didn't have any injuries or anything the last couple years, did you?
TROY MERRITT:¬† Not really.¬† Just‑‑ my wife and I were talking about‑‑ we've had a major life change every year I've been professional.¬† This year will be the first year we're hopeful we don't have one.¬† I'm talking about moving thousands of miles, a couple new kids over the years, moving again, and just a lot of headaches off the course, and finally we're just where we need to be.

Q.  Not just the golf that's changing?
TROY MERRITT:  Yeah, you know, I've found peace on and off the golf course, which is good.

Q.  You talked about the swing changes and setup changes.  Can you run me through that a little bit?
TROY MERRITT:¬† Yeah, I've been hitting a little bit of a hold‑up fade the last few years, and in college when I played really well at Boise State, I was releasing the club and hitting a draw, so kind of got back to that a little bit more, which is kind of a tough thing to do, to go from aiming 15 yards left to now looking 15 yards right and hoping it goes the other way.¬† It took me a little while to get used to it, but the natural feel is coming back.¬† It feels like how it was in college, and hopefully it continues.

Q.  What's your miss now?
TROY MERRITT:  A straight ball.  Anything 15, 18 feet right of the hole when you hit it straight, normally you're going to be just fine, obviously unless you hit it on the short side.  Every now and then you find one that goes left, but with short game, it's easy enough to make par, I guess.

Q.  Solid playing through two rounds.  Nice starting the year out like this?
TROY MERRITT:¬† Yeah, it was nice to see the driver find some more fairways today, and it's been great to see the short game work pay off over the off‑season.¬† I think my scrambling is about 12 for 13 this week, and it's a lot easier to score and it's a lot easier to keep those birdies and not make those bogeys when the short game is there.¬† Hopefully that continues.¬† Hopefully the hard work keeps paying off.

Q.  Most years fairways aren't critical, but you've got to keep it inside the trees.  This year the rough is a little lusher.  You can get some lies that aren't a whole lot of fun out there.
TROY MERRITT:  Yeah, it's tough when you're not sure if you're going to get that jumper.  A lot of times it comes out thick, and then we had a couple today that came out hot, landed and kept going, and a couple that came out real soft.  If you can avoid certain areas of the rough, you're fine.  You can play it from the traditional short Bermuda that's out here, you can judge it a little bit better.  But yeah, fairways are a little bit key out here this week, and I found some more today, and as a result, 64.

Q.  What's the one shot that the players really don't like?  I said it's always like the 30 yard short of the green shot because you never really practice that.  You practice around the green, you practice 30 yards from the fairway, but when you don't catch that jumper, that's kind of where the shot usually ends up.
TROY MERRITT:¬† That's true, and especially if you have a 30‑yarder out of the rough out here, then you don't know what it's going to do at all.¬† I had a couple yesterday where I landed one on the front edge, it went over, and I landed it halfway to the hole and it went 20 feet past the hole.¬† If you're going to miss it 30 yards short, you want to be in the fairway here.¬† The greens are so pure out here that guys should be able to get them up‑and‑down I'd say more than 50 percent of the time from 30 yards.¬† Honestly with this breeze, I think the holes that have the down left to right or into left to right winds, and a lot of them are hook holes, so I think that's the toughest tee shot this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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