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January 20, 2015

Sam Saunders


MARK STEVENS:テつ Like to welcome Sam Saunders to the interview room.テつ Sam, start off talking about coming into the week here at the Humana Challenge, it was an event that your grandfather loved and cherished and won five times over the course of his career.テつ So, just kind of talk about your thoughts coming here to play and then we'll have a few questions.
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ Well, it's always good to come to the desert.テつ There's definitely a certain level of comfort here for me as I was saying to you.テつ I know these golf courses a little bit.テつ I've actually played Q‑School over on the two across the street more than I've played these two courses, but I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the area and it's just nice to know where you're going and where to drive and a lot of these tournaments this year are going to be new for me as a first year member out here on at that TOUR.テつ But this one is one where I feel pretty comfortable.
MARK STEVENS:テつ Okay.テつ Questions?

Q.テつ So what's it like to be out here on your own number for any number of tournaments?
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ It's great.テつ It's a huge accomplishment for me and just a great feeling of knowing that I have earned my spot in this field and it wasn't given to me and I was glad to see I got in on my own number comfortably this week.テつ But it just gives me a feeling of belonging and knowing that I'm just out here to do my job and I'm just one of the other guys and trying to do the best I can to have a chance to win a golf tournament.

Q.テつ Are you at a point where you feel like you can start to make a schedule or do you still, like you say here, maybe, maybe not?
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ Early on, these first few tournaments.テつ Next week I know I'm not in Phoenix.テつ I can pretty much make a schedule knowing what I'm going to be in for sure.テつ There are some tournaments that I know I'm going to have to play well early on to have to be in the tournament otherwise I'll have to try to Monday, but we reshuffle after Pebble Beach, so if I can just have a few good tournaments between now and then, it would do myself a lot of good.

Q.テつ Byron Smith was in a little earlier.テつ He talked about how obviously he got off to a really good start at Frys and then the next couple tournaments he felt like he started leaking oil.テつ Because it had been a very long year, all the WEB.COM events and then the finals and then start up again.テつ Did you have any of that feeling or did you feel like you needed the time off between those events and the start of this year?
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ Absolutely.テつ There's no excuse to, as to why I played poorly, but I certainly had a feeling of I was ready to be done.
I was so excited to be in the events and playing in my first five PGA TOUR events as a member, but at the same time it was weird to be as tired as I was and in a way just wanting to be at home.テつ It had been along year away from my wife and kids and I played 31 events last year and I found myself in those last two or three events really struggling with just trying to get excited and not look forward to the time ahead of being home.
So, I definitely feel refreshed now and had a good off season and very, have that good excited feeling to be at a golf tournament again.テつ It's always tough to go away from home from my family, but I'm still early in the year nice and fresh.

Q.テつ You mentioned you feel comfortable here, you know the area.テつ Obviously.テつ But you're a Florida guy.
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ I live in Colorado.

Q.テつ Grew up in Florida.
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ Okay, yeah.

Q.テつ Yeah ‑‑ you live in Colorado now, but did it take you awhile to get to learn this or did you, have you been coming out here your entire life?
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ No, the first time I ever came out here was when I played in the Humana four years ago?テつ Four years ago.テつ That was my first PGA TOUR event.テつ The first exemption I got.テつ And it was, I had never played golf in the desert, really, at all.テつ I had never been to Palm Springs.
So, really my only experience has been from that and then Q‑School, I want to say I've been to the finals out here twice now.テつ So my experience is pretty much just been there.テつ There was an adjustment.テつ It was a little bit weird for me to get used to putting on the greens and there's a little bit of an Indio affect everybody talks about, but it wasn't, it's a lot different than Florida golf for sure.テつ But at this point I've traveled enough and seen it all that I know it.

Q.テつ So all those years that your grandfather has lived out here at least part‑time, played golf out here, won golf tournaments out here, played Skins games out here, later, you never came out.
I had never seen Tradition, his golf course over there, until that year I came out for the Humana.テつ I literally had never been here my entire life.テつ So I was 21 years old, so, you know.

Q.テつ I think he's got five golf courses in about two miles here.
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ Yeah, that's right.テつ So it is weird.テつ People thought I grew up out here, too, but, no, not the case.
MARK STEVENS:テつ All right.テつ Well, thanks for your time.
SAM SAUNDERS:テつ Definitely.テつ Thank you guys.

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