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May 24, 2015

Esteban Toledo


JULIUS MASON: We would like to welcome Esteban Toledo to the interview room here at the 76th Senior PGA Championship Presented By KitchenAid. Thanks for coming in and joining us. 69 today. Do you take any solace, though you didn't win, but you have had your best finish ever in a Major, with a second place. Does that make you fool any better.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Very surprised, because I haven't played well in the last two years on the PGA. First of all I want to say thanks to, congratulations to Monty. He played outstanding and it was, for me to catch up with him, it was tough. He played really well on the front. I played great on the front. I felt like I played really well. I wasn't really expecting to play that well on this golf course. But I guess I was very, very patient all day and I think that kind of kept me going through the weekend. But 4-under, it wasn't good enough, and Monty, I guess, he played outstanding.

JULIUS MASON: Questions?

Q. You have to be pleased to be able to go around this golf course without making a bogey.
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, I guess so. I played pretty steady. I kept the ball in the fairway, hit a lot of greens, and the ones I missed I got up-and-down pretty much a hundred percent. That's what it takes on this golf course. You're not going to hit all the fairways, you're not going to hit all the greens, and there's so much trouble every single hole, which I'm very surprised I didn't make a bogey. But I told my wife last night that patience was going to be the key Sunday. But I guess it wasn't true, because Monty played so wonderful. But nothing I could have done. I think that if I would have birdied 9 and 10, the one I missed. 14. 16. I still would have been short. It was a great week for me, the course was outstanding, the crowds were great, and it was a greats tournament.

Q. You got within a stroke on the front nine, both times Colin answered with a birdie. Is that just what great players do to win Majors?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, that's what it takes. He knows how to win. Obviously he knows how to win. He loves the pressure. And he's a hell of a player. Obviously he won the European title so many times. So I wasn't really thinking about that, I told my wife last night that if I can shoot 5- or 6-under par, I have a great chance to win it. So, I never looked at the leaderboard until a little bit on the back nine and I realize that had when he was 8-under, I was four, I told my caddie, I can't believe that guy is 8-under. But it's, he knows how to close it. And that's how he won twice the PGA. But it's great memories, all I can say, and right now, all I need to do is just work a little harder on my game and hopefully I win another Major this year.

Q. You spoke earlier this week about your desire to within a Major. Does your performance this week reaffirm your notion that you are good enough to do this?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, I always believe I'm good enough to win. Obviously, I won twice on the last two years, but I want to win a Major. I think that it would be my biggest accomplishment in my life, winning a Major. And I know I can do it. Obviously, this week it wasn't going to happen, Monty played so great. But I'm going to be chasing that trophy in the next two Majors or three Majors, obviously, and but I believe I can win. And I know I'm going to win one. It's just a matter of time.

JULIUS MASON: Can you talk about your birdies just real quick.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, first hole, I had a 12-footer for birdie right away and I made birdie. Another birdie on the par-5. It was about five feet for birdie. Then birdie number 7, which is very tough hole. Then a great up-and-down on 8. I missed birdies on 9 and 10. And that was it. I was close enough, 80 percent of the time, on the back nine, but I didn't make the putt. The wind was blowing off and on hard, so I couldn't get the speed of the greens. I missed four birdies in the last 10 holes. So, I think that's pretty much that was the key. To win, you have to make a lot of putts coming down the stretch and I didn't. They were tough holes, anyway, it wasn't like a picnic out there. It was tough.

JULIUS MASON: How long were your putts? Do you recall.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: On No. 9, yeah, on No. 9, it was about six feet. Six feet on 10. 14, I was about six feet. 16, I was about six, seven feet. I mean, those birdies I got to make, but I didn't. And I just felt like I couldn't put the pressure on Monty on the back nine. I was missing and obviously he was making them. I never thought I was one shot within Monty. I wasn't looking at the leaderboard, because I don't like to look, I don't like to look at the leaderboard until the last four or five holes. Then I want to see where I'm at. That's probably my fault, I don't know, but I was playing my own game. I have my strategy. I have my own game. I can -- I went out there making birdies and if I can make four or five birdies or three or four birdies on the back nine, put pressure on Monty, that was my strategy. Obviously, I didn't make any bogeys, but to be able to win you both got to make birdies.

Q. I'm not sure how many practice rounds you played this week, but after playing this golf course six or seven times, did your comfort level ever get to where you really felt confident about where the ball was going to roll and what did you think of this golf course as a championship venue?
ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Oh, boy, I tell you, that's a beautiful golf course. Pete Dye did a great job with the golf course. I felt like every single day I was getting better to know the course. I was able to know where not to go. Some of the pin placements, every single hole I looked at the pin sheet and thought, you cannot go left or you cannot go right. And I did. I always kept it like I wanted to hit it. Like, for example, No. 2. Yeah, it's the fairway is on the right, but it's better to be on the left because the pin was right on the front. So those kind of things that I studied over the last four rounds, it really helped me. That I can practice every single day and get better, probably not, because you don't know. This golf course is as tough as it can be. This is the toughest probably test I ever had in my life.

JULIUS MASON: Esteban, congratulations and thanks very much for coming in.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, thank you.
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