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June 21, 2015

Billy Horschel


Q. Do you have anything left?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Oh, I've got plenty left. I've been waiting for this moment all week. So I can be up here for an hour and I'll keep going.

Q. Your opinion about the course?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I was here six weeks ago, and I think this is one of the most spectacular settings that I've ever seen in a golf course. I thought Pebble Beach had unbelievable views, I thought Royal County Down had unbelievable views, they are my top two scenery golf courses to play. And this one by far beats it. But tee to green it's fair. It is. Some of the greens could be a little softened, 7 and maybe -- obviously 4. Maybe do a little bit different things. But it's just been a disappointing week with the way the greens are. When you've got a bunker in the middle of No. 4 green that shouldn't be there, that's disappointing. I've had this debate on Twitter the last couple of days with people and it sounds like the players are whining and we're complaining about this and they're like, Well, you're playing for millions of dollars, you're playing for the U.S. Open championship. And like I said, we're not looking for perfect greens. We're not looking for Memorial's greens or even last week at TPC Southwind in Memphis, at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. But we're looking for something that's very consistent. Every green is very consistent. And this week they're not. The only two greens out here that are really good are 13 and 7. And No. 10 is not too bad. But other than that, it's just a very disappointing week to be here. I feel like the greens -- when you come to a championship tournament, I think it's supposed to -- obviously you're going to find out who the best player is, but when you neglect one of the skills or take away one of the skills from a player, and that be putting, and if you're a really good putter, a great putter, you know, and they take that away from you, you know, that's what skill that you have above everybody else. And I understand Jordan is up by the leaderboard and he's making plenty of putts. But I'm a really good putter as well, and I have not had a great week on the greens. And it's not due to the fact that my stroke is off or my speed is off, I've hit a lot of really good putts that have bounced all over the world. So it's just frustrating. I played awesome golf today. I played out my tail, out my ass, to shoot 3-under par. And I really felt like I should have shot 6, 7 or 8-under, but I wasn't able to due to the fact that some of the putts I hit just hit some really bad spots on the greens and got off line and didn't go in.

Q. Is 6 the worst?
BILLY HORSCHEL: No, 6 isn't the worst. I think 15 is not very good -- well, 6 obviously I missed that putt and I showed my frustration on it. There's a lot of poa around that green. 4 is awful. 4 is God awful. 10 is not much better where I was. I literally just tapped the putt from about 9 feet above the hole and it took 10 seconds to get to the hole, and it still rolled 4 feet by. That hole is in dirt. It's literally dirt. There's no grass around that hole. It's a frustrating week for a lot of players. Obviously there's going to be a great champion crowned today and everyone will be happy. But we don't complain a lot. And you guys think -- people out there think we complain a lot as players, and we don't. And when we do, I think we really need to be taken seriously on this. I think a lot of players, and I'm one of them, have lost some respect for the USGA and this championship this year for the greens. And not only the greens, and one of the biggest issues I have is for the fans. Here we are in the Pacific Northwest, where we haven't been since the late '90s for the PGA Championship, and the viewing is awful. They tell the fans early in the week, Well, just sit in the stands and hopefully -- and watch golf. I have my family here. I'm sure there are some fans that want to watch me, just like there's fans that want to watch all these other great players here. And when you're not able to get up close and watch championship caliber players play a golf course, it's disappointing. And I feel like the fans got robbed this week being able to get up close to the players and see the shots we hit and see the course to the degree that we see it. It's frustrating that the USGA would -- I don't want to say come here, because I want to come here to the Pacific Northwest, but come to this golf course. And for them to say that this -- for the architect, obviously I know who it was, Trent Jones, to say that they built this golf course for the U.S. Open is awful. And I heard today that Mike Davis had input in this golf course, which makes it even -- blows my mind even more that they would build a golf course and not think about the fans and the viewing aspect of it. Because that's the greatest thing that we have. Obviously there's more people that watch us on TV, than what is this, 50 million people may watch this tournament this week. But we all talk about having an experience at a sporting event, whether it be the NBA Finals, NBA basketball, NFL, we want to have the experience. And the fans weren't able to have that experience this week, and that's disappointing. It's just a frustrating week, with the greens and the fans and everything else that accumulated in one.

Q. Let's go inside the ropes. If the greens were smoother, more consistent, would this be a quality U.S. Open venue that's worthy of coming back here?
BILLY HORSCHEL: You know what, if the greens were smooth and they had a better surface, I don't mind coming back. I think some of the greens need to be softened. 4, 7, we're coming in there with long irons, the majority of us, we're all not like Dustin Johnson hitting wedges in there. Maybe if they moved the tees up and made those holes shorter, we're hitting 15 yards uphill. So the ball is not coming in as high so it's going to land firmer. So maybe they play those holes a little bit shorter, I wouldn't mind coming back here. Like I say, I love the view. I drove down this morning, I'm driving down -- and this probably isn't a good thing to do -- I'm driving to the parking lot and I'm taking pictures as I'm driving of the view that's out here. It's a spectacular view. I would tell anyone to come here because the view is unbelievable. The golf course isn't bad. Like I said, tee to green is very fair, very generous. But the surfaces aren't great. I think if they would do something about the putting surfaces, I think it would have been a better tournament. I don't think you would have heard us complain as much. I think you would see a lot more putts go in from distances, from 10 to 20 feet. You haven't seen a lot of those putts go in this week.

Q. Mike Davis has pushed back against a lot of the complaints. Do you think he's not listening or not believing or arrogance or what do you think is it?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I've known Mike for roughly ten years now since I was on the Walker Cup team. And I don't know. I don't know what he is. Obviously he is inside the ropes the last couple of days, but he's not on the putting green, on the greens seeing the way the balls move. He's from a little bit of a distance. And maybe, you know, when he sets the pins in the morning, if he's out there and they roll the greens, yeah, they roll great first thing in the morning. Right after they've been cut they're great. But shortly after that they get bad. Mike Davis can push back as much as he wants, but when you have a majority of the players commenting publicly, and some of them aren't, because they don't want to get the pushback from it, then there's an issue. There's obviously an issue with these greens, and I don't know if he's just trying to sugarcoat it so it doesn't look bad. I heard someone say that the TV is making the greens look worse than they are. That's a complete lie.

Q. The clip shows you doing the wave with your hands.
BILLY HORSCHEL: No. 9 I hit a great shot in there, 8 feet from the hole, really not a hard putt, maybe just a couple balls outside right. I hit a perfect putt and this ball Plinko'd, or whatever you want to call it, and went this way like that, it fishtailed. That's what I was doing, it was bouncing left-right, right-left. I was just frustrated because I hit a really good shot. And when you feel like you hit a good putt and the ball is not rolling well enough to reward someone who hit a good putt, that's what it was.

Q. Was that the height of your frustration?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I was frustrated the last couple of days. After I made the cut I just became frustrated. When I felt like I was hitting good putts and not going in because of the way the green surfaces are. It was frustrating. Like I say, I feel like I putted really well this week, and I didn't get out of it what I should have.

Q. Someone said 1 was dead. Did you see that?
BILLY HORSCHEL: 1 is dead? I think it was dead on Tuesday (laughter). Yeah, same thing with 4, too. I heard a comment that I thought was absolutely hilarious. A caddie said to -- or a TV anchor for FOX asked the caddie, How much grass -- is there any grass on No. 4 green? He said, Yeah, two blades, and they're nowhere close to each other.

Q. When you came out here six weeks ago, did you see these problems potentially developing with the greens?
BILLY HORSCHEL: No, I didn't, actually. This course was really green six weeks ago. The greens rolled a lot better than they did now, they had grass on them. They weren't very fast. But they weren't bouncing like they are this week. And I think when they went ahead and cut them down, they tried to get them quicker and faster, that's when they lost some of the fescue and that's when all the dirt started showing up, and the only thing that survived was the poa. I didn't think it would be that bad six weeks ago, I thought they would have plenty of time to get them into a condition that was very playable.

Q. Just to clarify, on 6, when you made the angry swipe, did you make contact?
BILLY HORSCHEL: No, I never came close to touching the green. It looked like it, but I never came close. I missed it by probably a foot. I'm sure I may get a call from somebody about that. But I never touched the green at all.

Q. What's your solution going forward, what do you think can be done so this doesn't happen again?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Solution? Here or for further U.S. Opens? You know, they do a really good job. I've never had an issue at any U.S. Opens that they set up. And this is the first one that I've had an issue with. I don't know. I would say I don't want them to be traditional and stagnant, and just play traditional U.S. Open courses. I don't mind a variety of golf courses. Pinehurst last year was a good -- a difference, you know, with no rough, it was a very unique, different course that we've played previous U.S. Opens. But understand, you don't have to go way outside the box to create something different. Just keep it simple. Do something like Pinehurst, take that course back to the way it was when it was originally designed, that's awesome. That course last year was great. Great players shined. There was nothing wrong about that golf course. I don't think you heard anyone complain about that golf course, that I can remember.

Q. Would you like to see the Tour agronomy staff have more of a say in how the course is set up?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I don't know, I mean, you know what? When you get two different groups of people together, someone's going to want to be the boss. And I think the USGA would feel it's their championship, their tournament and they wouldn't want anyone else coming in and telling them what to do. I don't know if our agronomy staff could have -- I hope they would have done something different. I have full belief in the PGA Tour and the way they set up golf courses and everything that they would have done something different. I saw it this year at THE PLAYERS Championship. 2014 was a travesty on those greens. But this year they were unbelievable. They were some of the best surfaces that I've putted on at THE PLAYERS Championship. Obviously they know when they make a mistake, they own up to it, they admit to it, and then they make sure next year it doesn't happen again.

Q. Is there any way to salvage the fan experience if it does come back?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Like I said, I had a great experience this week. The fans were awesome. I just wish they were closer to us so they would have seen the golf course the way we were and see the shots we were hitting and they would have a closer feeling to us. There's no fans on No. 8, none. I've never seen a golf course at any championship ever where there's no fans on a hole at all. Like I said, but I had a great experience here. If you want to change something, make sure the putting surfaces are better. And make sure the fans have an easier way to walk around. When is the last time two caddies got hurt at a golf tournament, whether it be a championship or just a regular PGA Tour event? I'm not sure -- I don't know of any -- what's the chances, I haven't heard, but I'm sure there's plenty of fans that got hurt. My caddie fell on 18 yesterday walking off the backside of the green. If he would have hurt his knee or ankle, I would have been in someone's face with the USGA in a heartbeat. It's just not very spectator friendly. It's very tough for us to walk at the same time. Everyone has to be on their toes that they've got to be careful not to hurt themselves.
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