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July 22, 2015

David Hearn


THE MODERATOR: Welcome David Hearn to the Shaw Media Center. David, pretty close to a home game or as close as it will get to you. Exciting news today, announcing the David Hearn Foundation in Support of the Alzheimer's Fund. I know that's just coming out, but maybe you can tell us about how that got started and what that means to you to get that going this week?

DAVID HEARN: Yeah, thanks so much. It's obviously exciting for me to be back here at Glen Abbey. I enjoy playing golf here. Like you said, it's really close. When we play at Hamilton, that's probably closer to home, but this is as close as we get to me being at home. We're really excited about the launch of the foundation. I've had a relationship with the Alzheimer's Society for a number of years now. We've been raising money through a golf tournament that I host after the Canadian Open every year. To finally take that next step and form a foundation it means a lot to me to be at that point in my career where I can give back and do charitable things through this foundation. So it's very exciting for us to be announcing the launch of this. It's been a lot of hard work getting it going. But we're excited about it, and I'm excited about putting in time and giving back and the efforts that we can do through the foundation.

Q. You mentioned staying at home. What kind of perks does that bring? Do you stay at home? Do you have more friends and family come out, what comes with that?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, I obviously get a lot more friends and family coming out to watch. It's fun to play golf in front of everyone. I won't be staying at home. I think I got scared away with the Pan-Am Games traffic that everyone was talking about. Though I can say when I drove in this morning that it was probably the least amount of traffic I've ever seen coming to the golf course. So I slowed down once, which is unheard of, so maybe the traffic's not as bad as they're saying.

Q. What's it like playing a Canadian Open now compared to when you started playing in them ten years ago or when you were a rookie pro or still an amateur? Are you a little more used to the craziness that comes along with it now?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, I think so. I've gotten used to the routines of a big week like this and playing in front of all the Canadian fans, and we have more attention in the media and the press. So for me I've gotten a lot more comfortable being in that environment. I think when I first got on TOUR and I got into these events, I think I just tried to practice so hard and do so much, and not that I don't give every effort I can to be as competitive this week as I can, but I've definitely learned to balance my time and to stay rested as the week goes on.

Q. You tweeted out that you were upset with the R&A with the way they handled things over there during the wind problem. Did you get a chance to talk to them and tell them how upset you were and you thought they made a mistake?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, I don't think I was the only one in hindsight who made comments about it. I talked to our walking official. Every group has an official in majors, and there was an R&A official with our group. I made my opinion very clear to him when they finally suspended play that the job that they had done. I don't know how far it went. But I obviously have no problem playing in extreme conditions. That's not what I was upset about. I feel like if the weather is extreme, that everybody should be playing, and in that particular situation that we had on the restart on Saturday, some groups were in sort of a temporary hold position, whether it be for a ruling or whatever it was. Other groups were encouraged to continue to play, and I didn't think it was fair that some groups were sort of holding and other groups were -- if I had asked to hold, I don't think they would have let me. That's what I was upset about.

Q. Can you put into layman's terms how guys at your level deal with bad luck? And I'm asking in the context of losing in a playoff where you got at least two bad breaks and maybe in a third?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, I think luck is an interesting thing. I think when you look at people's careers and the luck that they get, you hope it evens out over the course of a career. I think people used to say Tiger Woods was a lucky player. I think when you look back on it now, he made his own luck over the years. I think you're starting to see that with Jordan Spieth and some of these other great players. They tend to get breaks in moments that matter the most. But I think it's because they're in those moments more than anybody else, and you get to see the bounces. So, yeah, I probably didn't get the best luck in that playoff a couple weeks ago. But I had my opportunities in regulation, and I need to do a better job of capitalizing on it when I have those opportunities. I just need to put myself in those positions more often and I'll get some good bounces.

Q. Talking about the British, how much are you looking forward to -- obviously you know this course a little bit. About getting back to what's kind of more normal golf? Maybe the weather is a little better, maybe the wind is not as bad, maybe you can play it in four days, unlike last weekend?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, last weekend was tricky. I've seen all those holes on TV and I've obviously enjoyed watching tournaments at the Open that have been playing at St. Andrews. You have a very good idea in your head what a golf course is going to be. When you get there, even though you know it so well, it's completely different than anything you've ever experienced. So for me, last week I felt like I played okay. I could have tidied up my game a little bit and found a few more shots. I probably should have played more golf through the weekend. But to be competitive, I think I need to spend more time. I need to play more rounds. Almost every tee shot on that golf course is blind, and there are a lot of blind approaches too. So getting comfortable with that is difficult when you've only been there for a few practice rounds. I don't think there is anything I could have done. Unless I went over and played it for a month straight, I wouldn't have been able to qualify. But anyway, coming back to a place like Glen Abbey, I'm very familiar with it, very comfortable here. Played a lot of good rounds here. So it is nice to come back to a golf course I've had success on in the past. I feel good with it. I'm excited. I've got a whole bunch of really big weeks coming up. The Canadian Open is on the top of my list, the PGA Championship coming up and then the playoffs. So every event is a big one from here on out. So I feel like I'm playing good golf, and I want to be competitive.

Q. Do you feel any particular pressure this week? Is the whole 1954 thing, does that play into something that comes up for you? Or do you want to win this tournament because it's the Canadian Open and you'd love to win it?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, I'm surprised it took that long to get to the Pat Fletcher question. Well done. Winning the Canadian Open would mean a lot, without a doubt. Winning any PGA tournament would mean a lot. It just doesn't happen that often. To be able to do it in Canada in front of everybody here would be the highlight of my career. But winning a PGA tournament, I've played 150-plus events, and I haven't done it yet, so I'd love it to be this week. We'll see what we can do. I'd love to see any Canadian compete. I'd love to see any Canadian win this tournament. Then we get to talk about who is the next Canadian to win the Canadian Open.

Q. Is the Presidents Cup on your radar at all right now through this year? Obviously two years ago we saw Graham on a team. Graham played very well. Is that any inspiration for you to join that team as well this year?
DAVID HEARN: Absolutely. Starting the year that was one of my goals. I want to be at the TOUR Championship at East Lake. I'd love to be on that Presidents Cup team. I hadn't been playing quite the golf I needed to do to be even mentioned in that Presidents Cup race until I played well at the Greenbrier a couple of weeks ago. So to think that I'm back in that race is pretty exciting. And with the events that I have coming up that I just talked about, all big events. So if I can put together a couple nice weeks, I can make a move up the ranks and I'd love to be part of that team.

Q. The Olympics is not four or five years away now; it's just a year out. Are you thinking about the Olympics at all? And second question, are you practicing with a different putter at all? When will you make the changes?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, the Olympics is definitely been on the front of my mind since they announced it. It's a pretty neat idea to think golf's back in the Olympics and what an amazing experience that would be to represent Canada on a stage like that. As soon as the announced it, it's definitely a goal I've been going towards as well. Now that it's getting closer, it feels like we have so many great Canadians on TOUR right now that anyone could be on that team. There's really, we're all going to be vying for a spot. Graham's obviously in a good spot. We have so many good Canadians on TOUR who are competitive right now it's just going to take a couple months of golf for anybody to play on to that team. So there are no gimmes to me getting on that team. I really need to stay diligent and practice and work as hard as I can to be on that team. Because it would be a thrill of a lifetime. As far as the putter stuff goes, yeah, I've obviously been working with it. I've been practicing with it, and most of it this year. I don't plan on putting it into competition just yet. For me, when I first got on to the TOUR in 2005, I used a short putter. It's something that I'm comfortable with on this stage. I've won with a short putter before. So I'm hopeful that when the transition takes place it really won't be much of anything to talk about at all. Obviously, I like putting the way I do. I'm going to have to change, and that's the way it is.

Q. Assuming you haven't seen the golf course here this week?

Q. By all accounts everybody yesterday was talking about how firm it is, how fast it is, the forecast is supposed to be dry all week, very hot. Does that favor you, a golf course that's firmer and a little tougher? Would you rather see something where it's a wedge contest out there?
DAVID HEARN: It's pretty exciting to think of a Canadian Open no rain, isn't it? I feel like however this golf course is set up, it's going to be fine for me. It really comes down to how you feel about the tee shots and how you're going to be able to give yourself birdie chances. The winning score on a firmer golf course might not be 16 or 20 under here. It might be a little bit less. But it still comes down to being able to control your ball off the tee and give yourself chances coming into the greens. I had heard the course is a lot firmer this year. I think the guys are pretty excited about that. I think this golf course, you know, used to be one of the more challenging golf courses on TOUR, and it would be nice to see it have a little bit of teeth this year.

Q. You mentioned before about playing the Old Course and having only seen it on television before. The same would be true about Whistling Straits with the PGA. What, if anything, do you know about that place and what are your thoughts on playing a course that's quite unique to say the least?
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, the interesting thing is this will be my third major in a row on a links golf course, I guess, which there really only should be links golf courses for the Open Championship. It will be interesting. I think there are a lot of mixed opinions about Whistling Straits, but from what I can see, it's a beautiful golf course. The nice thing about it is my caddie was one shot away from winning the PGA Championship there a few years ago with Justin Leonard. So he's seen a guy that has a similar game to me get around that golf course and be very competitive. So he'll be a big asset for me that week and help me steer around and have a good week. I'm excited about it. Any major championship, no matter what the golf course is something that you get excited about. Whatever it is, I'm excited.

Q. I don't know what your relationship is with this golf course. As a kid growing up, this was probably a big deal. This is where they held the Canadian Open all the time. When you got here and you started playing it, how have your feelings towards the golf course evolved?
DAVID HEARN: We finish on a different hole now on the front nine, so it's evolved there. But I enjoyed coming here as a child. I remember I came to the Skins game here when we were hosting I think Jack Nicklaus and Curtis Strange and some other greats played. I came here to watch many Canadian Opens. I remember Nick Price coming in and making eagle on 16 and going on to win. I have a lot of great memories watching golf tournaments here. Coming back now as a pro, when I first got here, I think this speaks to Jason's question earlier, I was sort of pinching myself and living what I had seen as a child. Now I'm definitely when I get here more focused on what I need to do to compete and treat it like the event that I can be competitive in.

Q. Just off the top of my head I remember the amateur championship, a lot of guys played in that event. Four nations playing on TOUR now, 2004 that great year --

Q. Yeah, that was the amateur. But the 2004 to get your, was it Nationwide card at the time? And 2006 at the Canadian Open, Hamilton played really well. It seems there is a lot of water under the bridge now. Do you feel you've arrived as a top half PGA TOUR player? Or do you ever think like that?
DAVID HEARN: I'd like to think so. I still feel very young, but I definitely have a lot of experience out here now. You can only gain experience through doing it, and I definitely feel like my game has gotten to the level now where I'm trying to be more and more consistent, trying to move myself, like you say, from that middle-tier TOUR player to the top-tier TOUR player. I've been working hard to find little parts of my games, trying to get better. Like I feel like I've definitely solidified myself as a quality TOUR player, but I definitely want to take that next step and do some special things.

Q. Does it still amaze you that it takes for most guys more than ten years to get to that level? I mean the perception is it's a lot quicker.
DAVID HEARN: Yeah, I think now it's definitely gotten maybe a little less than it used to be. You see some young players come out on TOUR, tremendous amount of confidence. Guys like Justin Thomas this year. You look at a lot of these young players, even a guy like Jordan Spieth, I think 20 or 30 years ago you wouldn't see guys come on to the TOUR and have so much success so early. So I think guys are more prepared when they get out of college or Junior golf than they ever used to be. For myself, it's taken me a few more years, but it definitely at 36 years old, I think I'm in the middle of my prime. I look at myself as a guy that can have a long career and play well into my 40s, like a guy like Kenny Perry and some other players. So for me, I feel like I have a lot of good years ahead of me.
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