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June 1, 2016
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by University of Oregon, national champions, here in the media room. Coach Martin, how about an opening statement and then we'll take some questions from the media.
CASEY MARTIN: Well, just overwhelming, just so much thanks. There's so many people, I haven't really been able to thank people properly, but certainly first off Eugene Country Club and what they've done for us and the University of Oregon and the NCAA for allowing us to have it here. There's so many people to thank, and it's just such a great feeling that these kids get to have this experience for the rest of their lives, and I'm so grateful I got to be a part of it again.
Q. Sulman, describe the last hour of your round.
CASEY MARTIN: I sold Sulman in one of the playoff -- I felt like I was in a movie. It felt like, what was it, "The Legend of Bagger Vance?"
SULMAN RAZA: "The Greatest Game Ever Played." That's what it felt like, just having everybody rushing the fairways, circling the green, it felt like a movie.
CASEY MARTIN: It really felt like a movie. It was really a surreal experience. I was like, look at this, this is like the golf movies, and it was just like it, and it ended well.
SULMAN RAZA: It was a lot of fun.
Q. Sulman, your first putt on No. 10 you had a chance to win, last round you had a very similar putt. What was that like to get that putt twice in one round?
SULMAN RAZA: It was really special. It's a putt I'll never forget. It's something I'll always hold onto to remember. When I had the second try on it, I felt like the first try I didn't really give it enough speed, and I didn't really commit -- I committed but not enough to it, and this time I just got up to it, and I just told myself, all right, trust your line, this is the same kind of putt you've made over the last like five rounds, and you can do it again. Once I saw the ball go in the hole, I went nuts and kind of blacked out.
Q. Casey, where does this rank on your personal golf experiences?
CASEY MARTIN: Oh, it's got to be the top. I mean, it just has to be. I mean, it was great as a player, but to be involved, it's more rewarding when you're responsible for these guys. This would be probably the top, yeah.
Q. Aaron, how do you think these past two days have changed the trajectory of your career?
AARON WISE: Wow, I don't think I truly know the extent of that, but you know, it's just been so much fun being out here with the team, and obviously it's been a really, really long week, but wouldn't have it any other way and neither would these guys. For them all to step up the way they did -- see, I didn't win my last two matches, and there was a lot of pressure being put on me from the media, I guess, and outside guys saying Aaron is kind of carrying the team, and they proved that's not exactly what's happening. There's four other guys on this team that were playing great, and they proved it coming down the stretch in those last two battles that we had.
Q. Coach, how do you think these past three days have changed the trajectory of his career?
CASEY MARTIN: Oh, I think his career is on a pretty good trajectory, and I think it's just sped it up. Aaron is such a special player, and I was the guy that said that about putting the team on his back because you did. When we were struggling, Aaron was just a rock. So yeah, it feels great that the other guys came up, but this young man is going to be playing a lot of golf for a long time, and I can't wait to watch him. I'm bummed he's leaving, but he needs to go.
Q. What did you see in that first putt and what did you see in the second putt?
SULMAN RAZA: Well, after I missed the first putt, Casey just came up to me and said, all right, good try, don't be hard on yourself, we still have just -- just get ready for the next hole. And then when I had the second putt, he just told me what he's been telling me the last week or so. Especially yesterday on the putt that I made to get us into this position, he just said, all right, just breathe, visualize, and then commit to your putt, and that's exactly what I did.
Q. Casey, can you comment on the crowd? Is that the most people you've ever seen following a college golf match?
CASEY MARTIN: It is.
Q. And what does that do for the game of college golf?
CASEY MARTIN: Well, I think it's tremendous, and yes, today was -- when we were coming down on the 16th hole and everyone was surrounding the water, it was exactly what I had envisioned of a dream of bringing it here. I was like, wow, wonder what would happen if we got in this and people showed up; wouldn't it be great. As I mentioned, Eugene is a special place, and the University of Oregon has got so much support here, and I knew people would show up if we gave them a reason to.
So to see that and just the pressure and the drama and have it unfold on a place that I call home -- I mean, I'm here every day, and so I'm either on the range, the golf course, or in the card room every day, and so to get to have that experience is just -- it's just so special.
Q. Sulman, what was the point when you realized it was on you?
SULMAN RAZA: I don't know. I mean, probably on -- I think on 16 when we were on the par-3, I think I realized because I looked up at the leaderboard and I saw, I think, Thomas was 2-down, and I realized that it was probably all up to me to kind of see if we could -- see if I could close it out for the team. I just told myself to just stay in the moment. That's something that I've been trying to do for the last week is just -- I sometimes get way too ahead of myself. I start thinking about two or three holes later like what's going to happen, and I just kept telling myself to focus on my process, my routine, visualizing the shot, and just taking one shot at a time, and it seemed like it paid off.
Q. How long was your winning putt?
SULMAN RAZA: I would say about six feet, yeah.
Q. Sulman, you talked earlier about how great it was to play in your hometown. What was it like, and can you describe that feeling of winning in your hometown? Did that ever cross your mind?
SULMAN RAZA: Oh, absolutely. I think throughout the whole week it was in my mind, just knowing that I had so many friends and family watching me, and especially on these -- coming down the stretch, having so many people show up and cheering my name on and clapping and just going nuts. It's a dream come true, something that you dream about as a kid always, and to do it here at Eugene is very special.
Q. What are some of your earliest memories here?
CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, my earliest memory is when I started playing golf I'd come out with my dad and brother and go play nine holes or do whatever. I was six or seven, and this has been home ever since, and I remember coming back from college and bringing Tiger and Notah back and how excited I was to share this place with them. So when I'm on the recruiting trail, when I bring kids in, I camp out right here and share this place because it really is awesome, the trees and the golf course, and it's such a beautiful place, but it has some magic this week, and I'm grateful that I could add to the story of this place for sure.
Q. Sulman's redshirt year last year, what did he get out of that?
CASEY MARTIN: For Sulman with that? Well, he was in a little different major that required some afternoon stuff, and golf was so busy all time that he was going to struggle to graduate in four years based upon that. We were really deep last year, and he wanted some time to get better and stronger. I did it exactly the same way my junior year, and I got a lot better and stronger. I'm really grateful he did because then I get him back next year.
Q. Both Zach and Aaron, being that this is you guys' last college tournament, talk about what you'll remember the most from it.
ZACH FOUSHEE: Probably Sulman's putt at the end. I've grown up with him, and when I was six years old we played junior golf together, and it was awesome to see him do what he did, and obviously just to win with these guys is an incredible feeling, and I'm happy we can share it together.
AARON WISE: Same for me. There was a bunch of memories made this week, especially with the way I putted all week long. I thought that was one of my best weeks putting ever, and to do it with the crowds surrounding and everyone rooting me on and TV covering it is just absolutely incredible. That pile we got into on the last green with Sulman is something I'll never forget. It was just raw emotion, and to have everybody surround us on 10 green when we were doing that interview and had what felt like the entire Eugene out there supporting us today was absolutely incredible.
Q. Can you talk about the crowds and everything? How cool was that? Do you think it was the right amount or do you think it crossed the line?
CASEY MARTIN: I don't think it crossed the line. There were a lot of people so you could hear maybe a couple things, kids and stuff, but they were respectful and they were loud, and that last scene when Sulman made that is something that legends are made of and something that truly to treasure the rest of your life. It doesn't happen very often.
Q. Beau bowed out today with an injury. What are your thoughts on potentially substituting a player who's ill --
CASEY MARTIN: Yeah.
Q. Or injured or struggling?
CASEY MARTIN: You know, I think it really deserves attention. There's no doubt about it, because it's a team, and every other sport can do that. I know it's been talked about a lot, and I think it really deserves some really thoughtful -- it would be different and unique because it's never been done but it's something that's very worthy of consideration.
I think Texas would have loved to have had somebody, and certainly when Thomas was struggling, it would have been really helpful to sub one of those guys in. But I'm sure that will be addressed, and I don't know the result of that, but this will probably figure into that decision somehow.
Q. Would you be in favor of it?
CASEY MARTIN: I think so, if it's done right. I mean, it can create a lot of issues, so I've talked to some coaches about it, but I think so.
Q. Zach, maybe it was expected, and from your point of view all day, him not playing, just describe the start of the day.
ZACH FOUSHEE: Yeah, I was fully prepared to play. I thought Beau -- I knew he was hurt but I thought he would try to play. I didn't know the extent of the injury, so I was prepared to play. I warmed up, did my routine and found out (inaudible), so I was obviously bummed. I mean, it's my senior year. It would have been fun to play. But a point for the Ducks got us here, so I'm happy it ended the way it did.
CASEY MARTIN: Zach was amazing to finish his career. I mean, he finished eagle-birdie to win his match, won his final four, and then the second round he played lights out to win 5 & 4. He went out in style.
Q. Casey and Edwin, what do you think this week can do for Edwin's career?
CASEY MARTIN: Well, I think it's that solidification that he can play on a big stage. Edwin is a hard worker and a great player. It's just that self-belief he will have will pay huge dividends down the line, knowing that he played Gavin Hall who's a great player and he crushed him. Who did you play yesterday? Who did you crush?
EDWIN YI: Yesterday --
CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, great player from Illinois, so any time you do that and you have the pressure of playing for a team and coming through, it's just thrilling. He just needs to play more break on his putts.
EDWIN YI: Well, yeah, it's definitely a good experience. As a freshman, this is one of the best moments in my career. Obviously like I only came to college for a year, so it's big. I feel like this is going to help my game a lot as an experienced player now. I'll be a sophomore, so it's cool. I really appreciate this kind of event.
Q. Yesterday you said your heart was racing and that you thought that's what won you the match. What did it actually feel like today?
SULMAN RAZA: It felt about 10 times more nerve-racking. I definitely -- but I just kept telling myself, you've already done this once, you can do it again, and I didn't expect myself to -- last night to be putting myself into this position where I had to play three playoff holes, and to make the final putt for our team to win it. But knowing that I had done it already I think calmed me even more because once I got over that putt, even though I was so nervous, I knew that I've done it once, I can do it again, so seeing that ball go in, it was really extremely satisfying.
Q. In what ways has Casey prepared you guys for the next level?
AARON WISE: He's done a bunch of things, from just practice every day. I came in obviously young into college and was like everyone else and just was a great ball striker and didn't get the ball in the hole as quick as I needed to. Our practices are so dedicated to short game, and that's what's improved so much. My putting and my chipping and bunker play has definitely carried me through. I can go through rounds now where I hit the ball bad and still shoot even under par, and I could never do that before. Other than that, just off-the-course stuff and time management and working on the right things and doing the right stuff off the course, and what he did bringing in Jay this year to work on the mental side of the game is incredible, and we worked on yoga and flexibility, and all these things are things I never would have known about if I didn't come here, so there's a bunch of things, but I'm definitely thankful.
Q. Casey, when you guys put in the bid for this tournament, did you allow yourself to think, hey, maybe we could have a goal of winning it, and also, what do you think this week does for Oregon golf?
CASEY MARTIN: I think it can do a lot for Oregon golf. Obviously you solidify yourself with the great programs because this is not easy to do. I mean, you can't fake this. Certainly it gives us some credibility. And then the first part of your question was again?
Q. Did you allow yourself to think maybe we could have a team that could win this?
CASEY MARTIN: Certainly. I didn't put a bid in -- it costs a lot of money to put these things on, and so I didn't do that without feeling like we had a legitimate chance. I knew Aaron was coming in, and I had a lot of good players returning, and so we actually -- I forget exactly when we got the bid. I think it was not this fall but the fall before or something, and we were ranked No. 1 at the time. Yeah, you definitely -- that was part of it. It's like, man -- when we hosted regionals here, it was not -- it was the farthest thing from my mind to do that. I mean, it's a lot of work, right, and then after the regionals was so successful, I had a couple coaches and then the NCAA kind of say, hey, would you be interested in doing that, and it kind of took me back, well, Oregon does a lot of these things, they're very proactive that way, and my administration was all for it, and we were able to get it. Looking back, it was something I'd obviously do again because it propelled us to where we're at right now. But it certainly has been a lot of work, too. There are a lot of people that have worked tirelessly on Eugene Country Club, and what they've done for us is just tremendous.
Q. You talked about the amount of work it takes to put this on. A lot of people talk about the home field advantage, you guys know the golf course, but can you talk about some of the things that add pressure to you?
CASEY MARTIN: Yeah, I mean, the pressure was you're hosting, you don't want to fail to be here. That's a legit pressure. Regionals is very difficult. There's 14 good teams, and you've got to be in the top five. You have a bad week or like Beau Hossler suddenly gets injured, there it is. There's a lot of stress with that, so that was the big stress is if you're going to host, you want to be here. In fact a lot of coaches I've talked to say, man, I love hosting the regionals because then you get to host and you know you're there, but I don't want the pressure of hosting a championship to -- I didn't really think about that to be honest.
It was real and it was significant, but it also brings -- galvanizes everybody and gets you focused because it's like, we've got to perform. So as hard as it was, it turned out pretty well, and I'm so thankful to Oregon and the people that are around me there that didn't pooh-pooh that and say, oh, no, that's too much work. They were like, yeah, let's go for it. That's what's special about this place is there's big vision, big dream, and you can't win big if you don't go for it.
Q. Aaron, what was the biggest difference between being in contention for the individual title and today?
AARON WISE: Yeah, it's very, very different I would say. Individual title, when I was out there coming down the stretch, I felt like all eyes were kind of on me, and it was just a lot of focus on me, and I felt a lot more pressure there, when in the team competition I knew I had my teammates surrounding me who could perform better and kind of carry me along the way if I needed it. Obviously I ran into a great player today in Scottie Scheffler, and I was 2-under through 16 holes or 15 holes and got beat 4 & 3, which is just great job to him. But I knew the entire time, I kept hearing we're up in every other match and we're doing well, and that gives me confidence because I've played with these guys all year long and I know what they're capable of, and to watch them go out and do what they did is something really, really special.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports