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August 9, 2016

Scott McCarron

Columbus, Ohio

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to welcome Scott McCarron here into the Media Center. Scott is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, and he's playing in his first U.S. Senior Open this year.

Scott, as your first full season on the PGA Tour of Champions, how do you compare and contrast before you were 50? As a rookie, have you spoken to anyone about being out here?

SCOTT McCARRON: I spoke to a lot of guys before I came out here. A lot of the guys who were out here already before I got here were the guys that really taught me how to do Pro-Ams, how to play, how to travel, guys like Mark O'Meara and Peter Jacobsen and John Cook. These are guys that really took me under their wing back when I was a rookie out on the PGA Tour back in 1995. So I talked a lot to the guys about what it's like on the Champions Tour.

Comparing and contrasting, just about every week, except for the Majors, there's no cut. So that's a really nice deal for me. I love that. I was still playing 10, 12, 13 events on the PGA Tour the last couple of years after a few injuries. I was just playing okay and missing the cut by a shot. So it's nice to get out here and be competitive again. And not having that cut makes a little bit of a difference.

THE MODERATOR: Already a win this year and top ten finishes in three of the first four Senior Majors. How do you feel about your game heading into this week?

SCOTT McCARRON: Well, I've been feeling pretty good. I didn't play well last week at the 3M Championship. But going into that, I seemed to be on the hunt almost every week. It's been a lot of fun. It's been a learning experience.

Again, you get to hang out with guys like Hale Irwin and go to dinner and pick their brains. I'd gone to dinner with Hale after the Regions, one of our first majors, and just talked to him about what did he do, and he got in the hunt, and how he was handling winning. He was so prolific at winning, especially on the Champions Tour, the PGA Tour of Champions.

I was just coming into my own and getting used to being in the hunt and was able to pull through at the Principal in Des Moines. And then almost came down to the last to the hole at the British Senior Open in Carnoustie.

THE MODERATOR: For a lot of years, you used an anchored putter. Obviously, with Rule 14-1b --

SCOTT McCARRON: What's that rule again?

THE MODERATOR: That changed it a little bit. We had Bernhard in here, and he talked about what he did to transition into this year. What did you do to work that out?

SCOTT McCARRON: I want to know what he did. You know, I spent more time practicing putting in the offseason than I have probably the last 15 years trying to figure out what I was going to do.

I'd gone non-anchored, different putters, trying to get heavier putters, all kinds of stuff. I came out and started the year, really windy conditions the first couple in Florida, not anchored with a different putter I hadn't putted with before. I didn't putt that well.

After the second tournament -- actually, going into the last day, I putted with a short putter. I putted okay. Putted in Tucson with a short putter again. I was just putting okay. I finished, I think, 17th, but it wasn't good enough, I felt, to compete to win.

So I went back to my old putter that I putted with for eight years, a TaylorMade Ghost Spider, and I cut it down two inches and added a bunch of lead tape to weight it back up. That seemed to make the difference, just getting a little bit more over it, having it not anchored. I had to change my hand grip. My grip was always the thumb was anchored, or just barely on my chest. I went to the thumb on top, so it made the angle the same.

It also was a bit of a reminder to not anchor. You know, you've been anchoring for so long or at least having it on your chest, I had to do something different to have a different stroke to make sure that I didn't anchor.

THE MODERATOR: In addition to playing a full schedule on the PGA Tour of Champions, you worked with Fox on some of the USGA championships this year.

SCOTT McCARRON: This week, I'm doing both.

THE MODERATOR: You did double duty this year. So tell me a little about that; At Oakmont this year, following the final group on course, and then what you'll be doing this week, doing some work with Fox and obviously competing for a national championship.

SCOTT McCARRON: It's been great. Mark Loomis is just a super guy and a fantastic producer and really has taught me a lot. I was fortunate that I came in with quite a bit of experience working for Golf Channel and NBC for a couple of years, doing 10 or 12 events a year for them. At least I came in with some experience.

But it's been a lot of fun for me to see the best players in the world playing their best, what they're doing, and it really helped my game. I know a lot of guys have said that over the years, that they got out there and did TV for a little bit, and it helped their game. I think it did. It taught me patience more than anything. Guys don't always play their best, but nothing really ever seems to bother them. So that helped me quite a bit, doing the Fox and doing the Golf Channel.

It's just been a lot of fun. For me, I love playing, and I also really enjoy working for Fox and doing the USGA events.

THE MODERATOR: And you've played at the Memorial before, but you said you have not played here at Scioto before this week. Initial impression of the course?

SCOTT McCARRON: Great golf course. Tough golf course. They've got it set up, it really looks like a U.S. Open out there with the rough up. The greens are firm. They've got a lot of holes that are 465, 470, 495. Some tough, tough par 4s, and the par 3s are extremely daunting. They are long, tough greens.

Kind of some upside-down balls, the ball will be propelling off left and right. You've got to get a good quality shot to keep it on the green. That goes with the par 4s.

Par 5s, again, I can get home to both of them if I hit a good one off the tee. But it's a great golf course. A lot of strategy involved. You've got to keep the ball in play.

Q. You came in, 50 years old. Statistically and anecdotally, there's a window, guys have three, four, five years to really make hay. Guys also say they don't want to put pressure on themselves, even though they know that.
Coming in, what's your attitude? What's your outlook on do you feel pressure that you have to win now because the clock's ticking a little bit?

SCOTT McCARRON: You know, not so much. Look at Bernhard Langer. If you stay in shape and keep working on your game and keep practicing, I think you can play really competitive into your sixties. Why not?

Look at Tom Watson, what he's done over the years. Hale Irwin did the same thing. If you stay in shape and keep working at your game, I think you can have 10 or 12 years. I don't really feel the pressure of only three or four years. I think I'm in good shape. I'm in better shape than I've been in a long time. My wife is a triathlete so I train with her quite a bit. She keeps me in shape.

I feel like I can have a long career out there. I don't feel like there's a lot of pressure to win. There was some pressure to win when I was getting in the hunt so often early on that I was putting extra pressure to win. It wasn't because of the longevity or because I only have a window. It was just wanting to get that "W."

Q. Scott, how do you keep your enthusiasm for golf?
SCOTT McCARRON: How do I keep my enthusiasm for golf? I think I've always had that. I love playing golf. You know, you've got to remember, I played college golf at UCLA. I quit golf for about four years after college, went into business selling shirts and manufacturing headwear and all kinds of stuff.

So for me to come out here after thinking my career was never going to happen on the PGA Tour, it's like I can hardly wait to wake up every morning and get out there and practice and play. So having that four years off from golf where I got my pilot's license, I was flying, I was playing team tennis, I was playing open racquetball tournaments, I was skiing 35 days a year. I was doing all the things that I wasn't able to do when I'd been playing golf all the way through high school and college. It really gave me an appreciation, after being away from the game, of how special a game it is.

Q. My other question is you had mentioned your television work and how that maybe transitioned into helping you a little bit. Is there any specific thing you saw one of the guys do in the last year or so, a tip that you actually picked up, a specific tip? I need to do this with, you know, my irons or my grip on my putter or something?
SCOTT McCARRON: Not really. Everybody is different the way they swing the golf club, the way they approach the short game, the way they approach putting. Especially me being a long putter guy, I wasn't able to pick up much on putting.

What I picked up on was patience. The guys that were in the hunt, the guys that were getting it done just didn't let anything faze them. They were very, very patient through good shots, bad shots, good rounds, bad rounds. That was the thing that really taught me.

I'm kind of an emotional guy, so I wear my emotions a little bit on my sleeve. When things are going good, I might get too up. When things are going down, I might get a little down on myself. So having that even keel really helped me. Watching all these guys, Dustin Johnson looks like he's just on a round with his buddies when he's out there, there's just nothing going on. So watching him play.

Jordan Spieth, a lot of emotions on his sleeve after shots. But, again, he doesn't carry that over to the next shot. So I've learned a lot just from watching those guys over the last few years.

Q. What, in your mind, should the on-course reporter, which is primarily your role, do on the broadcast? What makes a good on-course reporter, in your mind?
SCOTT McCARRON: Well, I've always looked up to Bob Rossberg, Roger Maltbie, Rolfing. I think these guys are some of the best in the business, and they really do a great job of describing the shot.

I don't have to be critical. I can leave that to our analysts. But I've got to be able to describe the shot that's coming up and try to have the viewer really understand what the player is trying to face. So that's the biggest thing for me being an on-course reporter is just describing the shot that's upcoming, maybe informing the audience what happened before if they didn't get to see it.

There's a lot of timing involved, and I think that's the hardest thing about being an on-course reporter. We're out there watching, but we're not seeing what's on TV. So getting that timing down and working with Paul Azinger, Brad Faxon, Joe Buck, Steve Flesch, we hang out a lot together when we're on the road. I think having that camaraderie really helps, and I think we've gotten better and better. I've really enjoyed working with those guys. They're great guys.

Q. When you prepare for a broadcast and you're not in the field, like you are this week, do you prepare like you were playing?
SCOTT McCARRON: I do, actually. I do a lot of work on the golf course before the tournament starts. I'll be there Tuesday walking it, Wednesday walking it. I'll walk the golf course just like I'm going to play it. What would I do here? What would I hit off the tees here? I'm talking to the players constantly about what their strategy is, what they're trying do so I can bring it in.

Anything that I can bring in over the course of the week, I talked to Jordan Spieth, this is what he wants to do, this is what he's trying to do, Dustin Johnson. I think that also helps the viewer and me as a broadcaster, obviously. But I do approach it a lot like I'm going to play this golf course.

We've got greens book out on the PGA Tour so I'm using those greens book to read putts. I feel like I can read putts a lot better than the players can. I know, like especially at Chambers Bay, there's so much knowledge that went into playing that golf course. For myself, being the on-course, seeing where you need to land golf balls to get it close was an unbelievable perspective that the players couldn't see and couldn't know because they couldn't see a lot of the shots. I knew that the player couldn't take it at this flag. He had to hit it maybe 10 yards past the hole and 15 yards right to get it close. So there's a lot of that perspective that I was able to use in my broadcast.

THE MODERATOR: Scott McCarron, thank you very much.

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