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August 16, 2016
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Q. A bit of a shaky start, but it didn't matter. You're 6-under and you could end up being medalist. How do you feel about that?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: It felt really good. I've always tried to learn something from every round, and those last three or five holes I really learned a lot, and hopefully the conditions aren't like this, but if they are, I'll be able to take what I learned today and apply them to the next few days and hopefully get on with the matches.
Q. It was pretty wet out there to start with. How do you handle the course? Did it play much differently than yesterday?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Well, yesterday was the North Course for us, but in the practice round, it played differently because it was the opposite wind, I think. I'm not really sure. But let's see, it played tougher because obviously you're not able to pick up your ball in a tournament round as opposed to in a practice round. You're not able to move from the rough to the fairway. It's going to play tougher, have tougher pins. You've just got to stay really patient out there, even if you don't finish strong.
Q. Yesterday you talked about how much your mindset was changing from the last time you played in the Am until now. You just wanted to make match play. Now how has your mindset changed now that you're going to be a high seed?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I'm really confident in my match play game. I'm not saying that I'm definitely going to win. It's going to be a challenge every single match. But I feel like I've done very well in the past in match play, so I feel really confident. I think I've got a mindset of let's just find a way to get it done.
Q. Switching a little bit, do you know much about the history of this place? Tell me what you know or maybe what you've seen kind of walking through the hallways.
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I'm not a serious historian about like courses and players that won at those courses, but I've seen some of the players that have won here, some of the tournaments that have been played. The players that have won here are very highly renowned players. It's a privilege to get to keep on going and still have a chance to be in the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, just great players. It's a real honor.
Q. You're safely in; how are you feeling moving into tomorrow?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I'm feeling really good. I'm feeling really good. I don't take those last five holes or so as negatives. I take them as I learned how to play from really wet conditions. That was huge. Last time I was in this position I didn't quite finish it off strong, either, but this time I felt like I was really in a patient mindset and really just calm and coming for these next few days I feel really good about my game.
Q. Talk about the various conditions. You started off kind of in the crud of it all.
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Yeah, literally the entire range session was just -- not pouring down rain but it was that steady, annoying rain right in your face. It was one of the most frustrating warmup sessions I've ever had when it comes to conditions, and then you get out on the course and it's the same thing for an hour, and then it really picks up on my eighth hole, No. 17. My goodness what a tough hole. It was brutal.
Q. What did you hit there?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I hit 3-wood 30 yards short of the green, so that was a lot of fun. Luckily I made par, so that was a -- literally saw every single condition except for what the afternoon wave is going to get, and that's sunny and a slight breeze. It's going to be perfect for them.
Q. But you still came through on the monster even par.
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Yeah. Is this course really called the monster? It's a nightmare, that's what it is. It's a lot of fun. No, it's a lot of fun. It's either a dream come true or a nightmare, for real. You can either have a great round or you can come out of here shooting 76 and feel really good about yourself.
Yeah, it's a beast of a course. If you're not hitting the driver straight and you're not having good speed on the greens, you're putting yourself in some tough places for par. Really tough.
Q. How are you wired to be such a good match play guy?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I don't know. I mean, obviously I say that. That's because I'm confident in myself. But I've done well in match play in the past from junior golf, just having little match play events, just playing pretty well in those up to last year at the Western. Played pretty well against every player and was lucky enough to win. I've just always had the positive mindset of, man, I love match play. Hopefully that positive mindset will convert to good play. It's really just the mindset. It's not anything crazy.
Q. You've got a local member as your caddie?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I do.
Q. How much has that helped?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: It's really good. I mean, he just -- he's really quick to decide on things, which sometimes I have a hard time doing. Sometimes I think of every single element out there, and he's just like, as soon as I say the number, he's like, all right, this club. I'm like, dude, slow down, we've got to figure out really what we want to hit here. It's helped a lot, just kind of speed up the thought process and not think of the negatives as much. It really helps.
Q. What's his name?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Mike Monnich.
Q. And he's also your host this week?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: He is. I didn't have anyone with me, and I showed up to his house, and I was like, dude, you want to caddie? He's like, sure. He's out here.
Q. What's the last name?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Monnich, M-o-n-n-i-c-h.
Q. How much did he help with your putt on 9 there?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: None, actually. I just got up there, I was sarcastic, I said, man, this is a really slow putt. He just started laughing like, no chance. Played it about 20 feet high. No telling if he could have seen it or not. But it was a really hard putt. He helped me a lot.
Q. Is he an older guy?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I haven't asked him his age. I would assume 35-ish. I'd rather under-shoot his age than over-shoot. 25, for the record.
Q. How much did the rain impact the speed of the greens today?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: They weren't really fast. I mean, don't put that online because then they'll be like, all right, we'll make them super fast for you. They were really good speed. The rain definitely softened them because spike marks would just make the indentions and the ball would not roll, it would kind of hop a little bit. They were really good speed. They were make speed, which I would say rolling 10 and a half, 11, maybe a little higher. It was really good.
Q. Compared to your practice rounds and yesterday, how much of a challenge does that present to you guys?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: The speed of the greens or the change of them?
Q. Yeah, the change of them.
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I didn't really spend a bunch of time on the speed of the greens in the practice rounds for some weird reason. I really worked on it the past day and a half or so, just really trying to get down the speed, because I knew the conditions wouldn't be good, and just trying to get used to the present speed as opposed to the overall speed, which helped a lot. It's a big difference, but it's -- I didn't notice it as much.
Q. What kind of transition is it going from the other side to here where that's kind of more open and shorter, and then you play here?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I think if the conditions were about the same as yesterday, I mean, I can't put an exact number on it, but I think it would have been anywhere from 68 to 66 still, just because these conditions were brutal this morning. I felt like my game was there, the driver felt good, the irons felt good, but you know, there are more scoring opportunities on that side, and on this side you're very happy with par. But if you do hit good shots -- on any golf course, a good shot results in a possible chance for birdie, and that's what you're wanting. I hit the ball well. I had some chances for birdie, but it's a little tougher. I'm pretty pleased with shooting 70.
Q. How would you rate your game this summer compared to last summer when you had the successes?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I think I'm much better than I was last summer. This week has been the first week all summer that I've actually had the mindset of let's relax and actually play golf, not worry about the external values and everything like that. I do feel like my game is better. I've said it all summer, been practicing harder than last summer, been practicing more intent than last summer. I just feel like the game is better. Putting is better, driving is better, wedges. Everything is more tight. The mental game hasn't been there as much this summer, and you know, it was there for two or three weeks last year, and the results have shown last year that I've played better last year than this year, but I feel very confident that I'm getting better every single year.
Q. Was there a reason for the tightness or the mental drain this summer?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: The reason for the tightness this summer? Is that what you mean? I think it's just the expectations within myself. I mean that saying people can tell me all the time that they're expecting a good round, but that just goes by me because I'm expecting so much more out of myself than what other people can see. But yeah, I expect a very high game of myself. It's hard to perform every single week.
Q. Is that part and parcel due to what you accomplished last year?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's just the idea that things are going well, and this summer I've just seen the physical side of it. I didn't focus as much on the mental side of it, and hopefully, hopefully as the week goes on, the mental side is going to keep on catching up like it did last year.
Q. After you finish a tournament like this or last year at the Western, your dad asks you a question, I've read that, and it's why do you play the game. Why does he ask you that question?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: He's asked it my entire life as long as I can remember. He's always said, why do you play, and I always say, in the annoying tone, to learn. Really annoyed with what he says every single time. But yeah, he's always asked that because you always have to take a learning experience from it.
I heard from one of my teammates' caddie out here, his name is Barney, and he said, Ben Crane always finds out what did he do well, what did he learn and what can he improve, and you know, that's something I've looked at. Learn something from today, what did I do well, and only take positives from it, even though the last few holes weren't what I wanted. Always learn from the situation.
Q. You grew up in Valdosta originally?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Well, Dasher, Georgia, which is -- you know Bloomfield Hills compared to Detroit? It's kind of like that to Valdosta. It's Dasher.
Q. You said growing up there had a big impact on you?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Huge, huge. Growing up there taught me the values of appreciating the little things and always, always taking care of what's in front of you. Always. Always taking care of your family, your friends. You feel like you're someone, so I took those basic values and moved them to Nashville, and my golf game really improved by appreciating the little things while also having the opportunity to play in bigger tournaments, play on better courses, and it was the perfect mixture.
Q. Your dad has asked you that question going how far back?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: All my life, seriously.
Q. High school, junior tournaments?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Oh, yeah, every single round. I'd probably go out and shoot 45 in a nine-hole event and I'd come in really sad and really down, and he'd be like, why do you play. I'm like, to learn, I know. And I always learn something. It's really tough.
Q. Did he only do it with golf?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Yeah. It's been -- it's in everything, but being in golf so much, and that's what his profession was for a long time, we always tried to wrap -- not tried to wrap ourselves, but we were in golf mode a lot. Obviously other sports were there, too, but always just tried -- I figured golf was going to be what I would do, so we tried to focus on that more so.
Q. He was a mini-Tour player?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: He was. He was a mini-Tour player, he was in Q-school for nine years, went to Q-school nine years, so yeah. He was close every single year, had some problems like tore his hamstring, tore his shoulder up. He just had a bunch of problems and never could fully recover like he should. He's a great player, though, seriously.
Q. First name?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Dale.
Q. You're the second of three?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: I'm the second of four. My older brother Dowling, younger brother Davis and younger sister Mary Alice. Fun fact: All three of the boys will be on the same golf team this year. Talk about really neat. It'll be fun. It'll be annoying but a lot of fun.
Q. All three?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: All three. You think I'm talkative and outgoing? No chance compared to them two. No chance. They are so loud, it's ridiculous.
Q. But you're the better golfer?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: The last --
Q. You're here.
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I'm here. I'm very excited about that.
Q. Did they try?
DAWSON ARMSTRONG: They did. Neither of them made it. The last tournament I played in, my older brother actually beat me. Take it as you may. They're all good players.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports