home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 1, 2017

Sam Saunders

Dublin, Ohio

Q. Talk about your round. Bogey on the last wasn't the way you wanted to finish.
SAM SAUNDERS: Yeah, I hit two pretty good putts. The first one was surprising. The second one, tough. A little late in the day. Hit a solid putt. It happens. But I made some nice saves. All in all, a really good day.

Q. You seem to be making good progress in your game. Do you feel more comfortable out here as the years have gone along?
SAM SAUNDERS: Yeah, year three on Tour now, so I'm very comfortable. My game has just gotten better. The first two times I played this golf course, I wasn't good enough to play it. I didn't have enough shots and my short game wasn't good enough. I think my wedge game and chipping and putting has gotten a lot more solid and that's why my results are starting to get a little better this year.

Q. You talked about some saves today. What else worked for you well today? The last two weeks, actually?
SAM SAUNDERS: Today I got fortunate, I made a couple of bunker shots early, which was a nice way to get a couple of birdies out there. You need some good breaks every now and then. Once I got in the rhythm of the round, I hit fairways and greens again, which is what I normally do pretty well. And it worked out well. And got fortunate to hit some good iron shots and hit good shots and get good looks out there.

Q. You get asked all the time about your grandfather. But I want to ask you about his biggest rival, Jack. I'm sure you've met him before. What has he told you about that rivalry, after his passing this year, I'm sure he offered condolences?
SAM SAUNDERS: Yes, and Mr. Nicklaus was at the funeral service for my granddad. And he was as kind as ever -- and he was obviously as kind as he's ever been to me. And he's always been one of my biggest supporters. And it's been really neat.

I tell people this all the time, I remember the first time I played with him, I was 15 years old. I think I met him at Augusta, but I didn't played with him that time. Two years later I won the Florida high school state championship, and I had a personal note from him. I hadn't seen him since. But the fact that he was keeping up with me and throughout my career he's kept up with me and always wished me the best and offered me some really good advice. So I admire him as much as anybody in the world. He's just a wonderful human being and has done so much for the game of golf, but just for the world, too. He's just made a great impact.

Q. Best piece of advice that he's given you?
SAM SAUNDERS: Oh, man, I think he just -- just to stick at it. Just keep doing what I'm doing. Like my granddad told me, stick to your system and don't get down on yourself and there's going to be hard times out here, and he gave me that advice, just really stay the course and do what you know how to do and keep on working hard at it.

Q. When you come back here, is this a special place for you, given the nature of the relationship with Jack and obviously with your grandfather?
SAM SAUNDERS: I just have a huge amount of respect for this place, I don't know if that makes sense. I have a lot of respect for the golf course. I have a lot of respect for the tournament, the history of it and obviously for Mr. Nicklaus. It's an honor to get to play here.

It's actually really fun to finally play a good round here. I've really struggled the two years I played previously. But I knew this was going to be a good golf course for me some day. I'm not a bomber. I like to hit the ball straight. And I actually hit fades now. And I couldn't play this golf course before because I only hit a big hook off the tee. And it's nice to hit cut shots off the tee and be able to move the ball on second shots into the green. It fits my eye really well. It's a course I've been looking forward to coming back to, because I knew even though I struggled in the past it was going to fit my game pretty well.

Q. You played with a young Australian today, Brett Coletta. What did you make of his game particularly after he fought back from a couple of doubles out here?
SAM SAUNDERS: I'm as impressed with his game as any young guy I've played with out here. What I like best about him is that there's nothing fancy. He hits it long but he hits it solid. He hits it -- he can hit it left-to-right or right-to-left. His short game is really solid and he putts really well. But more importantly, he's a nice guy and carries himself well. He's going to have an extremely bright future.

Q. Did you see Jack since you've been here?
SAM SAUNDERS: You know, unfortunately, I haven't. I saw Jack, Jr., and we spoke a little bit. And my week with the family has gotten busy. There's a lot going on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday here at this golf course. So we haven't crossed paths yet, but I'm trying to track him down, and I know I'll sit down and spend time with him before the week is over.

Q. Do you have one favorite story that Jack has told you about your grandfather?
SAM SAUNDERS: Man, that's a good question. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I'm just so grateful that I've gotten to spend -- I got to spend time with both he and my grandfather together. And we played Augusta together with Michael Nicklaus, one of Jack's sons. The four of us played. And that's a memory I'll have forever. It was such a great time and to watch those two compete against each other, and to see the friendship and rivalry they had. It's not fake, but it was real. They were great friends but, man, they were competitive.

Q. Do you remember what year that was?
SAM SAUNDERS: That was probably 2002, somewhere in there. I think I was 15 or 16 years old.

Q. Is it fair to say you guys have kept in touch then over the years?
SAM SAUNDERS: Certainly. He's still obviously quite busy and so am I. It's not like we're calling each other or anything, but we write and we keep in touch. And anytime we see each other, we always catch up and have a nice conversation.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297