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April 29, 2018
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome our 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans champions, Scott Piercy and Billy Horschel. Congratulations, guys. A very unique win af the second year in the same format.
What an exciting day. Foursomes on the last day. A little bit different than last year. If you just talk about the experience of winning as a team, we'll start with you, Scott.
SCOTT PIERCY: You know, it's always great. This year has been kind of an up and down year for me. I've been hitting it really great and not putting well.
You know, I had a partner that kind of putted for me all week, so... (laughter.)
You know, having the partner there that kind of pick you up -- I mean, and he did. He was clutch all week. He hit some amazing shots.
You know, hats off to him. Really played great. So I've really enjoyed it. We like spending time together, get houses, stuff like that. He did awesome.
THE MODERATOR: Billy, Scott thanked you out there in the ceremony. First statement was, I'd like to thank my partner. Your opportunity now.
BILLY HORSCHEL: I like to think of myself as playing well this week. (Laughter.)
No, I mean, it was great to play with Scott. Our games match up very well. We are really good ball-strikers and we think the same way. We work with the same stats guy.
I don't have to worry about him making a bad decision or a stupid decision out there because we sort of are in the same mode of the way we're thinking about how to get around the golf course.
And Scott is not a bad putter. He just needed to see a couple putts go in. He rolled the ball well the last couple days. I been rolling the balls well for, you know, last few weeks, and it's nice to feel confident when I get over a putter or over the ball and feel like I can make it.
It hasn't been that way the last year, but since I cut my PXG putter down to 33.5" to a length that it was when I won the FedExCup. For some reason I thought it was longer, and my coach, Todd Anderson, kept saying, Are you sure this is the right length? I said, Yeah, yeah.
So finally went back to the storage unit and grabbed a putter, a replica putter I won with at the FedExCup and realized it was a lot shorter than I thought.
So I was an idiot and Todd Anderson was smart.
THE MODERATOR: Let's take some questions.
SCOTT PIERCY: Let me say one thing real quick.
Billy is obviously really comfortable here since he's won. I haven't always been a as comfortable as Billy has. With this format, for me, it -- you know, when you got that ball going you can kind of free it up.
Some the tee shots I don't particularly like, you know, because of shape shot or whatever, I could kind of free myself up and hit a good shot because I knew I had a partner that felt good on the tee.
Then when we did the alternate shot, the tee shot, there was only really one tee shot that I wasn't really comfortable with, because I like to cut the ball, was No. 12.
So we kind of game planned it as which holes to -- you know, certain holes -- I don't like hitting the tee shot on 9 necessarily.
Just certain holes that I didn't feel comfortable with certain tee shots and certain shots into the green. It really worked out where I didn't have to hit those shots. Billy is really comfortable around here, so, you know -- I didn't like hitting the shot into 6 and I was hitting tee shots on the even holes. I could put in the fairway for him and he could hit the second shot.
There was a lot of that that -- you know, I feel like I put a lot of weight on Billy because of the certain shots that I didn't like or that I have a hard time with visually. So for me, it gave me a comfortness to allow me to kind of free up and give him the leeway to go do his thing.
I think he knew that I'm going to hit good shots and put the them in the right spots. I mean, his putter was on fire. I think he freed up and just let the thing go.
I think in the strategy, it freed me up a little bit. You know, I think that's the biggest thing, is having him comfortable and me not having to hit some of the shots that I didn't like.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, this is your fourth victory. You move just inside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings. Billy, this is your fifth victory and you move just outside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings.
They mentioned out there that you're the first FedExCup champion to win this event and obviously a past winner as well in a different format, but you're also a Zurich ambassador. How is it to win with all those accolades?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I means a lot. Obviously this year hasn't been going great. It's been weird. We been working really hard since the last fall and trying to get out of some bad habits. The ball striking has been off.
Todd Anderson and I have just been doing some great work. My fitness trainer, Alex Bennett has really done a good job with my body getting it back to sort of 2013, 2014. So allows me to swing like that.
So it's been weird to put in so much time and so much work and not see the results. I'm a perfectionist. When I'm putting hours and hours in and I'm not see the results, I get a little frustrated, I get a little antsy. I want it to happen.
Everyone has just been saying, Keep patient. Stay with the process. Scott and I roomed together at Hilton Head, and he was -- similar thing. Just gave me another thing to think about to free it up.
It's great to, you know, the last couple weeks play well, move myself up in the FedExCup, give myself more -- a better chance going into second half of the year and the playoffs to possibly win FedExCup again.
To win here, I mean, New Orleans is a great town. I love this city. I absolutely love this city. Fans are great; the food's great; I have some really great friends here.
And then Zurich to be a part of this event. Obviously winning 2013 here, shortly after that becoming an ambassador for them, for them to reup for another seven years here through 2026, they are -- I tell people this, and I may be biased, but it's the God's honest truth. They are one of the greatest partners I've ever had to work with. One of the best sponsors on the PGA TOUR. The commitment that they've shown here since 2005 is monumental. Think about it; 2026 going to be a sponsor of a PGA TOUR event for 21 years. That doesn't happen a lot, to have the same sponsor for 21 straight years.
So it's awesome, like I said. I love this city. I love Zurich. It's nice to always come back here and feel at home. That's what it always feels like. Once I get off the plane, once I get picked up by transportation people, the volunteers that transport us week in and week out here, I feel at home.
SCOTT PIERCY: I'll say that being at Zurich and seeing billy with the people around, it's a love they have for him and he has for them as well. It's called a family.
You know, I'm sort of outside looking in because he's been with them for so long. It's nice to meet some great people and to have them support us like they did.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys. Let's take some questions.
Q. I was hoping you could sort of take me through how it works personality-wise when you got someone who is very much outwardly emotional and someone who is insular emotional?
SCOTT PIERCY: Honestly, you know, I started thinking about it yesterday. We had dinner on Thursday and we didn't play a practice round this week. We played the pro-am.
You know, I had a talk with him at Hilton Head. He's been close, as he said, and I just kind of felt like I could get him over the edge. He played well at Hilton Head. Had a good week at Valero.
We got here, and really other than figuring out which holes we were going to hit off, we didn't even talk much, to be quite honest. It was kind of -- I think we both kind of like knew that we were in a good spot.
You know, that's just my feeling, because like I started thinking about it. I'm like, we haven't even spoke this week really. Hey, you hit a good shot or -- maybe I'm off, but when Billy gets that confidence going and game rolling, you just kind of get out of his way and you just try to pick him up if he makes a mistake or try to put him in the right spot to stuff it.
Just stay out of his way, because he loves this place. I got him reading my putts for me. Every putt I'm hitting, after he reads, it's right there. I mean, kind of just got to roll with his confidence here.
Q. Putting was so treacherous today and the last couple days. Even the last putt, Scott, was like an adventure. Whole crowd reacted. Can you tell me what you saw on the putt? Looked like it kind of rolled around the top of the cup before dropping.
SCOTT PIERCY: I mean, it went in. It went in left center. It kind of caught the back of the hole and spun it around.
BILLY HORSCHEL: It wanted to take a victory lap. It knew we won. Just wanted to take a little trip around the hole once or twice to soak it in.
SCOTT PIERCY: I mean, yeah. I think the greens on Friday and today were really a lot faster than they were on Thursday and Saturday. I don't know why, but today there were some putts out there that were really fast.
I mean, the greens were really smooth, great shape, but they were seriously fast. I felt like I rolled it good, which I hadn't done a lot kind of up to this point in the year. I made some -- like the putt I made yesterday on 18 to kind of keep the momentum going to get us that a little bit closer to what the lead was a big confidence thing for me.
Having a partner that's making everything too, and you're seeing the ball go in the hole, is -- you know, obviously you try to ride that wave with it. You know, he just said, Left center. Just knock it in. It went in left center.
Q. How do you guys feel about the composure you showed protecting a one-shot lead? Are you happy about it? Were you disappointed you didn't get more birdies? What was the communication like in alternate shot and all that pressure trying to do that?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I told my caddie -- I don't know when it was. It was somewhere on the backside, somewhere after 13. I said, I saw that Chesson and his guy had made bogey and that we were leading outright now. I said, I'm not too worried about the group behind us. Kisner/Brown weren't any -- you know a few shots back. Finau/Summeryhays, same way.
So really I said, The group we got to beat is the group that we're playing with. I felt like out of the teams I was worried about, Dufner and Perez were the next one. Both really great ball-strikers. Perez is a solid putter; Dufner can be a little streaky. He putted great today.
Really was it nice to be able to play with the guys that you knew it was going to -- one of us was going to win. So it was nice to be able to play with them. We had a one-shot lead. I really wanted to make the putt at 13 to give us a 2 -- at that point would give us a one-shot lead, two shots over them. Just missed.
And then Scott hit a great putt at 16, and I thought it was in. I was like, Yes this is what we need. Possibly a two-shot lead over them. Didn't make it.
So, but, I mean, we had a great -- all four of us are really great friends. We were chatting it up the entire day. Towards the end of the round got a little bit less quieter, but we were still chatting it up and having fun.
I felt calm out there. Yeah, I felt -- you're going to be anxious, nervous, heart is going to be racing a little bit, but that says you're alive. That says you're alive; you're in the spot you want to be. I just had to remind myself.
Listen, I don't have to tell Scott what to do. He's been in that situation; I've been in that situation. It's nice when you have a partner that been there. You don't have to go over there and try to coach him up our do anything. He can handle himself; I can handle myself. I can focus on what I need to do and he can focus on what he needs to do.
You know, couple words of encouragement back and forth, and boom, we're off.
Q. Billy, you mentioned your love of the city. I know you've got a group of friends here. Talked to you about them in 2013. Take us a little more detail, the history there, what the relationship is, how you got to know those guys. I saw Desi and Tommy out there congratulating you.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, so I met them when I first came here in 2011 through Chris DiMarco. He was always good friends with the Capellas, Tommy and Jack, and then Desi was in that group, too. Just being around them every time I come here, going out to dinner, just great.
I mean, I usually always at least go to Desi's steakhouse at least one night of the week. We went there Friday night, my dad and I and my uncle and my manager. We had a great meal, as always. He takes care of us very well.
Like I said, it's family. It's family with Desi and the Capellas. It's family with Zurich. I just feel at home here. Maybe should look into buying a house here, but what are the state income taxes? That's the issue right there.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, because, I mean --
SCOTT PIERCY: It totally does.
BILLY HORSCHEL: It totally does.
SCOTT PIERCY: I mean, the way he is on this golf course compared to how I am on this golf course, in my mind, is night and day. So like they say, it was kind of weird that he was reading my putts. Well, I don't see it. I just don't see these greens.
He just says, No. Like I might see right edge. He says, No, it's two balls on the left and he's adamant about it. You hit it there and it goes in.
So his comfort level out here is so much bigger than mine. I mean, that's what I needed for here, too.
Q. Scott, can you elaborate on the pep talk you gave Billy in Hilton Head and why you thought that got him over the edge? And Billy, after he answers, why that was something you needed to hear.
SCOTT PIERCY: Well, Billy will never admit, but you know what? Billy can get going and start just striping it; hit every shot he wants. When you get off, I feel like, with your ball striking and you try to hit multiple shots left and right, right to left, left to right, flat, high, for me, I like to try to keep it simple and just hit one shot.
I try if hit a cut pretty every time, unless I got to hook it around a tree or something. I can see the curve. I can see like in my mind the ball is going to -- I can aim for if. I'm never worried about hitting it way left or if I hit it right I've aimed for it.
So it was a little bit of that kind of pep talk. He likes to hit a little draw. It's kind of taking out the two-way miss a little bit. I felt like once he could get the draw going for him that the cut would be easy when he needed it. But it was kind of just creating a pattern of time after time just seeing the ball doing certain things.
BILLY HORSCHEL: I don't remember the pep talk at all.
SCOTT PIERCY: Told you he wouldn't admit it.
BILLY HORSCHEL: No, pretty much Scott just -- my entire team the last week, couple weeks leading up to that, we were just trying to simplify it. Started working with a sports psychologist again, Bhrett McCabe. I just needed to clear my head a little bit, and Bhrett -- not that he was a lot about -- it was none about talking shots on the course. It was about what got me going, what got my confidence up, what triggered me to feel confident and everything. Try to get back to that mindset, that thinking.
And then (indiscernible) saying just, Hey, listen, this is what we need to do. You just need to focus on hitting the shot and simplifying it.
And then you have Scott, comes in, the closer, and, you know, just closes the deal type deal.
Pretty much it's just the same thing that my team has been telling me for the last month. You know, I was able to just go out there and...
SCOTT PIERCY: I got to simplify it for Billy, because he's like, Hey, is it good here? Is it good here? Is it good here? Hey, what about this?
You're like, No, just go hit the draw. Go hit your draw. You can hit the draw, okay? Go hit your draw. And so, like for me, I think it calms his mind a little bit. Just instead of being technical and the perfectionist that he says he is, just kind of open the gap of margin. Give himself a little more margin.
He's played pretty well the last three weeks, so...
Q. Billy, you shot 73 Friday in alternate; what was the difference today? How much did yesterday kind of set it up? Does that kind of wipe out Friday?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I mean, we started off Friday -- today just like we did Friday, birdie/birdie, and then I decided today not to hit the ball in the water on No. 3 on purpose.
And then we just decided not to double No.4, too, on top of that.
So you know what? Friday was a weird day because we got off to the start we needed. In alternate shot you want to give yourself bit of wiggle room. May be some bogeys that pop up. I hit the worst iron shot I've hit in the last three, four weeks.
Then we both messed up No.4. Now it's like, Man, we had all this wind in our sails, and deflated and we're going backwards. Neither of us were really sharp that day and we grinded it out. We grinded it out to make the cut. We were on the cut line the entire day.
SCOTT PIERCY: Then I chipped in on 17.
BILLY HORSCHEL: And then Scott chipped in on 17 for the thousandth time this week. He's chipped in every time it feels like whenever I miss the green. So it was nice to give us little bit of a comfort going to 18 with one shot to spare on the cut.
You know, I figured out my little swing on Friday night and came out and played great yesterday. I knew we were going to have a great day because we played so good yesterday.
Was it going to be as easy? No, but we had a lot of momentum going in. I knew I wasn't going to make the same mistakes I did, and Scott felt more comfortable putting and seeing balls go in the hole.
So I felt like, Man, you know what? It's going to be a really good day. If we can keep a clean card we're going to have a chance to win, and we did that. We had to make some big par putts out there, but we both stepped up and made them.
Q. They have flipped the format from last year. Seemed like, well, a lot of birdies made in the best ball. This seemed like another layer of drama because, like you said, you grinded out seven straight pars at the end. They were parring holes. Talk about what it's like to go through that as players knowing it's just grinding away and maybe some extra pressure?
SCOTT PIERCY: Definitely I think with the best ball there is a little bit more freeness to it. I can get it on the green and Billy can go for it. You can drive it up there and then -- or lay one back and then have him go for it. So you can kind of play off each other's momentum, where it's hard when there is only one ball between you.
There is a lot of -- I'm not going to say pressure -- but you need to leave the ball in the right spots. Our game plan to leave the ball and to know where to leave the ball I think was good. With Billy's course knowledge and comfort level here, I just had to do a little bit and he could kind of take over.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, just the volatility -- I sort of -- when I was first told they switched the format I was against it. I said, Why would we do that? When I thought more about it I was like, You know what? That's actually really good, because the better players, better teams, obviously are going to rise on Sunday.
It's a lot more volatility, a lot more action. That's why I knew we needed to play a really great round yesterday, to give ourselves -- we needed to be within three or four shots of the lead.
I felt the way we played, how good of ball-strikers we are, I felt like we could really make up a lot of ground, especially if the teams at the top dropped a little bit; that's what they did.
Q. You talked about quieting his mind. Does his energy lift you up as well?
SCOTT PIERCY: Yeah, you know, I really didn't play that well this week. Didn't feel like my golf swing was there this week and the ball striking that I've had kind of through the whole year. I think where he really picked me up this week was with the putter.
Even like on 18 there. I hilt two kind of skanky shots. He hit a great shot out of the bunker and I kind of skanked it on the green. But with the putter, I think seeing his ball go in the hole time after time, it gave me like a -- sort of like an inner fire to want to do the same thing because I haven't been doing that this year.
You know, it's kind of weird, because I don't feel like I played very well at all. But him doing what he did, I just kind of helped a little bit here and there. I think coming home yesterday, the last four or five holes, is when I stepped up and hit some really good shots to really help him out.
He made seven or eight birdies early in the round and then I kind of brought it home with three or four. But definitely his energy and his positiveness and his comfort and like his -- like this is where the putts's going, like his confidence on the greens, definitely gave me a little bit of a boost for sure.
Q. Billy, to be the first individual and team champion at this event, how significant is that? And two, the University of Florida isn't very popular around here, but you are. There are actually LSU fans cheering for you. I wondered if you noticed that and if you could comment on that, please.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, first, it's pretty cool to be able to do the first thing that no one has done before. Obviously that's going to be talked about very -- however much anyone wants to talk about it type deal.
But, yeah, I mean, like I said, it's nice to be able to do something no one else has done yet. I won the FedExCup; I was the first guy to win it at 26 or whatever I won it. Youngest guy at that time. I always liked -- it's always great to have done stuff that no one else has done yet.
And why the LSU fans seem to like me? I don't know. I give them a hard time just as much as they give me a hard time.
I'm cool with it. They may say like Tiger bait or Gators suck or something, I could care less. I may chime back, and I think that story is like, Hey, this guy is pretty cool. He's chiming back at me. I don't know. I think I'm a likable guy. I feel like I'm a likeable guy.
SCOTT PIERCY: Everybody likes to make fun of Billy.
BILLY HORSCHEL: And I don't mind people making fun of me. I make fun of myself type deal.
It's just a great place. I honestly don't think they'd like me during college football season if I was around, but we're not in college football season, so it's good.
Q. Go Dogs. Billy, distance and location of your putt on 18 was almost identical to 2013. Di you have dÃ©jÃ vu at all?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Well, I mean, the putt I made 2013 was on the back right corner. But walking up to the green I said, Hey, Scott that looks like -- I said, Hey, you know in 2013 the putt I made was 23 feet I think. I think this one looks about 23 feet.
I said, So feel like I'm going to make it. I felt good with the putter. I had the line; only thing I was really worried about was the speed. In back of my mind, I don't mind leaving myself three, four, five, feet. I knew Scott could make it if I left him that, but I really didn't want to leave my partner with that.
SCOTT PIERCY: Thanks.
BILLY HORSCHEL: So I left him a little longer than I wanted, but literally thought I made that putt. I said, Hey, listen, my reaction to this putt is going to be a lot better than the one I won in 2013. There won't be a lot of double fist pumps and this and that. Pretty much the only thing he said to me is, Don't jump on me and hurt my back.
I said, That's okay. You're welcome to jump on me. My back and good and young. (Laughter.)
Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT PIERCY: Well I hit the shot in there and -- you know, I had to hit a 6-iron into that hole, which you're hoping not to. Into what wind, I felt like I hit a pretty good shot. Just kind of caught the slope. He goes, You know that looks about 23 feet. I knew where he was going with that. I said, Yeah? Well why don't you make it?
And then he started talking about his celebration and stuff and I was like, Just don't jump on me, all right?
THE MODERATOR: All right, gentlemen, we appreciate your time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports