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June 2, 2019
MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome our champion for the 2019 Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide, Patrick Cantlay. Congratulations, Patrick. We have with us tournament host Jack Nicklaus. Jack, I'd like to start with you, if I could. You've got a star-quality champion here, and you obviously gave him some advice by the sounds of it that has been talked about at the ceremony. If you could elaborate about that.
JACK NICKLAUS: I didn't really give him any advice. Patrick came to me, what, seven years ago was it? What was your first year -- what first year were you a player? 2012?
PATRICK CANTLAY: No, that was 2017. But I won the Nicklaus Award in '11, and then I didn't play the tournament until '17.
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, really? Has that only been two years ago?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yes.
JACK NICKLAUS: Patrick came to me, and he just asked me, How would you play the golf course? We sat down, and I don't have any idea what I told him, but he's played it well. And I've always been a fan of Patrick's. I thought he had a great amateur career. He's had his problems in the middle. I see him a lot at The Bear's Club. Patrick is a member down there. And I like to see the young guys play well, I like to see them come along. If they need any help, I like to give them help.
Anything that I would have given Patrick has been about that much (indicating). And I told him when he came in -- he walked off the is 15th green, and I said to him earlier in the week, I said let's figure out how to finish this golf tournament and enjoy it. And he walked off of 15th green with a smile, and I said I think he's enjoying it.
And he usually gets himself tense -- he would not maybe think that, but it looks like that from the outside. And sometimes you see things from the outside because you understand where you have been and what you have done and what -- maybe my feelings wouldn't be the same as his, but you understand how to finish a golf tournament and what kind of an attitude you need to come down the stretch. And I was trying to help him with that. And I don't know whether I helped him or not helped him, but he won.
MARK WILLIAMS: Patrick, this is your second victory on the PGA Tour at a young age. You move from No. 12 to No. 6 at the FedExCup, and also you've had a lot of top-10's this season. You must have felt like you were coming towards this victory, is that the way you were feeling, and now that you finally got it over the line?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I definitely feel like I've had a lot of close calls since my last win. I'm a little surprised it's taken me this long. It feels really, really good to finish it off how I did today. I knew I had a little bit of a mountain to climb to start the day. A couple of guys ahead of me, two and four shots ahead of me, and guys that have played really well and closed out golf tournaments. I knew I needed to come out firing and make a bunch of birdies, and I did.
Q. Congratulations. Great finish. Just wanted to clarify, you came here in '17, and Jack sort of walked you through the golf course. When did he talk to you about how to finish, and what parts of it really resonated the most with what he said about how to finish?
PATRICK CANTLAY: At '17 we talked golf course. So I went up to his house on property here, and we probably spent a good 90 minutes talking about what he thought strategy-wise and how to play the golf course, and I took insights from that.
One of the things I like about this golf course is it's pretty straightforward once you get to know it. You know when you hit a good shot, and good shots are rewarded; and bad shots, they're bad shots. It's going to be hard to scramble and make pars.
So that helped me get familiar with the place a little quicker than I maybe would have. I played good the last two years. This year I showed up, and I've been playing well all year. Haven't been able to close out any tournaments. And I see Mr. Nicklaus in the men's grill in there and, you know, quick hello and then, you know, you've got to figure out how to play those last 30 minutes.
And he was right. I said, You're right. And then yesterday I was in there having lunch -- yesterday after my round -- or -- no, Friday I was in there having lunch after the early morning round on Friday, and he grabbed me aside and said, You need to go out there, have a good time. Look around when you're out there. Look at all the people having a great time. And then you need to have a great time and realize that that's why you're there and relax and go have fun and go win the golf tournament.
And I definitely said that to myself down the stretch today on the back nine. It put me a little more at ease, and I hit a lot of really nice quality shots with the lead, coming down the stretch, and being able to get that ball up-and-down on 18, even though in the back of my mind thinking, probably just two putts, but I really did want to just close it out and have it be done right there.
Being able to make that putt on the last hole is just a lot of confirmation of a lot of hard work I've been doing.
Q. Did that also clear your mind, too, to be able to hit shots, I guess not necessarily better, but more relaxed and executing shots?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I wouldn't say that. I haven't really like had a big lead or anything coming down any of these tournaments. I was kind of laughing with my caddie today, with Martin making all those birdies on the front nine, around 8, 9, 10, 11, I was laughing with him, it seems like I've been in the Sunday position over and over and over again every Sunday. Right around the lead, a couple back. Feel like I need to make a couple of birdies. Today I just did.
Q. Had anyone ever given you advice similar to what Jack told you yesterday? And if so, why do you think it stuck yesterday?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I think it's a combination of a couple of things. Hearing it from someone like Jack gives it a little more weight, a lot more weight. And then honestly just being in that position so many times this year, in the last year, I felt just a lot more like it was normal. And I was just a little more at ease.
I really like the golf course here this week. I feel comfortable with all the lines. I know the shots to hit. It's kind of a blend of all those things. My game felt really good all week. Even just hitting balls on the range this morning, it felt like every swing it was doing what I was looking for it to do. It was the same out there. I was able to stay in a positive frame of mind and execute the shots I needed to coming down the stretch.
Q. What clubs did you hit on 11 and 15?
PATRICK CANTLAY: 3-wood and 5-iron.
Q. And secondly, as a guy who tends to look forward on everything in life, last year you didn't finish so well, didn't make a birdie on the back nine, does something like that motivate you when you get here, or is it a brand-new tournament?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Definitely coming back I was looking for a little redemption this week. And that has to do with me feeling really comfortable on the golf course and liking it a lot. Not to mention I've been playing really well, so it feels like a win has been coming. I've been knocking on the door a lot.
That's what you need to do. You always have to put yourself in contention. And you start winning a couple, and you figure out how to do it, and hopefully it keeps happening.
Q. Just kind of a twofold thing. One, you always have a very locked-in look on your face. I don't believe you smiled at all until you rolled that putt in on 18, despite Jack's --
JACK NICKLAUS: He did at 15.
Q. So I'm just wondering do you know what your -- people have their hands out, you're very dialed in. Are you aware that that's kind of the look that you're exuding? And just the second thing, the second part of the question, what is that moment like, because of the history you have with Jack, when you do walk up that hill and he's standing there waiting for you? Because that's obviously been a special moment for a lot of people.
PATRICK CANTLAY: I understand that's my look. I try and be natural. So I try and be how I am all the time. And that's kind of how I am all the time. I was walking in this morning and somebody said, It can't be that bad, can it? And I don't even realize that's the look on my face. I was in a great mood this morning.
So I understand how you could say that. But I feel like if I tried to be any way else, it wouldn't be me. I'd be trying to force it. So I just try and be me out there. I definitely am focused and intent on what I'm doing. And I think that's part of me and I think that's part of why I have success.
The second part of your question --
Q. You have a history with Jack coming here --
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, the relationship I have with Mr. Nicklaus is extremely special to me, and I appreciate all the time he's spent giving me advice and trying to help me in any way that he can. He's definitely always had that inviting presence. If I wanted some advice, all I had to do was call and ask. And I can't thank him enough for that.
And being able to close it out, especially after him really encouraging me to do that, it feels great. It feels like validation of everything I've been working on.
Q. You dreamt about that moment, maybe dating back to when you were a freshman at UCLA, you've probably seen it on TV, everybody walking up the hill and Jack waiting. Is that something you visualized over the years, to have that moment?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, for sure. I think growing up watching golf as a kid, that's something that you definitely mark off as something you want to check off your list throughout your career. And being able to do that is really special for me, and I hope I can do it again.
Q. Were you surprised, then, when Jack brought it up to you about trying to enjoy things more? Were you like, yeah, I get where he's coming from?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I think he's very matter of fact, you know? So anything else, anything else would be fake, you know? Oh, you've been playing nice. Nice work, blah, blah, blah. He wouldn't say that. He'd say, It's about time you win one, and gave me a little encouragement. And not only said that but gave me a little piece of advice that could help me do so.
Q. Just to follow, to you, Jack, is it extra special seeing someone who has won the Jack Nicklaus Award doing this like Tiger had done and then Patrick?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think it may sound corny, but I think all those kids that have won the award, a lot of them are playing here, they're all in many ways my children, I feel they're my kids and so forth, and I love them all. I think they're all great. I have different relationships with them.
Patrick, he reminds me a lot of me at being serious and I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing I forget about everything else that's going on around me.
And I learned years ago that when I got close to finishing a tournament, maybe two or three holes or four holes left, I would stop, look around me -- just exactly what he was saying earlier. Stop, look around me, say -- take a nice big breath. It would relax me. I'd look around, these people are here, they're having fun. I need to have fun. I need to enjoy winning this golf tournament, not torment me trying to finish the golf tournament.
And all I was trying to pass on to Patrick was to try to get a little more of a relaxed attitude in his head so that when he got himself in that position, it wasn't like all this pressure is on top of me. And it was just a comment. He may not have -- it may have resonated with him, it may not have.
He's sitting in front of me and we're here talking, so everybody is going to say, Oh, gee, Jack did this. I didn't do anything. He won the golf tournament. He played well. But he did come down the stretch and, I mean, what a -- he played -- great putt at 15 from the back there. A lot closer to -- it was right of the hole on 16, which is where you should hit it. Beautiful shot at 17 in there just behind the hole. And then 18, I didn't see the second shot, I saw your second shot from where I was, in the bunker, but I'm sitting there saying, well, he's -- once he hit the bunker shot, I knew the tournament was over unless Adam did something special.
But it was basically no different advice than I would give any of the young guys. It was how I had to finish a golf tournament and how I had to do things myself. And I see myself in these young guys. And I sit there and say, you know, if I can help them, pass that along, maybe it will help them. And if it did, that's great. If it didn't, it didn't make any difference, he won a golf tournament, either way.
Q. Matt Minister is from here. Does that add anything to the glow of this victory for you? As a follow-up, given what you've gone through, with the caddie, how has this relationship brought you to a certain point?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Matt does such a great job making everything easy for me out there. We have a great relationship on and off the golf course. And he's a great caddie. I know I can always depend on him. And I know he feels at home here, being an Ohio State guy and growing up here, too.
We have a different relationship than I had with my last caddie. He's a little older and it's less of a best friend vibe and more of somebody that is guiding me around and looking out for me and maybe protecting me a little bit. So it's a little different. It's a little different vibe. But we're very close, and I can't thank him enough for all the hard work that he does to help me and us achieve our goals.
Q. Did you think after you won in Vegas -- were you expecting it to open floodgates, I hate that phrase, but --
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I really did. Being out for so long and be able to come back and play really well and win almost like within a year, yeah, I did. I didn't think it would take me this long. But I've had a really -- I've played a lot of really good golf, a lot of really solid golf. And so I think I was closer than it seems. So maybe this one will do it.
Q. And then, secondly, and along those lines, actually, we look at you as 27, and we know how long you've been out here, but considering the two years you were out --
PATRICK CANTLAY: Three.
Q. Three, excuse me -- does this almost feel like your third year on Tour? Does it feel like you're kind of starting from that second point just because of familiarity and everything else?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I think, because I got my card in '13, '14, that season, it feels like I've been on Tour for six years or whatever it is. But I haven't seen all the golf courses that many times. And I can't tell you how big a difference it is coming to this place for a third time than coming to a place the first or even the second time.
And that goes the same for a lot of places. Like I didn't feel like I played great at Hilton Head this year, I was struggling a little bit, but I finished third or fourth or something like that.
So there's certain golf courses that I really like and having been there now a couple of times, they just seem a lot easier because I know where to hit it, I know where my shots are going to end up, where I need to leave the golf ball. And from that point of view, it really is my third year on Tour, it's just taken me seven years to do it.
JACK NICKLAUS: How much golf did you play at Pebble?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I played the tournament two or three times. I really like Pebble. I think it's a great golf course.
JACK NICKLAUS: Played it as a kid?
PATRICK CANTLAY: No, never had.
JACK NICKLAUS: Didn't they have a State Amateur there?
PATRICK CANTLAY: It was not there. Stopped playing the State Amateur there probably 2007 or '8.
I really like Pebble Beach. It looks like we're going to get good weather for it, so they can make it firm, they can make it however they want.
Q. If I had this right, you sat down with Jack in 2017 for 90 minutes. Is that about right?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yep.
Q. You just talked golf course? How much did that impact you moving forward, like how to play every hole? Did you go through everything? What did you go through during that time?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, we went through every hole and kind of what he was thinking design-wise and what shots he thought were the correct shots to play and how to kind of dissect every hole and a couple of different hole locations. And this place is similar to Augusta. I think it's obvious. You get a lot of the same hole locations year after year after year.
And there's a lot of feeding shots where if you know where to land the golf ball, it will feed to the hole. So playing out of the fairways is really important and knowing what shape you want and where your land spot is to get the ball close to the hole. It's not necessarily flying it right next to the hole. So there's a lot of shots where you land them maybe 30 feet away from the hole and they feed down in there close. So figuring all that out is huge around this place.
Q. Do you think -- you've had to overcome some challenges off the course in your career. Do you think they've made you more resilient as a golfer?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I get asked questions a lot about how the difficulties with my friend -- my friend Chris dying and being out so long with my back, how it affects me now, I'm definitely a different person than I was before I went through any of those troubles. I'm definitely a different person.
And I can remember feeling happy-go-lucky, like everything is going to go good, and I can remember thinking that, you know, it's just up and up and up, good things just keep happening. You keep doing good work, and good things are going to happen. And during that time I realized that you can put in a lot of good work, and good things might -- still might not necessarily happen.
But I don't really connect the two when it comes to playing golf again. It changed me as a person, not just as a golfer. It doesn't really affect me, you know, as a golfer. I feel like I picked up kind of where I left off in my golf. And I still feel -- even though I'm a little older, I still feel like I'm getting started in my career and figuring it all out.
But I don't necessarily connect the struggles to golf. And in my brain I'm very resolute on that because that stuff changed me as a person. It was so much bigger than golf was that it's just not -- it's not even in the same league so it doesn't affect the golf.
Q. Jack, just to ask you a question, Martin and Adam Scott are both in significant win droughts at the moment. Do you have advice, or how do you relate to that, how do they get themselves out of that form?
JACK NICKLAUS: I still don't understand what you're asking.
Q. Do you have any advice for Adam Scott --
JACK NICKLAUS: What about them?
PATRICK CANTLAY: Their win droughts.
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, their win droughts. I'm sorry.
Q. The accent.
JACK NICKLAUS: I tried never to have any (laughter). That's the first thing. And when you haven't had one for a while, it is more difficult, no question about it.
I think Adam Scott played really, really well today. He was around the hole all day long and really played well.
Martin Kaymer played fantastic until -- where did he make that first mistake -- he played a second shot at 9 he probably shouldn't have played. He didn't hit a very good tee shot, probably should have pitched it out. And he did the same thing -- he really put himself out of the tournament with the second shot at 15. He's in the right rough, a bad lie and tries to slice the ball out of the heavy rough.
When you haven't won for a while, you have a tendency to want to press, press, press. Adam was very patient. Adam played a good round of golf today. He said to me on the 18th green -- I said, You played well today. Yeah, I ran into a 64. And which is exactly what he did. And he played very well. He played well enough to win the golf tournament. Patrick had not been there, he would have won the golf tournament.
Martin, on the other hand, made some mistakes that he'll look back on them and say, I really didn't need to do that. I could have pitched it out at 9 and put the ball up around the hole and give myself a really good chance for par. And I should never have done what I did at 15. Should have put it down there -- where the pin was at 15, from the short iron shot, the ball is going to funnel right to the hole. It's not a very hard second or third shot. That cost himself several shots.
But you press when you haven't won. And the whole idea, part of what I was talking to Patrick about early in the week, you've got to be patient with yourself. You've got to realize the other guys out there are having as many problems as you are, and you don't need -- you can't win a golf tournament on one hole or one shot, but you can sure lose it.
So the change in that is -- not so much -- not Adam, because he did a good job, but Martin will need to go back and look at his round and say, you know, I really had this thing in pretty good shape, and I really caused most of my own problems. Because he played beautifully the whole week, except for basically those two holes.
Q. After your run of good play, the Masters, all your contention, winning this week, how much better prepared do you feel you are now to win a major? How big of a goal is that? And maybe when you're done Jack can comment on how you think Patrick's game sets up for majors.
PATRICK CANTLAY: It's definitely a huge goal. I think anybody that is out here playing and in contention realizes that that's why we play. And there's really no way around that. I really like Major Championship golf. I feel like it suits my game. I feel like the golf courses, as far as I'm concerned, the rough can't be long enough, the fairways can't be narrow enough, the greens can't be fast enough. I love golf like that. So every week I look for that in a major.
And playing well at Augusta and playing well at the PGA, I didn't win either of those weeks but I played really well, it helps. It helps me feel comfortable and confident going into the week.
And I really like Pebble Beach. It's a golf course I've played multiple times, and I feel really comfortable around there. I'm excited to see what it looks like.
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think that Patrick, in some ways, not totally, but I think his -- I think Brooks plays much like you do. Brooks is a strong player, plays hard, and doesn't back off. I haven't seen Patrick back off. He's playing pretty aggressive all the time. And his style -- he'll have to temper that style a little bit at times.
Pebble is a course that you can get yourself in a couple of positions that you need to back off on. You get too aggressive, all of a sudden it multiplies. And I think this golf course does that, too. It multiplies real quick. You saw it happen with Jordan Spieth yesterday. He made two doubles on the back nine, and it multiplied real quickly and got away from him.
But his game is very suited for majors. Drives the ball very straight. His iron game is obviously very good. He's got a good attitude. He's very -- he's not trying to do something flashy. He tries to play good, solid golf. And that's really what it takes to play Major Championship golf.
Q. What do you remember, if anything at all, from being here in 2011, getting the award and being with Jack? Remember walking around the golf course?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I came to accept the award, and it was quick, maybe an hour or so. Then I had to run over to Brookside because I was playing the sectional qualifier the next day. I played one of the golf courses, and I wasn't able to play the other. But I qualified the next day. It was more like -- it was a practice round here for me.
Q. You're a California kid through and through. How did you wind up in South Florida?
PATRICK CANTLAY: You know, there's a lot of guys that live there. Playing on Bermudagrass is important. And it's just easier to travel on the TOUR out of Florida. All the events are on the East Coat. And I like being able to travel to the West Coast tournaments out of California, and then the majority of the year out of Florida.
Q. You go to No. 8 in the world with this win. Is that where you feel you belong?
PATRICK CANTLAY: It's such a long ranking, right? A two-year ranking. There's whispers of different biases here and there on the point system. I don't really worry about it. I know my form is really good. I know I'm going to be in all the biggest tournaments and I'm going to show up there, I'm going to get extremely prepared, and I'm going to be ready to win.
JACK NICKLAUS: He's No. 1 in the world today (laughter).
MARK WILLIAMS: Thanks again, Mr. Nicklaus, for being a wonderful host, and we hope that the Nationwide Children's Hospital benefits greatly from this tournament.
JACK NICKLAUS: Thanks to all of you for being here and helping.
MARK WILLIAMS: And congratulations, Patrick, on a great victory.
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