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January 11, 2020

Brendan Steele

Honolulu, Hawaii

THE MODERATOR: Brendan, thanks for joining us. You're really taking advantage of those two par-5s this week; two eagles, three birdies, 7-under on the week for those. Talk about how critical that has been for you.

BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I mean, they're really the only two quote/unquote easy holes on the course. I saw stats on the coverage the other day. I think it was even on Friday morning or something that said like the field was 120-under on those two holes and like 500-over on the rest of the course.

Those are definitely two important holes. They can give you a little momentum.

THE MODERATOR: With that, open up to questions.

Q. What did you hit on 9?
BRENDAN STEELE: On 9, that was 4-iron.

Q. Were you pleased with it?
BRENDAN STEELE: Probably the best shot I hit today, yeah. Yeah, because the wind was off the left and the pin is off the left, and I needed to really hit it solid and hit it well and turn it over.

Did all those things and it ended up being the right number.

Q. I know it's just Saturday, but was there any part of you that was worried about being left behind?

Q. Just in the round. I mean, dropping two shots early. You weren't out of it.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, sure. It's not the start you want obviously, but those first few holes are hard. I think 2 is probably the hardest hole on the course, and definitely with the way it's playing this week.

I felt really comfortable and calm today, which is not always the case when things aren't going well. I wasn't on Thursday certainly. I was upset. A couple mistakes that I made really got me down. So I think that's really a key for me, and that gave me a chance to use the rest of the holes to shoot a good score.

Q. One more and I'll shut up and listen. On 2 where you go a little bit long I think, right, what did you hit?

Q. No, I'm sorry. On 3.
BRENDAN STEELE: On 3, oh, I hit wedge. It was 107 yards. Hit wedge and it just flew a mile. Sometimes you got it -- when it's blowing really hard downwind, if you launch something high like wedge or a 9-iron but you don't put a ton of spin on it, it can just go a mile.

Probably flew 180 yards, so that's hard to judge.

Q. Got to feel about hitting a wedge 180 though, right?
BRENDAN STEELE: Sure, yeah. Yeah, that sounds good. It's good if you can control it.

Q. You haven't played here a whole lot; once in 2011. What brought you back this year?
BRENDAN STEELE: You know, I didn't have a good year last year, and just adding some different tournaments. I'm in the qualified for any of the majors and WGCs and the things like that, so just wanted to give it another shot.

The only reason I haven't been back is because I live in California so it's an easy drive to the first event, and I kind of just play everything in California.

So I was excited to come back and see what it was like. Good friends with Keegan Bradley who loves it here and always told me I should love it and play this. I guess he's right.

Q. Was the wind here worse than what you faced in it Valero when you won?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. I would say it's definitely more consistent. It blew somewhat like this I would say probably about the same on Sunday there. We maybe had a little less wind at times Thursday through Saturday.

But it's been ten years, too, so I don't remember exactly. The last round I know was really windy. I think I shot 1-over to win and I didn't make a birdie after the 7th hole.

It was pretty wild.

Q. How does somebody from Idyllwild get to where you're at?
BRENDAN STEELE: That's a really good question. Parents that will do whatever is necessary to get you onto a golf course and get a club in your hands. I didn't start playing until I was 13, so I started a little late. No golf course in Idyllwild, my and parents just figured it out for me. Put a net in the backyard and a little artificial putting green, and then would drive down to pick me up from school and take me the golf course, and then my dad would come get me. Just a lot of work on their part.

Q. How far was the nearest golf course?
BRENDAN STEELE: About 30 minutes.

Q. Hemet?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, in Hemet.

Q. What was it like growing up there with all the mountains and pine trees?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, it's a beautiful place. I love it up there. I got to be really active outdoors and it's a really small school. K through eighth grade it was about 500 kids, so any sports, whenever the season was up, I would just play everything.

I wouldn't be a basketball player, but when it was basketball season I would play point guard on the basketball team. The team didn't do that well, but it gave me a lot of opportunities to do really fun things.

Q. Were you from Idyllwild or like from Pine Cove or Fern Valley?
BRENDAN STEELE: No, from actual Idyllwild, yeah.

Q. What was the population when you were there?
BRENDAN STEELE: 4,000, probably a little less these days.

Q. You're a proven multiple time winner, and also been and couple years since a top 10. What will you lean on most? Obviously what you've done before, and will you be able to go back to that?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, definitely. You know, I feel like my game is in a really good play right now, so the confidence is up. And then I know what these types of things entail, so I have been there before. That will be helpful.

It's always going to be difficult no matter what. Would be very rare to come out and birdie the first six holes and have it never be in question. So as much as I would like that, I know it's going to be tough. I'm going to have to battle.

But it's nothing that I haven't seen before.

Q. And the two guys that are in the final group with you, their match play record recently has been pretty good. I know this is not that, but that is something to I guess be wary of I suppose?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, is it Cam and Kisner? Yeah, yeah, so obviously I've played a lot of golf with both of those guys, and they're great players. They have got awesome short games, great putters, hit really solid shots, don't get themselves in much trouble.

I expect them to come out and play a really good round tomorrow. I know that I have to go do a lot of good things. There will be no sort of taking the foot off the accelerator tomorrow. I've got to go make as many birdies as I can and see what I can do.

Q. You win Safeway, burn the place down; Phoenix you had a nice run.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, Phoenix has been good to me.

Q. What happened result-wise from there onward? Game ebbs and flows, but...
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, not really a short, decisive answer. The answer is that I made a lot of bad decisions as far as who I was listening to, what I was listening to, how I was practicing, what I was trying. Recently became a father too, so priorities kind of changed.

I was hoping that that would change in a good way, like make golf less important and made it easier. Kind of mace golf less important and less important just to where I wanted to be at home and I wasn't enjoying playing.

So kind of relit my fire in the off-season and have been trying to work hard on my game and get the confidence back as well.

Q. Did you find yourself not wanting to leave home?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I'm that way all the time. So I was dragging my family with me everywhere, and that was hard on them. Really tough balance that we don't talk about a lot out here. I've been out here a long team. I've been a pro for 15 years now, and sometimes it just gets old.

Q. Was there anything that you wanted to work on in particular during the break coming into this tournament?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I mean, I spent a lot time working on putting probably the last six months trying to get to a place where I was confident in my stroke knowing that the mechanics were good enough, that then I could go through the process of making sure I was focused on the read and the commitment and really like playing golf from that standpoint rather than playing putting stroke.

So that's been a big change for me definitely this week. I've tried to do that. It's worked really well.

Q. Growing up in Idyllwild, were you born there? Did you move there?
BRENDAN STEELE: I was born there. My parents moved there in '79 and I was born in '83 and lived there until I went to UC Riverside in 2001.

Q. (No microphone.)
BRENDAN STEELE: My dad was a lawyer in L.A. and didn't want to be in L.A. anymore. Went rock climbing in Idyllwild and hiking and camping up there, and just decided to move up there and open a little law practice and see if anybody showed up.

Q. And your acting career, what was where you role?
BRENDAN STEELE: Had a big role on Bones. It's called -- I'm going to butcher the title of it. Hunter Mahan and I played ourselves in a miniature golf murder. So there was a murder at a miniature golf because they take it so seriously.

To prove how seriously they take it, Hunter and I were there. Unfortunately they cut our lines, but we were in there. So we got our name in the title and everything. It was good.

Q. Why do you think cut your lines?
BRENDAN STEELE: I blame Hunter. It was definitely his fault.

Q. Do you remember them?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, I do, actually. I said -- so Hunter is supposed to say something like to the effect of this guy who was dead didn't show up for his tee times. He missed his tee time. He's disqualified.

Then the guy that's running the tournament says, no, no. Everybody knows you have this much time after. I say, Oh, sure because he's your golden boy. Nailed it.


THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Brendan.

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