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January 16, 2020

Damon Kruid

Chad Pfeifer

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We have Damon Kruid from DBK. He is the CEO of DBK. We also have Chad Pfeifer here with us.

We'll start with you, Damon. Tell us a little bit about DBK, the tent that you have here and the purpose of what you have going on this week.

DAMON KRUID: I've been involved with the event for three years. Two years ago, Alex and I from Diamond, we came up with an idea to celebrate our veterans and our first responders to build something special to come out and enjoy the greatest women golfers in the world paired with celebrities. We came with an idea that, hey, let's build the Skybox Salute so we can have all these guys come out and enjoy four days of beautiful weather and have a great time.

THE MODERATOR: What's been the most touching or rich -- I know it's very early in the week, but has there been a great moment in the tent so far that you've experienced?

DAMON KRUID: Yeah, so today we got honored by the Purple Heart Foundation. The Kruid Foundation, which is my wife's and my foundation, got honored with the Purple Heart entity, and last year they honored DBK with the same thing. Just sitting in the skybox there talking to a lot of the warriors, the wounded, families of fallen Warriors that we've had, first responders, they have a lot of great stories. They're so appreciative just to be at one of these events, and what Diamond puts on, it surpasses what they would have imagined.

We had a great time in our skybox today, and it's only going to get better throughout the week.

Q. Chad, really good round today. You scored -- I know you didn't want to do any math. I'll do it for you. You scored 39 points, and you're tied for second behind Mark Mulder, who is the pre-tournament favorite. How do you feel about your round? Did you have a good time out there?
CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah, it was great. I hit the ball really well and putted just good enough. I know all golfers complain about not dropping putts, but, yeah, it's always so much fun to come out here. I still pinch myself because being around all these celebrities, it's just amazing for me. So it's always a great time.

THE MODERATOR: If you had one highlight from your round today, what was that?

CHAD PFEIFER: I made a couple birdies, which are always highlights, but honestly, seeing Blair out there six months, seven months pregnant like it's -- she killed it out there. It was awesome. She played good. She only had two bad holes. My wife and I have three little boys, so I know what she's going through. She killed it out there.

THE MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about how important life has been after your combat accident in 2007 in Iraq.

CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah, so it's really been a roller coaster and a crazy journey since I got blown up in Iraq in 2007, and golf was a huge part of that for me in my recovery. You said -- Damon, you said that people always enjoy and have a great time out here as veterans, and it really does mean a lot to us. So for me, just being here watching the tournament would be a great experience for me, and I truly feel blessed that I'm allowed to play in it.

So it's fantastic for me, and golf's just been kind of that -- part of that journey. I picked it up as a therapy tool, fell in love with it, and just wanted to practice and play as much as I could. Like I said, here I am. I'm fortunate enough to be able to play in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.

DAMON KRUID: And play pretty well.

THE MODERATOR: I read a little bit about that golf was kind of almost like your therapy. How did you fall into that as being therapeutic?

CHAD PFEIFER: So when I got blown up, it was kind of early on in my recovery process, there was a gentleman who was missing both of his legs, and he was going around to rooms and kind of just motivational speaking and talking with guys. It was a small world kind of moment, but his wife and I went to college together. He was like, hey, when you get up on your prosthetic, let's go out and do something. That day came around, and it was golf that he suggested.

Honestly, when he said that, I was like, nah, golf's not really my game. I wasn't really a big fan of it. But I reluctantly agreed and went out and hit a couple shots off the sweet spot and just fell in love with it. So that's all I wanted to do. I found out that it was great therapy for me. Through my times of depression that I went through after being injured, it truly was a lifesaver for me because it gave me something to look forward to day after day, and that's what I wanted to do was just go out and practice.

Q. Chad, had you played golf at all before that?
CHAD PFEIFER: Very, very little. We had a little family deal where we went out and played -- I think it was three holes where we had a little competition. I played college baseball, and our college baseball team had a golf fund-raiser. So we did like a long drive championship -- it wasn't even -- it was just a competition between the seniors. We got to see how far we could hit it. Trust me, none of us hit it straight.

DAMON KRUID: It's far, just not the right way.


Q. I know a few years ago you wanted to maybe give pro golf a run as a career to make a living. Where does that dream stand now? If it went away, how did it go away?
CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah, so it actually still is a dream of mine, but it's -- I had a bulging disk in my back a couple years ago, and I came down here, and my goal for this tournament was just not to hurt myself. I'd been on crutches for four months before I came down here. I was like, okay, I'm going to have fun and try not to get hurt. I think I finished like 30th or something, 27th or something that year. But always had a great time.

So that and then I'm just enjoying being with my kids right now. Our boys are 7, 5, and 2, and I still travel quite a bit with disabled tournaments and then helping our -- I have several different organizations that help with wounded veterans. So I travel a lot and get to do some stuff with Diamond Resorts, which has been great for me. So I'm traveling a lot. So the times that I'm home, I'm just loving being with my boys.

Q. One other one. Can you run us through the challenges that you've had to face playing golf, whether it's the pain, the balance, the mental, the physical, all of it?
CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah, I'll start with the easy one, I guess, and that's the mental aspect. For me, it's just a game, right? So for me, I think -- I wouldn't say it's an edge against other players, but for me I'm not -- if I perform badly or hit a bad shot, I'm not going to die as a result of that, whereas out in the military, if I screw something up, there's a chance I could be killed.

Yeah, like the prosthetic, getting used to the prosthetic was very hard for me. Balance-wise, being a baseball player, everything was back on -- I'm missing my left leg, so everything was back on my right leg, and had a big old slice and just never could get used to getting my weight transferred to my left side. So now I've done a pretty good job of doing that, so getting used to it. Then the pain -- honestly, it depends on how my prosthetic fits, and I try to keep -- that's a huge thing for amputees, so I've got a good fitting socket right now.

But there are plenty of times, because I basically post up on my prosthetic and kind of transfer my weight and just kind of rotate the leg, there's a lot of times where, if the leg doesn't rotate but my body does, my socket goes all the way up to my hip and my groin area. So it will just kind of dig into my groin area, and I'll get cuts and sore spots. So at times it can be very painful, but just kind of going to my military days, just kind of suck it up.

Q. Because of that pain, have there been times that you quit during a round and had to walk off because it was excruciating?
CHAD PFEIFER: I think I've been too stubborn to just quit. Yeah, I just -- there has been times early when I very first started, like I would get sweat pooled up in the bottom of my liner, and I didn't know how to fix it. Now I know how to fix it, and it's an easy fix. There were times where I had to quit just because I didn't know I couldn't step on the leg without falling over. So I've been able to fix that and kind of get used to the little annoying things that comes with a prosthetic.

DAMON KRUID: I've quit playing rounds because my clubs just don't hit straight. It's not me, but it's just the clubs.

Q. I was going to ask you about your travel itinerary this year. It seems that you've been to some cool places. Can you just talk about, for a guy that never played golf, getting into it, and now the places in the world you're seeing because of it?
CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah, like I said, it's been a crazy but fun journey for me with golf. Last year was a lot of fun. I played in six tournaments here in the U.S., and they've come out -- the R&A and USGA have come out and created a world ranking for players with disability. That's huge for me and disabled golf, which we're trying to grow throughout the country, throughout the world.

But that ranking has allowed me -- I got invited to Dubai to play in the tournament there and then Australia for the Emirates Australian Open, and then that week we did a mini Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. This last year has been crazy busy but a lot of fun.

This year, hopefully I'll play in enough tournaments -- I still have my ranking, which they update every week, but I believe I'm seventh right now in the world. Yeah, hopefully I'll get the invites back to those tournaments, and I think they've added a couple more that they play those alongside European Tour events, so it's great exposure for disabled golf and just golf in general, seeing the game grow and get more people involved.

THE MODERATOR: On behalf of all of us at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, Chad, good luck over the rest of the day, and Damon, thanks for everything you're doing for our veterans. Thank you for your service.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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