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June 16, 2020

Cheng-Tsung Pan

Hilton Head, South Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome C.T. Pan into the interview room, our defending champion of the RBC Heritage.

C.T., first of all, welcome back. If we can get you to take us back to 2019 and your victory here at Harbour Town.

C.T. PAN: Obviously, it's my first victory, and it's probably the one I will always remember. Actually, this morning I played the back nine, and my wife is on the bag this week actually. She wasn't here last year when I won. So I kind of told her how I played each hole and even each shot. I even showed her where the hole locations are and like the birdie putt on 16, the par save on 17 from the top bunker, and 18 I hit a great shot, the approach shot to 15 feet.

So that was really fun to go through that again and having her in the ropes and caddying for me because she wasn't here last year. So it's great to be back.

THE MODERATOR: Speaking of being back, talk to us a little bit about what you've done over the last couple months and also how you kept your game sharp to be ready this week.

C.T. PAN: The whole nation is struck down, so I stayed at home like most people do, and I set up an indoor driving range in my garage. So I was just doing some drills and doing some TrackMan work.

In addition to that, I created a YouTube channel kind of just to share my tips, golf tips with my fans, so that went well and people love it. So I was really happy to see that.

Starting in May, I started going to the golf course, my home club at BlueJack National, and started playing golf. It was weird the first shot hitting the ground, but I definitely appreciate that more.

THE MODERATOR: We'll go right into questions.

Q. C.T., what did you experience last week that will help you go forward this week?
C.T. PAN: Last week the iron shots, even though I only played two days, the iron play approach shot with the greens and around the greens, I've done very well. I think I was ranked at 20-something place after two rounds. The driver was my weak point last week, but I think this week I'll work on that.

In addition to that, this course fits my eyes really well, like all the tee shots. So I think that will be really helpful to me.

Q. As far as dealing with the coronavirus, what did you experience last week that will help you going forward this week?
C.T. PAN: For the virus? Not much. We're still trying to be careful. My wife and I, we recently purchased an RV, so we don't need to fly. And just wash our hands and just trying to be safe in every way we can. Yeah, it's a different world.

Q. C.T., can you talk about whatever emotions you may have had when it came up that this was going to originally get cancelled. I mean, I'm sure you were disappointed. Then just a few weeks later you found out it was back on the schedule. Could you just walk us through the range of emotions.
C.T. PAN: Yeah, I remember a couple days after I drove back to my home from THE PLAYERS, a bunch of events are cancelled. And I was really sad to see this cancelled because I thought maybe the PGA TOUR would cancel the first two or three, and then we'll be back up again with the Masters and RBC, but that was not the case. So I was really sad to see that.

Usually, cancellation means I won't be back for the whole year until '20/' 21. So when they announced the new schedule, it was quite a surprise to me that RBC is the second event on the schedule, so I was really happy to see that.

My wife and I, we love this place. We love coming back here.

Q. I'm curious how do you think Harbour Town might play in June versus April, I mean, the differences with a little warmer weather. Anything else you notice out there?
C.T. PAN: So I played the back nine this morning, and it was super windy. I don't know if it's normal in June, but it's definitely windier than last two years. With the warm weather, I don't think it affects much. The course setup is quite similar to the last three years I played. So I'm kind of happy to see that. So I feel like I'm in a familiar spot to play the course.

Q. C.T., would you consider adding 40 pounds to add 20-mile-per-hour ball speed?
C.T. PAN: Would I consider to add 40 pounds? I'm going to have to ask my wife, see if she likes my new look. But 20 miles swing speed, that sounds terrific to me, so I wouldn't mind that. That's a good point. I think my team and I need to discuss that next time we meet, and hopefully my wife can be a part of it.

Q. What did you think? Did you see much of Bryson last week, and what did you think about what he's doing?
C.T. PAN: When I saw him -- I think it was on Wednesday -- he is definitely two sizes bigger, and I was very impressed about his dedication and the goals he's trying to achieve because we played a bunch of tournaments together in college golf, and he was pretty skinny back then. Now he's just a totally different guy.

Also, he played great. He's hitting bombs out there. So that's good. His stroking is still good. His putting is still good. I think he's got the game figured out, I guess.

Q. You obviously, before they cancelled THE PLAYERS Championship, you were uncomfortable playing that week. Can you talk a little bit about that decision and what has changed, obviously, since now that we're back up and running with one tournament under our belt and obviously another one this week.
C.T. PAN: It was a really tough decision. In my whole career, including junior golf, I've never withdrawn from a tournament. I can tell you an example like in Junior World when I was 11, my nose was bleeding, and I still insisted to play. So back in March, that was a really tough decision for me, but for the safety of my family and myself, my wife and I, we think that's the right call to pull myself out early.

Honestly, PLAYERS Championship is the biggest event on the PGA TOUR, and a lot of people come to watch. So it's not a good spot to be a lot of times.

But you know, I think the TOUR has put out so much efforts the last two months to create a safe environment for us to play. Last week I was totally impressed by how they do things. The testing is impressively quick and easy. The social distancing, they're still doing that. And the grab and go meals, that's something I suggested them to do, and they said that's great, that they would do that.

You know, I think they're trying to follow the rules just like everyone else out there, and hopefully they will be the model for NBA and MLB and for them to proceed to their next steps. So far, I'm very impressed about how PGA TOUR handled this.

THE MODERATOR: C.T., we appreciate your time. Best of luck this week.

C.T. PAN: Thank you guys. I appreciate it.

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