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August 24, 2005

Billy Hurley III


CRAIG SMITH: Billy, 5 & 4 over Charlie Beljan, who the other day shot 65, or 64; and you made it look pretty easy, 5 & 4. You had a good stretch in there where you won three out of four.


CRAIG SMITH: Let's start over again. (Laughter). You never trailed.

BILLY HURLEY: Yeah, that's always nice, never trailing.

I got away with winning No. 1 with a par, and then went ahead and hit it out of bounds on 2 and lose that one, which was fun. Then sort of made a really good up and down on 3, which was important to halve that hole. Made birdie on 4 and got back up, sort of got kept it going.

CRAIG SMITH: I'm going to take you back to the Walker Cup, but I'm sure it wasn't a fun sitting on Sunday. So this might be a little bit of, "I want to go out and do a little damage here and prove a little bit."

BILLY HURLEY: Me sitting on Sunday at the Walker Cup actually wasn't any fun. But I think it was the right call for the team, just the way the pairings were matching up and Captain Lewis wanted a couple of matches to play four matches and those were probably the guys that deserved to play four matches. I didn't have my best stuff Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I had some good stuff early in the week but unfortunately it didn't stick around.

Obviously you want to come back here and say, "Yeah, I deserve to be on the team, I'm still a good player," but it was the right move for the team. And it was fun, actually, watching those guys play.

CRAIG SMITH: Well, it's maybe two weeks later. How is your stuff right now? It looks pretty good on paper.

BILLY HURLEY: It's a lot better. It's not as good as I would like it to be. I'm putting really well right now, so that's helped me through hit something bad shots.

CRAIG SMITH: Your caddie said you putted extremely well, not even one 3 putt.

BILLY HURLEY: Right. Yeah, I had pretty good speed. And when I didn't, I was able to make I made like a 15 foot comebacker on 11. I made a couple other 4 or 5 footers to keep momentum with me.

Q. How about the emotions you've gone through today, you're in the playoff, you're the first guy to make a bogey, now you've turned it around and you're sitting in a chair where you're talking about your victory.

BILLY HURLEY: Yeah, I really want to talk to a rules official about how they conducted that playoff, (laughing), playing 13 and then to sit for an hour and just watch, and then you've got to go up, and step up to 14 and try and hit a good shot into the wind. I made a pretty good 5 actually with, my tee shot in the right bunker, but that didn't really look pretty for me after three groups came in, I'm sitting here, lone guy with a 5 sitting here, out of the tournament. Then a couple other guys made 5s and was able to get it on the next hole. For a while I wasn't feeling real good; I was driving home.

Q. Did you feel like you had the momentum all the way, or was there a point where you felt like you kind of grasped the match away from him?

BILLY HURLEY: It was pretty back and forth through about five holes. I made a good birdie putt on 4 to get back 1 up and then he hit a terrible shot on 5, probably like a 6 iron and hit it in the left creek into the green. So we got to halve that hole, because I hit it in the creek off the tee.

So that was sort of big to keep it with me, and then I won 6 and 7. I 3 putted 6 and then I hit it to about two feet on 7 and won that hole. Those are pretty big to keep momentum with me. He took it back a little bit on 8. I hit just caught a terrible lie in the rough and then I was able to get it up and down on 9 out of the bunker. He missed a makeable birdie putt; that sort of kept the momentum back with me still at the turn.

Q. How about the conditions on the golf course, is it getting harder, firmer, faster?

BILLY HURLEY: It's getting unreal. The greens are getting so hard, so crusty, and just, I mean, really fast. So I mean, I think it's a little extreme for a first round. This might be more of the conditions you're looking for Saturday and Sunday, so it will be interesting the rest of the week.

Q. How much did you know of and about Merion before you got here, and what are your impressions, other than the conditions?

BILLY HURLEY: Merion? I didn't know a whole lot about Merion. You hear the name, great golf course but didn't know much about the tradition or what type of golf course it was before coming here. Obviously the summer has been pretty rough on golf courses in the whole Philadelphia, Virginia area. I think they have done a pretty good job given the summer to get the course where it is. It didn't seem like it was going to play this hard and fast when I played the practice round on Saturday, and this place dried up in a hurry. Came out here Monday for the qualifying and it was a different golf course, and it's even a different golf course again today.

Q. How is it different?

BILLY HURLEY: It's just firmer. The moisture just came out of the ground like that, and the fairways are running, you're hitting less club on holes, to keep it short of the rough when the fairways end and stuff. It's just, I mean, a lot faster, a lot firmer.

Q. How difficult is it then because a lot of these greens, they look like they have false front on them, things of that nature. So how hard is it for you to be able to get it in close to the hole, or is it not possible, really in most cases?

BILLY HURLEY: You pretty much are going to have to have a lot of spin on the ball and still have to take one hop. Not much is hitting and landing, unless it's into the wind and sort of sticking where it hits, unless it's into the wind and you can get it sort of floating down to the green. Even a couple wedges I hit close ran ten feet and one was out of the rough and ran the length of the green. So it's pretty hard, you get lucky sometimes and sometimes you don't.

CRAIG SMITH: Just wondering, given your other occupations, shall we say, what you're doing with the economics department?

BILLY HURLEY: I graduated from the Naval Academy in 2004. I'm a commissioned officer in the Navy right now, ensign in the Navy, and I am currently stationed at the Naval Academy in Maryland as an economics instructor.

CRAIG SMITH: Are you missing class?

BILLY HURLEY: I think they started Monday, so I think I'm skipping a couple classes.

Q. Are you going to make a career of the Navy or do you hoping to go to Q School?

BILLY HURLEY: I don't have those answers right now, sir. I have a five year commitment to the Navy, and at the end of that, we'll see whether I continue with the Navy or whether I continue with golf.

Q. Duly noted that he called me "sir." That's because he's a naval officer. The last person to call me sir was Phil Mickelson's caddie about a week ago, and that did upset me. (Laughter).

CRAIG SMITH: Billy, thank you, and congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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