January 8, 2021
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, USA
Plantation Course at Kapalua
Q. 14-under was the winning 72-hole score last year. Harris English in at 14-under through 36 holes. 67 today. Was today as good as your opening round?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I feel like I played really solid today, just didn't hole as many putts as I did the first round, but played solid. I'm trying to get in the heat a little bit today, teeing off in the last group with JT.
And I felt like I drove the ball really well and hit a lot of greens in regulation, which I think is a huge key out here and just seeing if I can get some more putts to go. But I feel like if I keep shooting 6-under every day it's going to be a good score at the end of the week.
Q. You accumulated so many building blocks from a confidence perspective last year. Playing alongside the No. 3 player in the world, in the final group, outplaying him and having the lead heading to the weekend, how much more confidence does that add to your tank?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I feel good about my game right now. I feel like I got a good strategy with my caddie this week and I feel like I'm driving the ball really well and my iron play has been probably the backbone of my game for many years and just kind of let it go. I mean, I'm having fun out here. I love playing out here in Kapalua and I know on days like today when there's not a whole lot of wind going that the scores are going to be low and you got to make birdies and I kind of had that mindset of keeping the foot on the pedal today and trying to make as many birdies as I can and I'll have the same mindset throughout the week.
Q. We have a lot of golf to play, obviously, but as well as you played in 2020 and as consistent as you were, as you turn the calendar now, are the wins the only true measure of success compared to last year?
HARRIS ENGLISH: I mean, I can't try to win like that. I mean, it's all a process and the work that I put in the last year and a half, two years, I know it's going to happen. I keep putting myself in these positions. I'm playing well enough to just let it happen and get out of my own way, and I love Sunday when it comes down to the final stretch. I love being in that moment and hopefully can put myself in position to be in that moment Sunday.
Q. Finally, you are in that position heading into the weekend. You are the leader right now. Does anything shift strategically, mentally, emotionally for you now over the final 36 holes?
HARRIS ENGLISH: I mean, like I said, this golf course is dictated so much on the wind. If we get two more days like we had today with not a whole lot of wind, I know I got to keep the pedal down and making a lot of birdies because I know the scores are going to be low. I saw a lot of guys shoot 6-, 7-, 8-under today and I know it's going to take that for the next two days and to try to keep plugging along and that's all you can do out here.
Q. Anytime you can follow up a round yesterday with a round like today in the 60s, I would imagine it's a pretty good day. But I feel like there was probably a couple iron shots you would like to have back even though have you a two-shot lead going into the weekend.
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I played pretty solid, but you're right. There's definitely a few putts, a few iron shots you can always do better, but I like where I stand, I like where my game's at right now. I know you got to keep making birdies out here. The course is playing pretty soft right now, no wind, you can go beat it up. And saw some good scores on the leaderboard starting out the day and I knew I had to keep the pedal down and keep going. And I just signed my scorecard. I didn't have any 5s today, which is always a good round. You know, you got to beat up the par-5s out here and I feel like I did that and I'll have the same strategy tomorrow, go out there and drive the ball well, hit as many greens in regulation as I can and make, try to make as many birdies as I can.
Q. To that point, taking advantage of the par-5s on this golf course, when you're hitting it as well as you are and how confident you sort of are, you can just take care of business and put those scores in front of you, how do you approach this golf course? Is it about just managing, keeping the ball in play, or do you have to find a way to be aggressive out there?
HARRIS ENGLISH: I know guys have different strategies, but I'm hitting driver a lot this week. I would say more so than a normal golf course. I mean, these fairways are wide, you can be as aggressive as you want to, but it's still about putting the ball in the fairway. You start putting the ball in the rough, start missing greens, it's tough to get up-and-down because these greens are pretty gnarly Bermuda grass around the greens and they're pretty tough to lag putt out here.
But I feel like keep doing the same thing I'm doing, keep keeping it like I am, and made some really putts, probably inside six, eight feet, hopefully can hole some more longer ones over the week, but I feel all in all it's in good shape.
Q. The circumstances allowing you to play here, you put yourself in a position to take advantage of the circumstances to qualify for this tournament. Have you allowed yourself to think about how kind of cool it would be from a validation standpoint to win this week, given how you got here?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, yeah, it was a cool perk of making it to the TOUR Championship and getting in this week. That was awesome. I have wanted to get back here since 2014 and watched this tournament every year when I'm back home and glad to be able to come back to Kapalua and play.
But, yeah, it would be awesome. I guess the thing is to get in the Sentry Tournament of Champions every year this is a good place to win every year to get yourself back in the tournament. So I like where I stand, I'm pumped about the weekend and ready for the challenge.
Q. Obviously pretty happy to be where you are right now, right?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I'll take 14-under teeing off on Thursday for sure. Love where my game's at right now. I feel like I'm doing everything pretty well. Obviously can make some more putts out there, but these greens are pretty tough to putt outside of 15, 20 feet and I felt like I managed the game pretty well today. Six birdies, no bogeys, and hit a lot of greens in regulation and just trying to keep the same strategy. I feel like I hit the ball well and keep putting myself in positions to make birdie.
Q. Playing with a guy who has got a pretty decent resume, big names coming at you all day, but you never looked like you were worried at all, just kept doing your thing and embraced it.
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I know a course like this with no wind you can go get it. I saw some low numbers on the board coming out and I knew you got to keep the same strategy, got to keep the pedal down because these guys are going to keep making birdies behind you, so you got to keep going, you got to take it advantage of where you can, hitting the ball in the fairway a lot, wedges, par-5s, out here, you got to take advantage of.
So I feel like I did that today and need to keep doing it on the weekend.
Q. Can I get to you run me through that pre-shot routine, that left hand-thing you were doing and why you do it?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, one of my, I guess, swing faults from even when I was a kid is my takeaway gets a little off and when I get off, it will get a little quick and the club head comes a little inside and gets low. So I'm trying to keep that club head outside my hands and keep the club head halfway back a little bit higher than my hand. So that's kind of a swing key, but I mean, sometimes I do, I guess, tournaments I've gone back and forth just kind of what I'm feeling that week. And my coach kind of let's me do stuff like that, keeps me on top as much as possible, but it's kind of the swing key for the week is that takeaway, getting the takeaway nailed down.
Q. It's like a trigger for you to do that so you remind yourself to do that.
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, yeah.
Q. 16 guys 10-under or better. Are we in line for a shootout this weekend?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, of course. I don't think the weather's calling for much wind the next two days and I know the scores are going to be low, but it's going to be a lot of fun. I like the position I'm in right now. I know a lot of guys have a chance to win. I got to keep doing what I'm doing and keep making birdies. I think that's going to be the name of the game for the weekend.
Q. On 7 tee you look out there. There's some whales kind of playing out there. Is it cool to kind of see those things you don't see every week on the PGA TOUR?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I mean, normally during a round you're pretty focused and seeing your sight line off the tee, but I mean, we had a little bit of a break there and looking out there over Molokai and seeing the whale. It looked like he was doing back flips in the ocean. It was really cool. I've never seen that before.
But this is such a unique golf course and it's cool to take a step back and be able to appreciate where we are playing right now. I mean, not many people in the world get to play a place like this and we're very lucky to play it, the PGA TOUR to come here every year, and it's awesome to kind of have that break from the grind of playing golf.
Q. Does that kind of help kind of just -- even though you're playing well, you kind of just settle in and say, Forget about golf for a second, just look out and see kind of the beauty of where we are?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, it's very relaxing here and it's probably one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen in my life. Growing up in south Georgia you don't get to see stuff like this. So it is awesome and it does kind of bring a lightheartedness to golf and kind of take a step back and not grind so hard to be in the moment so you kind of appreciate where you are and be glad that we're right here in 2021 being able to play golf and having these kind of views all day.
Q. Can you compare -- like when you won two times earlier in your career, can you compare what your golf game was there to where it is now, not just physically in your swing and your game, but also just your, how you kind of think around a golf course, maybe what, you know, your maturity a little bit too?
HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I feel like I'm a more seasoned this time around. I've been through the ups and downs and I feel like I'm a more well-rounded player. I feel like my short game's gotten a lot better, my putting is a lot more consistent, and I guess I'm more appreciative of being able to play pro golf, because not too long ago I was kind of on the other side of it, of wanting to get into a lot of tournaments and not being in a lot of tournaments. So I'm very appreciative of where I'm at right now and how much hard work it takes to get here. I guess I didn't have that in 2013 or 2014, I thought it came a lot easier than it should. And this game is really hard and it knocks a lot of people down, but I'm proud of the work I've put in and the team around me that I've built that have pushed me and helped me out along the way and I'm happy to be here.
Q. Just describe -- obviously the peaks and valleys of being a professional golfer, we might see it, we might talk about it, but we don't feel it -- just describe, when you kind of were down that way and you were at a low point, what did it feel like?
HARRIS ENGLISH: I mean, it sucks playing bad, there's no way around it. I mean, all the guys out here work really hard and put the time in and when you're putting a lot of the work in and you're not getting the results out, that's when it hurts the most. You feel lost and you don't know what you're doing. You feel like you're beating your head against the wall trying to work out something, you're not getting any better at it. I know a lot of guys go through that and I'll probably go through that again. So I know I got to be very appreciative of where I'm at right now and the golf I'm playing right now, because you just got to keep working at it.
That's the thing about this game is it makes it so much fun for me is I can never get good enough. I can never be a good enough ball-striker or putter, so it's always something for me to work on, I love the constant grind of figuring it out.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports