May 19, 2021
Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
THE MODERATOR: Welcome back to the 2021 PGA Championship here at the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina. We are pleased to be joined by Abraham Ancer, currently Official World Golf Ranking No. 19, which is a great thing to see.
Welcome to your third PGA Championship. Seems like you're playing the best golf of your life right now. Is that the case? Are you feeling pretty good, feeling frisky out there? Why are you playing so well?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Yeah, I feel good. I've been playing some solid golf. Nothing crazy, just steady golf, keeping the ball in play and hitting a lot of greens, and whenever the putter gets hot, it's usually a decent or a good tournament.
But yeah, I haven't really changed anything, just I'm doing what I've been doing for the last couple years, just trying to get better at how I play golf.
Q. With the majors, you make every cut, or most of them. It's like you feel good in this kind of pressure, this kind of situation?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Yeah, I enjoy obviously big-time events with a lot of pressure, the best players in the world, and the golf courses are usually very difficult, which I enjoy a good test of golf. I enjoy when you have to be very accurate off the tee and on to the greens, and small targets like this week.
This week is a big-time golf course. It's long and it's windy, and you have to be extremely accurate, which I like that. I like this way more than just wide open golf courses and big greens where you can just hit it everywhere.
But yeah, I enjoy the tournaments that have a big stage. I like feeling that pressure, and I feel like I've been able to channel it in a really good way to help me instead of hurt me.
Q. Can you explain a little bit, your strong points are precision with your irons and your short game, how it's going to play out here?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Yeah, obviously that's going to be very important. Obviously, you've got to be in the fairway first because this is a very long golf course, and out of this rough, it's going to be very tough.
But if you have -- there's probably going to be a couple days that you don't strike it as well as you'd like, and you just have to get it up-and-down here. It doesn't matter if you're actually hitting it well, you can still miss a lot of greens because of the wind, and the target is really small. You have to be really good with your short game, really sharp, some tight lies.
But the grass is awesome. I think it's really cool to chip, and you can hit very different golf shots, not just chop it out of the rough. You get some runoffs that you can hit bump-and-runs or you can fly it all the way to the hole with some spin or even hit like a 7-wood or 5-wood, roll it up. So there's a lot of options, which I really like that.
I think it's really cool having waste bunkers that you can have some brutal lies or some good ones, also a little bit of luck in there. It's just a raw golf course, and I really enjoy that.
Q. Every couple of years at the PGA Championship there's a lot of talk about the Ryder Cup. I don't know if you're familiar with the story of Lee Trevino in the Ryder Cup. He played six times, he was a captain. Have you followed that, and what do you know about that?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Well, I'm so bad with history. I grew up obviously watching golf but mainly just playing, and I was always out there. I didn't really watch that much or learn that much about history. I'm definitely the wrong guy for history in golf, that's for sure.
Q. The only thing for Trevino is as you keep climbing in the World Rankings, and you are a dual citizen. Would you ever consider being a contender in the Ryder Cup?
ABRAHAM ANCER: No. I mean, everybody knows me, that I represent Mexico. That's where I grew up. That's where I learned the game. That's my culture, my family. Yeah, I mean, it would feel weird to me even if I happened to qualify somehow -- I wouldn't do it, no.
Q. I'm curious, you're playing so well right now. Are there things in your golf swing that you monitor on a week-in-week-out or are you basically not thinking about your golf swing right now?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Yeah, nothing about my golf swing at all. I haven't hit that many balls. If I feel like I'm striking it well I'm really just warming up to go and play, and I'd rather get my work done out there on the golf course, making sure how I can attack the golf course that week.
I focus more on short game and putting and chipping. That's something that I definitely monitor quite a bit with my putting coach, Ramon, but other than that if I'm striking it well, I'm not thinking much. I just like to get out there and be able to see the ball fall right and fall left and hit it high and low. If I can do that, I'm ready to go.
Q. When you are out there playing practice rounds, is there a singular most important thing that you're really trying to hone in on ahead of a major week?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Well, this week will be definitely for me, I'm just getting my lines. I've never been here before, so just my lines off the tee with the wind, and if it happens to change, really put attention where I'm going to be aiming at, and also coming into these greens with the pin positions, it's a small target, so you want to see kind of where you have the most room or how you want to attack each pin. That's mainly what I focus on.
THE MODERATOR: What are your observations about golf, the state of golf in Mexico right now? Maybe talk about your upbringing, who helped you, thrust you into the game and how you might be looking at the younger generations behind you and who their role models might be.
ABRAHAM ANCER: I think Mexican golf and pretty much Latin America, it's in a really cool and exciting spot right now, having -- Mexico having me and Carlos out here and guys that are very close to getting to the PGA TOUR, as well, from Mexico. Joaquin and MuĂ±oz and Camilo being back, Jhonny, so there's a lot of guys playing well, not only on the PGA TOUR but on a big stage.
Personally I was really inspired by Lorena. She really kind of opened my eyes and a lot of kids in Mexico that we can make it out here. We can get to the biggest level and play against the best in the world. Hopefully me and Carlos are doing the same thing for a lot of kids. But definitely Mexican golf is growing.
The First Tee is something that we didn't have two, three years ago, and now we have like nine, ten chapters, so that's huge, somewhere that kids can just go out and just explore the game. Not only that but also values and stuff like that, which I think is a great thing that, like I said, we didn't have three years ago. So having that, it's really cool and it's really helping.
Also having PGA TOUR events and these past years having WGC really put the sport on TV because it was just something that just Mexicans wouldn't watch. It was just all about soccer and baseball and boxing, and that's about it.
Q. Safe to assume you've met Lorena?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Yeah, I have.
Q. What was that first meeting like or what's your relationship with her now like?
ABRAHAM ANCER: She's awesome. She's just a great person, super easy to talk to, humble. You can just learn so much from her. She is devoted to the game and the people, just to grow the game. She keeps doing -- she's very involved still, even though she's not playing, but she has always been involved and absolutely loves the game.
Q. I don't think you addressed it earlier, but I'm curious, we've heard a lot of tales from some of the guys this week about No. 17 and how daunting that is, especially into the wind you've been playing so far. I'm curious what your impression of 17 is and how much of a factor can the degree of difficulty on that hole be say on Sunday with a tight leaderboard when you're trying to either come back or hold on to a lead?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Absolutely. Well, I don't think it's only 17. I think it's just for -- on 14 and on. If the wind is pumping and if they have the pins a little bit tucked and the tee boxes all the way back, I mean, you're just trying to hold on. Sometimes bogey is not that bad on those holes. I doubt that they will put the tees all the way back if the wind is pumping into, but yeah, it's definitely a hole that it's extremely difficult. You're just trying to hit the green really, or put your ball in a spot that you can get up-and-down from. But it's definitely a hole that can change the complete championship.
It will be exciting to see what transpires. There's going to be a lot of crazy stuff going on on that hole, which makes this exciting.
Q. Some guys are adding a 2-iron to their bag. I was wondering if you've changed your set at all to try and keep the ball down out of the wind.
ABRAHAM ANCER: No, I haven't changed anything. I love my 5-wood. I've had that thing for a while now. Changing a 2-iron I don't think is going to help me that much, just because I don't have any problem hitting the ball low. If anything I want to hit it higher. So no, I'm definitely not changing anything.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about the last four or five holes coming in into the wind. The other 13 holes, is there one of those holes that's caught your attention from a difficulty standpoint?
ABRAHAM ANCER: Every hole. Every hole is solid out here. I know the finishing holes are going to be extremely tough and you're just trying to hold on. It's going to be tough to make birdies coming in if it's into the wind. But every hole you just have to be very accurate out here. You can make a big number on hole 1 or hole 18 or really anywhere. You've just got to hit the fairway and try to hit the green on every single hole out here.
I don't think there's just an easy hole that you're thinking, you step on the tee and you're thinking, I'm making birdie every time. You've got to stay focused every time, and it's a great test, this hole 18 holes.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for joining us. Best of luck all week long and hope to see you again soon.
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