home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 30, 2021

Alex Cejka

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Press Conference

Southern Hills Country Club

THE MODERATOR: Welcome back to the 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. We're here at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma. We're with the 2021 champion, Alex Cejka. 3-under par 67 to wrap up the championship. He finishes 8-under par and wins his second major in about three weeks. Alex, you've met your new friend Alfred, what's it like to win the most historic and prestigious event in senior golf.

ALEX CEJKA: You know, I have no words. It's incredible. Seeing and knowing all those names who are up there on the trophy and being finally on the trophy myself, it's a dream come true. It was a tough week. It's a beautiful golf course. Historic golf course. Monday when I played for the first time here I walked those fairways and remember seeing this on TV in all those years and I can't even describe how it feels to be here and touching the trophy. It's incredible. I'm just super blessed. I'm super happy. It's an incredible feeling right now.

Q. Describe the walk up 18, knowing it was pretty much in hand?

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, it was, but I really wanted to finish it. I didn't want to celebrate too much. I know you have three, four shots cushion, in golf everything is possible. I wanted to really be calm until the ball is in the hole, until I sign my scorecard, everything is right. I mean there's been a lot of scenarios overall those years, so but I was happy. I'll tell you, I was pretty nervous the last four, five holes. It showed. I had tough shots. I made a lot of great up-and-downs. That saved me today.

When the ball was finally in the hole, it was just incredible and having my great friend Florian on the bag and sharing this with him, it's incredible.

Q. Those up-and-downs on 15, 16 and then a great chip on 17 for birdie as well kind of, I mean that's what separated you.

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, yeah, they were all not easy, I must say, but I have great confidence. This is what we practice for all those years for shots like this. And I was so many times in a situation where it didn't work out. So it's really, I'm really glad and excited that those up-and-downs and those bunker shots finally worked when you need it.

Q. Early in the round were you surprised at how quickly things started kind of going a little crazy out there with Steve and Mike kind of falling apart?

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, yes, yes, I was actually almost in shock what threw my game off totally. I was expecting him to come out and just put so much pressure on it still as a great player as he normally is. But it's golf. Even the best players have just a bad day or a bad week. This happens. I was a little bit shocked also on my stupid two little bogeys I made on 2 and 3, but I was grinding. I knew even the guys behind me, if somebody shoots 3, 4-, 5-under par, what is doable, but tough, so anything can happen. So I really focused very hard today and I'm glad it's over, let me tell you (laughing).

Q. One thing I noticed out there on a lot of your great up-and-downs is you would have three or four feet and you would make a really long practice stroke just seemed almost like you were hitting a 50-footer. Is there any reason that you were using that as part of your routine?

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, because I, when I make a big stroke I give my brain an impulse I want to make a confident and a solid stroke. So I really over exaggerate it, just to, you know, especially up the hills, I had a lot of par putts where I had the line but I really had to hit it firm with authority and that's why I made a lot of practice swings like don't chicken out and just hit it solid.

Q. This win will get you into next year's PGA Championship, 2022 which will be at this same course. How do you think it will play?

ALEX CEJKA: I know, but maybe the setup will be too tough for me. Although, you know, there was a 50-year-old winning last week, so it will be great. It's a beautiful golf course. I'll be honored to play here again, no matter what venue, no matter what championship. And I'm excited and I'll definitely give it a shot.

Q. Probably the most dominating rookie season so far since Jack Nicklaus in '91. Would you consider this the best golf of your career?

ALEX CEJKA: Well, yes, yes and no. I've been playing great. It sounds weird, I was playing obviously on a different level, we're talking 10, 15 years ago, with a lot of great players and I played great, maybe I didn't win. Obviously here there's still so many great players and I'm playing well and I'm getting lucky and obviously after making it or turning 50 and qualifying on to this tour, that gave me confidence. Obviously that win couple weeks ago gives every player a boost. So I know I can achieve a major, I knew it and I didn't play with that much pressure here, I want to say. Of course you want to win, there's always pressure, but I knew, especially today, I said to myself, I don't have anything to lose, you know what I mean of the I wasn't leading, I was chasing, and today just worked out.

Q. I wanted to ask you about your aggressive game plan all day pushing the envelope on holes like 10 and 13 and but also going for it on 17 and the gutty bunker shots. It seemed like you weren't nervous out there and you were just playing to free fire?

ALEX CEJKA: Yeah maybe it didn't look like -- I tell you what, the Sunday at the Tradition, I wasn't nervous at all. Like I'm playing with my wife. Today I was nervous. I was nervous, I really didn't pull the shots off, but I kind of missed the shots in the right places where the up-and-downs were not difficult, but you know, you still have to make them. So that was a great strategy, know where to leave it and I executed those three, four up-and-downs were huge. If I don't make them I'm in a playoff or maybe I lose. So that was the key. But I was nervous, maybe at the next imagine I won't be nervous because I already have two babies at home now.

Q. Wanted to ask you about your caddie this week, I know at regions you had Timmy and I'm just curious who you had this week on the bag.

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, I had a great friend of mine from Germany. He's from the same golf course as when I grew up and we know each other for so many years and we have been fishing a lot and he comes and caddies for like three, four, five tournaments a year. He was at the last tournament -- my first, actually my debut in Tucson, he was on the bag, and this is the second time. So I'm going to have him in a couple weeks in Germany as well on the bag and in Sunningdale. So he's looping occasionally, but he's just a great player who is also a great friend.

Q. If you think about the start to your season on the PGA TOUR Champions and having to play Monday qualifiers and all that, did you ever envision a scenario where you would have two major titles?

ALEX CEJKA: No. Not at all. I knew I can play here on this tour. My goal was, when I started in Tucson, my goal was this year to keep my card somehow, to have status for the next couple years.

Obviously it happened like this, it's a dream come true. That never crossed my mind. There's so many, as I said, in the past, there's so many great players and legends and Hall of Famers and incredible guys out here playing week after week and I'm just happy kind of slowly having two trophies what as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of great names already are on those trophies.

Q. As long as our math is right I want to ask you if you have any thoughts on the fact that now you are the Senior PGA champion you are actually younger than the reigning PGA Champion.

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, yes, but it's just a number (laughing).

Q. The up-and-downs were great, but was there one thing that you did better than anything else throughout the four days that allowed you to be standing here?

ALEX CEJKA: No. I played patiently. I know this golf course is so tricky and I tell you what, I think I was really surprised all four days how tricky the pin positions were on every hole. There was not one hole where you have a breather, where you can like play middle of the green and like try and 2-putt. Every hole is behind a bump, behind a bunker, behind the ridge, on top of the ridge. The key was hitting a lot of fairways. Maybe today I didn't hit as many fairways. We all, even in the group, didn't hit that many fairways, and it showed in the score. The first three days I hit a lot of fairways, I had great shots to the greens and to the pins. But today we saw I missed a lot of fairways and my playing partners missed a lot of fairways and it was impossible to hit it on the green. So that was the key.

Q. As you walk through the hall ways at Southern Hills they do a tremendous job of honoring their major champions. What does that mean to you to have your name against those names up here being honored now?

ALEX CEJKA: Well, I'll wait till my picture is somewhere hung up there and then we'll see. No, it's, as I said, great players, I know most of them, I played with most of them in their prime. It's just incredible. Normally you walk past it and you see all those players smiling with great finishes and holding the trophies and everything and it's a dream come true. So hopefully I can't wait until my picture is up there too. So it's great.

Q. Two questions. Where will that trophy find a home?

ALEX CEJKA: I don't know yet. I hope maybe I'll get two replicas maybe, so, no, I'm just kidding. I think it's going to be in Vegas. I think that's where it belongs. So it doesn't fade in that no humidity and that dry heat.

Q. And secondly going way back it seems like you've always been fighting, you're fighting some years to keep a card, you were fighting for status out here. But you've always had a great attitude. How much has attitude played into your success?

ALEX CEJKA: I think big time. Everybody I talk to, everybody I know is fighting. There's only a few gifted players who have such a career where there's no pressure, status for the rest of their lives, and a lot of my friends, everybody's grinding for so many years, it's, I don't know, the attitude, you got to be happy. Life is short. We have a lot of friends in the past who passed away quickly. They were happy, they were not sick. You re-evaluate your life, you know, you just, it's no point being miserable, it's just a game, it's a great game, it's a stupid game, you know? But we all love it, we all play it. I think what I've noticed the guys who play well are always happy and I'm trying to be as happy as I can be and I'm always trying to be happy on the golf course even if you have bad lies, bad day, bad breaks, bad rounds, you know? I'm just happy to be around.

Q. Wondering, you won two majors this month, you live in Las Vegas, what's the celebration plan tonight? What are you doing tonight? How are you going to celebrate this win?

ALEX CEJKA: Well, I'm, I'm going to celebrate with my wife and I'm pretty sure she's a little bit tired, because she drove our big RV bus all the way from Vegas to here in the last three days, so she had, she didn't have a chance to see me play and I think she's parked by our hotel, so when I get back we're going to pop a bottle and celebrate in our RV.

Q. So she drove the RV from Las Vegas to Tulsa?

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, she drove it with a friend the last, I don't know, two and a half days.

Q. Can you just clarify, when you came off the TOUR did you not have enough money earnings or whatever for automatic status on the Champions Tour? Why did you have to go to Monday qualifiers?

ALEX CEJKA: Yes, I did, I was right on the border to have enough career money, as they say. But it was a little bit tricky because it's a two in one season, you know the COVID threw everything a little bit off. When a year before I turned 50 everybody is saying, yes, you're going to have status. Great, maybe not good, maybe not a lot of tournaments. Nobody knew back then, then obviously COVID hit, everything got crazy, and when I turned 50 and I signed up for a lot of the tournaments, I was in a lot of tournaments like just in or just out. You know, I don't know. I don't know what would happen if I would not have won Tradition and maybe still be in the next tournaments, it's always like one out, two out.

Q. Did you get in Tradition as a Monday qualifier or as an alternate?

ALEX CEJKA: No, I got in on my number. I was an alternate the week before, but then I got in on my number. There was no qualifier for that.

Q. The Chubb was that --

ALEX CEJKA: Chubb I qualified, the first one I qualified was Tucson and I had to qualify for the Chubb Classic, yes.

Q. And after you finished second there did that guarantee your status?

ALEX CEJKA: No that second place -- oh, the second place got me into the next tournament, but because the next tournament was Houston, what was an invitational, it didn't count. Then Tradition didn't count. So my top-10 from the Chubb Classic got me into Atlanta, Sugarloaf. TPC Sugarloaf. What in the end didn't matter, because I won the Tradition.

Q. So you won two majors, hopefully you can play the rest of the year.


THE MODERATOR: A lot of players have won one major, you got to the threshold here of two and does that, is there something redeeming about that, that answers a question that might be in your head or other people's head? Was that a little flukey at the Tradition, just that you've done it now twice, it can't be a fluke anymore. Is there something about that?

ALEX CEJKA: Yeah, yeah, I think we all want to win tournaments, we all want to win majors. I waited, I played 20 years on TOUR I didn't win a proper major, as they say. Now I'm 50 and I'm having a great life, I'm playing where I want to be. The majors are still difficult to win, of course two is great. As we said earlier, I've never thought of it. I mean, of course it's everybody's dream when you see this trophy how can you not try as hard as you can to win this? It wasn't a fluke. Yes, there is maybe potential for more, but as I said, a lot of great players every week and a lot of the majors, you got to play really well. I wouldn't be disappointed if I never ever win a major again. But it's right now I have two and we'll see what happens in the next weeks, months, years, we'll see.

THE MODERATOR: Well it was a joy to be with you all week. We'll look forward to a return engagement in just about 12 months in Southern Hills. Enjoy the spoils. Well done.

ALEX CEJKA: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297