May 18, 2022
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Southern Hills Country Club
JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon. Welcome back to the 2022 PGA Championship here at Southern Hills Country Club. We are pleased to be joined by Corey Conners. Corey, thanks for spending some time with us. Welcome to what is your fourth PGA Championship.
Been hearing a lot from our friends back in Canada this week. How would you describe this golf course as someone who's never been here before?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, it's a fantastic venue, first and foremost. It's definitely an old-school feeling golf course. Not dissimilar to some of the older courses in Canada. They've certainly opened things up a little bit more than the traditional tree-lined older style.
But it's a fantastic test. The greens are small. The greens are slopey. You really need to be on with all parts of your game. It's really exciting to be here at such a special and historic place.
JOHN DEVER: Going back to last year, you've really played, I guess maybe with the exception of the U.S. Open last year, you've had a terrific run in the majors, just some stellar results. Do you take a lot of pride in that or are you really to get in the hunt and win one of these things?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, I certainly take a lot of pride in getting myself in the mix, playing well on some big stages. But I still definitely want more. I want to win a major someday. I like the fact that I've gotten myself in contention a bunch of times and taken a lot of positives from that for sure.
Yeah, definitely desiring more. I think all the players are here to try and win, and I know how special it would be to win a major championship.
Q. Corey, you said at the Masters something to the effect that a top 10 is still a long way from a victory. What do you think you have to do yourself either technically or mentally to bridge that gap and get over it?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, I think there's definitely a big mental component to it. I'm getting a lot more comfortable being in positions near the top of the leaderboard, but it's certainly very challenging to win.
I would say in each of the major championships and PGA Tour events where I've been close, there have just been a nine-hole stretch or even a round where I've left some shots out there, and you're not able to do that to win.
You need to be solid from the first hole through the 72nd hole. Saying that, you don't have to be perfect, but can't sort of have the lull for nine holes or 18 holes that pulls you back a little bit.
I think mentally just keeping your foot on the gas as much as possible, can't get too greedy necessarily and force things, especially on a difficult golf course like this, but yeah, just got to keep your foot down the whole way and be ready to play from the beginning and try and make the most of each day.
Q. I was talking to somebody yesterday who described your swing as like free beer. I'm trying to figure out what it meant. I'm guessing it's smooth and very sweet. The tempo of your swing, has that been something you've always had, and what would you say to people that have been looking their whole life for a swing as smooth and great tempo as yours?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, it's certainly a new comparison for sure. I like my beer, but I like my swing.
I think as a kid, I focused a lot on my tempo, and I think that was definitely something that I really appreciate now.
It's not really something that I necessarily think too much about or work too much on. It's just sort of engrained in there. It's definitely nice to have.
I think nice tempo allows you to hit the ball solidly most often.
Yeah, I don't really have a whole lot of technical thoughts when I'm swinging. I put in a lot of work as a youngster trying to develop a good golf game, and still working, but I feel like I have a good foundation and I can just be myself and be comfortable and not have to worry too much about technical stuff, just swing with freedom.
Q. Talking to your caddie Danny today, he said you're a very laid-back guy but he sees the fiery side of you in the ropes. I want to know what's that fiery side look like, and do you feel it when you're out there?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, I would say outwardly it probably looks the same. I try and be as positive as I can, but there's certainly a lot of desire to play well. I want it really bad. I try not to -- I try to balance the fieriness with the good and the bad.
Don't want to get too rattled or too mad when things aren't going well, but I also want to have fire when things are going great to keep my foot on the pedal and keep going out there.
I think Danny and I have done a good job of staying in the moment, and I think definitely something that I've wanted to increase is my fire out on the course over the last couple years.
Just maybe getting a little too relaxed in certain situations where I learned that it's okay to get a little upset or a little frustrated, but it's also okay when things are going well to be happy about that.
Yeah, try and find a good balance. But I think being a little fiery out there is definitely something that I like.
Q. I was talking to Mackenzie Hughes on the phone the other day, and he said that as he's played in more majors he's gotten more comfortable preparing for them as if they were just regular PGA Tour events. Obviously they are elevated, but he said that's been a key for him. For you, having played in a handful of majors, as well, how does your preparation go now versus maybe when you first started teeing it up in majors?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, I think the first few majors I played in I sort of overdid the preparation. You're so excited to be here, so excited to be on this stage, and you can definitely wear yourself out, sort of peak too early in the week.
I've tried to take a more relaxed approach like I do week in and week out on the PGA Tour, probably similar to Mac. It's obviously a special event, but I think being smart about managing your energy, it's a long, demanding week once Thursday comes, so you want to be as fresh as possible.
Felt like last year at the PGA Championship at Kiawah, my preparation was really good. I got in there on Sunday and played nine holes every day. Trying to replicate that this year here at Southern Hills, and I feel like that is a pretty good recipe for me getting a little practice each day. Play nine holes and learn a lot about the course, work on the game but still stay fresh.
Q. Obviously your ball-striking is some of the best on the PGA Tour; is that going to be an asset for you specifically this week around this golf course?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, I think it's an asset week in and week out. I don't think you can look at a golf course and not think fairways and greens are going to be beneficial. But I think particularly here, particularly in the major championships, visually I love this golf course, and it's very demanding off the tee and into the greens. Fairways and greens are important, so I certainly like my good ball-striking attribute for this place.
Q. What attribute about a PGA Championship layout, Kerry Haigh, have you learned to enjoy in your first three goes or attempts here?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, the PGA Championship stands above a lot of events, and the golf courses are just spectacular. They're set up really fairly. But the venues are what make it difficult. They're historic venues and they just require you to hit good shots.
There's nothing really tricked up about the golf course. The rough is going to be challenging, but it's quite fair. You can potentially give yourself a shot to get it up near the green. You just have to hit good shots every single hole or you're going to find some challenging places.
I think from my experience as far as the setup, the best attribute that PGA Championships have are the fairness, but they're great tests.
Q. How much of an eye are you keeping on the Presidents Cup standings, and do you talk about it with Mac and Adam when you're out playing rounds?
COREY CONNERS: Haven't really talked with the other guys, Mac and Adam, about it much. It's certainly a huge goal of mine. I haven't really worried about my positioning too much.
It's just a matter of playing well, and that'll take care of itself. Prepare each week the best I can. This week I'm trying to prepare to get myself in the mix and win a golf tournament. I know if those good things happen, then I'll have a pretty good shot for the Presidents Cup team.
It would certainly be a thrill. It's a huge goal of mine to make that team. It would be even more thrilling to have those guys, Mac and Adam, or any of the other Canadians if they get really hot, on that team.
I know the golf fans in Canada are crazy about golf and will really get behind us and the international team.
It would be a thrill to be a part of and definitely even better with some other Canadians.
Q. In connection with this, and I kind of ask you the same question at every major, but it's a regular check on the status of Canadian golf. It keeps being at a high level. What's the reason for that?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, being a part of the Canadian golf right now is really exciting. There's so many up-and-coming players, and you're seeing more Canadians in the major championships. I think the guys before us definitely paved the way for us to be motivated to try and get to these events and have success.
A lot of credit to the development programs in Canada, Golf Canada and the national team. They've done a great job of fine-tuning all of our games and preparing us really well for professional golf and to have success and get into major championships.
Q. Talking about that, how excited are you about the Canadian Open being like full fledged again, being a big event again, and even with the distractions of other events on the other side of the Atlantic?
COREY CONNERS: Yeah, apart from the major championships, I don't know if I've been as excited for a golf event or a PGA Tour event in my life. I'm really excited to get back to Canada. It's been unfortunate that we haven't been able to get there the last couple years.
But I know the fans will be out in full force and supporting the Canadians, and hopefully we can put on a good show. But I'm really, really excited. I think it's going to be great for golf in Canada.
You have people more excited again. Great for the Golf Canada organization and RBC, the title sponsor, who's been great for Canadian golf. Very, very excited. It's going to be a fantastic event.
Personally I feel now like my game is a lot more refined, so I'm going to be teeing it up there with really high expectations of myself.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports