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May 10, 2023

Abraham Ancer

Eugenio Chacarra

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Cedar Ridge Country Club

Fireballs GC

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Let's welcome Abe Ancer, who hails from the University of Oklahoma, and Eugenio Chacarra, hailing from the OSU Cowboys, both of Fireballs GC.

Do you feel like this is a little bit of a home game for you both, even though you guys aren't really from here but having spent so much time in Oklahoma?

ABRAHAM ANSER: Absolutely, and I feel like also this stage just hungers for a big event. I think before the PGA Championship last year, there wasn't really a big, big tournament in the state. I think it's such a great crowd for golf. We're going to hear a lot of people supporting me and -- well, I'm surrounded this week. I think we've got five or six Pokes out here this week, but I'm going to try my best to beat them. But we can tie.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: I think he said everything. I think the state of Oklahoma deserves good fields, good tournaments, and there's going to be a lot of people. I hope the weather stays good. It can change really quick here around this area, so hopefully the weather stays up and we have a lot of crowd. It's going to be a fun week for sure.

Q. Having had a lot of experience playing Oklahoma golf courses, do you guys feel like you have a little bit of an advantage that pertains to the course conditions and the weather and kind of knowing what to expect out here?

ABRAHAM ANSER: For me, I don't think the courses are really that much different. This is a great golf course, tree-lined, you've got to be in the fairway. The thing is it can get pretty windy and it can get tricky with the tall trees. It can swirl a little bit; you can feel it from one side but it's really from another.

Other than that, I think there's certain golf courses in the state that are way, way different from other states in the U.S.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, playing with the wind we probably have a little more experience than other people, but it's just golf. It's a normal golf course. It's a great course, but probably having the people cheering for us will have some advantage there. But it's just golf, and the best guy that plays on Sunday will win.

Q. We hear about how much you guys loved playing college golf. The Fireballs are currently in third place in the team standings, and you guys took home a win in Tucson and second place in Singapore. You guys are playing awesome. How important is the team component to you guys at LIV Golf?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, super fun. I never played PGA TOUR or anything, so I came from college and college was the same thing. I feel like I love it. Having teammates, friends and someone to support and be happy when they do good, and even when you're not having a good week, trying to help your team in one round or something is huge, so it's such a fun format. It's fun for the people, and for me in Europe, Spanish people, they like more LIV Golf than the PGA TOUR. They're just supporting the team. They're supporting the guys, and they can watch it -- even though the guys are almost last, but they can help the team to raise a podium or get some points for the team. It's fun, it's great thing, and hopefully it keeps this way.

ABRAHAM ANSER: I think both Mexico and Spain are very passionate countries for sports, and especially for teams. They definitely identify a lot with following a team. Bringing this aspect into golf I think is really cool.

Also feeding from each other, trying to help each other out to be a better player, it's really unique. Obviously it's been a while since I played it. Before I joined LIV, I only played it in the Presidents Cup and obviously college. I definitely missed that feeling.

Then learning from Sergio who's been doing this for a while, not to say he's old, but he definitely has a lot of things to learn from. He's the guy that has really made the most points, I think, in Ryder Cup history. You can see how fired up he gets in the team sport.

Q. Geno, I asked the other guys this. I just was hoping you could take us back through the recruiting process and how you got to Oklahoma State, who was influential in your decision, that type of thing.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, being from Spain, it's always hard. I didn't go to the U.S. until I was 18. I had a long journey before I went to Oklahoma State. I was verbally committed to Stanford, never made my SAT, so obviously it wasn't an option.

I was lucky enough that Wake Forest got me pretty late to get a scholarship and play for them. I had a good year as a freshman at Wake Forest, but I was there and I knew -- I was watching Matthew Wolff making that 50 to win NCAAs and all the people in the crowd shouting and screaming, and I was like, man, that looks like Real Madrid soccer; I want to play for that team.

So I decided to get into the transfer portal, and I was lucky enough that I had a good year, and then Oklahoma State lost all these great players like Viktor Hovland, Kris Ventura, Wolffy, so all these guys left, so there was an open spot for me, so I got my chance, and I landed there.

I feel like without Oklahoma State I wouldn't be where I am right now. I learned so much. I feel it's an incredible program with incredible people, and you have everything you need to be successful in golf, so that's why there's a lot of names at Oklahoma State on every tour in the world.

Q. Were you thinking about OSU? Was that an option for you?

ABRAHAM ANSER: No, well, I went a little different route. Obviously I grew up in Mexico playing golf over there. I didn't really play many AJGA events as a little guy, and I didn't really get recruited at all.

Right after high school, I got recruited from Paul Chavez to Odessa Junior College, and it was a great opportunity for me to kind of get going and not just jump into a D-1 school. Thankfully I played really well that year, something clicked, got lucky that Coach Smart at the time, he was assistant to Coach Hybl, he was going to go watch another guy that I was playing with. By the end of the round he told Hybl, we've got to look at this guy, not the other guy.

After that, they just started the recruiting process, we started chatting, and thankfully I played really well throughout that year. We had other options, but OU was always there and then maybe enough where I couldn't refuse. I fell in love with the facilities, the people. It was a no-brainer for me. It was awesome.

Q. Geno, I have to ask, how many pairs of socks do you own?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: It's a good question. I've been loving socks since I was little. I played soccer when I was young, and everyone was wearing the same socks, so just to see a difference, like usually wore different socks, and now I've been doing it for a while. All my friends give me socks when they find some or they get a cool one, whatever they are, and buy me one. I pretty much I would say over 200 pair of socks.

I obviously have my favorites; the one that day when I play with them and I shoot low ones, they come back, and the ones that they don't have a good round, they probably never come back. But I have a lot. I love socks and think it's a cool thing to wear.

Q. What is your favorite pair?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: I have -- probably the ones I won in Bangkok, they're up there. I don't use them a lot; I don't want them to get broken quickly.

I've got a couple of colors, as well. I like one blue ones with like milk stuff and whatever. Then I've got one Carlos' son gave me that's like chiles that's pretty cool. I have a lot of favorites, but probably the ones from Bangkok, but they're resting at home for now.

Q. When you decide each morning what pair of socks you want to wear, how long does that process take?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: I actually decide when I'm packing to go to a tournament. I kind of like go with the colors I'm playing with the shirt.

ABRAHAM ANSER: You've got to match it.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, I've got to match it. If not, we've got Sergio who's probably going to give me s--- about my look or something like that.

I try to match the colors, and then obviously if I feel I'm playing good that tournament, I kind of always put an extra ones that they're lucky ones, and if I got a good start or I need a good round to help the team or good round to get into contention, I kind of pull out the lucky ones.

It's a thing I've been doing. It's a routine, and hopefully can be doing it for the rest of my life.

Q. Question for Abe. Did you ever think growing up golfing in Mexico, hitting a little white ball would lead you to be able to get drunk with Mark Wahlberg when you grew up?

ABRAHAM ANSER: There's a lot of things I never thought I was going to be able to do, growing up in Reynosa, and golf was definitely a dream to make it to a big stage. I don't think anybody has really done it from that region of my country.

Yeah, it's pretty surreal to step back and look at the things that I've accomplished. Sometimes I feel like I can be pretty tough with myself, but looking back at all that cool stuff that I've been getting to do and doing in and outside of golf, it's pretty surreal.

Q. When you're hanging out with Mark Wahlberg, are you just like, I did it, I've won? It doesn't even matter if I shoot a bad score this week; I've won?

ABRAHAM ANSER: You know what, he's such a laid-back, just a normal dude. He doesn't make it feel like, it's Mark Wahlberg. He's just another guy, we're just hanging out playing some golf, drinking some tequila, and he's just so easygoing. When you step back and look at it, yeah, I made it.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Great golfer and great businessman.

Q. Eugenio, as a fellow college dropout, I was just wondering, do you feel like you need to win on the LIV Tour to gets your parents' approval?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: No. I mean, winning is hard. You're playing against the best players in the world. I feel like just being here is something that I've been dreaming since I was little, being a pro golfer. I can tell you I would not give the college years back. I loved all the four years I was there.

I feel it's real important for kids to go there, to just experience everything, getting drunk on a Thursday, going drunk to workouts and coach got pissed and give you punishment. It's something you need to deal with; it's steps in life.

I feel like I had a great time. I learned a lot. I matured. Obviously I wanted to be a pro golfer as soon as possible, and winning in my fourth on LIV Golf, it was like a dream. I never thought it was real; that's why I didn't enjoy it as much as I needed to.

It's just fun to be out there. I feel like you need to do the college stuff. It's something that's a part of your life, like school is.

Getting on Tour, it's hard. There's a lot of things that needs to click, and winning is obviously really hard.

I'm proud of what I did. I know I have a lot of support back my team, my family, and obviously my college mates and coaches and everything. It's just a great opportunity, and I love it being here.

Q. Do you feel like if you put as much time into your socks as you did your college, you would have graduated?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: I actually graduated. I actually graduated. I actually finished my -- that was a big thing I had with my parents. It was like, okay, you're going to leave school one year early, but one of the conditions my mom said, I'll be fine with it, even though I don't like it, but you're going to finish and graduate and have a diploma.

Even though you saw I was winning in Bangkok, I remember that night I was doing exams. He can tell you. I couldn't go to dinners because I had essays and exams. It's something I told my parents I was going to do, and I'm proud to have my college degree from Oklahoma State and now playing professional golf.

Q. You briefly mentioned Sergio earlier. Is there one thing on or off the course that he's taught you that kind of sticks out?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: I think for me he's been like my second dad. He's helping me so much. I learned so much from him. He's always trying to help me. Just like the recently one, Abraham and Carlos told me, as soon as I start changing stuff, changing equipment and everything, and they sit down with me, and even though I didn't like to hear it, it was not what I wanted to hear at dinner, it's something I needed to hear.

Like they've been there for so much, and they're trying to help me, so they sit down with me and told me, all right, just stop doing what you're doing, just go back what you were playing, and then I did that in Singapore, and I had one of -- well, obviously the best week I had this year, but obviously what's my game.

They're always trying to teach me. Even Sergio has more experience than them, but these guys also have a lot of experience. They've been playing golf for a lot of years.

I'm very grateful for the opportunity Sergio gave me and Abraham and Carlos, teaching me all day, and I'm here just to learn as much as I can every day.

ABRAHAM ANSER: I feel like this is such a tough sport and lifestyle that you really have to understand what works for you, and if you have a mentor, for example, like Sergio, that has gone through a lot of stuff and just learned from golf and outside of golf, I think we've learned a lot.

You can see when somebody might be making a mistake and you can kind of like pull back and you want to let them figure it out by themselves, but also if you can stop it from something that will spiral down to take some time and it will probably hurt your game, like changing equipment when you're just searching for stuff, it's really cool to have a team around you to step in, like hey, look at what you did like three, four months ago with this equipment or whatever it is.

It's nice to hear it from somebody else sometimes. Whenever you're just playing somewhere else, you don't have that.

I definitely feel like we've learned quite a bit in this short amount of time, and we're just going to keep on learning.

I feel like I've been out here for a little while now. Seven, eight years is -- yeah, nine years as a pro, and I still have so much to learn. Having Sergio on the team is a great captain and teammate to really lean on.

Q. Abe, we've had Coach Hybl on our show numerous times; what's your favorite story from him or one that sticks out above the others?

ABRAHAM ANSER: Well, there's a lot of stories. I feel like now when I first got to OU, I was -- I think I was the first or second guy he recruited. He just got there, so he got the team and were not ranked as good as they are now, and I guess he had a lot of stress on his shoulders. He really wanted to turn it around, and he did.

But he was a scary guy back then. I feel like now he's mellowed out quite a bit and he's having a fun time because he's got a lot of good players and they're doing really good, so everything is clicking. Back then you didn't want to cross him.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: When they're not playing good, you can see his face.

ABRAHAM ANSER: Exactly. A good story is we were playing ping-pong in our locker room, and we get pretty heated matches, and I lost it for a second and I punched the refrigerator. There was a fridge right there, and I punched it, and I didn't think you were going to see my whole hand on the deal. I was like, ugh, golly. A bunch of my teammates were there, and I was like, we'll find out how good of a team this is. Don't say anything, please, and he came in, and was like, who did this. And I thought it was like somebody is going to say -- I was like, I should have said it at the time now that I think about it, but nobody said anything, and we all had to like do a pretty brutal workout session on that Friday.

The whole team did it and nobody said anything.

Five years after, I was like, Hybs, that was me on the fridge. He's like, I knew it, but nobody really said anything, and it proved that we had a really good team that I could lean on.

Q. Abe, you've been talking about OU. How has OU golf impacted your career up to this point coming to the LIV Tour?

ABRAHAM ANSER: Well, at the time it really prepared me I guess for the big stage. We were playing a really good schedule against the best players at that level, the college level. It really showed me what I needed to get better on, coming from Odessa and winning a bunch of tournaments and then I got to OU like this is not easy at all. I've got to work really hard, and it showed me really quickly. Also having Hybl and Coach Smart at the time and helping me out not really with my swing but just hey this is the areas where you need to get better at, I feel like it really showed me and prepared me to go to Q-school at the time and just to figure out what I needed to get better at.

Q. Eugenio, we're about a year from your decision to go to LIV. What's the adjustment been like?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: I mean, it's been awesome. Obviously playing good always makes it easier, but having these guys on my back and teaching me everything they're doing and they're helping me to get not just a better golfer, just a better person, something that I feel like has huge for me, and I've been loving it. I've been loving every second.

Even when I play terrible and when I play good, I'm loving it. I think it's the right decision for me, and I'm really proud of the decision I made, and like I said, I'm learning so much, and I don't feel I would learn this much in any other tours because, like Abe said, it's more individual and nobody -- they're just going there, playing and go home. Here you're just not playing by yourself, you're playing for a team.

Having that aspect and having guys to lean on when you're not having a good day or you're not feeling good or something is going to your head, talking to them about that because they deal with that before. He's been here nine years, Sergio has been there for 21, Carlos has been there for eight or nine years, as well. So they're been in my position sometimes.

Having them helping me is something that I feel like I wouldn't have anywhere else, and it's something that really helped me to probably get the win quick and be able to play with these guys at the same level week after week.

Q. Have either of you played here before?


Q. What's your thoughts on the course?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, I got lucky enough that I played a couple times here with the team. When Karsten Creek has a tournament or something, we'd try to go, we played Southern Hills, we played here, we played also in Oklahoma City or whatever. I got lucky enough that I played here twice and I feel it's a great course.

Like Abe said, it's not a very long course, but it's a course that you need to place the ball pretty good, and if you don't, the rough is going to get real nasty, the greens are going to get firm, hopefully a little firmer and they're quick. They're small greens, small sections, and it's going to be a good test. I feel overall it's a great golf course. It's going to test every shot in your bag. It's going to feel like it's a fair course. The guy that plays the best is going to win on Sunday.

I'm excited to be here, excited for having a big event and big field in Oklahoma because they deserve it, and I don't think there's a better course in Tulsa to get a tournament like this.

ABRAHAM ANSER: Yeah, for me, this is the first time I'm here. I've only played the back nine. I'm going to play the front nine today.

I like golf courses like this. I'm a big fan of tree-lined, old school, small greens, somewhere you have to shape the ball. It's like playing kind of like checkers in a way. You're not just stepping on the tee and just hitting driver every single time and trying to smash it. I really enjoy the golf course layout. I think it's great.

Hopefully the weather holds on. It looks a little sketchy. But it's always like that in Oklahoma this time of year.

Crossing my fingers for it to be fine just like today, and just excited to be here. I can't wait to get started.

Q. You were obviously here last year for the PGA. Did you ever envision that you guys would be coming back here for what is hopefully a yearly stop, and what is it about Tulsa that lines up with all these other big worldwide stops that makes you think this is a place that could stick year in and year out?

ABRAHAM ANSER: Yeah, for me the PGA Championship was a great experience, a golf course that I played once or twice while I was at OU, and I fell in love with that golf course. It was a great venue. I thought it was really, really tough. It was absolutely packed, and a lot of support. It was weird, I wasn't expecting that much support. But I feel like that's what Oklahoma does. I think alumni are really passionate about supporting whoever came out of OU or OSU. I had a great time, and I would have never envisioned me playing a LIV event in Tulsa, but I love it. I think it's a great spot to have an event like this. We have six guys that went to school in this state, or seven guys, and I feel like Tulsa is going to really enjoy this tournament.

Q. Eugenio, you were talking about your transition straight why college to LIV. You're pretty much closer to those college guys than really anybody out here. Do you think in the future we'll see more guys do what you did, the top players, and what would you tell them about that experience and that process?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, I mean, obviously the PGA TOUR University are doing a lot of change because the No. 1 guy that's in the ranking left, so they obviously don't want that to happen.

It's going to be hard to get the top ranking players. There's always an option. I feel like LIV Golf is the best spot to go after college, just not because of money. But like what people are saying, everything is talking about money and money and money, and I get tired of that. I feel like we're playing against the best players in the world. We want to beat them. We want to learn from them.

Like I said before, you're just learning a lot, and you have guys on your team that they're helping you. That doesn't happen on the PGA TOUR.

For me and for us, the PGA TOUR or other tours, we were never members there or we never made money there or anything, so they can't ban you or whatever they're saying. I don't know what's the situation; I'm kind of tired of all of that.

I would just say we're normal golfers. We want to play golf. We love golf. We want to beat each other, and we're getting better and we actually -- I know a lot of people try harder here than they did on the PGA TOUR. It's just an awesome tour.

It's a learning process, and it's a good thing that you can also make money. It's just a great spot, and I'm really proud and thankful for LIV Golf to give me the opportunity to be here.

Q. How has LIV evolved since you first got there as far as maybe people accepting it, and then obviously a lot of fans this week from Oklahoma, and for you, Abe, and for OU and OSU fans to be out here, what would you tell them to expect coming out to a LIV event for the first time?

ABRAHAM ANSER: Yeah, I just think most of the negativity you see just on social media, not people that really show up to an event and go enjoy golf.

I see a lot of people that I go to an event, it was like, well, that was a lot of fun, and they come back. The tournaments that have been overseas, for example, Australia, that was unbelievable. That was an insane tournament. It was packed every single day and every single hole.

I absolutely loved it. It felt like a really big-time event. You started to see that a little more in the States. I feel like it's just -- like I said, it's just the noise of social media, but people that are true just golf fans and they want to go enjoy a good time and watching some good golf, they go to an event, they're like, it's a different product but it's definitely really cool.

I don't feel like you need to pick sides. You just watch golf. You have another option to watch golf. Come check it out, and people that have, they probably come back. It's just a good product.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, I feel like what he said. It's all about social media and people that they don't even know anything, they're just saying stuff and people believe it. We're just playing golf. I promise you, I got lucky enough that I played some amateur events on the PGA TOUR, and it's just golf. It's the same thing. Guys want to play good, you want to play good for your team now, obviously, but it's just golf.

People are going to watch golf, and the good thing here, you can enjoy music, you can be loud and you can pretty much do whatever you want. It's more fun, and like I said, all my family and friends and people that I know, they actually enjoy LIV Golf way better than the other tour. We have a great product and hopefully it can stay like this for a long time.

Q. I see a new logo on your sleeve there, Akron. Can you talk about what that company is, what deal you signed with them? Is that exclusive to Fireballs? What's the scoop?

ABRAHAM ANSER: Well, I think that's a better question for the captain since he manages all the team stuff.

But yeah, I'm proud to have a company like Akron, 100 percent Mexican company, two Mexican guys on the team. We actually just did an event with them in Mexico this past weekend. We went as a team to go watch Canelo fight. They sponsor the stadium there, as well, and they sponsored the fight. It was a lot of fun. We're also going to do another event in Guadalajara, another tournament in November that it's going to be really cool.

It's really neat to see companies like that jump on board and support the team. They're all in. The short amount of time, they're been extremely supportive. We started at Mayakoba if I'm not mistaken, and I don't know what else to tell you.

I met every single person really involved in the company I feel like, and yeah, they're incredible.

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, we love the support, and we are very thankful for the support. I feel like we'll represent the brand like we need to, and hopefully they can be with the Fireballs and with us for a long time.

Q. You guys are teammates now, of course, but when you moved to Oklahoma, when did you realize "Bedlam" was such a big deal?

EUGENIO CHACARRA: Yeah, it's like big rivalry. Obviously between the schools there's a big rivalry. But I feel like it's a nice rivalry. We both support -- like not support, but we know they're as good as we are and just there's competition. It's nice to have competition. I always say it's like Real Madrid and Barcelona, just two great teams, and the guy -- you obviously want to beat them because you know they're as good as you, but it's just life. In my case when I played college golf and we played against OU, it was such a fun week. There's so much competition on the course, and when the ball just finished, there was such a nice ambiance. We're really friends to all of them, we support all of them and we were close. It's real nice thing, but obviously you want to beat them. It's a big rivalry but it's just nice to have them.

ABRAHAM ANSER: I think if you look at it overall, sports in history, OU is way better. But absolutely. But no, for example, when I got there at OU, what they've done -- OSU, what they've done in their golf program is incredible. They've produced a ton of incredible golfers. Year after year they were always up there and they were the team to beat, and we had to go chase them down. I think Hybl has done a tremendous job. They're winning Big 12 championships, they're winning national championships, and they're out there really -- head-to-head it's been incredible.

But the rivalry is pretty sweet. I think Bedlam is such -- I think it's always a really crazy game, too. It doesn't matter who's ranked where. It always ends up going back and forth. I wish we could play a little defense on both ends, but I didn't know much about football, and now I'm all in. I don't miss any single game.

The rivalry between OSU and OU and Texas are just so much fun. I truly enjoy that. I know for the rest of my life I'm going to watch those games.

Q. Abe, of all the differences between LIV and other professional golf tours, which are your favorites?

ABRAHAM ANSER: The differences? Well, the obvious one is just the team aspect. I really enjoy that. I feel like adding that layer to tournaments, it's just more fun for watch to people and for us, too, as competitors. You're still playing your own ball. You're still playing for yourself. But knowing that your score can make a difference not only for you but for the team, I truly enjoy that. That being the most obvious answer, I would have to pick that one. It's just a lot of fun.

Q. Do you like that the crowd is a little louder, things are a little bit looser out here?

ABRAHAM ANSER: I like that because I like the music, too. I feel like in other tours everything is really quiet and there's definitely some low noises that might distract you and you kind of like step back, what was that. But with the contact music, you don't really hear the little things. You're just having a good time. Obviously we're focused, people are having a good time outside the ropes and you're not really getting that distracted. You're hearing the music and that's it.

I was used to it. I always practiced with a little speaker, so I'm used to playing with music.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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