May 24, 2023
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
THE MODERATOR: Sam, thanks for joining us for the Charles Schwab Challenge, defending champion. How do you feel going into this week and being the defending champion?
SAM BURNS: I'm obviously very excited to be back here. A lot of really good memories from last year, and even memories as a kid. We were just talking about David Toms, and I remember being here in 2011 when he won. I can remember a lot of the shots that he hit that day.
This was always an event that I grew up coming to as a kid, so it's really special.
THE MODERATOR: What does it mean, he's up in Frisco this week, you're here? I was with him when you guys won on the same day. Just that relationship and the opportunity to do it again.
SAM BURNS: I think for me that was my golf idol growing up. I was fortunate to get to spend a lot of time with him and his family. He's always been so gracious to me with questions that I asked him or just little things here and there.
I feel like he's a big part of why I play golf, why I'm out here. So I think our relationship is really cool, and also to be really good friends with his son makes it even better.
THE MODERATOR: Going into this week, you already have one win this season as a defending champion, what is it about this course that sets up your game so well?
SAM BURNS: I love this golf course. It's very similar to a golf course that I grew up on, kind of small, tree-lined. It's very penal in certain spots.
I think for me it almost -- it kind of makes me focus a little more on the shots you're trying to hit. I think I like that aspect of it. Just, I don't know, I guess it fits my eye a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously not the week you wanted last week. This week going in with a different mindset. Have you met Michael Block? What do you think about his experience and what he brings to this game?
SAM BURNS: I think honestly it was kind of nice having a couple days to rest before this week. I think that was much needed. Thankful that I was able to have that.
Yeah, his experience, what a week for him. I think it was so cool for all of us to watch him have that opportunity, then to play as well as he did. I think it will be really special for him to look back on that week for a long, long time.
THE MODERATOR: This course, it's no secret. It's going to undergo huge renovations. What are your thoughts on that and what it means to the TOUR and this tournament?
SAM BURNS: This is a classic golf course. I think the membership, from everyone I've talked to, is really excited about what they're doing. I'm really excited to see kind of how it unfolds.
I know that they're going to treat this place with care and not do anything to mess up what a great piece of property that they already have. So I'm really excited to see the changes that are going to be made.
Q. Sam, I know that last year you and Scottie obviously were in the playoff, and you guys are pretty good friends off the course, if I understand correctly. What did it mean for you guys to have that moment together on that 18th hole in that kind of environment?
SAM BURNS: Yeah, that actually ended our friendship. No, I'm just kidding.
It was fun. I've talked about it a little bit before. It's a unique situation in the sense that we're such good friends but also having to compete against each other. I think at the end of the day, we both want to beat each other. We both want to win. But at the same time, after it's all said and done, we can be happy for each other and congratulate and celebrate with one another.
Q. How do you approach these weeks right after playing in a major championship? Are there challenges to that, or are there benefits? Kind of how do you tackle that?
SAM BURNS: Yeah, that's a good question. I think for me I try to just take each week as itself. I try to prepare just for this event and not really think about next week or last week, just try to be as prepared as I can be tomorrow when I tee off.
I think it can be challenging at times, but it's something that I think the longer that I do this, the more I realize how present you have to be for each week.
Q. Sam, golf obviously went through a pretty significant upheaval last year. It's basically a year later. Do you feel like it's kind of settled down or the sport is still sort of figuring itself out, so to speak, of where this all fits and coexists?
SAM BURNS: Yeah, I would say it definitely seems like it has settled. I feel like the PGA TOUR is in one of the best places it's ever been for the future of the game. I'm really excited to see kind of the trajectory of the rest of this season and next year with the new schedule.
I think the game of golf is in a great place. I feel like there's a lot of really good players playing on this TOUR, and I'm excited and honored that I get to compete against them every week.
Q. Other than the four times that you all are together in majors, do you pay any attention to what's going on with LIV Golf Tour, who's winning, who's doing anything, who's doing what? Do you pay any attention to that?
SAM BURNS: I do not, no.
Q. Sam, any good burnout stories with the Schwab Firebird?
SAM BURNS: Yeah, maybe. I'll keep it to myself.
Q. When you look at all of your wins on TOUR and you think about last year and getting to beat Scottie, but doing it on this course, how do you rank this win compared to others?
SAM BURNS: I think for starters it's very difficult to win out here. Like I said, there's so many good players and so many guys that are capable of winning. I don't know how I'd rank it.
I think this event is extremely special to me just because I grew up going to this event as a kid and watching so many guys win here. I always thought it was such a cool golf course, and I always wanted to be a part of it. I just wanted to play in it.
Then to have the chance to win and be able to do that, it means so much to me and still does. I think about this week often. Hopefully I get to have that opportunity again. But I'm very thankful that this week happened last year.
Q. Sam, as a Fort Worth resident who's followed this tournament for a long time, I know there are a lot of tournaments that fall into this category where they're concerned about how they can get top players to want to come to their tournament if it's not a major or it's not an elevated designation. How can these tournaments, especially the ones that their schedule is kind of a challenge because they're sandwiched with one of the majors or the Memorial. How can they get top players to come here if they don't have those qualifications?
SAM BURNS: Yeah, I think this is a place that a lot of guys enjoy coming here. They enjoy this golf course. The fans are awesome here. Everybody involved in this tournament is great, and I think that speaks volumes for this event, this area.
I think these type of tournaments that have been around for a long time that guys have a ton of respect for, I don't think it necessarily matters a whole lot where they fall on the schedule, like guys want to come play this event.
I know it's in a little bit of a weird part of the schedule this year with the way the majors fall, but I think going forward guys have a ton of respect for this event, and I think they'll make it a priority to be here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports