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August 29, 2008

John Merrick


Q. Just a couple keys to the round, obviously highlighted by the third shot here at 18.
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, it's just the kind of round you wish you could play every day. I hit it well and made some putts, and I probably would have been happy with a two-putt there on 18, but it snuck in. Just made already a good round better.

Q. What do you think were the keys, some of the highlights? Obviously the eagle at 18.
JOHN MERRICK: I made some long putts today. I hit the ball well, but I mean, that's probably, I don't know, a 40-, 50-footer there, maybe a 40-footer there, and I made another long one on the 6th hole today. Whenever you can make some long putts, it's pretty nice.

Q. How about the course conditions? Is it suited to your game?
JOHN MERRICK: I think so. Yeah, there's some decent roll off the tee. You've got to still drive it really well. The greens are rolling great. They're just perfect bent greens. Those are always great to putt on.

Q. A lot of you guys are just eating the course up. I don't know if you've seen, Weir is 9-under.
JOHN MERRICK: There's no wind today. That's the main thing. There's no wind, and the fairways are rolling, so that's kind of shortening the golf course a little bit. That's the main thing. The greens are firm but they're not really firm.

Q. That you're here in the tournament says that you're obviously playing well.
JOHN MERRICK: Overall, yeah.

Q. Are you happy with the way you're playing?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah. I think all year, especially second half of the year, my ball-striking has been real consistent, and it's just the days, whether I make the putts or not. Today I made most of my putts that I should have.

Q. What did you hit your second shot into 18?
JOHN MERRICK: 5-iron. I had 205 to the pin and about -- it was a little downwind, so that's pretty much a max 5-iron for me. I think it landed right on the front edge and just kind of shot forward there.

Q. And lastly, no changes in strategy tomorrow?
JOHN MERRICK: No. I mean, I'll be playing obviously five hours earlier, so it might be -- the greens might be a little softer, which might be nice, shoot at a couple more flags. But overall I know I'd like to play like that every day the rest of my career (laughing).

Q. 64, obviously the course is opening up for low numbers. What made the course so gettable today?
JOHN MERRICK: I think there was just no wind. Whenever we play out here with no wind, it just takes so much out of pulling clubs. You just pull a club and shoot it at the flag, and there's no real thing affecting your ball. I think that's the biggest thing today. There's just no wind.

Q. With five birdies, one eagle, no bogeys, did you sense you were in a zone of some sort today?
JOHN MERRICK: I feel really comfortable. I've only been here once. I played one practice round. It's my first time here, so during the practice round I loved the golf course. Yeah, I just felt comfortable all day. I was playing out there with Dean and Steve Elkington and we had a good time and shot a good score today.

Q. You jumped approximately 25 spots because of your finish at Barclays. As of right now, being T2, if you stay in contention, you'd get in the Top 30 at week's end. What's going through your mind? Are you thinking about that?
JOHN MERRICK: It's pretty amazing, the point swings, how it's set up this year different from last year. I'm just trying to focus on each day. There's so many days left, and I'm going to go out tomorrow and try to do the same thing I did today.

Q. You're still a younger player relative to the TOUR, but every great player was in your position at one point and they go through the growing pains. What do you feel like your comfort level is like now being on TOUR?
JOHN MERRICK: It's a lot different from when I was -- this is my second year out here, so I've played about 50 or so tournaments out here on TOUR, and every week you try to learn and try to get more comfortable. I feel like I'm doing that, and I feel like my game is getting better and more consistent, and that's all you can ask for, just try and get better.

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