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January 25, 2009

John Merrick


JOE CHEMYCZ: Like to thank John Merrick for joining us here in the interview room. John with a final round 67 today, chasing down first Steve Stricker, and then Pat Perez.
Just talk a little bit about the adventure out there and we'll open it up for some questions. But your thoughts and your feelings about a very difficult day.
JOHN MERRICK: I'm really happy with today. I started out eight back and we figured waking up this morning, looking outside, it was going to be another birdiefest, going to be 62s and 63s, but then the wind just came out of nowhere and it kind of changed the whole tournament, really. If you put up a good score when it's windy like that, you can move up a lot.
So it really worked out for me in that way, and then again, I played great today. I hit some great shots. I got a really lucky break on 16, and things kind of went my way today, kind of until the end.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Leaderboard watching? Were you aware of what everybody was doing?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, I like to watch the leaderboards. I was looking pretty much all back nine just kind of seeing what -- how everyone was playing and kind of what did I need to do coming in.

Q. Thoughts on the tee ball on 16 when it was in the air.
JOHN MERRICK: Right in the water. Yeah. It was -- I made a lot of great swings today, and it was very windy and very tough out there, and I was definitely -- I felt like I made probably two or three bad swings today, and that was one of them. And right when I hit it, I knew it was in the water. I just -- it's either I'm making bogey or maybe worse on that hole.
Then I get -- that's probably one of the luckiest breaks I've ever seen.

Q. You kind of answered the question, which is, is this a great day because you came close to wining from so far back, or is it disappointing that you were tied for the lead at one point and didn't make the shots down the stretch?
JOHN MERRICK: It's both. It's both. Starting the day, I didn't really think I had a chance. I was just trying to put up a good round and see what happens. But when you get that close, you kind of get a taste of it, you want to pull it off and finish it off. But it just didn't work out that way.

Q. You mentioned you were watching the leaderboard on the back nine. Do you feel like maybe for the last few holes watching the leaderboard, that got you out of rhythm a lit bit?
JOHN MERRICK: I did. I've been in or around the lead in TOUR events a couple times, so I feel like I'm still kind of learning. And I possibly could have slowed my routine down a little bit. I think I got a little quick. On kind of the last three holes, I didn't -- maybe I didn't go through my whole process like I was during the whole day, and that could have hurt me.
But it was playing tough out there. And I think I made two bogeys today, and that's not bad out there in that wind. So what can you do?

Q. To follow-up on getting quick on the last three holes, the two chip shots you kind of hit past a little bit, were there some nerves involved there?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, I was a little nervous, definitely, coming down at the end. There's obviously some trouble out there and, no, I was feeling it. The blood was flowing. Most of the time, if you really concentrate, it helps you when the blood's flowing, and you're nervous, and sometimes you hit some of the best shots you don't think you can hit in those situations. And I did that a lot today.
And I kind of -- it hasn't sunk in yet. My coach and I talk about this for the whole year and talk about it, and learn from it. So hopefully, next time I can make that birdie on 16, make par on 17, and make birdie on 18, so...

Q. Talk about the approach shot on 18. You had seen a couple other guys hit it in the water, and then you have to hit it?
JOHN MERRICK: It's such a tough shot because the pin's right on a down slope. Your ball's going to land on a down slope if you go at the flag. And the wind's blowing away from the lake. And basically, the line that you need to take is almost at the water, almost. You almost feel like you're hooking it in the water. It's just, you have to hit an amazing shot to get it close to that flag.
JOE CHEMYCZ: What did you hit?
JOHN MERRICK: 6-iron. I think I had 210 to the pin, so it was a little helping, but the way the wind was going, it's just a very difficult shot.

Q. Did you see Pat's shot on 18?
JOHN MERRICK: I did. I watched it when I was signing my scorecard, so I guess it's not as bad. Maybe he saw I made par, and he was like, Well, I just got to get it over the water now, so congrats to him.

Q. What's the one thing that you're going to take from this week?
JOHN MERRICK: I can handle it. I can handle being around the lead, and if I just fine tune a couple things, I can win next time. And I'm definitely going to learn from it. You try to learn from every round you play. And I'm going to definitely take a positive from this, and especially when I came from eight back. It's not like I had a three-shot lead or whatever. So I gave it my best shot, and I'll definitely learn from it.

Q. What was the toughest part about the wind today?
JOHN MERRICK: It kept changing directions.

Q. Somewhere around 9 and 10, it was going one way, and then later it was going another.
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, it changed directions 15 times today. I stood there on 11, and on the par-5 11, there was a ruling up on the green, and I threw some grass, and it went down 10 yards. And then there's still the ruling a minute later, I throw it up and it goes 10 yards behind me. So it was wild.

Q. Did it change much in intensity once it started going or was it up-and-down?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, it blew, and it would stop and kind of -- it's a really an uneasy feeling when the wind is like that all day.

Q. Are you friendly with Pat?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, we played a couple times. He's a good guy and a great player, and, obviously, he is kind of the front-runner all week, and he played great. So he deserves to win, definitely.

Q. What other events on the West Coast do you plan on playing in?
JOHN MERRICK: I was planning on playing FBR next week, and San Diego, and then probably take Pebble off.

Q. What about Northern Trust?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah. I'm going to play there. Yeah. Riviera. Yeah.
JOE CHEMYCZ: John, thank you.
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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