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June 14, 2010
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA
PETE KOWALSKI: Good morning, folks. We would like to welcome Scott Langley from St. Louis, Missouri, who is our NCAA individual champion from 2010 and he won the one spot in qualifying in St. Louis on July 7. I guess we'll just open it up quickly, Scott, and say thank you for coming, but this has got to be probably at the top of your golf experiences. Give us a little insight on that.
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah, well, for me obviously qualifying out here is a big opportunity for me. I came really close to qualifying for Bethpage and actually missed it by two, so to come back this year and play as well as I did in the qualifier is a good boost for me.
Obviously getting out here is very special. I couldn't have probably drawn it up any better than to pick my, not only my first Major, but my first professional event to be out here. So yeah, it's pretty special.
PETE KOWALSKI: So you officially turned professional.
SCOTT LANGLEY: No, no, I'm an amateur. But my first event on this stage. So I'm an amateur.
PETE KOWALSKI: That's what I thought. The NCAAs, winning that, pretty special. What came together for you there at the Honors Club?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Well it was a special week for me. I think the week as a whole was still a disappointment because our team did not make it to match play. But still for me it was a very big week in my career and everything kind of came together.
It was a season for me where I came really close a lot to winning, but never seemed to be able to pull it off in the end. And to finally string three good round together and on that stage against those players was really special. It's something that I'll always cherish and nobody can take it away from me.
PETE KOWALSKI: Has the good play that you had at the NCAA's continued into your practice sessions and what you've been doing to prepare for Pebble Beach?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah. Lately I've been working really hard and the whole spring I've really have been working at it pretty good and it is finally starting to show some signs here in the later part of year for me, the college season, and then starting here in the summer.
I feel like I've been getting a little better every day and that showed at NCAAs as well at, obviously, the qualifier for this. So I feel good about my game, I feel good about my chances to make an impact on this tournament, even though I am an amateur and it is my first one.
I feel comfortable with the golf course, I played yesterday and it is very challenging, but I think it's set up very fair and it's something that I think can suit my game. I don't hit it overly long, but I try and build my game around accuracy and just playing smart golf. So I think that hopefully I can have a good week.
PETE KOWALSKI: Questions, please.
Q. Does this course seem recognizable from 2006 when you played here in the Champions Tour event, The First Tee Open, and what tees did you guys play? What's that setup like versus this week?
SCOTT LANGLEY: It was set up a lot differently, obviously. The course looks a little, pretty similar because obviously it's the same, but the fairways have been moved and narrowed I think in some spots and even widened in some spots to bring more of the hazards into play, especially the ocean side holes.
So it is a different test for sure. The greens are a lot firmer, playing obviously longer distances, and the greens are faster. But yeah, it's, I think it's nice for me coming back because I think whenever you play here there's kind of a "wow factor" you have to kind of get over it before you can really focus in and just focus on playing golf.
This place is so special and it's been, I mean the history here is almost unparalleled in golf and coming here just the first time you're so taken back with everything and for me it's nice that that's already happened and now I can just come here and focus on playing golf and, yes, I'll be distracted by the scenery a little bit, but it's nice to be able to just to be able to focus on what I need to do.
But, yeah, the course is set up a lot different, but I think I've improved over the past three or four years since the last time I played here. So it's set up very nice.
Q. Was there a "wow" when you saw like the 13th tee or something like that and you're thinking, I did not play it this way, this hole played much differently the last time I was here?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah. A few holes looked a lot different. I guess the first one that comes to mind is number 18. Obviously they really moved the fairway over to the left and they shaved down the bank or the rough on the left side, so everything runs to the ocean if you hit it left. But there's a lot of holes like that that play differently now.
Playing yesterday I did notice quite a few holes that looked a little different and that will play different for the tournament.
Q. When you hear the phrase "U.S. Open", what does that evoke? What are the U.S. Open memories you had in your life just having watched it?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Like you said, most memories are from TV watching these guys that I'm playing against this week, facing the challenge that the U.S. Open presents. You hear U.S. Open, obviously it's very special, but for me if I'm going to give myself the best chance to play well I need to treat it like any other event. Just really need to do the same things that I've been doing all year and stick to my routine and hopefully it will pay off.
But, yeah, to know that I'm playing in the U.S. Open is a special achievement for me.
Q. Is there a favorite U.S. Open memory just having watched it? What sticks out in your mind when you think of the U.S. Open?
SCOTT LANGLEY: I remember watching Tiger at Torrey when he made that putt on the last hole to make it into the Monday playoff. That's one mindful distinct memories from watching the U.S. Open.
Also watching Tiger play out here in 2000 was an incredible performance. Yeah, a couple instances watching it on TV. I've actually never even been to a U.S. Open to watch, so it's nice to be able to play in one.
Q. Wanted to ask you about 8, 9, 10. Obviously the fairways are cut a little bit differently. Talk about how you played those in your practice round and how difficult are those holes right now, 8, 9, and 10 right along the water.
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah, well 8 really it just changes your line off the tee. You got to play more right and take on the hazard a little bit more. But still it's, you're hitting a long iron, so it's really the second shot that makes that hole. And the second shot is a little different because you're coming in at a different angle, but it's still pretty much the same.
No. 9, since the last time I played they added about 40 or 50 yards I think to the tee shot. So that plays a lot different because yesterday I didn't even make it down the hill, I was right up on top and I think I had a 5-iron into the green. So that plays differently.
Number 10, I actually think they might have widened that fairway to bring the hazard more into play on the right. It seemed really wide when I got out there yesterday and that might have been what they had done.
But those holes are quite a challenge. I start on 10 for the tournament, so that will be a good starting hole to try and get out good, get a good solid par or birdie under my belt.
Q. Who were the influences on you growing up getting into the game and if there weren't influences, who were some of the professional players that you followed along the way? What got you into the game of golf?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Sure. My parents started me when I was five. They just gave me a set of clubs and said if you like it, then go ahead and do it and if you don't want to, then you don't have to. I think that was really important to not have it forced on me. And not have them so controlling over everything that I did.
I played a lot of different sports when I was little. I just kind of picked golf when I got to high school and realized that that was probably what I had the best chance of doing well in. I'm not very tall, so basketball was out. I'm not very fast, so soccer and track was out. So golf was the best fit for me.
And now I guess looking back I had a lot of good influences on myself growing up. My instructor growing up was Helen Kurtin, Family Golf Center in Kirkwood and then I recently have been seeing Brian Fogt at Bellerive Country Club off and on and obviously my coach Mike Small at Illinois has obviously helped me a lot. And all three of those coaches have really shaped the player that I am today and I owe a lot to them.
I guess a player that I look up to the most out here is probably Steve Stricker. Just the way he conducts himself -- and he's an Illinois grad, so I got to meet him a couple times -- and I really like the way that he just he handles himself on the golf course and he's obviously a great player, so I like to model my game after him. I'm just kind of a guy that plots along and plays really steady golf but is right there every time.
Q. As I recall Coach Small was also in the Open at one time. Did he give you any words of wisdom heading into this one for you?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah, well he said that, I mean so far just to pace myself, really. And I learned that that can be hard when I'm out here and I'm so excited to play at Pebble Beach.
But this week I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time on the golf course to prepare. But I know that I'm going to take it slow and pace myself and not rush into it too much and try and play 36 a day, because the goal is to play well in the tournament.
So his advice has helped already. He's showed me that I need to make sure that I don't play too much, even though I might want to. But, yeah he's given me some good advice and hopefully it will pay off.
Q. Did any Coach Small or any people in your family, who did you bring with you? Anybody come with you to support you out here?
SCOTT LANGLEY: I brought just about everybody from the USA, I think.
No, I have so many people with me, and it's pretty cool to have not only all of my family, a lot of my family at least, but some friends, some of my teammates are out. My caddie and his family, my girlfriend and her family, I have a lot of people coming. And it's really cool to know that I'm going to have that many people pulling for me and following me out here as far as it is from home. All my parents and my brother, my aunt and uncle, my grandpa, my friends, everybody. I got a lot of people coming.
PETE KOWALSKI: Usually with an amateur not having a schedule where you have a regular caddie, how did you make your choice and who was your caddie. Talk about your relationship.
SCOTT LANGLEY: My caddie's name is Will Dierinzo. Him and I met in high school we played in a golf tournament in St. Louis, he went to one of our rival high schools, a school we played against a lot. And we played some golf together in high school and then he became the assistant golf professional at a course that I kind of grew up at in Saint Louis and so we played a lot of golf together.
And now he's down at the Patriot Club in Tulsa, a new golf course down there, which is, it's really special itself. And he's been caddieing for me about three years, I would say, and caddied for me in sectionals, so I figured we would keep the good mojo going.
Q. Given the fact that you are an amateur playing in this tournament and there's such a great history of amateurs playing in the U.S. Open, not only across all the opens that have been played, but also especially here at Pebble Beach, how do you feel that your place is in that? How does it feel to be an amateur and be carrying on that great tradition?
SCOTT LANGLEY: It's special. To look at not only all the amateurs that played in this in the past and know that I'm part of that list, but also this tournament. There's only, there's less than a dozen, there's probably less than 10 that are in this field and to know that I'm one of them is a pretty cool honor.
Amateur golf is very important to me. And it's something that I intend on sticking with for awhile. People have asked me, "Are you going to turn pro, what are you going to do?" And I told them that, without even any hesitation, "Not yet."
I want to play in the Walker Cup in a year and a half and that's something that's on the top of my list of goals and that's something that I really want to follow through on. And, yeah, amateur golf is very special to me and I know that this tournament has a rich history with amateurs and guys playing in it. So it's special.
Q. I wanted to ask you about your sectional qualifying, and correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there only one spot available in your sectional and did you consider different sectionals that to possibly play in and why did you pick that one where basically it's one spot for I think it was like 14 or 15 players?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah, it was 19 for one, I think. I think that was the number of guys that were in mine. But, yeah, looking at the sectionals this year I had a couple options. I could have gone to one of the TOUR sites and taken my chances there with a lot more spots, but at the same time a lot of TOUR guys, a lot of good players.
So the one actually near my house was at a course that I played really well on in the past and that I actually played a lot on. So I wanted to take advantage of that. And the experience I've had at this golf course that I qualified on and wanted to make sure that, I mean, one, I got to stay at home, so that was nice. And two, that I just played a course that I was comfortable on.
And in the end it ended up working out for me. Even though it might have been risky going in knowing I had to win, but I think -- I kind of took that on as a good challenge and just kind of a mental challenge, really. Because I think it's tough to win when you know you have to. But to be able to go in and knowing that and then come out on top is a boost, sure.
Q. Obviously you're playing very well right now after just winning NCAA, but this is the U.S. Open, which is the toughest test in golf. How do you, what are your expectations or how do you approach this week from a goal standpoint?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Well, I don't have any expectations, really. I'm just going to try and have the most fun that I can and really enjoy the experience and take it one shot at a time and not get too wrapped up in the tournament. The prestige of this event. I'm just going to try and play golf like I normally do and we'll see how it turns out.
My initial goal is to obviously make the cut. But I'm going to play to win. And I think if I play to win it will be easier to make the cut. So I'm just going to try and give myself the best shot to compete well in this tournament. I think that's playing smart golf and playing like I normally do. But, yeah, I have no expectations. It is my first one so, it's hard to know how I'll finish, but just try and have fun.
Q. You grew up in the Tiger generation, he's been a force here for most of your golf life, what impact did he have on you and your peers, what do you guys say about Tiger?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Oh, he's had a huge impact. Me and my friends will tell each other a lot of the times that we won't even usually watch a golf tournament unless Tiger's in it because he's so exciting to watch. I'm a little different because I like to watch some other guys too, like Stricker and some other guys.
But I mean Tiger has really revolutionized the game and made it cool for kids my age. I know that I was a counselor for The First Tee for a couple years in St. Louis and just seeing the amount of kids that came out because they saw Tiger Woods on TV, come and play golf, you know, golf was never, even when I was growing up when I was young, like before Tiger started winning as much as he has, it wasn't the coolest thing to do. And then all my friends played basketball, soccer, baseball, and all that stuff. And I did too, but I was really the only golfer in my group of friends. But now everybody comes up to me like, "Oh you play golf, well that is awesome, I love golf." So I think a lot of that is owed to Tiger. Sure.
Q. You just mentioned that you were a counselor for The First Tee, having been a part of The First Tee Open out here when you came a couple years ago, how does that make you, how, what are your feelings behind that, how does that make you feel playing the tournament and then being able to bring your experience back to The First Tee in St. Louis?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah, well, it's really come full circle for me. To come here and play in that event and then come back years later and play in the U.S. Open, I mean, if you would have asked me back then that I was going to play in the next U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, I mean it would have blown my mind. I would have no idea what to think about it.
But, yeah, it's just a cool experience being able to come back to this place and I mean based on my experience with the Walmart First Tee Open, I was able to come out here and enjoy this place.
And so as soon as I found out that the U.S. Open was going to be at Pebble Beach this year, I made it a big goal of mine to make it out here. Because I knew how awesome this place is and obviously it's the U.S. Open, so that's a goal every year, but especially this year I wanted to really make it out and enjoy this place again.
PETE KOWALSKI: You said that the Walker Cup is a goal of yours. What is your amateur competitive schedule going to be for the rest of this summer here?
SCOTT LANGLEY: Yeah, well, I'm kind of still working on my schedule now. NCAA's kind of changed a couple things, but not too much. I'll have to wait and see if some invites come in, but as of right now I'm signed up for the Western Am, the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Amateur Public Links, and the Porter Cup might be something that I decide to do. I'm not quite sure on that yet, but I'm signed up for some good tournaments I think this summer and I'll do the same next summer as well. Just try and stay competitive, but at the same time not push it too hard because I play a lot of golf in the fall and spring, so I'll play some big tournaments this summer and I'll look forward to hopefully doing well in those and just getting better every day.
Q. Can you just talk about that Sunday at The First Tee open when you were winning, were you in a dog fight there or just what was it like playing the back nine at Pebble Beach in contention to win the tournament.
SCOTT LANGLEY: Well, to be honest the last day of that tournament I pretty much watched Dana Quigley shoot 66 out here. He really, I mean he just played awesome that day. And we shot, I think, 63 best ball, so I helped him three shots. But he played incredible. And it was a blast.
We really, I mean we were way out of it to start the day and we were just going to try and go have some fun. We got to play Pebble Beach again, so we just wanted to have a great time and see how many birdies we could make really.
And we got out there and Dana started going really low and I just kind of came along for the ride and watched him do his thing. And before we knew it, we were 9-under on the round and we were right there. And we were leading for awhile.
So it was a really fun experience for me to be able to do that with him. Dana is a blast. Obviously, he's one of the coolest guys I've ever met. And to share that with him was really really cool.
Q. You were talking about First Tee and some of your experiences in junior golf and before you started playing at U of I, what are some of the conditions that you think helped you be able to compete at the level you are now? Conditions from when you were younger, I know you, in the Midwest, St. Louis, it's cold a lot of the year, it's not a golf mecca that you think of, so what do you think kind of helped you come from that environment junior golf wise?
SCOTT LANGLEY: I think a lot of things played into it. The weather, like you said, in St. Louis isn't always ideal. But I think it really can toughen you up and it can make playing in even somewhat not ideal conditions okay.
Especially playing at Illinois now. It blows like 30 miles an hour sometimes. It's nice a lot of times, but it's times when you get some variety, for sure. And that can, that can definitely make you stronger, I think.
But, yeah, growing up, I was never a country club kid. I grew up hitting hundreds of balls off the mats at Family Golf Center in Kirkwood. So I had just a good work ethic I think instilled in me from the start, it was going to be up to me to achieve whatever I was going to achieve. So I think a couple of things played into it.
My parents obviously made every opportunity possible for me to get better. But I was never a member at a club. I was just a public golf kid, I was a range rat, and I think that that helped me in the long run, not being too spoiled with that stuff.
PETE KOWALSKI: Scott, thanks very much for joining us and hopefully you'll come back here and visit after a good score.
SCOTT LANGLEY: That's right. Thanks, guys.
End of FastScripts