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July 25, 2010
NELSON SILVERIO: Welcome 2010 RBC Canadian Open Champion Carl Pettersson. Welcome to the media center again. 60 yesterday, trophy today; it's a pretty good week, huh?
CARL PETTERSSON: It's unbelievable. I still can't believe I won the tournament.
Yeah, I didn't have the greatest front nine at all, or first eight holes. Then I birdied 9. I birdied 8 and 9. And I still was, I don't know, four or five behind Dean. And then I started playing really well, and then I kind of felt like I took control of the tournament coming in.
And it was fun. My other wins I've led starting the day and led the whole back nine, so this is the first win I've had coming from behind. And it was a different feeling, and it was very enjoyable.
NELSON SILVERIO: All right. Questions?
Q. I'm just wondering, going in, you had the 60 yesterday. Do you ever think going into the final round what if my luck would run out here?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. I know it's difficult to play -- shoot another low one after you've shot a low round like that. So I tried to kind of downplay it.
I was just like I'll go out and play, and I tried to stay calm, and just whatever happens today happens. And I felt like that back nine I played really good, I mean just the same as yesterday.
It was harder today. The wind was blowing more. And playing in the last group there's more heat on you, and I felt like I handled it well coming in. I know I bogeyed the last, but after Dean didn't make birdie, I sort of kicked that putt up there.
Q. (No microphone).
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. I just love that back nine. It's set up great for me. And I was telling somebody on Friday, I couldn't believe how low the scores were. Then I go out and shoot 60. So I guess it was my week this week. And I'm just very happy and fortunate that I managed to win.
Q. Carl, do you think it was an advantage being able to play with Dean today and sort of keep an eye on what he's doing, even your birdies or the fact of what he's thinking about?
CARL PETTERSSON: I think so. I started talking to my caddy on that back nine, I was like, let's see if we can get close to him.
When I was within four, I wanted to get within three, and I played very aggressive coming in. And that was fun. That helped me. And all of a sudden I had the lead when I birdied 14. And then I made a great birdie on 15. But 16 and 17 and 18 are difficult holes, and I knew I still, even with a two-shot lead, anything can happen.
Q. A little emotional talking to Feherty right in the aftermath. What exactly were you thinking just right after there? Anything in particular at all that brought that on a little bit?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. I had a really poor year last year. I've been fairly successful out here. I've had it, I wouldn't say easy. I worked hard for it. I played straight out of college, and I got on the European Tour, played there. I won there. Got on the U. S. tour, had three wins really early in my career and finished in the Top 30 most years on the Money List, right around Top 30.
And last year my game left me. And you know, you start questioning yourself if you're good enough to play, and am I ever going to win again. And yeah, I was feeling it coming up the last hole. I knew anything could happen, but it was a special -- most important win for me coming back after last year playing so poorly.
Q. I read somewhere last year that you really tried to get into fitness and you regretted it. Can you explain why?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, after 2008 I had one of my best seasons on TOUR. I think I finished 16th on the Money List. I'm from Sweden, but I grew up in Greensboro, and won that tournament, which was great, especially it's close to home.
And I kept thinking what am I going to do to get better, and obviously I was a little overweight. I thought, well, I'll get fit. So I actually lost 30 pounds, and my game completely left me. I guess the timing of the swing and everything was thrown out, and I really struggled in '09.
I've played fairly well this year, not great, but I've had moments of doing good stuff, and I don't know. You know, I'd love to be fitter, but I'm not going to go down that road again.
Q. Friday night when you and Jay Williamson were drinking those Canadian beers thinking you'd probably missed the cut, long way to come to here.
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, we knew we had a chance because there's a computer in the locker room. So we had all the scenarios. You can do it play by play, and we had all the guys coming in.
Right when I finished I thought I had missed. I made a 10-footer to stay at 1-under on 18. And I was tied for 71st; and then I spoke to Johnny, the PGA official that does the scoring, and asked him what he thinks. He goes, it's 50/50 because there's a few guys still out there at 2-under.
And I walked in the locker room and Jay Williamson had all the scenarios written out, and he's like, grab a beer. Before you know it I'd had seven beers (laughs). Made the cut. And my caddy had to drive me home. I wasn't in that bad of shape, but I didn't want to drive. I can usually handle seven beers.
Q. At what point did you stop hearing people hollering for another 59 today?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, people kept saying, you know, can you shoot it under 60? Can you shoot 59? I'm like, I just want to shoot 66. I was 2-over par earlier on.
I felt like I had great support, especially on the back nine. I felt like people were rooting hard for me, and that was fun. Stuff like that you just gotta kind of block out and just get on with business.
Q. I was wondering, has it always been Pettersson or did it start off Pettersson at any point?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, actually in Sweden it's Pettersean (ph), but ever since we moved to North Carolina when I was 15, it's always been Pettersson to keep it simple. You can call me whatever you want. I don't care.
Q. Was there ever any thought to playing in Sweden this week?
CARL PETTERSSON: No. I used to play the European Tour, and I love playing on the PGA TOUR, and I love playing the Canadian Open. So I was coming here.
Q. Would you have been perhaps -- the sort of MDF rule was changed slightly last year. Do you know that if perhaps you could have been staring at a two years? Did you ever think about the fact that --
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. That was changed two years ago, I believe.
Q. You went out and shot 60. The reality is you could have been cut down --
CARL PETTERSSON: I think that's why they changed it. I think the last person to come from the cut line to win was Brad Faxon. And yeah, then they cut it closest to 65. So I would have missed the cut.
Now they have the Saturday cut instead, which I mean I really don't see the point of it really. But I guess it helps people get around quicker.
Q. (No microphone) why the rule was changed?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. I think so. I think a lot of players complained. I remember hearing when we had our meeting, just because Brad Faxon actually did what I did, made the cut on the number and then won. It was at Hartford. I can't remember what year it was. So it is possible. It's rare, but I actually did it this week. I don't like that rule, no.
Q. Do people have a hard time placing the accent? I mean being Swedish, English and then Carolinas. You must confound some people along the way.
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. I was born in Sweden. I lived there until I was 10, and my family moved to England. I lived there until I was 15, and we moved to North Carolina. So I'm just -- I call myself a mutt really.
Q. One of the PGA TOUR guys was talking, he said I think they described you as the only Swedish redneck on TOUR.
CARL PETTERSSON: (Laughs). Maybe.
Q. Said you like country-western music, drove pickup trucks? Is that accurate?
CARL PETTERSSON: No, not really. I got a lot of redneck friends at home.
No. You know, I don't know. I'm not your typical Swede, as you know. I don't have a 28-inch waist, and I don't eat bananas at the turn, stuff like that.
Q. Getting back to where you were before the bananas, I think Saturday you bogeyed, made an early bogey, and you were last man on the standings. And you've gone from absolute last to win a tournament, and I'm just wondering if you've heard of that happening or --
CARL PETTERSSON: No.
Q. (Indiscernible) yesterday.
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. Yesterday was an incredible round. And it just kind of happened, pretty much the same as today really.
I was just -- you know, I was just a sideshow today really, on the front nine, a couple over, and then I got going with those two birdies and played great coming in.
Yesterday the same way, all of a sudden I've got a chance to shoot 59 yesterday. So yeah, I'm probably going to wake up here shortly.
Q. Carl, just going away from this now, what thoughts do you take on the golf course itself? Were you surprised at -- you mentioned that you were surprised at the low scores that were out there. What do you take away? Do you take away the same thoughts as you came in with about it?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. Me and my caddy every Tuesday when we play a practice round, we go, what do you think the winning score is going to be. And we figured right around 10-under. We thought 10-under.
Even on Friday, I was telling Jay, I was like, I can't believe these guys are shooting 62, 63s out here. And I think with the greens being soft, that had something to do with it, quite a bit to do with it.
If they were firm, it would be really difficult. It's a great golf course, but if the greens were a little bit firmer, the score would be a lot different. But I never thought, you know, what was my winning score, 14-under? Yeah, we thought 10, 9.
Q. I had heard between 10 and 12, so if that was the case --
CARL PETTERSSON: 14-under is not -- usually to win anything -- when I won in Greensboro, I was 21-under. Usually you gotta be 15 to 20-under. So I think the golf course held up just fine.
Q. You did this before, you shot like a 61 and then won. Are you that type of player, you just kind of go unconscious and --
CARL PETTERSSON: Not often enough, no. I've shot low. I've shot two 61s and a 60. Yeah, I don't know why. I guess some people might get scared of going too low, and I look at it as a challenge.
It's difficult, when you start shooting low like that, it's a real -- professional golf is just a mental game. It's not so much the golf course. It's playing in between your ears. It's not easy. I was nervous coming down the stretch, but my other win sort of helped me.
I grew off my other wins, and it's difficult, yeah.
Q. Can you explain why it's hard to go low?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, your mind starts thinking, oh, man, I'm 6-under, I hope I don't screw this up. Play a little safe. I got a good round going, I just want to get it in the house. You gotta keep telling yourself no, when you get to 6, you gotta get to 7, when you get to 7, you gotta get to 8, when you get to 8, you gotta get to 9. But then your mind will, I'm 8-under. Whoa. So you gotta trick your mind to keep going.
Yeah, I guess every professional athlete is you gotta keep your focus, and it's a difficult thing to do.
Q. Carl, even as you celebrate this victory, is there a part of you that can empathize with Dean's situation as a nonexempt player and what this win would have meant for him?
CARL PETTERSSON: Obviously, yeah. He played great today. He hung in there good. Did he finish second alone?
CARL PETTERSSON: So hopefully with that check he should be back on TOUR hopefully. I don't know how much money he made. But he's well on his way to retaining his TOUR card. He's helped his cause.
I've known Dean for a lot of years, and he's a great guy. I enjoyed playing with him today. Out here everybody knows everybody, so it was fun to play with Dean today, and I hope he -- he should get his card back now. So that's good for him. He's a good player, so I'm surprised he lost his card last year.
Q. In hearing from both you and Dean, we got an insight into how much this game can beat you up mentally. What do you do to savor a win like this because I gather you don't get many days to feel like this?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. This game -- I think it's one of the toughest sports to play. There's so many variables, and you can hit a great shot and it can hit a rock, sprinkler head and go off the green. It'll drive you nuts. But it's a very mental game.
If you feel like you're going to do well, you're probably going to succeed. If you feel like you're going to fail, you're most definitely going to fail. So it's hard to stay positive sometimes when you've missed three, four cuts in a row. And you know, it wears on you.
Everybody thinks professional golf is a glamorous life. Sure, we get a lot of perks, great to win tournaments, but it's a lot of work, a lot of travel, and you know, it's hard to win. I've been fortunate to win four times now, which is great, but it's a lot of work that goes into it.
Q. The first two rounds, I watched most of the Thursday round when you appeared with Retief and Camilo, I mean those guys seem like the quintessential poster boys of the PGA TOUR hitting the ball long and high, and don't take this the wrong way, but the first day you seemed kind of out of sorts. You didn't look comfortable. It's hard to imagine from that round, 10 or 12 holes that day that you'd get to this place within four days.
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. I actually started off good. I was 2-under through eight holes, the back nine again. We played the back nine first; and yeah, I was pretty happy with that, 2-under. I was playing well, and my driver left me on that front nine. I kept hitting it in the rough.
Q. (No microphone)?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. Yeah. I managed to make par. I kind of scrambled my way around decent. I could have shot a high number that day.
And then the second day -- second day I played pretty good. But yeah, you know, that's the way it goes. You know, if you would have asked me Thursday if I was going to win, I would have laughed at you. Probably thought, what, you been drinking seven beers or what? (Laughs).
Q. Carl, any equipment changes over these last several weeks? I ran into one of the Nike guys. He thought you might have changed wedges or golf ball or something in the last little while.
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah. I put in a new 60-degree Nike Vr REV Wedge, and I changed my driver about a month and a half ago to the Nike Vr -- I think it's the Nike Vr Compression Channel.
And yeah, I've been driving it pretty good. I was surprised that first day I didn't drive it good, but my driving's been good. Yesterday when I shot 60 I hit every fairway. So today I drove it okay. I drove it great coming down the stretch. 17 was probably the best drive of the day, and 18 wasn't great. But it was in the fairway.
Yeah, the key to winning here was driving, putting it in play. And I've been with Nike for eight years now, and they've been very good to me. I like the equipment.
NELSON SILVERIO: All right. Carl Pettersson. Thank you.
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