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August 1, 2010

Stuart Appleby


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Stewart Appleby into the interview room, the 2010 champion of the Greenbrier Classic.
Stuart, what a day. The fifth player in PGA history to shoot 59. If we can just get some comments on what's going through your head.
STUART APPLEBY: I started out on the first, as you all know. Um, felt pretty comfortable, pretty relaxed. Yesterday I had seen some glimpses of feeling more relaxed and the type off golf you need to make birdies.
I left some opportunities earlier in the week, and I thought, Well, today I've really got to knuckle down. I saw where the leaders were. Well, where Jeff was. I saw what D. A. Points did to the golf course, so I knew if Jeff got anything like that going it was a game over.
At the same time, I knew that if I was gonna win I had to do those sort of things. I played with Steve Stricker a weeks ago at John Deere. Saw him effectively miss two putts in two rounds of golf and make everything else that was makable and even not makable.
And then D.A. does it yesterday. I'm thinking, Well, that's what I have to do today. That's where I have to be to win this tournament. I didn't think 59 had to be as low as I what needed to win the tournament. I did the math at the turn and saw 6-under. I thought, Well, here I am, 6. What will I do now? Where's Jeff? I need to go another 6.
I was only halfway home. I knew there was opportunities there to do that, but then that put me in the 50s. I thought, Well, that's pretty cool. Why don't we shoot for that too and see if the victory comes with it? That was basically my mentality for the last two hours, last three hours of the day.
JOHN BUSH: Stuart, it's been a grind for you. This is your 11th straight week playing. This does a huge amount for your confidence moving into the top 15 in the FedExCup standings.
Talk a little bit about what this does for your season.
STUART APPLEBY: Well, it's really changed my season. It's given some real valid weight to the time you spend on the range frustrated, and it's been plenty of those. Every player that's on, you know, golf, but certainly on the Tour has that.
Yeah, I guess I'm going 12 weeks next week, and then PGA is 13. Certainly I'll use this as a refresher on how to stay relaxed and get through. I've never done stints like this. It's never happened for me. But it's all good stuff.
It certainly changes -- you know, I really want to be back to being the player that I was -- I am, I feel like I've always been. I guess I just changed my cloak now and then.
You know, I've certainly had some thinking times over my last -- from my last victory to now. And now that my FedEx points are up higher, I can look to when I can book flights to Australia to have a rest. Because when you have uncertainty in this game, it's very frustrating to plan things.
JOHN BUSH: Okay. We'll open it up for questions. After the questions, he'll go through each stroke on his scorecard.
STUART APPLEBY: I'm not gonna go through each stroke.
JOHN BUSH: We're gonna need you to.
STUART APPLEBY: I don't remember most of them.

Q. (No microphone.)
STUART APPLEBY: I still think his is the better one by far.

Q. Why?
STUART APPLEBY: Well, because of the equipment for a start. I know the course was shorter, but he was probably using one ball. I mean, look, I think I would have to shoot a 56 to even compare to something like that for sure.
The 59, it's not I guess a true 59 from a par-72 sense. But I think Sam Snead's got a few -- a little bit more of a skill level than I have. I saw his card in the locker room this week and I'm sitting there going, Hey, I'm adding this up; this doesn't to -- you know, and it did.
It was just phenomenal. Then there's a club, the ball and the club, and you're like, How did he do that?
So I think, you know, shouldn't say 59 is easier today, but easier than back then.

Q. You get any motivation from playing with D.A. yesterday?
STUART APPLEBY: Well, and not motivation, but certainly the best visualization you can see when a guy is just draining putts. Absolutely.
You spend some time around -- you know, and I was getting sucked along a little bit with his play. I was making some birdies, but he just was pulling away. I couldn't draft him enough.
Ad that today, came out for me. We spend so much time trying to have rounds like today. Forget whether it's a 50 something, you're just trying to have rounds where you're scaring the hole. And when you do and they drop, it's a pleasant feeling. You just never seem to get enough of them.

Q. You put together a pretty grueling 11 weeks of golf now, and you also came here for the media day, right, and you Brandt Snedeker, I think.

Q. Not that it made a difference or anything, but does that mean you're gonna come back next year and play here?
STUART APPLEBY: Um, yeah. I guess I've got a lot of good vibes here. I think when I played out at Kapalua, the SBS the start of the year, I had some fantastic vibes there. So it's nice to know I'm back.
See if I can get a real love affair going again with that place. It's been a little while since I've been there.
Doing the media day was a bit of -- I guess it was planned with myself and Brandt. I was very impressed with I the way Greenbrier presented the whole package and the work put into it, the money put into it. Certainly the volunteers.
And then even earlier in the week, but especially Thursday to Sunday, people turned up. It's like they're a big golf star for sure.

Q. Three of the 59s were done on par-72s; the one last month was done on a par 71; yours was done on a par-70. We all know what you did here. Is a 59 a 59 no matter where it is? Is there gonna be that debate going on?
STUART APPLEBY: Look, I'll debate it with you. I agree. I can see both sides of the fence. It is a number. I shot that number. But, you know, who says par is supposed to be 72. There's a lot great courses that aren't 72, and why is it 72?
But I know what you're saying.

Q. Have you played this well before and not gotten a 59?
STUART APPLEBY: Um, you know, I felt like I've played this well before. Have I putted as well? Probably not. Today was a purple patch. By no means do I do this all the time.
I had a lot of opportunities, and I made them. You know, I guess all I can do is -- if I didn't shoot 59, if I shot 65, all I would have said was, All I wanted to do was create opportunities. And I did, but then I made them. So O got the horse across the line, and that's not an easy thing to do.
The 59 was obviously part of winning for me. That was the story. But you're just trying to win. After signing my card, tournament wasn't finished. I had opportunity now to be a 50/50 situation.

Q. Is that what they mean by being in the zone?
STUART APPLEBY: Yes, it is. Absolutely. I don't think you can be out of the zone. I felt relaxed today. I walked a bit slower than I normally do. I'm a pacey sort of person. Not in playing, the golf sense, but from an energy point of view.
Today I felt much more -- I slowed myself down and just, yeah, it was pretty comfortable.

Q. I was just wondering, when the putt went in on 18, could you describe what popped into your mind that very moment?
STUART APPLEBY: Probably just, Yes. You know, I knew what it was all about. I knew I had to make it. I knew I had to make in for the tournament; I knew I had to make it to have a 59. I'm sitting there going, How many opportunities are you gonna get to do this?
But I still felt very relaxed. The cards have been laying out perfectly for me all day long. Why wasn't it gonna do one more? I just got a good look at it. Just, bang, and it felt good. Just looked up, and it just looked like it knew where its home was, and right in the middle.
It is great to do that to win a tournament. Not that that was the last hole, but to do that and cap off a low number was very unique. So flood of emotions certainly came across me minutes later, you know, what I had done potentially, but what I had still had to do. I had to step a way, get back on the range, feel like the golfer again for potentially a playoff.

Q. Obviously an amazing putting day. Talk about your transition to left-hand low.
STUART APPLEBY: Transition. I was a little tired of the way I had been putting conventional. It was late in the evening the week of the Tavistock Cup we had earlier in the year.
I hit a couple of long putts with it, and I'm like, Man, that speed was beautiful. Did a couple more, couple more, couple more. I thought, Well, look, you know, it's the best time to try it. It was a two-day sort of club exhibition thing, and why not? I wasn't overly happy with it and it had its patches, but I think a lot it was leftover tension versus anything else.
In this 11-week stint, I have missed a few cuts, and that's why. I kept entering and kept entering because I needed to get some form back. Just the putter started putting good a few weeks ago, and I felt confident again and like I could scare the hole. The transition, I've never done anything quite like that, so a bit out of the blue for me.

Q. You eagle No. 12; then you go to 13 or 14, two rather short birdie putts to get away. Are you thinking at that point, you know, as the week had gone on, everybody's got a shot, start to slide away down the stretch, and then you regroup and birdie the last three. Your thoughts as the two birdie putts get away from you and you have three to go?
STUART APPLEBY: Good question. Made a great putt on the par-5 for eagle. I thought, Okay, this might be my day. You know, good drive, bit fortunate, but through the branches and knocked a 4-iron into whatever it was, straight uphill, 12, 14-footer.
Then the next, good drive, good iron shot in there, and I just tried to feed it too high. And even though it lipped out, I thought, I made it. Even the last inches, I though, I've got this.
The next hole, hit a great putt there, too. I was just trying to -- if I was missing putts -- just to get onto the next hole.
Then I had a 35-footer plus on the next. I thought, Well, I really need to two-putt this, but I need to make it. I can't afford to be thinking like that.
Then the par-5, I thought, Well, I need to hit a good drive. This is not gonna be an easy birdie; but at the same time, I had a good number and smashed a nice solid sand wedge in there. Then I thought, I got to the read on it. The rest is history, and birdie 18.
I certainly had to try and get beyond those two chances, because I knew I was gonna run out of chances. I was gonna run out of holes, whatever it was gonna be. I just knew I had to keep birdieing. Jeff was just far enough back in timeline where he had opportunities to keep making birdies, and there was plenty of them coming in.

Q. You got in trouble one once all day on 8. How tough was that to get back up the hill, and how critical was it to get out of that hole with a par?
STUART APPLEBY: Well, you know, that easily could have gone pear shaped. Wasn't a very good tee shot. It was my worst shot of the day. Certainly don't have enough West Virginian fans, because they didn't give the Arnold Palmer and bounce it back on the green for me.
So hopefully next year if I tug one left they'll be bouncing it off for me. But that was, you know, looking back, very critical to maintaining my composure and keeping the round alive. I don't know, I don't believe I dropped many thoughts shots this week anywhere. So I would really love to keep this flow going.
But looking back, that could have been quite an important stretch for sure, that little section right there of ten minutes.

Q. All week we've been seeing people stare at a 59 and blink. As a player, do you see that and pay much attention to it? Did you come on the thinking the 59 was here somewhere?
STUART APPLEBY: I didn't think that it was here. I've only had two opportunities I potentially failed to shoot a 59. The last one, I can't remember where it was, but I remember feeling like, If I can finish this nine off, I'm going 59. I was quite comfortable about it. It's not a nerve-wracking thing to be involved in. It's just an opportunity.
Today, I did the math and sort of -- it was two things: I was chasing Jeff, who was, I guess, heading towards the finish line. At the same time, I was playing well and had some good pace. I thought if I could just keep making birdies, I just don't have time to do anything about laying up and what do I do with this and what do I do with that?
I hit driver off 17. I hadn't done that all week. I think I had, but certainly not in the conditions that enabled me to get past that trap or into it. Always been short of it. So I had to be aggressive and think, Maybe I need a 3. I just had to be throwing for the bull's eye.

Q. Was does a four-year winless drought feel like, and what does breaking it feel like?
STUART APPLEBY: Good question. When someone mentioned to me four years, I -- I mean, four years is not a short period of time by any means. It just shows you how quick time flies. Not getting any younger, and they seem to just fly by.
You know, I really don't want to have any -- I would love to be a yearly holder of a trophy, for sure. There's a couple hundred guys thinking like that, too, so it's not easy.
But four years, you know, I should be getting older and wilier and more experienced, and that's maybe how I'll use some of that timeline through those four years, to make sure I don't ever have a break like this again.
JOHN BUSH: I know this is going to be tough, but for historical purposes, if we can, let's go through the card, much as you can remember.
STUART APPLEBY: I'm not a very good -- I don't remember too much.
JOHN BUSH: The par on No. 1.
STUART APPLEBY: How did you read this? I haven't been in media for a while (laughter.)
Round 4, first hole. Yeah, well, a par. Nothing too exciting there.
2nd hole, I hit a little bit of a fortunate pull with a 9-iron that was a diabolical green to miss long. I had missed it just lucky enough where I was pin high and made a -- again, you'll have to check the stats - but it was about a 12-footer there, 10- to 12-footer for birdie.
Par-3, what do you want to call that, the X Games green, had an opportunity there. Just really thought I made that for birdie.
Next up the hill, did a poor second shot. I'm not sure how the putt was. Probably a good 25-maybe-plus feet for birdie there. Fortunate, because it wasn't the type of putt that you would be thinking about making.
The next, just a straightforward hole. 3-wood, sand wedge -- lob wedge, sorry -- to eight to ten feet under the hole. Pretty simple putt to make from a reading point of view.
6, pin high. Hit a tee shot the little bit right. Good tee shot to about maybe 12 to feet. Made a good birdie there.
7, diabolical pin. Got a bit fortunate and pushed my wedge into about eight feet maybe there.
Great save on 8, the par-3. Hit a poor tee shot, tugged it maybe 35 yards, 40 yards left of the flag. Sort of a bump and run through the rough to about 10 or 12 feet.
9, hit it to a foot.
10, 11, yeah -- yeah, I mean, pars there, two-putt pars. Sorry, no. 10, hit it over the green there. Good up-and-down. I think it was 10. Yeah, just write whatever you like in there.
11, I missed one of those greens. Okay?
JOHN BUSH: Eagle on 12.
STUART APPLEBY: Yeah, driver. Pushed it a bit. It was almost calling for it, because out of bounds is flirtatious over there. So I was fortunate enough where I didn't lose much horsepower on that, and the thing just bounced over and through into the fairway. We both had 4s and 5-irons in. I hit a 4-iron to maybe 12 feet there.
13, opportunity, as I mentioned before. Maybe about 10 feet. Just lipped it out.
Opportunity again at 14 for maybe 15 feet. Just shy of the hole.
15, good two-putt. Nearly made it. Left it short from maybe 30 feet, 35 feet.
16, 15-footer straight up the hill a little right to left after a punchy solid 8-iron.
17, drove it in the trap; knocked it out with an 8-iron; knocked it up with sand wedge 10 feet, somewhere there.
And around 10 feet again on 18 after a good solid 8-iron right at it.

Q. (No microphone.)
STUART APPLEBY: Please, I mean, someone had to.

Q. (No microphone.)
STUART APPLEBY: Lucky. Lucky. The only shot I would consider fortunate would have been the drive down the hole I eagled, 12. Yeah, 12.
I mean, I haven't been playing unbelievably high quality golf going back a month plus ago, so that could have easily sped out of bounds. That's sort of how it works sometimes. This one was down the right side. I wasn't overly concerned, but you never know what sort of bounce you're gonna get.
The day before I went through those trees and sped it down, and didn't hurt me in a way. But this one sort of scraped its way through. That's the only fortunate one. Otherwise, there wasn't any lip-ins, any chip-ins, anything that was holing 80-footers left, right, and center.
Otherwise, good, clean golf.
JOHN BUSH: Stuart, congratulations on the win and congratulations on the 59.
STUART APPLEBY: Thank you, man.

End of FastScripts

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