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June 21, 2011

Kevin Chappell


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Kevin Chappell. Kevin, great finish last week at the U.S. Open. Got a T3 in your first major start. If you want to kind of talk about your thoughts on last week and what you're looking forward to for the rest of the season on the Tour.
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Yeah. Last week was great. I felt really comfortable there. I think it helped playing a full season out here, or a half season so far out here to prepare myself for that event.
You know, USGA I thought did a great job with what they had. The weather kind of didn't cooperate in the evenings, made the golf course scorable, and you really had to change your mentality throughout the week, especially watching Rory do what he was doing.
MARK STEVENS: Okay. Questions?

Q. Rory is 22. You're Jason Day is 23. You're 24. Is this the dawn of a new age?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I mean let's hope so. You know, I said this Sunday, that you know, golf doesn't have an age. You've seen guys succeed, 51, 52 years old. You see guys succeed at 18 years old. I mean I played behind Patrick Cantlay. He goes to UCLA. He's 18 years old and finished 18th or something last week at the U.S. Open. So the golf ball doesn't know how old you are. It's just about playing the game to the best of your ability and, you know, you can do that at any age.

Q. To follow that up, golf doesn't recognize boundaries and borders either. I mean with all this talk about the Euros and Rory this and Rory that, what about your opinion of the American game? You're part of the young game. Are media people not recognizing the Americans?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: You know, I think our TOUR, the PGA TOUR head to toe is ultra competitive. I've never played in a European Tour event, so I can't say that their tour is not competitive.
But you know, I don't know what my world ranking was going into last week, but it wasn't good. And you know, I went in there and had some success.
So you know, I think the PGA TOUR is in a good spot, and the media is being a little harsh on the American players. You know, I think it's getting really competitive out here and it's hard to win out here.

Q. Kevin, what do you attribute it to, guys seemingly playing better at a younger age now than maybe in the past?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I think we're all educated better starting at a young age. I mean I've never taken a golf lesson that didn't involve video, that didn't involve, you know, the fundamentals of the game, and I think the way the game is being taught has improved over the years. And I think this is kind of your first generation of guys that have had top-of-the-line instruction or had the opportunity to have that, and I think that's helped developed players at younger ages.

Q. I mean growing up, I assume that you were a Tiger fan? I mean this generation, have you learned from the master? I mean what have you learned? What did you pick up from Tiger?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I mean he's the ultimate competitor. His ability to get the ball in the hole no matter how his game looks or feels is second to none, and I think that's one of the things you can take from Tiger is he's resilient.
When his game -- when Tiger's being Tiger, he's very resilient, and that's probably one of his biggest attributes in his game.

Q. Is he an influence in terms of driving your wanting to get out there and practice, wanting to get out there and become a good player right away, right now?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Yeah. I mean any time you see the No. 1 player in the world succeeding, it kind of gives you that boost to, all right, if he's working that hard, I need to work just as hard.
But you know, as a junior golfer, I never really tried to compare myself to him. I mean he was -- his junior career was better than mine. His amateur career was better than mine; his college career was better than mine, and his professional career has been better than mine so far. And obviously that would be great to be the No. 1 player in the world, but to compare myself to him right now or even when I was a junior player or amateur player would have been a little extreme, but my whole thing for me has been just trying to get better every day and every tournament, and so far, so good.

Q. Finishing as you did in the Open, what does that mean to you?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: It was great, you know. It took a lot of -- it took a big relief off -- or it took a lot of pressure off of me. It was a big relief for me.
It allows me to pick my schedule. I can prepare now for the FedExCup going into the fall, and you know, it gives me a place to play next year, gets me in the Masters, gets me in the U.S. Open next year, and you know, that's exciting. But -- and that's in the future, but it allows me to properly prepare for the Playoffs coming up.

Q. Kevin, last week while Rory was tearing up the course, did you ever feel that you were in it or was it just his tournament?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Winning the golf tournament never crossed my mind, especially since I was 5-over par through 14 holes in the golf tournament. But you know, I think watching someone do that, and you rarely see someone win a golf tournament by 10 shots. So you kind of change your mindset and like, wait, this golf course isn't as hard as I'm making it.
And I think that was big for me was to kind of realize, all right, it is -- identified that it is soft, that if you get it in the fairway, you can be a little more aggressive and you don't have to over-respect the golf course just because it's the U.S. Open. The conditions weren't typical U.S. Open conditions, so let's play it like it is and don't play it like what it's supposed to be.

Q. Kevin, let's go forward to this week. Have you played the golf course here so far?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: Just played this morning.

Q. I'd just like to ask you about a couple of holes, the 15th hole, a drivable par-4. Can you talk about the way you would approach that? Say if you're in contention on Sunday, how do you look at that hole?
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I think it's a great hole. For me I'm not one to lay up too often, so any time you're going to give me 282 yards to the front edge of the green, I'm going to give it a whack.
I think it's great because you can chip to almost any pin from any location around the green because the green kind of sits up. But if you miss on the wrong side, that front right pin is probably the toughest pin. Although it doesn't bring the water into play, you can -- it's a tough up-and-down from short or right of the green. So you almost have to be overly aggressive to that pin and try and get it on the surface, whereas the other pins you can work from those little chipping areas that are around the green.

Q. Also, the 17th hole, a little longer par-4, right around that same pond. Talk about that a little bit.
KEVIN CHAPPELL: I think it's a great hole. Just for the guys that are in contention on Sunday, there's a little bit of a nerve factor there with the lake right and short; and I'm not sure where the pin usually is on Sunday, but I'm sure they try and tie the lake into play.
You know, the second shot really is one you gotta be careful with because if you go long, there's another runoff area, but I think the key to that hole is to get it in play and try to get another uphill birdie putt.
MARK STEVENS: Okay. Any last questions? Thanks a lot, Kevin. Good luck this week.

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