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June 30, 2011

Larry Mize


DAVE SENKO: I'd like to welcome Larry Mize, our 2010 Montréal Championship winner. Larry, just some thoughts on coming back to defend your title, and just maybe some memories from last year, it's been a year now, but maybe just get us started.
LARRY MIZE: Sure, obviously it's always great to come back where you've won before. You've got all the positive memories and feelings and I definitely have that this week. It's great to be back in Montréal.
I've said it many times, great tournament last year, not just because I won, but a first-year event and fans were phenomenal out there. The support and appreciation for our golf, it was really fun for us to play in front of the crowds here in Montréal.
It was great to be back. I just have good memories, I played really well last year, obviously to, win the golf tournament, and I feel like my game is starting to come around so I'm excited about defending this week and try to get in there and have another shot at winning this tournament again. So I'm glad to be here and looking forward to seeing the golf course and I'll see it for the first time today. I have not played it since last year. So I'm looking forward to seeing it today and good vibes out there.
DAVE SENKO: What do you remember about the course from a year ago? It's been a year, but any particular things that stand out, problems, certain holes?
LARRY MIZE: The third hole is probably the best par 4 on the golf course. The third hole is a great hole. It's a good stretch, start off, you like to have two good birdie chances, 2 and 4 are very good holes that par is a good score on those two holes, and then 3,4 and 6 on the front that you really want to -- those are the toughest holes and you want to try to give yourself some good birdie chances.
The back nine sets up for a lot of excitement. The 10th hole is a reachable par 5 at times, and so is 14. I just have memories -- the golf course is great, the greens were in good shape and that's why the scoring was so well, we had good weather.
It's an exciting finish with 16, 17 and 18, especially moving 16 tee up on Sunday made for a lot of excitement and you know, 17, 18, two good finishing holes, as well.
So it's just great to be back and you know another hole you have to be careful with is 12. The 12th hole is a good little par 4 there. I almost hit it in the water there on Sunday thank goodness the rough grabbed it and it didn't go in.
Good hole on 12 that you have to be very careful with your second shot into that green.

Q. What do you think the winning score will be?
LARRY MIZE: It's hard to say. I would say if we have good weather, it's possible. There's no guarantees, and I think that somewhere in the mid teens is probably going to take to win the golf tournament, if we have good weather again. I had not seen the golf course. I don't know if conditions are any different this year. But with good weather would I expect somewhere in that area, 15-, 16-under.

Q. What do you remember about that Sunday?
LARRY MIZE: From the last nine? You know the biggest thing I remember is I just, you know, I had to continue to push to make birdies. Everybody was playing well. John Cook, obviously, had the lead and I was trying to catch him, as was everybody else.
So the biggest thing I remember is you just have to keep the pedal down and continue to give yourself birdie chances, because you knew they were -- it was a beautiful day, conditions were perfect. So it was a great day for scoring, so that's what I remember, just having to continue to push for those birdies, and you know, thank goodness they came.

Q. (Inaudible.)
LARRY MIZE: You know, I really don't. I'm just excited to be back. I don't feel any pressure to repeat. Obviously the goal is to repeat. It's just great to be back and playing here and I'm just looking forward to getting back out and playing in front of these great crowds. I don't feel any pressure. I feel very comfortable and confident coming back, playing well here last year.

Q. You mentioned last year, the atmosphere, how great the atmosphere was up there, and now you've had a year -- can you tell us what was really special, especially for a first-year tournament?
LARRY MIZE: I think the biggest thing, it was the fans, really. I think David Skitt and his crew, everybody did a great job the first year, for a first-year event, everything went smoothly and the players really enjoyed their time here.
The thing that stands out is the appreciation that our crowd had for our golf. I think they were very knowledgeable crowds here. You didn't have to hit it one foot to get applause. You hit it there ten feet and they would give you a nice round of applause, and you know, I know they were cheering me as I'm sure they were cheering all the guys on, so I had a lot of support coming in.
I remember walking up to the 17th tee after birdieing 16 and the crowd was really cheering for me and that spurs you onto continue to play well. That's what I really remember, and you know, it's going to be fun to play in front of again.

Q. How has your season been?
LARRY MIZE: My game the last few weeks has not been what I would like. Putting has been sub-par and I feel like ball-striking has been as well. I just had a practise session yesterday and this morning that's very encouraging. I think that the putter is starting to warm up a little bit. I made some minor adjustments which I think are going to help, and same with the golf swing.
So it has not been terrible but it has not been what I would like, so I'm hoping that the good feeling from last year will kind of catch fire with me this week, and you know, with the little adjustments I've made, things will start going better and week and I'm very optimistic starting the week.

Q. Rory McIlroy winning by eight shots in the U.S. Open, we don't see those discrepancies -- what does that say about this tour?
LARRY MIZE: Well, we are the big tour and they are the little tour and they are still trying to work the game out. (Laughter).
You know, you really don't see that out here. I don't know, that's a very good question. Of course you don't see that out there very often, either. I mean, Rory just put on a show and it was very impressive.

Q. But it does seem on average, finishes on the Champions Tour are more exciting --
LARRY MIZE: We are a more exciting tour.

Q. A lot more playoffs.
LARRY MIZE: That's a good question. You know, I just think it's -- people need to understand that it's very -- it's a wonderful tour, great atmosphere, but it is very, very competitive out here, just as it is on the PGA TOUR. I just think that says a lot for how got play is out here, and how tough it is to win out here, because it is very bunched and obviously it's extremely tough to win on the PGA TOUR, too. But I don't know what else to say other than that.
Everybody is firing at it and it's hard to pull away from the field, because everybody is out here -- I think the playing field, there are just a lot of guys that can win and it's really hard to pull away because everybody keeps coming after you.

Q. Some of the differences of a 54-hole tournament, Tom Lehman was saying you can't throw away the first round?
LARRY MIZE: That's a good point, with the one extra day, you may be able to try and distance yourself. But you don't want to say more of us sprint, but definitely you want to get off to a good start where in a 72-hole event, you can mess up a little bit but here, you have three days, and I think that's a good point. I think that may play a role in it, as well.

Q. You were pretty emotional last year, did it take awhile for it to sink in?
LARRY MIZE: Well, I have to check the memory banks here. You know, I think it just -- I think it just continued to set in and I continued to enjoy it. I've learned that victories don't come as often as you would like, so I really enjoy that. I'm still enjoying the victory from last year. I'm not going to push it aside and try and go beyond it too quick. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm still working hard to play better when I can.
But I think it set in fairly quick, but I really enjoyed it, and savored it for a while, and I'm still savoring it, because they don't come often enough and it had been almost 17 years since I've won. So to win here was a big win for me to get back in the winner's circle and to show me that I could still do it.

Q. Last year, the national holiday --
LARRY MIZE: Well, if they will have me, I'm good with that, no question.

Q. How would you describe the feeling --
LARRY MIZE: It's a great feeling. As I said earlier you can come in here earlier feeling a lot of pressure but most of us have won and we know how to approach it and it's not pressure. It's great to come back and get the good feelings again and enjoy playing the golf course again.
So for me, that's what I'm doing this week. I'm not putting any pressure on myself and just looking forward to playing the golf course again. I think it's great to come in and defend. I've approached it before where it's a lot of pressure and it didn't work, that's not a good thing. Just enjoy it. You don't get it often enough and just enjoy it, and let it go. See what happens.

Q. On the other side of the pressure, is there an outlet of confidence boost?
LARRY MIZE: There's no question. And you know, once again, you've got to look at it that way and say, I've won here before. The nice thing is, I mean, I'm the only one who has won here before. So you've got to use that as a positive, to your advantage, and so I've won here before, and I like the golf course, I played well, you've got good visualization on the golf course, shots going close to the hole, putts going in the hole. And you just ride that out. You just savor that and play it over in your head to get you ready this week to go out there. You have to tell yourself, no reason not to go out there and play good again this year. So definitely the confidence is a positive coming into this week because of last year.

Q. (Inaudible.)
LARRY MIZE: It all is according to conditions. I was asked last night, would it be good to have it up all three days versus the last day.
If the condition are like they were, it's very reasonable, but once again, with a lead -- yeah, according to conditions, I definitely would go for it. I think it is an exciting move for Sunday to really bring some excitement. You can make a two, you can make a six. See what happens.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you, Larry.

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