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NORTHERN TRUST OPEN


February 15, 2014


William McGirt


PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA

CHRIS REIMER:  65 today, you mentioned some of the interviews up top, hole looked a little bigger with your putter today, just talk about that to start.
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Starting out, it definitely did.  Hit a lot of good shots and starting out, the hole looked like a washtub.
Yeah, we all kind of got off to good starts.  It was easy to feed off everybody.  I told B after the fifth hole, I said, I just want to hit it to 30 feet all day, seemed to be pretty good from that distance so far.
It was a solid day.¬† Kind of disappointed to 3‑putt 15, but all in all, it was pretty good all day.

Q.  The two second places in Canada, what were the circumstances, what could have happened to get you to win those tournaments and what else, what were your other close calls out here as far as winning?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  In 2012 I bogeyed the last hole to miss the playoff by a shot.
Last year, I finished probably an hour before, so I played well Sunday, but just kind of ran out of holes.  But tomorrow I'll look back on that and try to draw from those experiences, and hopefully it will help pull me through it.

Q.  When was the last time that you held a lead going into the final round of a tournament?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† 2012 in Canada, I was tied for the lead with‑‑ no, actually, I don't think I ever have, 54 holes.¬† I think I was tied for the lead after 36.¬† I think I was a shot back after three.

Q.¬† You ever go back to mini‑tours or college?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Yeah, went back to mini‑tours, probably seven, eight years ago, somewhere in there.

Q.¬† How many mini‑tours did you play?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Oh goodness, may run out of fingers and toes‑‑ E‑Golf Tour, Hooters Tour, some one‑day tours, there was All‑Star Tour in Jacksonville, Carolina Mountain Tour, Carolinas Pro Tour‑‑

Q.  Sorry I asked.
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Hey, you ask, you wanted to know.  I was going to try to name them all.
CHRIS REIMER:  William actually slept on my couch at one of those tours.
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† All‑Star Tour, yeah.

Q.  After going through all that, what's it like to just be in the big leagues?  You appreciate it that much more?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Definitely.¬† For guys that came through mini‑tours, I think we tend to appreciate things a lot more.¬† We could be playing for less than our own entry fee, full entry fee every week.¬† So, yeah, everything that's out here, nothing's taken for granted, I can assure you of that.
Out here, we have people that take days and weeks off work to help us, to volunteer to do stuff for us.  I try to say thank you as much as I can to those folks, because without all the volunteers, we would not be able to do what we do.
And when you are around mini‑tours for eight years and go through a bunch of heartaches at Q‑School, once you finally get here, you really have to appreciate it.

Q.¬† How many times did you go to Q‑School, and did you just miss by a shot or two?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† My first time at Q‑School was 2004.¬† So 2007 and 2008, I think I missed finals by a shot, and lipped it out on the last hole both times.¬† So you walk away and you're kind of wondering, you know, what‑‑ is it ever going to happen, and what do you have to do to make it happen.
And then 2009 at second stage, I'll never forget this.  I was playing with Paul Salkowski the last two days, and I thought I was comfortably inside the number.  Hit what I thought was a great shot into the par 3, greens were really soft; it rained a bunch.  Spins back in the bunker and I'm sitting there going, oh, no, here we go again.
I walk in there, look at it, thinking I have no chance, end up holing it.  And I sprinted straight to 18 tee because I had a splitting headache.  And Stanko comes up and walks over and taps me on the back and goes, "Just take a deep breath."
And it was something that really helped me a bunch.  I played a bunch of practice rounds with him my first two years on TOUR whenever he was playing and somebody that I've been able to rely on a bunch.  He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

Q.¬† It says in the media guide that you once made two holes‑in‑one in one round.¬† Can you tell us about that?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Yeah, I was playing‑‑ a friend of mine has a charity event, he has a daughter with special needs, and she goes to a special needs camp in Greenville, South Carolina.¬† He runs a golf tournament every spring to raise money for the camp, and he called me and he said, "Hey, want you to come play," and said, "don't worry about the entry fee, just want to you play."
So I said okay.¬† It's Thornblade that hosts the BMW Charity Pro‑Am, so we start on the third hole, we get to No. 4, 330‑yard downhill par 3, knock a wedge in the hole.¬† Like, great, why couldn't I do it on the hole they were giving the car away.¬† But they were giving away a 2.500 Bose surround sound system, and I'm like, okay, this is nice.
So we get to No.9, which happened to be the car hole, and we don't have a ball on the green.¬† And I stand up, knock a 7‑iron in the hole, go nuts, call my wife:¬† "Hey, I just won a new car!"¬† She practically got hers sold at this point.
We get done and he comes up to me and he says, "We got a little problem."  You know, I was kind of thinking the whole time, I knew about the insurance stuff, and he said, we have a little problem.
And I'm like, "Don't you dare tell me I don't get that car."
"We didn't pay the pro insurance."
At least I walked away with a good story to tell.¬† (Laughter).¬† No car, no surround sound system.¬† Didn't get any of it.¬† He gave me this nice‑‑ it's a weed whacker but it's a golf club weed whacker.¬† It's plastic.¬† I'm like, this is awesome, it's a fair exchange for a car.¬† Still have it in my garage, still in plastic.

Q.  What kind of car was it?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Infiniti G37.

Q.¬† Well, I just want to confirm, your last win, period, was on the E‑Golf Tour?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† I won some one‑day events, one or two one‑day events after that, but yeah, my last win of any consequence, I think it was 2007.

Q.  You won in a playoff?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Yeah.

Q.  So the $16,000 you won there, what did you do with it?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† Paid off all the credit card bills.¬† I mean, when you're on mini‑tours, you're not making much, so I had accrued a little bit of debt.¬† Did that and my big splurge from that win was a brand new GPS.¬† It cost 400 bucks and I thought it was going to break me, but it was nice to splurge on something.
I got the weed whacker after that.  It was 2009.

Q.  After the trials and tribulations, was there a point where you felt like walking away from the game, and if so, what kept you back at it?
WILLIAM McGIRT:¬† There were many times, and when I went to Q‑School in 2009, I basically told my wife, I said, this is it, we are practically out of money, yeah, I mean, for all intents and purposes, for doing what we're doing, I was lucky I had a few people help me out here and there.¬† Thank goodness my parents supported me 100 percent of what I was trying to do.
Yeah, there were several times, and especially after the way I missed Q‑School in 2007 and 2008, it was just one of those things, you look back at it and you're kind of like, I don't know if it's ever going to happen.
And to finally get to finals, in 2009, it kind of was a little bit, took some of pressure off.  But my status was so bad, I missed getting in the first three or four events by one person and finally got in Bogotá, but I was late to get in, and went down there and finished third, so I was set the rest of the year and took advantage of it from there.

Q.  Do you think it's easy when you're young on TOUR and you have your first decent chance to win, Canada and n 2012 to start thinking ahead of time about what it could mean, and did you handle that, do you think, well, in Canada, and if so, how much will that serve you tomorrow?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Yeah, I think I handled it really well in Canada.  The only mistake I think I made on Sunday, was not once did I ever look at a leaderboard.
And a funny side note to that, I got into the PGA that year and we're down at Kiawah.¬† Monday morning I'm on the putting green with my teacher, and Joe LaCava walks over and says great playing in Canada and I said thanks.¬† We were kind of talking about it, and you know, Tiger was probably 30 feet away.¬† And so telling Joe what was going on.¬† Tiger looks up, I think he was mid‑stroke, stops, looks up at me, and he goes, "What did you say?¬† You didn't look at a leaderboard?"
And I said, 'No.'
And he walks over and he looks at me and he goes, "Okay, spill the beans."
And I said, "Dude, it's my first time in that situation."  I didn't want to screw it up looking at leaderboards, get caught up looking at leaderboards.
And trust me, last we're at Canada I was walking the leaderboards the whole time.  Maybe I made him happy doing that.  It's just one of those things.  I'd rather put my head down and sprint through the finish line and look up at the end and see what happens.
You know, I'll probably look tomorrow just to know what's kind of going on.  But we'll see.  I mean, I've just got to go play my game tomorrow and hope that it's good enough.

Q.  European players sometimes have trouble to get used to the size of the PGA TOUR, the big event, the media, but is it hard, too, for North American players, like you went through minor tours, to get into this big event, like to some point adapt yourself to it?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  I really didn't have much trouble.  The first Nationwide event I played in 2010, I was in the last group Saturday and next to last group on Sunday.
And when we teed off on Saturday, I mean, there had to be 10,000 people lining the first hole.  I mean, it was crazy.  Literally we had the Federales park the people so we could get to the tee.  That was kind of my first taste of it and once I got out here, it's the same thing.  So I kind of got used to it on the Nationwide Tour, and have been able to adjust pretty well out here.

Q.  Are you counting down the days until you get back home and how are you keeping up with the young one while you've been so far from home?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  He's doing good, and the number is now one.  Redeye tomorrow night and I'll be home.  Looking forward to getting back home and sleeping in my own bed for a week.
They travel with me and they have been out the whole West Coast, so it's been fun having them on the road.  When we left to go to Hawai'i, he wasn't walking, and I didn't play Torrey, so we stayed in Palm Springs for a couple of days and flew over to Phoenix on Thursday.  Well, he decided in Phoenix it was time to start walking.  It's been a lot of chasing after him here.  It was a lot easier when he couldn't walk.

Q.  How old is he?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  13 months.

Q.  The car story was pretty good, but I imagine you got a good mini tour story of some travel craziness or some happened that you can look back on and laugh about now.
WILLIAM McGIRT:  There's a bunch.  There's nothing like driving to Boston to play a Monday qualifier, missing the Monday qualifier and driving all the way back to Charlotte that night to tee it up in a tournament the next morning.  Did that a few times.

Q.  How long did that take?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  Forever it seemed like.  12, 14 hours, I tried to forget that.

Q.¬† What was the main car you had on mini‑tours and how many miles did you put on it?
WILLIAM McGIRT:  I had a Honda Passport when I started.  I think it had 14,000 miles on it when I got it and about 230,000 when it finally started to fall dead.  Then I bought a Honda Accord and put about 80,000 miles on it.  So, yeah, I was not scared to drive.
CHRIS REIMER:  Good luck on Sunday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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