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March 12, 2014

Harris English


PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ We welcome Harris English into the Interview Room this afternoon here at the Valspar Championship.
Harris, you won earlier this year in Mexico.テつ You're currently fifth in the FedExCup standings.テつ Your thoughts about coming back to play in Tampa as Innisbrook.
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I've had some success here in the past.テつ I love this golf course, very old school.テつ That's what I love about Innisbrook and everything about this area.テつ I've had a pretty good year this year.テつ I'm looking forward to the next couple weeks and especially getting off to a good start here.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ Maybe just recap your year a little bit.
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ With the new wrap-around schedule, I've played a lot of golf.テつ I started in Malaysia, Vegas, back home in Sea Island, Mexico.テつ Got off to a good start in Maui and Sony, finished 11th at Maui and 4th at Sony and really played well and I'm very excited about playing in the Masters coming up and getting to play some really cool things.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ Questions, just raise your hand.

Q.テつ I think you won the Southern Amateur here, right?テつ What do you remember about that week?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I was staying with one of my buddies from high school, and we had a great week.テつ I guess I just graduated from college.テつ I remember shooting 66 in the last round to win.テつ I've had some good memories from this golf course.テつ I finished 7th last year.テつ It's treated me well.

Q.テつ How has your game changed since then?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I feel like I'm a much smarter player now.テつ I'm not as aggressive off the tee and not going for broke every time.テつ My caddy, Ron Smith, has really helped me out with this.テつ He's been a veteran for 23 years and had a win on this golf course.テつ He's going to help me around the golf course this week and help me to make some good decisions.

Q.テつ There's Bulldogs all over the place here now in the FedEx standings and winning money.テつ What's going on?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ Something in the water in Athens.テつ Coach Haack done a great job of recruiting and let us do our own thing.テつ I love to compete with the guys I went to college with and really -- that was our fraternity at Georgia.
We all knew that we wanted to be on the PGA TOUR some day and we made each other better and I don't know what it is but we've had a lot of success and it's good to see all these guys out here.

Q.テつ Does that fraternity carry on to this Tour as well?テつ You guys hang out, push each other a little bit?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ Go to dinner all the time, hang out, play practice rounds.テつ Almost feels like in college.

Q.テつ Harris, looking ahead to next month's Masters, this might be a load questioned, can a first timer win there?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I think so.テつ Fuzzy Zoeller won it as a rookie.テつ I don't know.テつ We'll see.テつ I played a good bit in college, we played there every year so I played probably 6, 7 times.テつ I don't know.
The greens are really tough so obviously the Phils and the Tigers and Adam Scott, they're going to have kind of the upper hand.テつ There's a lot of good rookies playing this year, Jordan Spieth, Chesson Hadley just won, I don't know if he's in the Masters yet.テつ There's a lot of good young guys who have not played the Masters yet that will probably get a good run.

Q.テつ How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in golf history?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I would say 2.

Q.テつ How do you know Fuzzy?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I just remember them talking about he's the only rookie that won the Masters.テつ I've never met him before.テつ I just know that was a stat that everybody has talked about.テつ So, see if it can be done again.

Q.テつ What's the best piece of advice you got from guys how to handle your first Masters?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I talked to Matt Kuchar a lot about really how to putt the greens.テつ I know it's going to be a lot different because I grew up in Georgia, went to the University of Georgia which is so close and have a lot of friends and family watching the tournament and kind of cheering me on.テつ It's going to be a little different experience than a lot of tournaments I played in.
But just talking to guys about how the course changes between Tuesday, Wednesday, practice rounds, to Thursday morning.テつ I mean playing with Rory a couple weeks ago we were talking about Augusta, the changes he's seen and how he's changed his game to fit the golf course.テつ Just learn stuff from guys that have played there and have been there and done it and had some success at that place.

Q.テつ So Tech guy will help out a Georgia guy?

Q.テつ What year did Fuzzy win the Masters?

Q.テつ You're a 2.テつ Do you think that's talked about more now.テつ It's obviously been -- help me with the math, 35 years, that because it just seems like more likely now?
In other words, each year is bringing more and more really good young players that aren't wrapped up in anything but winning?テつ Is that why it might be getting more attention, or way too long of a question?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ That's a tough question.テつ I don't know.テつ You see the guys coming out of college now, Patrick Reed winning last week.テつ They're really not scared of winning, of closing out golf tournaments.
It's the Tiger effect.テつ He's our idol growing up.テつ He kind of brought this game so far and everybody has gotten so much better, I believe, and this Tour has gotten so much better, a lot better, young players and even the guys like Freddie Couples who can still hang around and play well at the Masters and still compete.

Q.テつ Who makes you nervous out here, anybody?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I wouldn't say anybody particularly will make me nervous.テつ I've changed so much from my rookie year till now.
Now you see all these guys in the locker room and get to hang out with them and play ping-pong with them and see them off the golf course.テつ They're a lot more friendly.テつ And they're not somebody you see on TV and think they're so much better than you.

Q.テつ Do you run into guys in a pairing, especially on the weekend, where you feel I've got to play better than usual?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ To beat them?

Q.テつ Yes.テつ Is it a trap you can fall into?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ It's definitely a trap you can fall into.テつ You can get caught up in somebody else's game.テつ My rookie year I got paired with Rory at the Honda, I got paired with Adam Scott at the Barclays, Bubba Watson.
I caught myself trying to watch their game and be in awe of what they're doing instead of worrying about what I'm doing.テつ I think that's what I've learned the past couple years out here is I've got to be more into what I'm doing and trying to beat them instead of trying to watch them and kind of enjoying their game.

Q.テつ Do you think that's helped you at this point, that you were able to have those experiences in your rookie season?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ For sure.テつ For sure.テつ I guess you got to get knocked down a couple times to really find yourself and to come back stronger.
I feel like that's what happened.テつ I played with Kuchar the second to last group of The Players on Saturday, didn't have a good day there.テつ Now we're really good friends and I really enjoy playing with him and have learned a lot from him, especially rounds like that, and the Honda where I'm really close to the lead and get my heart rate going and experience almost winning the golf tournament.テつ I've learned a lot from that and helped me especially in Memphis and Mexico coming down the stretch.

Q.テつ Those times in your rookie year where you got the pairing and then found yourself watching the other guy, is that something that as soon as you got off the course you realized you had done that or did it take awhile for it so sink?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I realized kind of in the middle of the round.テつ It gets going so fast.テつ In Junior Golf, college golf, you're not around cameras and the people and it just felt like everything was speeding up and I couldn't slowdown.
I didn't know how to slowdown and being in the situations more have taught me how to breathe better, how to eat every couple holes, stay hydrated and really just play my game and just be out there like there's nobody watching or I'm out there having a good time playing like I was playing when I was ten years old.

Q.テつ How soon before someone says, "I'm playing with Harris English, I got to step my game up"?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ Probably be awhile. テつWe'll see.

Q.テつ What kind experience do you have at Augusta National?テつ How many times have you been on it?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I think I played it 7 times.テつ We were lucky enough to go in college every year because we're about an hour and a half away from Augusta.テつ But I've never played in a tournament condition.
Everybody talks about how firm and fast that golf course gets.テつ Every time I played it it's usually in February, March where the fairways are pretty long, greens are pretty soft.テつ So it's a totally different golf course.

Q.テつ Managing the emotions of playing there for the first time, how do you think you're going do with that?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ It will be different.テつ I don't know how I'm going to handle it.テつ I'm definitely going to be really excited on the first tee, how I am in every golf tournament.
It's going to be different because that's the one tournament I always watched growing up and always dreamed of playing when I was a kid.
It's going to be a very surreal moment on that first tee, driving down Magnolia Lane, because there's so much history to that golf tournament.テつ It's a dream come true.

Q.テつ I know you grew up not too far from there.テつ When was the first time you went to Augusta?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ Probably four, four and a half hours.テつ I was on the direct opposite side of the state but I was probably 10, 11, I would say, just when I was starting to get into golf.
My dad took me up there I think for a practice round.テつ I think I walked around with Davis Love because he was -- I love Davis' game and kind of that's who I am emulating my game after.
I just remember walking on the property the first time and being in awe of how much grass it is and just like a golfer's paradise.

Q.テつ Do you remember how you felt when you finished your round at the Honda that year you were paired with Rory in the last group?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I was very disappointed, very disappointed.テつ I felt like I was playing well enough to have a chance to win the golf tournament.テつ I never really closed out a final round like that.
Even in amateur and college golf I felt like Sunday I always played well when I was near the lead.テつ That was really the first time where I failed, I guess.
I didn't do what I set out to do but was disappointed for a couple days.テつ But I went back to Sea Island and had the team around me to kind of pick me back up and I learned a lot and learned as much as I can from the round and forget about it and move on.

Q.テつ If you could compare that disappointment, whatever you felt, how would you compare that to walking off the course Sunday at Sony?
AWell, that's totally different.テつ Because Sony I felt like I did everything I wanted to do, played well, gave a hundred percent effort and I felt like I was in very much control of my game.テつ The outcome wasn't as well as I wanted to.
I felt like I scraped around all week and really did a good job of being near the lead the whole round or the whole tournament and not having my A game.テつ I felt like I should have putted really well which has been my Achilles heel the last couple years.テつ

I was not as disappointed after Sony for sure.

Q.テつ I was just curious, being on Tour for two years and, you know, winning a couple times and losing a couple times just conditioned you differently.
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ It's so hard to win out here.テつ I think I've learned that you really have to have everything going your way to win a golf tournament.テつ Even Tiger Woods says -- I now the guy has won 70 or 80 times.

Q.テつ 79.
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ He still has a hard time winning golf tournaments.テつ He understands how hard it is.

Q.テつ The other Major fuzzy one, do you know that?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ Oh, my God.テつ Was it U.S. Open?

Q.テつ Yes.テつ What year?

Q.テつ Missed it by one.テつ That was close.テつ That was good.
Jordan was in here a little while ago.テつ We asked him his first Masters memory, it was from two years ago.テつ What about watching it on TV?
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ I don't know about watching it on TV.テつ I was there in 2004 on a Sunday when Phil won, my freshman year in high school.
I remember being on 16, he made the birdie, probably the 15-footer up the hill and everybody went nuts.テつ I remember just getting chills and it was one of the coolest moments watching golf that I've ever been part of.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ Anything else for, Harris?テつ Best of luck this week.
HARRIS ENGLISH:テつ Appreciate it.

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