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November 4, 2014

Heath Slocum


MARK STEVENS:  I'd like to welcome Heath Slocum.  Heath, past champion of this event, got a great history here.  You won with your dad on the bag.  New venue, do you want to open up with your thoughts on the new course and your thoughts coming into this tournament, and we'll have a few questions?
HEATH SLOCUM:  Yeah, well, it's going to be a brand‑new course to me, and I still haven't seen it, so the funny thing is I love playing new spots though.  I mean, even though Annandale is really close to my heart.  That's where I won my tournament and I loved it, but I think the new venue's going to be fun.  It's going to attract a lot more attention, and I'm really looking forward to playing it tomorrow in the Pro‑Am.
But as for just being here, again, it's always great to come back to Mississippi.  I've got history here.  My dad being a pro over at (Indiscernible) for five years, and getting to play a lot of the golf courses around.  So it's always great to be back and have friends and family come out and watching and root you on.  So I'm excited to be here.

Q.  Can you talk about with the wraparound season and how that's changed the way you approach these first few events of the year?
HEATH SLOCUM:  Yeah, I would have to say that I guess you can kind of look at it a couple of ways.  I feel like the last couple years, let's just say I was kind of struggling at the end of the year.  Then you get these events and you feel like you could have used a break.  Whereas this year I feel like I might have been creating a little momentum.  So just kind of like a couple weeks off and right back at it.  Having played great early and started showing some life last week in Malaysia, but that's the thing.  I guess you could approach it a couple of different ways with the same kind of energy that you had or finishing up or some guys, I know they could probably use a break.  But it is what it is.  We know that going in.  So you just try to prepare your best.
I actually quite like it.  So I think it's compelling, and you get sponsors like Sanderson to step up and come in and have a tournament now where they can have a date and get a venue that they really want.  Again, they've just brought new life into this tournament and hopefully like a lot of the other tournaments, fueled the fire for the start of the new season.  I think most of the guys here are excited about it.

Q.  If you view it as an opportunity to jump start the year like the way that Jimmy Walker went into the event last year and was able to keep himself in first place over the course of the season.  That is also from consistent play throughout the year.  But just does it get your season started off on the right foot?
HEATH SLOCUM:  That's what I'm saying.  Some of the guys, and I think Jimmy would say, it created his momentum for the whole new year last year, and he took it and obviously ran with it.  So, yeah, that's the way I was looking at it.  I've got two more weeks.  Yeah, absolutely.  You feel like, man, if you could especially get a winner, and get some momentum and get ahead of the field or get ahead of the curve.
Yeah, I think that maybe it will invigorate your off‑season.  I don't know if you can get anymore excited, but definitely really looking forward to continuing or to have the break and start off the new year feeling like maybe you're a leg up on the field.

Q.  You said you like playing new places.  Why is that?  Is it an equalizer?
HEATH SLOCUM:  Not necessarily.  Like anybody else, playing a new venue or getting a new course to play, I think that's fun.  Again, I love Annandale, but this place, I'll get to see this tomorrow, and then four more days of competition.  I just enjoy it, enjoy new spots.  I know the golf course is very similar grass, and it's going to have the Bermuda.  Which I don't know how it's going to play, but the fact that you get to test yourself in a new place, I just enjoy it.

Q.  Having grown up in this area, almost surprising you didn't have a chance to play this course?
HEATH SLOCUM:  I know, but I mean, this was the country club.  So kind of going around, I just never got to play it.  I played places all around, but I do vividly remember having a chance to play.  I was in fifth grade, and I was really excited maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, and I mean, just dumped that day.  It's one of those things you remember and you're so disappointed.
But, yeah, this is one of the courses growing up that I always heard things about, so I just never got to play.  So I get to play it tomorrow.

Q.  Can you talk about enjoying the new challenge, but what is the biggest challenge you face with a short learning curve to try to get acclimated and feel comfortable on a new venue comes Thursday?
HEATH SLOCUM:  I think it's as simpleas ‑‑ but golf is the same thing.  There is a fairway to the green.  From there, you read putts and you can go out and look at the greens and hit putts from everywhere.  But that's never been my style anyway.  There is definitely an advantage to knowing a place, and, oh, I hit long there and don't do that again, for the most part.
Sometimes it works in other ways where you don't know where the trouble is, and you don't have any bad memories.  So you look at your yardage book and look at the bunker and go all right, there is 260 to it.  You hit it 250 off the tee, pretty simple.  Then you see the flag and you get it, and you really do, sometimes you do take maybe a little more dead aim and you are maybe just a little more free to‑‑ because you're more concentrated on your task at hand.  And not bringing up any bad memories, but no good memories either, but you're fresh.
I don't know.  I remember playing some early on in my career having to do so many qualifiers and you go from event to event, and you never see the golf course, then you go out and shoot 5‑ or 6‑under, and it's the same thing.  You just oh, got to get it to the fairway.  Got to hit it on the green, and keep it simple.  I think that sometimes that works in your favor.
I don't think there is anything special I have to do or get used to it.  It's just I go play golf.  If you execute, I think I'll be okay.

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