August 7, 2001
GRAND BLANC, MICHIGAN
JOE CHEMYCZ: We'd like to welcome Heath Slocum to the 2001 Buick Open. For many of you who don't have a whole lot of background on Heath he was a member of the BUY.COM TOUR and last week at the BUY.COM Omaha Classic won his third tournament of the year to earn the Battlefield promotion from that TOUR to the PGA TOUR. He is just the second person to earn such a battlefield promotion. The other was Chris Smith in 1997 who also won Omaha to earn his PGA TOUR card. This is Heath's first ever PGA TOUR event. We'd like to welcome you to the PGA TOUR. I know it has been a hectic couple of days for you. If you don't mind, just talk a little bit about the change from Sunday in getting here and getting ready for your first PGA TOUR tournament.
HEATH SLOCUM: It has been quite a change and it has been a lot of fun. It is pretty incredible, the atmosphere, coming from last week which is really a big event for us, Omaha, they do a real good job there, but you come here, it's even a bigger show. It has been a lot of fun. I think it is going to be a lot of fun the rest of this week.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Questions for Heath.
HEATH SLOCUM: I think I will do all right up here. (INAUDIBLE) The change of venue is quite all right with me.
Q. When did you get here, first of all, and what is the biggest change?
HEATH SLOCUM: I got in late last night and you know, got here this morning and really just the attention, the people, the atmosphere, you can really just tell there's a difference. Tuesdays on the BUY.COM are generally pretty quiet. Out here there just seems to be a little more excitement; a lot more people and just the whole production seems to be on a much larger scale.
Q. Do you have a favorite player on the TOUR or is there someone you want to meet that you haven't?
HEATH SLOCUM: Not really. Really just really wanting to compete against everybody that you have seen for years on TV and around, so that's really the big thing. I have just dreamed as long as I can remember playing out here against these guys and test your ability and I get to start doing it this week.
HEATH SLOCUM: I go in every tournament obviously trying to win and I feel like if I play well looks like I will give myself a chance. From there you really don't know what can or will happen.
HEATH SLOCUM: It's something that really wasn't on my mind. (Inaudible) I treat each event the same. I went out and just tried to play as well as I can and it never really entered my mind. And it's funny, after each round I was like just are much close r -- at least get yourself into contention and on Sunday I was just in a really good frame of mind and stayed really in the moment and focused and you know, before I knew it we were on 18 and once I knew I had two putts to win, you know, I kind of thought about it briefly and went through my routine and got out of my head and went 2-putted, after that it was on my mind for a while just with all the excitement and everything.
Q. That was the first time you ever thought about it?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, it was the first time I really, really dwelled on it any time was really afterwards. I think if I would have been thinking about it a lot I really think I'd still be in Arkansas.
Q. Did you use the same caddie all the way through? Is your caddie here today that has been with you?
HEATH SLOCUM: It's a really weird situation. I had a guy caddied for me for 11 events and a friend of mine was going to caddie in Arkansas and the guy that was caddying for me knew it, and he left Sunday morning (inaudible) got there and we had talked about it on Saturday night, I had a one-shot lead and we were trying to make arrangements to see what was going to happen and he knew -- we went in Kansas City and so his first event, just happened to be up here.
HEATH SLOCUM: I actually like the golf course. It's pretty new and tight. It's tree-lined pretty much every hole. I think there's not a whole lot of rough outside of the fairways (inaudible) but around the greens, there's a little bit of rough. The greens are really big. Not a whole lot of undulation but two holes there are. You have to be careful, I could see. But I think the course does set up well for me. Par 5s just a little long for me but I have been hitting my wedges really low this year, so, I feel like I can -- if I can come to these par 5s, but overall, as long as I keep hitting my driver as well as I have been hitting it, I think that it ought to be a really good course for me.
Q. What excites you most about coming on the TOUR? Larger purses? Competition? Show of it? When you think about it, what comes to mind?
HEATH SLOCUM: The competition. I mean, I think a lot of us that play the game we do it for the competition. I think I started playing golf not thinking about money or production. I got into it because I love the game and I love to compete. I can't think of any place better than you know, come to PGA TOUR where the best golfers in the world play. That's where I wanted to go and that is who I want to compete against.
Q. Increased purses, does that change your manner in doing anything?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, not at all. I can't recall ever thinking of money over a shot or a putt. I think if I was thinking about the money, I probably -- my head definitely wasn't in the right place. Obviously the money out here is considerably larger, and it is nice, but you know, that's not why I got into golf or even play it. It is definitely the competition and for the love of the game.
Q. How improbable is it for you to find yourself here on a PGA TOUR event compared to what you would have been experiencing a month or six or eight weeks ago?
HEATH SLOCUM: You know, it is a little farfetched still to me because it does seem like it was just a short time ago that I had missed three cuts in a row out there and like 5 out of 7 or something, but I knew that it was going to be you know, a year long thing and I knew that I was capable of winning. I really believed in myself and I believed I was going to do it. And once I won, you know, you kind of reset your goals and go: Boy, that was fun; let's try and do it again next week. I just happened to be playing well and had a good next week and the following week I was still playing really well and won. That kind of changes a few things as far as your goals. Now I am looking at trying to finish No. 1 on the money list, and if I happen to win another time, I get to go straight there this year. So you kind of -- I just rearranged a few of my goals. But other than that, you know, I didn't really have a whole lot of time to think about it. I kind of just enjoyed each tournament I was at, and each round of golf.
Q. What has been the turnaround in the game basically?
HEATH SLOCUM: I think just the simple fact really just believing in myself. Once I got over the hump of really just avoiding that first one, you know, the confidence is kind of contagious, and you tend to start believing in yourself a little bit more; once you know you can do it, I didn't see any reason why I couldn't do it again and then again.
Q. Anything you are concerned about or nervous about?
HEATH SLOCUM: Not really. I have thought about it. It really -- it's golf either way you look at it. Like I said, it is a bigger production, but once you get inside the ropes on Thursday, it's just golf. I know you know, it is against better players throughout, from top to bottom, but at the same time it's still a numbers game. If you go out and shoot you know, really good numbers, no matter where you are, you are going to do well. So I am trying to just keep it staying in the moment and just play golf, and I think good golf will take care of all that.
Q. Look forward to getting inside the ropes and forgetting all the rest of it, the mechanics of where do I go, how does it work - (inaudible)
? HEATH SLOCUM: You know, it is kind of fun though, in my position because you know, it means that I had done well and so I am kind of really enjoying some of the attention and things, but yeah, once I get to the hotel where I am staying and everything arranged, then it is just you know, you just go about your business, go out to dinner tonight and come out and practice tomorrow and come Thursday, just go out and as soon as I get in between the ropes I feel like that's where I belong and that's where I am comfortable.
Q. Have you had a chance to meet any of the other players yet and if so, what, if any advice have they given you along the way?
HEATH SLOCUM: I have met a few guys along the way. Most of it is congratulations, good luck, and well done. I don't know about really any advice, but just kind of more or less just enjoy yourself, because that's what you know, most of these guys do. They enjoy what they do, so go out and just go play your game, and if you do that, then you will do all right.
Q. Is it hotter out there on the course than in here in the interview room?
HEATH SLOCUM: It may be hotter in here, actually. The wind blows out there a little bit which gives you a break.
Q. You were expecting something other than 95 degrees thought it?
HEATH SLOCUM: I thought it was going to be a little bit cooler than it was in Omaha. I think it is a little bit cooler but not much.
HEATH SLOCUM: I am thinking that maybe it will just be the same butterflies that go through my stomach on a regular tournament. It is not really -- I don't think it is much nervousness than it is anticipation, and -- at every level you get on, the 1st tee is the 1st tee, and it's more just trying to anticipate you're ready, you are getting yourself ready to play, but that all could change Thursday. But I don't really think I will be any more nervous than I will be teeing it up in a regular event or BUY.COM where I have been playing.
JOE CHEMYCZ: For those of you who didn't know Heath has -- his earnings this year on the BUY.COM TOUR have already set a BUY.COM TOUR record, approximately $337,000 which already broke Spike McRoy's record of 303 set last year. If he goes back and plays in another event or two, when he is not eligible out here then he could increase that, but his battlefield promotion is good for this year and he is fully exempt for all of next year as well whether he is the No. 1 money winner on the BUY.COM TOUR or not, he will get full exempt status on the 2002 PGA TOUR. Heath, thank you and welcome to the PGA TOUR.
HEATH SLOCUM: Thank you.
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