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July 15, 2006

Heath Slocum


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Heath Slocum, a 5 under 66 in today's round of the John Deere Classic. Heath, the last two days without a bogey. Good way to get yourself up the leaderboard.

HEATH SLOCUM: Thank God for the putter this week. Played just really solid. First day I actually played pretty good, too. Made a couple of mistakes and paid for them. It feels good. I mean, to finally I have been playing a pretty well the last few weeks, and it feels good to get into contention to try to win a tournament.

Q. The driver looks like it's working well?

HEATH SLOCUM: New driver this week. I hit it great. Pretty easy transition. It is important for me to hit the fairways. I don't hit that far. I've been driving it very straight. My irons have been solid. I'm seeing some putts go into the hole.

Q. You're heading to Sunday with a chance to win again, a chance to be the sixth person to win in the last three years, which would be a nice accomplishment.

HEATH SLOCUM: Right now I am looking for the record, an opportunity to win for the third year in a row. It feels good to finally over the last few years really put myself in contention a little more often, maybe have those chances. You don't get them that often.

Q. Why the driver change and what driver did you change to?

HEATH SLOCUM: Ping came out with a new driver called the Rapture. I actually hit it better than the last one, easy deal for me to switch. The G5 that I was playing is a great driver. When I missed it, I hit it to the right. This one is easier to hit straight for me.

Q. Heath, you mentioned that you don't hit real far, and few people who are big hitters are on the board this week. Initially we heard that the softness of the course, it might play to the advantage of the big hitters. Why is that not playing out that way?

HEATH SLOCUM: I mean, I think it is just one of those things, too. Some of the big hitters have just as good a chance here versus someone who doesn't hit far like me. I am trying to think of the par 5s. I got to two or three par 5s today. I knocked it around on 17, had a chance to get it up and down. No. 10, I have never gone at it. I don't see me going for that in the near future. For a long hitter, that is a small target out there. You are not guaranteed even two pretty good shots, you still have a difficult chip and putt. You hit it straight and hit your irons.

Most importantly, if you are making putts you are going to more than likely get yourself in contention.

Q. A leaderboard that is mostly non Tour winners right now, is that to your advantage or is it a nonfactor?

HEATH SLOCUM: What it does is it just helps me in the fact that I know I have won. I feel confident in my ability to go out an play my own game. Getting that first win is tough. But all the guys on that board are more than capable of doing that. Most importantly, go out and try to play the golf course, use the experience of winning before. Hopefully calm myself down, try to hit the shots under pressure that you want to hit.

Again, it is more of me just being comfortable with myself, knowing that I have won, just using that experience to try to calm myself and try to focus on my game.

Q. Does tomorrow then become a putting contest? Whoever putts best wins?

HEATH SLOCUM: Almost seems like it is always the case, really. I don't think anybody is going to go out here and hit that much better than anybody else. You still have to make the putts. Your chances are better than 20 footers but you have to hit quality shots and you have to capitalize on your good shots. Probably a par save here and there, you have to make it. The putter plays the most important role.

I do need to hit some greens. I have got to take advantage of the shorter holes with my wedge game and everything. For the most part, if I don't make the putts, I won't win.

Q. Was there an adjustment with the greens being a little wetter? The guy that adjusted to the speed the best

HEATH SLOCUM: Really they are not the greens we play are similar every single week speed wise. It is fairly easy when you are putting well to adjust pretty quickly. You know, a lot of the guys here on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you get used to these greens when you play a practice round. I feel like the green speed is not an issue, just more of picking your line and hitting your line. Then if you have the right speed, make a few.

Q. Somebody was surprised that they were still wet today. Are they still soft?

HEATH SLOCUM: The course is young. I would say it is little firmer today, for sure. Definitely got some more roll from my driver. The greens are still pretty soft. I wouldn't say they were soaking wet by any means, good speed. I mean, you can fly it right to the hole and it will stop.

Q. The glitch of playing on Thursday, the double and the bogey back to back, I mean, talk about how quickly you were able to put that out of your mind and just, you know, refocus on making shots? I mean, is it

HEATH SLOCUM: After the double, I was, you know, a little peeved at myself to say the least. I only had 70 yards right in the middle of the fairway. This is eight out of nine weeks for me. It gets harder and harder as the weeks go on sometimes.

The next hole I was over the double. I just made a bad swing. I actually probably did make a poor choice trying to gamble a little too much there instead of just taking my medicine.

After that I had a good shot on 16, just missed the putt.

Birdied 17 to get things back rolling in the right direction. From there, I was playing I had been playing pretty well. You just have to be patient. You know, in that case, really just kind of let things unfold try to stay out of my own way.

Q. Did you come here with a different mindset given that it is a weaker field?

HEATH SLOCUM: No. I try to approach every week exactly the same. I mean, I don't go unless I feel like I can win, and you know, whether it is realistic or not I believe it. I go into every week no matter what the field, no matter what the tournament, major, non major, same mindset. I am going out to because I love to do what I do. I love to compete. You can only beat who is in the field, and trust me, ask anybody that hasn't won a tournament. Are they going to be thinking about tomorrow if they win and holding up the trophy and the check and the two years? No.

I mean, it is nice to win a major and it will be. Not to say that they are not important. But I can win every tournament and try to win with the same mindset no matter the field.

Q. You said this is your eighth tournament in nine weeks?


Q. Why the heavy schedule?

HEATH SLOCUM: Just kind of the way it laid out. I played the four weeks, took a week off. And I like the tournaments. I knew that it was going to be tough. And you know, if I were struggling or didn't think I could have made it, I would have withdrawn. I played well last week.

I like this golf course. I've played pretty well on it. I felt like I could mentally hold it together for one more week. After Thursday's little, you know, double bogey, I was kind of questioning that.

But I held together pretty good. The heat you just have to make sure to drink liquids, get some rest tonight. Probably tomorrow is another warm day.

Q. Are you scheduled to play next week?


Q. What do you do if you qualify?

HEATH SLOCUM: I will tackle that tomorrow. If it comes up, I will tackle that tomorrow. For the most part, I am looking just until tomorrow. Try to keep everything right in front of me that needs to stay in front of me. Qualifying is secondary right now.

Q. What if I mention Ryder Cup points

HEATH SLOCUM: Again, one of things if I play well they will take care of themselves. I don't do it all the time very well. I try to do one thing at a time. Good golf takes care of everything. If I go out and play well it will take care of itself. You know there is a qualifying spot for the British. It is out of my control. 20 or 30 other guys on that board that can take it, take the points, take the win. So for me, I can barely control myself sometimes. I try to do that as best I can.

Q. 20 or 30 guys in this thing?

HEATH SLOCUM: Actually I didn't look. Kind of giving a number. You know, you can shoot anything on this golf course. I think Zach shot 28 on Thursday. I mean if he shoots 28 his first nine and goes out with that kind of roll, you never know. Crazier things have happened.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through the birdies.

HEATH SLOCUM: No. 2, driver, 3 iron, two putted from 35 feet.

No. 4, I hit driver, pitching wedge. Made an 18 footer there.

No. 8, driver, 8 iron, and made a 15 , 18 footer there.

Go to 14, I hit driver off the tee and had just a 75 yard lob wedge, hit it in there four feet, made birdie.

Then I made two big savers two big savers on 15 and 16. I made two one was 18 feet, the other was close to that for par, which kept the momentum going.

Then 17, driver, 3 wood up to the the green, ten footer for birdie. It was a good putting day.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Heath. Good luck.

HEATH SLOCUM: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts.

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