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January 10, 2008

Heath Slocum


DOUG MILNE: Heath Slocum, we'd like to welcome you to the media center here at the Sony Open in Hawai'i. Great way to kick off the '08 season, bogey-free round, 5-under 65. I believe it's the first bogey-free round of the day. Just some general opening comments on obviously a great way to start the year.
HEATH SLOCUM: It was. That's just it. It was a very good opening to the year. I played really solid, hit a lot of good drives. I only missed, I think, I'd say four fairways, but out there that's not that bad.
I hit some quality iron shots, and I made some putts. To go bogey-free out there, I think we got a little break with the wind because we're definitely accustomed to a little windier days. Definitely very pleased and hopefully can carry it over for the rest of the week.

Q. What did you do between China and Honolulu?
HEATH SLOCUM: Honestly, not a lot. I had a baby girl December 10th, first kid, so I was very fortunate to get to stay home with her for four weeks. I took advantage of the opportunity.
I played golf, I think, a couple times. I just felt like -- to get to see her every day for four weeks, I did, I just took advantage of it.

Q. Her name is?

Q. How hard was it to get up and get on a plane?
HEATH SLOCUM: It was very hard. It was actually harder than I thought it was going to be, too. I knew it was going to be hard. But it was, it was very hard to leave. I know I'm not going to see her for two weeks, so lots of pictures every night.
It's just funny that she's changed already in five days. My wife said she's doing new things, and you hate to miss it. But again, our military don't see their kids for a very long time, so two weeks isn't that long.

Q. Was she about on time or late, early?
HEATH SLOCUM: About right on time. My wife was induced, I think, six or seven days early. Again, just for the reason so I could be home for longer and spend more time with her.

Q. When you went over to the World Cup there was no doubt that you were going to be able to get there and get back?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, I mean, we were pretty certain. I wouldn't have gone otherwise. But it was three weeks -- I guess we had two weeks after we got back, and like I said, she was induced a little early. I was fairly confident I wasn't going to miss it.

Q. Would you talk about that week, because the scouting report is you played some really nice golf.
HEATH SLOCUM: I played all right golf. My partner played incredible golf. He did, he played very well.

Q. Your partner said the other way around.
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, honestly you can go back and look at all the footage.

Q. Maybe I just misunderstood him, which is possible, too.
HEATH SLOCUM: He played very, very good. It was definitely different being in contention in a golf tournament without your "A" game. You're on that kind of stage -- my partner was playing great, but we're in alternate shot trying to win a golf tournament, and it's just different because every time you're in contention you seem to have your best game there, and it was just different.
But it was also a lot of fun. I hit some good shots now and again, but it just wasn't my best. But Boo played great. I mean, he played awesome. He putted great and it was a lot of fun.

Q. What does that do for you going into this year, knowing that, as Zinger said, pretty much everyone starts from scratch?
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, that's awesome. I think that you have a great opportunity right in front of you to go out and play. If you play great golf -- that's probably what it's going to take. If you play great golf, you'll definitely have an opportunity to play on the Ryder Cup. It's been a lifelong goal of mine. That's definitely one of my goals this year is to earn a spot.

Q. I get the sense that the conditions didn't change a lot from the morning to the afternoon.
HEATH SLOCUM: Didn't seem like it. It wasn't very windy this morning it didn't seem like. Probably four or five holes we got a little bit of wind and then it just died right back down.

Q. Does that make the rough the only condition out there?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, I mean, the fairways are generally fairly difficult anyway. They're kind of curving in there. They are a little softer this year. But yeah, you felt like if you hit it in the fairway, you're giving yourself a pretty good opportunity at birdie. I just took advantage of it today, and the ones that I hit in the rough I managed to get some pars. I think it was only on a couple par-4s that I missed the fairway. I missed both par-5s. I didn't birdie either one. But those are generally holes that you'd like to take advantage of. I played the rest of the golf course really well.

Q. What did you do on 9?
HEATH SLOCUM: Hit it in the right rough, laid it up, sand wedge about probably 20 feet behind the hole, just two-putted.

Q. You were in the left rough on 18?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, I was in the left bunker and just kind of pulled it out of there into the rough again. Actually gave myself a decent look there, too, just didn't hit it hard enough. Definitely holes that you want to hit it in the fairway and give yourself a decent opportunity to go at it.
DOUG MILNE: Just run through your birdies, 3, 4, 10, 15 and 17.
HEATH SLOCUM: 3, I hit 3-wood off the tee, hit a 9-iron to about 18 feet, made a good putt there.
On 4, I hit 4-iron to about five feet behind the hole, made birdie.
10, I hit driver, lob wedge to a foot. Nice tap-in there.
And then 15, 3-wood, wedge, six feet, made it.
And 17, hit 6-iron to 12 feet, and I made that.

Q. I just wanted to ask you the dynamics of the last few months as your buddy has been getting more and more attention for just being Boo. I would imagine in China with all the interviews and whatnot they were interested in Boo. That's kind of been your MO your whole career pretty much, just go about and just play and go about your business?
HEATH SLOCUM: It is. I guess with golf, I mean, you know, obviously the better you play, the more attention you get, but other times it's just the bigger your personality, a lot of times you get a lot of attention that way. Obviously I would rather get the attention -- I'm going to get the attention for my golf if I play well. I don't have the big personality like Boo or Bubba from the hometown, but at the same time, that's who they are and that's who I am. I'm not going to change and they're not going to change.
I think the great part about it is they haven't changed. They take the media attention with their personalities. Over there they definitely want to talk to Boo a little more, which is very understandable. But a lot of the attention that was -- a lot of the questions that were golf-related I'd say we both answered. They definitely threw in some questions and they wanted to hear from him, which who can blame them, really. He's going to give you a great one-liner or a great story in there somewhere.
I definitely don't blame them. I don't mind it. Like I said, I would much rather get the attention when I deserve it for playing well, and other than that, Boo and Bubba, both of them, with their personalities they're definitely going to be asked a lot of questions and they're going to get the attention from the media, which is fine.

Q. You may have been asked this before and it's probably a terrible question, but how does Boo talk the way he does and you talk the way you do if you guys grew up in the same town?
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, I'll say that I moved there before high school, so maybe he just -- he picked it up beforehand.

Q. Where did you move in from?
HEATH SLOCUM: Louisiana. I was born in Louisiana and grew up there, spent some time in Mississippi. I don't know, Boo is just -- there's plenty of people in Milton and our area, "LA" you want to call it, Lower Alabama, there are definitely people that have thicker accents. But I think if you go to Boston or New York, people that grow up there -- you look at two different people and one will have a thicker accent. I just think maybe some people pick it up easier. There's plenty of people there that you would never guess they grew up there.

Q. I thought I read something where did the town do something for you when you won?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, there's a Heath Slocum Day, a Boo Weekley Day. I don't remember Boo's, but mine is February 29th (laughter), so I get one every four years, and I think they did that on purpose.

Q. This is a leap year.
HEATH SLOCUM: There you go. I get my date this year.

Q. They did one for Boo, as well?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, they did one for Boo. It's awesome. The town has embraced us. We're pulling for Bubba to get his win and his day. It would be nice.

Q. What do they do at Heath Slocum day?
HEATH SLOCUM: You know, we've only had one, and it was the day that they made it Heath Slocum day. They had a lot of the City Council and the Mayor and everybody, a lot of people showed up, and they just kind of said today is going to be Heath Slocum day. This will be the fourth year, so I guess -- I don't know what they'll do.

Q. A parade?
HEATH SLOCUM: I doubt a parade.

Q. Pony rides?
HEATH SLOCUM: Maybe some pony rides.

Q. Did they give you the key to the city?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, they didn't.

Q. Do they have a key to the city?
HEATH SLOCUM: I don't know (laughing). February 29th, though, leap year.

Q. What's your schedule look like first part of the year?
HEATH SLOCUM: I'll play the Hope, week off, Phoenix week off, LA, and I'd like to maybe play myself into the Match Play.

Q. Where are you right now?
HEATH SLOCUM: I started the year 77, so I've got my work cut out, but if not I'll go home and get ready for the Florida Swing.

Q. Have you played in a World Golf Championships yet?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, not ever have.

Q. Not even Firestone?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, my two wins didn't help me, so another goal.

Q. Were you tempted at all to play Torrey this year just given the Open?
HEATH SLOCUM: It was one of the things where I decided -- I haven't played it in probably three years, and I was going to go home regardless of The Open. So I'm just going to go play the Open. I think it'll be a different golf course, totally different conditions. I'm just going to stick to the schedule as closely as I can to last year. I seemed to stay really fresh. And just kind of go from there.

Q. How many did you play last year, 25 or so?
HEATH SLOCUM: I played 28 tournaments.

Q. That's a good number for you?
HEATH SLOCUM: That is. That was probably my lowest, 29 one year, 32 one year, 31 one year, and 28 seemed to be good.

Q. Would you find yourself if you qualified for Accenture or Doral or anything else maybe having to drop something else?
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, I did qualify for Doral for Top 30, so I'll just play that week. I might drop something in the middle of the summer. I think I did play a stretch of five in a row in the summer just with the FedEx how it was. It was brand new and I was just trying to earn as many points as I could. I knew I was going to take a pretty good break in the summer, and I wanted to kind of grind it out as long as I could.

Q. Did you learn anything from that, from that first FedEx schedule?
HEATH SLOCUM: Points are important. I mean, every week it's important. I don't care if it's 30 points, 40 points, 100 points. I mean, they all add up at the end. I made it 29th. It was close. You just take them when you can get them.
I played in a couple of the smaller events. They didn't have as much opposite. But I figured if there were going to be any points that way, I would just take advantage. If I wasn't in one of the majors and there was a tournament, I was going to play because I was playing well at the time and obviously I was going there to win the golf tournament but at the same time trying to earn some points.

Q. What majors did you do last year?
HEATH SLOCUM: PGA, that's it. That's the only one I qualified for.

Q. U.S. Open you didn't. Did you go to the --
HEATH SLOCUM: I tried to qualify for that and the British. I missed both.
DOUG MILNE: Thanks, Heath. Good luck tomorrow and on the weekend. Appreciate you coming in.

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