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September 2, 2009

Heath Slocum


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Heath Slocum into the interview room here at the Deutsche Bank Championship. You kicked off the PGA TOUR Playoffs in style last week, Heath, with that win at the Barclays. If we can get your thoughts on the week and if that has sunk in yet.
HEATH SLOCUM: It has not sunk in yet. I'm still, I'd say, overwhelmed, but I'm getting used to it. It was a good week, it was a great week, and really, just looking forward to the position that it's put me in maybe to have a chance coming down the stretch of the Playoffs to maybe have another impact. Just looking forward to it.
I'm looking forward to this week as a place that I've been to every year since we moved it here, and like I said, from this week on, it should be fun.
JOHN BUSH: You've actually had some success here. You opened up last year with a 64 on your way to a top 15-finish. Let's get your comments on this tournament and this golf course.
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, again, it's a course that I have played well on. I like the way it looks. Again, they've made a few changes this year, but everything looks great. I mean, I have a feeling it's going to get firmer and faster just like it did last year and get much, much harder, but again, I feel like if I can make some putts, keep the ball in the fairway, I could have a good week.

Q. How about some of the fallout from the win and what happened in New York? Anything out of the ordinary?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, not really, not in New York. We were still pretty low key, just me, my wife and Stella all went to -- we went to Calvin Klein, my apparel sponsor, and hung out there for a little while. I met with him. It's the first time I had met face-to-face with all them, and then we went to Toys-R-Us, Ferris wheel, hung out with some toys and had a picnic in the park, enjoyed ourselves and just drove up slowly. It was nice, quiet.

Q. Have you done any additional media, things like that?
HEATH SLOCUM: I guess a little bit, just a call-in here, a call-in there. But other than this, this is a bit out of my normal schedule. But that's a good thing, so looking forward to this week.

Q. I wouldn't think there's too many life-changing weeks that a guy goes through, but how quickly did you realize that this was probably going to change things for you?
HEATH SLOCUM: It was probably Sunday night sitting in the hotel room, and then obviously a lot of you guys were saying, look, this gets you into the TOUR Championship. I guess probably when we were back there and we had already put Stella to bed and my wife and I were just sitting there talking, yeah, this puts this, yeah, that, oh, wow. Yeah, then it kind of hits you what that win definitely does not only for this year but for the following year, for -- I mean, it makes things a lot easier in a lot of ways, not only just schedule, but it gets you into the majors and it gets you into the tournaments that you were wanting to play anyway.
Again, it's just another opportunity just like I had last week. You just never know where lightning is going to strike and when it's going to be your turn to have a putt to win a golf tournament. The bigger tournaments you get into, the bigger tournaments you have a chance to win.

Q. You said after your round that you were just focused on competing against the golf course, not the people that were chasing you. Now that you have a chance to look back on it, do you think holy smokes, the guys that I held off --
HEATH SLOCUM: Oh, definitely. You look at -- I mean, yeah. You look at the names and the credentials they brought, all the tournament wins, all the majors, yeah, it seems like a daunting task. Maybe thank God I was so focused that I didn't have to pay attention to that and I wasn't paying attention to that. Otherwise, yeah, it might have been a different story. But I think that's why we all practice and stay in our routines is maybe so we don't have to think about stuff like that.

Q. You mentioned all the other variables that it took care of. I mean, you played in one major this year, presumably probably went through qualifying to get into the U.S. Open?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, actually was in the U.S. Open off the previous U.S. Open.

Q. Off of last year's?

Q. Next year you're in the Masters and all those other kinds of things. Could you sort of talk about the impact of taking care of all that in one fell swoop, too?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, that's what I mean is so amazing. The other time when I played the TOUR Championship I didn't get into the British, but I actually ended up getting in. So I've only played one British. I've played three Opens now, one Masters. I've missed the PGA a couple times, but yeah, to know next year basically you can make this schedule, you can plan accordingly, your practice sessions to what you're trying to do for those events, you don't have to do any 36-hole qualifiers because those are never any fun, yeah, it's huge. To be able to set those kind of schedules, like I said, to do events that you really want to play in and compete it against the best golfers in the world on some of our best golf courses, it's unbelievable.

Q. How many times have you watched that putt on 18 now, whether on videotape or just on TV?
HEATH SLOCUM: Honestly I've probably seen it probably four times now. It's pretty amazing. I don't remember anything about it, I really don't. That's what I was just -- Robert Allenby and I were just in the locker room talking, and I was like, I don't remember it coming off the putter, I don't remember like really seeing it go in. Everything just kind of blurred from that moment, as soon as it left the putter, I guess, because I was trying to just kind of go through my head when I was laying in bed on Sunday night, just trying to imagine everything going -- replaying everything, and I was like, that's weird, I can't really remember where the ball was halfway there or anything. Did it ever look on line? It seemed like it just got there so quick, I suppose, that everything is a blur now. I think I'm going to have to keep looking at it on the replay to see what it looked like.

Q. So it was an out-of-body experience?
HEATH SLOCUM: A little bit. I remember being over the putt vividly, what I was thinking, what I was trying to do, but I think from the moment of impact to going in, it is a little unclear.

Q. Your victory dance needs a little work, too.
HEATH SLOCUM: I'm sure. My wife said I sounded like a girl. (Laughter.)

Q. Does this change expectations that you might have on yourself, and then maybe by extension, how do you think you'll react if other people, players, fans, will now expect more from you?
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, I'll be honest, it's going to be hard for me to expect any more from myself than I already have. I can be definitely my biggest critic. When things are going bad, when things are going good, I'm still -- I won't say perfectionist, but I like things a certain way, and I expect things out of myself that maybe others don't.
I don't think anything is going to change that way, and if players or the fans expect anything, I mean, that's -- they might expect a little more from me, but I'm going to go out and I'm going to compete hard just like I always do. I'm going to expect to play well. I'm not going to play well all the time. I mean, that's a given. But I don't think anything will change. Players especially out here understand how difficult golf is in general, and that you don't just have it all the time every week.
No expectation change for me. I'll go out and expect the best from me, and I always, and always have, give everything I've got, no matter what I'm shooting. So from that aspect I don't think anything will change.

Q. Curious about looking at the tournament this week, No. 18 in particular is the easiest hole on the golf course, a lot of eagles made there, and it's one of the easiest you play all year. I wonder what your strategy is going into 18.
HEATH SLOCUM: Hit the fairway first. It's a really tough fairway to hit. It can be. When it's soft it's a bit easier to hit, but then it makes a little bit longer approach shot. Carrying those bunkers for me has got to be optimal conditions and then let it roll to the bottom. It's surprising that that's been the easiest hole because I feel like the past few years that green has gotten really firm and it's hard to hit in two, and then there's quite a bit of undulation.
You know, first and foremost, I have to hit the fairway, and then if I try to get it around the green, if I hold the green, great, if not, I know I've laid up on it before and tried to wedge a.
Birdie in. But again, yeah, when you walk off you'd love to play that hole at least 4-under par. It's just one of those things where, especially for me, first and foremost, I have to hit that fairway, otherwise I'm probably going to have wedge or 9-iron in, I'm not even sure.

Q. How do you see the Player of the Year race shaping up? The FedExCup will decide the Player of the Year race; do you agree with that?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, definitely. Tiger has won five times, no majors for him this year, and we've got four major winners different. It's going to be tight. I think that obviously winning five times on the PGA TOUR and with Tiger, FedExCup, yeah, I think that will probably leave some votes open or at least see what happens. Definitely if someone comes up and unexpectedly wins FedExCup, maybe take that into consideration. It's one of those things you just wait until the end of the year and see and kind of judge on the full year.

Q. Do you feel like you'd throw your name in the mix?
HEATH SLOCUM: I think that's a little early for Player of the Year.

Q. If you ran the table.
HEATH SLOCUM: If I ran the table, then we could talk about it. Other than that, I think I've got a ways to go.

Q. When you see your name at the top of the FedExCup point list and you see the other names around you, just looking down and seeing your name, what goes through your mind and your body? What's that feel like?
HEATH SLOCUM: It's nice to see your name up there, but other than that, it's a lot of golf obviously still ahead of us. I mean, but it's really nice to obviously see your name in that kind of company and know that you've played well enough to get there.
Yeah, it's nice, and you know, I'd like to maybe in a month down the road see my name still way up there and maybe going into the TOUR Championship have a chance on Sunday to win it all. I mean, that's what we're here for, if you've come this far now. I've gotten off to a great start and gotten myself in the mix, so just see what the next three weeks have in store for me.

Q. You've now won three times on TOUR and have the respect of your contemporaries. Maybe because you wear the sunglasses and have a quiet demeanor, you don't have quite the appeal with fans that maybe Tiger or Phil does. Are you comfortable flying under the radar, so to speak?
HEATH SLOCUM: I have my whole life, so yeah. It's funny because I obviously went to high school with Boo, and Bubba is from the same hometown. You've got two big personalities, and then there's Heath. Yeah, it is who I am. I mean, I don't change. I don't mind flying under the radar whatsoever.
I get to do what I love every day on the greatest stage, and that's perfectly fine with me. My wife and my little girl know who I am, and that's all that matters.

Q. I'd like to hear some more about your Monday. Was the Calvin Klein thing set up beforehand or did it all come together?
HEATH SLOCUM: It was. We were trying to get there earlier in the week. We were trying for Wednesday, but my coach, Mark Blackburn, was in town and he wasn't flying out until 4:00 so it was going to be tough to make like a 4:30 appointment with him. What I said is, look, best case scenario is I'm going to Boston the following week, we hang out Monday like we were going to do, stay in the city, and I'll run by. It just so happened that the first time I meet him I won Barclays.

Q. So you made him wait.
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, and they were pumped. They were really excited. It was a good time, too. Getting to meet all the people that have put the logo on my shirt and given me the shirt, it was a very nice meeting and it was nice people, and we just went on and enjoyed our day from there.

Q. What was the picnic in the park like? Did you guys take a sandwich over and a blanket and the whole deal?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, no blanket. We took just some food, some cupcakes for -- I want to say for Stella but for all of us, and just let her run around in the park. She would take a bite, take off running, come back and get a bite, take off running.

Q. Sugar will do that to you.
HEATH SLOCUM: This was before the sugar. You should have seen her after the sugar.
JOHN BUSH: Heath, thanks for coming by, and good luck as you go for two in a row this week.

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