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August 24, 2010

Heath Slocum


THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Heath Slocum into the interview room. Heath's our defending champion. We'll have him opening up with comments maybe on a reflection back on 2009 and also his thoughts on this year's tournament.
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, obviously I'm very happy to be back defending. Different course. It's a bit different.
But looking forward to the challenge. You know, a year ago I would say I was in a different situation coming into the event. Not playing my best golf, but I just let go and played some of my best golf. So excited about the challenge of this new year.
A whole new year. So again I don't know what else I can say about last year, other than I would love to rekindle some of that golf for this year.
THE MODERATOR: Heath, a special week also with the Barclays they're going to be donating $100 for every birdie to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation here locally, comment about that.
HEATH SLOCUM: Obviously Barclays is stepping up and doing that for the charity that I'm the national spokesperson for, but even more so because I am a colitis patient myself and have it.
I hope it raises a little bit of awareness not only for this week and definitely raises some money, but I hope that more and more people around this area and across the country kind of maybe hear about it and check out the CCFA and, again, it's just something that's very near and dear to me. I'm glad that Barclays has stepped up and done that for not only for myself but for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.

Q. Liberty and Ridgewood, probably have nothing in common except that they're both in New Jersey. Do you still have a comfort level out there here, because you're defending champion, or what?
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, I think that regardless if we were playing at Liberty, you'd come in. Maybe to have some confidence over some tee balls or maybe a putt, doing it the year before. But that being said, this is a fantastic golf course. I feel like if I play good solid golf, make putts, I have as good a chance here.
It is a bit different, just being on a different course. But I don't think that Liberty National wasn't like in our rotation -- it's a one-year event. So I feel like I'd be the same coming in here, again, Ridgewood is not something that we've played year in, year out.
So I still feel confident. I feel good. Because -- it's actually a good thing, you come in and you kind of have to relive a little bit of what happened last year, which is a good thing, because it just starts putting those same memories into my head.
So I mean my job this week is to kind of take that confidence, put last year's win out of my mind and go play golf and enjoy it.

Q. Was it more meaningful -- it's always meaningful to win, but a little more meaningful to beat the guys you beat to win, I mean there were some big names right on your heels.
HEATH SLOCUM: You're right. A win is a win regardless of who you play against or who you beat at what golf course. But confidence-wise, just for your own self, yeah, to know that you came up on top with, yeah, the quality of the field and the guys that were all finished four, five finishing second, those were pretty big names with nice pedigrees behind them.
100 percent, it felt great. It was a huge win for me and for my confidence and hopefully for my career going forward.

Q. Does this seem like it might be a little bit more wide open this year? There hasn't been a dominant player. Tiger and Phil obviously not anywhere near their optimum right now, and doesn't look like anybody's got any kind of a stronghold on them?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, definitely. I think that there's been a lot of good golf played by a lot of different people. 100 percent. So I think it's going to be definitely very compelling for the playoffs. Anybody can win.
I think I kind of proved that last year, that anywhere in this field somebody could have that week and come out on top. So I hope that trend continues through these playoffs that we see a bunch of -- I don't want to say different names -- but you see a lot of good stories. I think it's good for our sport right now.
I think we have our superstars and they're always going to continue to play good. I think it's nice that someone like me that can come in and have those kind of weeks and get everyone at least talking about it for a little bit.

Q. Two-parter for you, what went through your mind when you saw what happened to Dustin Johnson at the PGA?
HEATH SLOCUM: Obviously I was in shock. I didn't actually see it happen. I was going to the airport. When I got there, we had -- you see a bunch of people around the TV watching.
And we were asking what happened, they said there might have been a penalty around the bunker. When we saw the replay, you were sick to your stomach, because you felt like he played -- played his way into a playoff. It's hard to tell those bunkers, I mean, some of them it really was. Especially outside the ropes where they were just trampled.
It made me sick to my stomach when I saw it.

Q. Second part, in light of the discussion of the rules of golf, has there been a rule that sometimes you think why do we have this?
HEATH SLOCUM: I guess, yeah, there's probably a few of those rules.

Q. Any particular that jumps out?
HEATH SLOCUM: You see divots and fairways and spike marks, stuff like that. That's just the way golf has always been. So I don't know if you want to go in there and start adding new stuff or taking stuff out.
It's the game we were taught. It's the game that's always been played. And sometimes you're going to have these kind of weird things that pop up that really affects someone's life, possibly.
But, I mean, we all know the rules, or if we don't we have someone that does at our disposal.

Q. What was your mindset based on your ranking last year going into the FedEx, what was your mind-set going into it? Was it something of survival? How did you kind of approach it?
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, it was really there's nothing to lose. I had no expectations going into the week. I wasn't playing my best golf at all, even all through the year. Kind of struggled a bit. And when I snuck in, I kind of felt I definitely have nothing to lose, which was a good thing.
It was a mind-set I was trying to get into that whole year just going in and playing golf. And I will say that expectations get in the way of all of us as golfers, and I would say that I haven't done that as well this year. At times I have.
But that's the battle, is to go in without expecting to play well. When you don't, you kind of snivel, get maybe in a bad frame of mind.
But with no expectations, that doesn't mean you don't want to play to win. It means you're living in the moment, playing golf and just allowing yourself to play good golf.

Q. Could you talk about the 15th hole and the 17th hole strategically how you're going play them and how they set up for you as a player?
HEATH SLOCUM: Is 15 a par 5?

Q. Par 3.
HEATH SLOCUM: Well, I think 15's a great hole. I think it's 150 yards. Relatively flat green for out here. So I feel like you're going to get short club in your hand, depending on the win. Yeah, that would be a hole that I want to say you're going to have to be precise. I think you can get a really good birdie opportunity. 17, kind of a long par 5 again. I don't believe any of these par 5s are really reachable. Maybe a select few.
But my job there would be just to get a wedge in my hand and try to get as good a looking birdie as I can. Two holes I think out here that you should get out of the four rounds some pretty good looks at birdie and you want to take advantage of those opportunities when you get them.

Q. Similar question I just asked you. Do you remember the last time we were this deep into a season without any semblance of a favorite for like a player of the year or anything like that? It seems like the guy that wins this thing, if he's in a group of maybe half a dozen guys, might be moving to the front of that line?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, I think you're right.

Q. I don't mean this week, I mean the FedExCup?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah. It definitely seems it's been a long time since we haven't had somebody that -- seems like they've had like lots of wins.

Q. Tiger?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah. I think it's very valid. I think if there's somebody that definitely steps up and -- what did Camilo do a few years ago, 12 of the three?

Q. Something like that.
HEATH SLOCUM: Something of that caliber happens that way. Somebody steps up. That might be player of the year as well. FedEx champion. Like I said, it's been one of those years, seems like there's been a lot of really good golf. A bevy of players.

Q. You had Tiger chasing you down last year, but I'm just wondering, him not being in the mix, is there any part of you that misses him not being in the mix, even though it's opened up a lot of opportunities for everybody?
HEATH SLOCUM: I'll be honest, I don't know if I've even thought of it. If it's even entered -- Tiger's not in the mix. Not when I'm playing golf anyway.

Q. So that would be no?
HEATH SLOCUM: That would be no. Yeah. I've got enough to worry about, about my game that's what I've been worried about. To be honest unless I'm watching the coverage and they're talking about it, I haven't thought about it. I think there's so many good golfers, and so many golfers are stepping forward with, just to show the depth of world golf right now, there's been a lot of compelling golf play.

Q. How did you look at it last year when he was chasing you? Did you notice him on the leaderboard?
HEATH SLOCUM: I knew he was playing in front of me. I knew he was close to the lead. But, again, I think that I was just I don't want to say relaxed because that's not really the word. Just in a good mind frame. I was playing good golf, I really was. I knew that he was close. And then -- but I'll be honest I didn't realize he was that close until when I walked up to the 18th tee. I knew that he was right around there, but not until the 18th tee did I realize that he was just one shot behind.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Heath.

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