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August 9, 2011

David Hutsell


KELLY ELBIN: David Hutsell, the 2011 PGA Professional National Champion, joining us at the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. David enjoyed the highlight of his career at the end of June in Hershey, Pennsylvania, winning the PGA Professional National Championship to joining 19 other PGA Club Professionals in the field here in Atlanta.
David, welcome.
KELLY ELBIN: This being your second consecutive PGA Championship, but first as the PGA Professional National Champion. Comment about coming in here with that title and also representing the Association.
DAVID HUTSELL: Well, it's certainly an honor to represent The PGA of America in any capacity, but to come here as our National Champion is quite an honor.
It's been quite a month, month and a half since the tournament in Hershey, and things have changed a little bit for me during that time. But it's quite special to be here and to have that, quote-unquote, title is awful nice, too.
KELLY ELBIN: How has it been different for you in terms of reception back at the Elkridge Club in Baltimore where you're the PGA Director of Instruction, and just in general, just hearing from fellow professionals, I'm sure a number of congratulations.
DAVID HUTSELL: Absolutely. We've got a great staff there, Joe and Kathy Franz; Rob Chase, who is, of course, Allen Wronowski's stepson, our PGA President; and Bobby Fisher another, assistant professional there, they've been extremely supportive.
I spend typically about six days a week there working. But these last couple of months playing in tournaments, I've been away a little bit more, and I can't thank them enough for the support they've given me.
And of course the membership in general, they've been fantastic. We had a nice reception following the tournament at Hershey, I'd say at least 100, 150 folks showed up to congratulate me, and it's just been a wonderful relationship there ever since I arrived.

Q. Can you just talk a little bit about your expectations coming into this week? Is it any different from last year? You experienced this stage last year and now you're the National Champion coming in.
DAVID HUTSELL: You know, the expectations, I think, are similar.
We as club professionals may or may not play as much golf certainly as the guys on the Tour, but I think we in the past have proven ourselves quite worthy of being here with the success that our guys have had in the past. And I certainly hope to have that kind of success myself, be around for the weekend and see what happens from there.

Q. As follow-up to that expectation question, can you define a successful week? Is it already a successful week, or does a certain number of progressions need to take place where you can look back and say, yes, that was a good week?
DAVID HUTSELL: I would say that making the cut would be a successful week. It's nice to be here, of course, and to play in this prestigious event, but certainly would be a bit disappointing to go home early.
Last year I didn't play exactly my best, and I certainly hope to improve upon that this year. But I think anything less than being here on the weekend would be a bit of a disappointment.

Q. We've heard so much about the grasses and the strains and how they're heat resistant. Well, that's great that the golf course is heat resistant. How about the players?
DAVID HUTSELL: I don't know if they are as heat resistant as the golf course is.
You know, growing up and living in Maryland, we've had this kind of heat for most of the summer. We've had a stretch of 30 days at 90-degrees plus and a handful of days over 100.
You certainly have to keep yourself hydrated; practice rounds, probably limit yourself to a little bit of -- maybe not teeing it up every day and playing 18 holes.
I got in Saturday evening and played a round Sunday afternoon and a round Monday morning, and today just did a little light practice, working on the short game a little bit; and maybe play nine holes tomorrow just so I can be fresh on Thursday morning.

Q. Is there something symbolically important about the fact that there are 20 club pros in this field, and what is it, or how would you define it, if so?
DAVID HUTSELL: Well, I'm not sure of the entire history of the event, but I know the number has diminished a little bit over the years.
Back in 2001, I lost in a playoff for the 25th spot, and it's narrowed to 20 now. But you know, it's our organization that runs the event, and I think it's very nice that we get the invitations that we get.
You know, like I said before, I think we do a pretty good job of representing ourselves here, and I think we'll continue to do that in the future.
KELLY ELBIN: Could you talk a little bit about what your responsibilities are at the Elkridge Club in Baltimore and how you have gone about preparing for the championship with your day-to-day job still, what you do?
DAVID HUTSELL: Well, I'm the director of instruction at the Elkridge Club, so I oversee the majority of the instruction programs. I'm giving individual and group instruction on a daily basis. And after winning in Hershey, and then also following up with a Maryland Open win this year, there's been a lot of attention, and my lesson book has certainly filled up a little bit more.
So I've had some pretty busy days the last couple of weeks and quite a few members saying, "Why aren't you out practicing?"
So I say, "Well, I have lessons to give." That's my first and foremost job is to take care of the membership. As a PGA Professional, we're here at the club level to make people better and enjoy the game, and that's what I do first and foremost, and the fact that I get to be here and do this is just icing on the cake for me.

Q. Does that mean -- have prices gone up there for lessons at all?
DAVID HUTSELL: No, no, not yet. I keep getting that question. If they keep asking it, maybe I'll have to change something, but no, nothing has changed right now.
KELLY ELBIN: So David, making the cut, you say, would be the goal this week?
DAVID HUTSELL: Absolutely. Yeah, the golf course, it's tough but fair, and you know, the practice rounds I've gotten a pretty good feel for it.
And I think as long as you drive the ball in play you're going to have some chances, and if you can, of course, make a few putts -- the greens are going to be -- I'm sure probably get a little firmer and faster, and they're already there right now if you ask me.
But I think the superintendent has done an unbelievable job, and you won't play a golf course that's much better maintained than this one.
KELLY ELBIN: Are there any particular holes that stand out to you from your practice so far?
DAVID HUTSELL: I mean, there's a number of beautiful holes out here. I particularly like No. 11. I think it's a beautiful par-4 with a really gorgeous approach shot down the hill and water to the right of the green. Of course 15 is all the par-3 I'll ever want to play at maybe 260 or maybe 240, wherever we happen to play it from.
And 18, of course, is quite a challenging hole there to finish on.

Q. I don't know if you've mentioned it already, but Rick Schuller has obviously a great experience here, and he's a caddie for Faber Jamerson. You played a practice round with him. Has he provided either of you some tips about what to expect here?
DAVID HUTSELL: Well, Rick has been a good friend of mine for a number of years. We've played a lot of golf together and we talked a little bit about the golf course and how it's changed.
But more than anything, he's just been very supportive. And we talked a little bit on the range today, and he asked if I was going out to play, and I said, "No, I'm going to kind of take it easy today."
And he said, "You should. You hit it great yesterday, and if you just keep that going, everything is going to be great."
I think just from past experience playing in a couple PGA TOUR events, and, of course, this championship last year, you just can't wear yourself out. You've got to be fresh, and if you're not, then you're going to struggle. It's going to be hot, and you've just got to be prepared for it and play the best you can.

Q. I'm just curious what's it like for you to play in front of such a big crowd now at a major championship.
DAVID HUTSELL: You try to block it out as best you can. You certainly want to absorb or soak in the experience. I first experienced it at the PGA TOUR or major levels 11 years ago.
I played in the Kemper Open and I had an older brother, my older brother, Chip, caddied for me and we were going around for the practice rounds, and he turned and asked me, "Have you ever played golf in the middle of a circus before?" It has that atmosphere a little bit because you get some folks there that just enjoy themselves and maybe not pay attention to what's going on on the golf course.
So you can't let those little distractions bother you, and if you do, it's going to be tough. It hasn't really bothered me too much over the years. I enjoy it, and if you have a good caddie, someone to talk to and of course fellow professionals in the group that are enjoyable to play with, it's always a great experience.
KELLY ELBIN: Did you play any practice rounds with any Tour professionals or did you stick with the club professionals?
DAVID HUTSELL: This year not yet. I played with Faber Jamerson and Robert McClellan the past two days. Last year I played nine holes with Mark Brooks.
I try to get out and do my thing, and if somebody happens to be there to join with, that's great. But I try not to get too star-struck.
KELLY ELBIN: He's the star of the PGA of America and the winner of the PGA Professional National Championship of America. Thank you, David.

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