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August 21, 2012

Heath Slocum


JOHN BUSH:  We'd like to welcome Heath Slocum into the interview room here at the Barclays.  Heath, welcome back.  I know this is a tournament that means a lot to you, and you got back in great fashion again.
HEATH SLOCUM:  Absolutely.  Yeah, obviously glad just to be here at this point.  I was kind of looking for a bit more, but as it stands, this is where I'm at, so I'm going to make the best of it.  I kind of‑‑ I've been in this situation before.  Again, it's not exactly the position I wanted to be in, but I made the best of it.  In '09, I don't remember what I was last year, but I didn't make it past the Barclays, but again, I'm excited to be here.  I feel like my game has kind of rounded into shape.  The goal is to move on.  Simple as that.

Q.  I'd like to ask you about a couple of holes on the back nine, the only par‑5 back there, the 13th hole.  What's your strategy, your tactics as to how you play that hole?
HEATH SLOCUM:  A lot of these par‑5s, they're going to be all the same‑‑ not the same to me, but especially‑‑ it's going to be just imperative for me to hit the fairway and put a wedge in my hand.  I don't remember ever getting there and probably won't again, unless it gets really, really firm.  But again, that's how I play my golf anyway is try to take care of the scoring clubs.  If you play four days and you get four wedges, I should make a couple birdies.

Q.  And the 17th hole, what are the dangers that lie there for the players?
HEATH SLOCUM:  Again, I think this golf course in particular, from when I played nine holes today, you've got to hit the fairway.  For me, I'm hitting it shorter than everybody, so you're going to have a longer club in if I miss them.  The way I'm going to game plan this golf course would be it's simple as try to get hot with the driver and hot with the putter.

Q.  I know you've only played a couple holes out here, but how is this course different from how it played here in '09 for the U.S. Open in I know the weather is a little bit better, but is it different strategically?  Is it different like when you step on the tee at all, or is it kind of the same?
HEATH SLOCUM:  Well, it is kind of the same.  I mean, I think they may have cut back, I heard, some of the fescue.  Visually it looks the same to me, it's just dry.  From that aspect, I don't know like what to expect say from Thursday to Sunday if they don't get any rain, to how they treat the golf course.  The greens were still receptive today.  I thought they might be a little firmer, and they still, I think‑‑ again, I'll play them tomorrow afternoon, and I think they'll probably just firm up the rest of the week.  If they get any firmer and they get harder to hold, it's just, again, a tough golf course, it's a big golf course.  You've heard everybody talk about it.  It is, there's some long holes, and it's important to drive it in the fairway.  And I think it's going to be important for just about everybody because some of these shots you're just not able out of the rough to roll it up, you have to carry.  You have to hit uphill a lot to these greens, and it's really difficult out of the rough.

Q.  Where do you put this on your priority list, the Playoff events?
HEATH SLOCUM:  I think at this point they're made‑‑ for me, I didn't play a single major, so I looked at last week as the beginning of my Playoffs, and I've treated it with‑‑ put it this way:  My week off of the PGA was not the week off I wanted, but I prepared for a run, like I did‑‑ I want to say decompressing, trying to get as much rest as possible.  I feel like my game is rounding out, so I was preparing to try to start peaking for these events.
I've treated them probably the same way every year, this being a little different than I didn't play in any majors, so I'm making these‑‑ these are top priority this year.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the last 24 hours and did you already have a ticket here, and has it been a crazy thing to get here?
HEATH SLOCUM:  It has.  I had a ticket.  Well, I thought I had a ticket but I ended up having to get it, I'd say, on my drive home Monday because I drove after we played.  Look, it was, I'd say, bittersweet.  I was disappointed that I finished poorly.  I was still happy that I got in this event, but at the same time, the way the last couple years have gone, I felt like all I need is something to just kind of go my way.  I talked about it, I think, on Monday, just that's kind of been the last couple years, just a little inconsistent from one day to the next, from four holes to the next four holes.  And it felt good to play four straight days of really good golf.  I showed up on the fifth unfortunately and missed a couple putts, got a little bit too aggressive, and needed to make‑‑ well, I didn't know at the time, but I kind of really felt like I needed to‑‑ probably a par would have for sure done it, and then to miss it.  But at the same time I would have liked to have finished off better, but I'm going to take it as it was a good week and try to take that momentum and carry it over into this week and hopefully into next.

Q.  It sounds like you're a little disappointed in yourself.  Did you think you would have done more after you won the Barclays a couple years ago?  Did you think you'd be safely in these Playoffs now at this point?
HEATH SLOCUM:  Well, I mean, it's golf, so I'll be honest; what I've tried to do since before the Barclays, before I won, before, after, everything, is to improve each and every year.  I've been on TOUR since my first full year, '02, and I truly believe I'm a better golfer today than I am‑‑ every single year I've improved.  It hasn't showed up in the results the last two years, but there's still a lesson to be learned.  I'm going to take those, those stumbles, those falls, and apply them to get better.  That's been the goal the whole time.
Would I have liked to have been different and shot straight up and that be the launching point to the next big thing or a more consistent top 50 player, whatever you want to say?  Absolutely, but I mean, those are still the goals.  I've stumbled a few times, learned from it.  I'm going to be a better golfer.  It's just taken longer, obviously, but my goal now is just to be patient.

Q.  There's a number of guys that are in that 100 to 125 spot that if they don't make it to Boston they've got work to do to keep their card.  I wonder if you could talk about the importance of these Playoffs in that respect given next year is going to be a shorter season.
HEATH SLOCUM:  Absolutely, and that's part of the disappointment of last week.  I don't know what I am on the money, but I don't think I'm inside the Top 125.  So every single shot, every single dollar is important.
Absolutely, so what you're looking at now is the farther you go in the Playoffs and if you continue just to make money, obviously you're accumulating what other people don't.  I realize that.
I wouldn't say it's added pressure, but I realize it's there, and it would be nice to have a good week, to move on, to have another good week, to accumulate some money, because obviously at the end of the day, what I need and what I want is to be inside the Top 125.  It just makes my job a lot easier going into the next year, and like I said, short season and everything.
Yeah, I think obviously there's‑‑ you know that‑‑ I know that I have only so many tournaments left to earn that money, so...
And obviously, like you said, there's a few people there in the same boat, so I'm sure they're thinking the same thing.  Anything made now the next couple weeks is‑‑ would be very nice.
JOHN BUSH:  Heath, we appreciate your time.

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