What they said: Brad FaxonMarch 14, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
DAVE SENKO: Brad, this is your first visit here. Have you ever played in this area at all.
BRAD FAXON: I haven't. Competitively, no. I played in a couple of outings and some courses nearby. I haven't been here. I have heard good comments about the course from the amateurs and how much they like this tournament. I just can't believe they can squeeze a golf course around this area when you are next to a Fashion Island mall and beautiful stuff around here.
DAVE SENKO: What have been your impressions with the Champions Tour? You came out last year, you won in Houston, and you played in a couple of events this year, just some thoughts on that. Is it what you expected?
BRAD FAXON: A lot of it, yes. A lot of it is different. I think the low scoring of the winning scores is impressive. I don't know that I was thinking that it wouldn't be as low here versus the PGA TOUR. But guys get some sort of freedom here.
There is something that goes on in your brain, whether it's no cut, nothing to lose, only three rounds, not four, no pressure.
I'm good to go to be out here all year long. Kenny Perry's scores are unbelievable scores. Some guys say they play better out here than they've ever played. I would say that's probably true sometimes. But it's a little bit more relaxed in a lot of ways. I wish there were more tournaments than less tournaments is what everybody says. I thought I would be out here playing practice rounds with all of my buddies, Nick Price, Jeff Sluman, Corey Pavin, whoever.
But my first round of the tournament is always the Pro-Am. When we go out and play a course for the first time on the PGA TOUR, you are with two or three other guys. I always made it a point to play with guys that played the course before. And you are talking about what's the strategy off the hole, what would you do here? Talking it over with your caddie, and then you're helping out your amateurs, and you don't get a chance to hit a lot of chips, putts, bunker shots.
I'm seeing these courses for the first time, so I don't know where tee locations might be, or hole locations might be. So that's a little bit different, but I understand why.
Q. Have you had a chance to ask anybody about this course in particular??
BRAD FAXON: Just the amateurs at lunch told me everything breaks to the 17th green. That's all I know. I heard it was a good driving course. I don't know if that means driving the fairways are tight or trees everywhere or out of bounds everywhere. It looks like it's in good shape the little bit I've seen. Who designed the course?
Q. Billy Bell, Jr.
BRAD FAXON: So it's old.
DAVE SENKO: Any questions??
Q. When did you get to Newport Beach??
BRAD FAXON: Late Monday night.
Q. What have you been doing around here??
BRAD FAXON: Nothing. I played in an outing for Fidelity yesterday at Oak Creek Golf Course. It wasn't a bad place, a Fazio golf course. It's not like I'm playing golf, I'm just kind of smiling, taking a shot. You are better at work than you are at golf buddy, no, I don't say that.
I went to Titleist test facility this morning. I just got a few wedges made up and hit some balls in the launch monitor.
Q. Nothing fun yet??
BRAD FAXON: Well, that's fun. No, have I been out to Laguna, no. I haven't had a drink anywhere, no.
Q. Are you going to do that kind of stuff??
BRAD FAXON: I think so. My 20-year-old daughter is flying in from C State college, so she will come in tomorrow for the weekend. We're going to wear our rain gear all weekend.
Q. So you had a little time to think about your friend Gil getting the Olympic design job. What do you think that means for not only for his work, but just kind of a statement about where the game is headed in terms of design, set up??
BRAD FAXON: What made me so happy about Gil, I just thought this would be more typical of the United States Olympic Committee, they would take a person that would get them more notoriety, more press. I saw some international sort of pairings, and I saw the groups together, Nicklaus and Annika, and Greg and Ochoa.
Obviously, they put those together because it would have made some sense to do that. Gil has made some great courses internationally now.
I think the fact that Roger Dawson was on the committee and Castle Stuart turned out, the comments from the players at TPC Boston, have to be positive. I think just the way Gil is personally. I think they finally went with common sense, you know. I couldn't be happier for him. I know he is over the moon. I talked to him. He called me the other day. He had a pretty big year getting into Pine Valley and getting that Olympic bid and hanging out with Donald Trump. Two opposites there. I'm just so happy for him.
I don't think that, and you probably would agree with this, that Gil is going to build a course anyway different now, because it's for the Olympics, he's going to build the best course he can on the piece of property. But I'm sure there is certain things that's going to be required that he's going to have to do that he might not normally do for a golf course, maybe spacing out some of the few holes that are going to be televised.
We don't know how holes are going to be televised in the Olympics. That was one of the big stumbling blocks the PGA TOUR had when I was on the policy board about Olympic golf is how is it going to be broadcast? Will they actually show the players in prime time? How will they do this? Will they make it CNBC or however it is done versus on the network?
DAVE SENKO: Golf Channel.
BRAD FAXON: Right. And I think that was the big hurdle for us. For these players that go play and miss three or four weeks, can be a big deal in the middle of the season. From what I heard it's not a team event.
Q. It is not.
BRAD FAXON: That makes no sense to me. They've still got time to change that.
Q. Did you say you feel more relaxed on this Tour??
BRAD FAXON: Oh, yes, for sure.
Q. Do you like that or do you miss some of the TOUR intensity??
BRAD FAXON: I love The TOUR intensity, too. I like the relaxed part of it. And when you playing the last the holes, and you got a chance to win, it's not like, hey. You know a guy is still trying to win a tournament.
Guys have had second lives out here like we've seen forever and second careers. I love the Michael Allen stories, Tom Pernice stories. I love guys that are still playing great, are still trying to go on the other TOUR. I think that's great about the game.
If the age of the Champions Tour was 55 instead of 50, guys would still make a hell of a career on the regular TOUR. I think guys can do it.
You know when you are 45 and you see that 50 on the horizon, you tend to think, oh God, I can coast now. I can't wait until I'm 50. If that age was raised, I think guys would keep sharp a lot longer than they used to.
Q. It's amazing, and you are another example of this, you played well in your mid 40's, and you struggled a little bit and now your game is kind of back right at the time you turned 50, that's happened to a lot of guys.
BRAD FAXON: I think mine was very injury related from blowing out my knee, and being out pretty much two years, and I kind of lost my game for a while. I'd love to be able to play both tours. I just think it's hard to do.
This Tour needs the players to stay out here. It really does. It's hard to have status on both tours, you know. But I would love to have the ability say like Freddie Couples, and say, I would love to go play Riviera because I like that course, or Hilton Head because I like that course, and I don't have that.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you.