What they said: Nick PriceMarch 15, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
DAVE SENKO: Nick, thanks for joining us. Coming in as the defending champion last year, and the prior year you had, I believe a ninth-place finish here, you have had some success here. Maybe just talk about the golf course and what kind of challenges it presents for guys??
NICK PRICE: Well, you know, the course is playing fast. The ball is running, it's firm and fast, I guess. I don't know when the last time you guys had rain here, but it's evident the ball is releasing on the fairway. So it's playing a little shorter than it has done in the past, or last year, so shorter than it did last year. The greens are good. They are not as good as they were last year. But again with the warm weather, poa annua likes the cool, and that's when it always seems to do the best. In the warm weather, they are little sparse in parts and patches. But they are still good. Don't get me wrong, there is no criticism of the superintendent. I think the weather conditions contributed to that. But I think the big thing on this golf course, you got to get ball in play off the tee and it's because the fairways are a little faster than they have been, that obviously narrows the fairways a little bit, so it's going to be key to drive the ball well again this year.
DAVE SENKO: How about your year so far??
NICK PRICE: Some good, some bad. It's been inconsistent again. You know, when I've played well I've played really well. When I haven't played well, I shot over par on courses that I really shouldn't shoot over par, but a slow start.
And a couple of weeks back, I was playing down at Mayakoba on the regular TOUR, which was the same time as the WGC Match Play, I played really well the first round and then I got sick. I got some stomach virus. So that took me like a week to get over. So I was a little weak coming back off that. But the last two weeks or so I have really worked hard trying to get my game into shape. One day I go out and I shoot 65 and the next day I shoot 72, so I'm trying to figure it out here.
DAVE SENKO: Anything that's been troublesome??
NICK PRICE: Just the consistency more than anything else. It's not one particular thing. When I feel like I lose my swing a little, I hit some wayward shots. But when it's good, it's really good. So I'm hoping that I could have three good days here. I think we are all hoping that we could have three good days here with the weather forecast.
DAVE SENKO: Questions??
Q. Do you feel you go about it the same way you did last year here at Toshiba Classic??
NICK PRICE: Yes, golf is a fickle game, and you try and go out with a positive attitude. You know, I've got to focus on hitting the fairways and hitting the greens tomorrow and try not to think of the big picture but think of each shot and play each shot as it comes. Invariably when you play well, that's what you do well. You don't think ahead of yourself, and you don't think of what's happened. You start with a clean state and you just try and go.
But I wish my form was a little more consistent going into this week. To be honest, I feel like I can shoot anywhere from really low tomorrow to not a very good score. So I wish I could tell you more. I don't know. It has been getting better I will say. It seems like my poor golf and good golf is getting a little bit closer together which is when you play your best. So that consistency, it is never how good your good golf is, it's what the bottom end is and how much that drags you down.
Q. Especially with what they are saying weather-wise, tomorrow's round is going to be crucial, it's going to be huge.
NICK PRICE: It is. If the weather forecasts are right, we will be lucky to get in 18 holes over the weekend. So tomorrow you have to come out with guns a'blazing. Sunday looks foul. And Saturday doesn't look a hell of a lot better right now. It's such a tragedy because it's very sad because the weather has been so good out here for the last two weeks. Anyway, c'est la vie, you can't do anything about it.
Q. Talk a little if you would about Brad Faxon, he obviously came out last year and made a big impression. Is it tough to follow that up as far as sophomore slump, as they call it, or do you get into a groove and everything just kind of comes naturally??
NICK PRICE: I think when you look at Brad, Brad has always been one of those players that his short game is phenomenal. He has always been a great putter, a great chipper and a great bunker player. When his long game is solid, that's when he plays well. So if his long game is a little loose, he will finish in the 20's or Top 10 or whatever. But when he starts hitting the ball solidly, that's when his putting and short game really comes to the fore. And I think Brad is going to have a similar sort of career that he had on the regular TOUR, when he plays well, he's going to win. I remember asking him one time, man, I wish I could have putted like you. He said, well, I wish I could have driven the ball like you. So it works both ways.
Q. Amen Corner, what do these holes mean and how special are they??
NICK PRICE: I've always said it shouldn't be Amen Corner, it should be 'our father' corner because you start saying your prayers when you get on 11. Obviously 13 is a par-5. But of the three, it's the easiest hole. But if you are playing well you can play those holes in 4-under par or 3-under par. If you are not playing so well, you play them at 5-over par. So it's a very difficult stretch there if the wind is blowing. If it is benign and flat, calm, that's when you will see guys take advantage of that. But you play 11 very defensively as you do 12. You try not to shoot at the pin on 11 if it's anywhere center left of the green.
Q. Isn't that what Hogan said??
NICK PRICE: Yes. He said if you can't be on line on that hole. But the back right hand pin, or the middle right hand pin, you can go at those. You can aim to miss the green right. Most guys try to hit a draw, or a cut that will start at the hole.
And then 12 is one of those holes where there is a spot in the middle of the green over the bunker that I think every time, irrespective of where the pin is, you aim for that spot.
The front left pin is a little easier because there is a bit more depth behind the hole. It's just one of those holes that you know if you don't get it on the green, you are really going to struggle to make par.
13 is a great risk reward hole. If you drive it around the corner, and you got an iron in there, you feel like you can make 3. But if you don't hit a good drive, you got to lay up, and depending on where the pin is, it's a really hard wedge shot.
I really like what they've done. Billy Payne has dome a phenomenal job of setting up the course and making it exciting again because there was a time where there was no theater there. It was very boring on the back nine. And Augusta, for me, was the tournament that's made for TV. Golf on TV is great because we had those huge swings.
I always felt like when you got on the back 9, on the 10th tee, and you were within five or six shots of the leader, you would have a good chance to win it. If you could post like a 32, 31 or 33, and the leader had to pull the trigger on a lot of tough shots. So when you got that 7, 8 shot swing on nine holes, it really lends itself to an exciting event.
Q. Do you ever, in a practice round, do you ever kind of sit and take in the beauty of Amen Corner??
NICK PRICE: Oh, yes, even when you are playing, it's really to get sucked into that lull of the beautiful surroundings. It's such a most beautiful place. I always describe it to my friends, it's like playing golf in a botanical garden. When you think about the links courses that they have in Scotland and Ireland, it's the total opposite to Augusta.
I always say Augusta kind of ruined golf for a lot of people, or for a lot of golf courses because everyone wants to see their courses so well manicured now. And golf is not about that. Golf is about getting a bad lie, a brown fairway, brown shoulder on the green, or whatever. They always make that course so perfect. Have their course so perfect which is wonderful to play in. But unless you got a $5 million budget each year for your agronomy or for your superintendent it's hard to do.
DAVE SENKO: And they do.
NICK PRICE: And probably more than that. I just hope it's exciting again. Me, I watch the majors normally on Saturday. I watch a little bit on Thursday and Friday. I'm not a huge TV person. But normally Friday or Saturday you can tell whether it's going to be an exciting finish or not the way the course is set up, and I don't even bother watching on Sunday if it doesn't entertain me. I think I'm pretty much like the average guy watching. I may know a little bit more about the courses. But it's still the same feeling. You don't want to see anything one sided, the guy that pokes himself in front and just plods around. Billy Payne has done a great job of turning that around.
DAVE SENKO: Thank you.