What they said: Matt Bettencourt

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July 18, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Reno-Tahoe Open transcript archive

MARK STEVENS: Okay. I'd like to welcome Matt Bettencourt, the 2010 Reno-Tahoe Open champion. Matt, great round today. Showed a lot of grit coming back after yesterday and got a great win. If you can kind of take us through your thoughts throughout the day, and some of the highlights that you perceived throughout the day, and then we'll take some questions.

MATT BETTENCOURT: Yeah. First of all, a few guys have asked me already, how did you come back after shooting 75 yesterday? And you know, I shot 75, but I really felt like I played better.

You know, 75 is as high as I could've shot, and I hit two errand shots, and it cost me two double bogeys, but I really felt like I shot under par yesterday, even though I shot 75.

So as far as that's concerned, I had a positive frame of mind going into today. Felt like I was playing really well, and you know, it was great to start out on No. 2 today. I had a 9-iron chip-out three-and-a-half feet and made birdie there, and that was a positive start.

And you know, my goal today was just hit fairways and greens, and I did a really good job of it on the front nine managing my game. Hit a good shot into 10. Just the wind kind of took it a little bit to the left.

And then 11 obviously was the key to my round. It was playing pretty long. I figured there was only maybe a couple of guys that could reach it today in two into the wind, and I hit a good drive there and just hit a 3-wood as solid as I could hit it and never left the stick; and fortunately we got up there and it was about five feet from the hole. And I rolled that eagle in, and gave me a nice little cushion.

But tell you, man, it was tough, Bob Heintz played a great round of golf today, chipped in three times and holed a bunker shot. So not often you see that.

It was gritty coming down the end, but I just had a great conversation with Matthew, my caddie, and he kept me so relaxed all week, and really made me believe in myself and my ability, and it's amazing what you can do when you believe in your ability.

MARK STEVENS: Okay. Thank you. Also, with this win you moved from 185th on the FedExCup points to you're inside the 125 now with just weeks to go. Can you kind of sum up on what this win does for the rest of your season and even beyond that??

MATT BETTENCOURT: I mean this win is just incredible for me, gives me so many opportunities. I'm so thankful to the RTO for having this event here in Montreux. What a place. You know, I've been struggling all year, but I never lost my wavering belief in my ability.

And you know, now, I got an opportunity to make the PLAYOFFS, which is a really big thing. I have security for the next couple of years, which is all you can ask for. And I'm going to start at the SBS Champions in Maui next year, which, wow, it's going to be pretty cool.

I'm just going to ride this momentum and keep having fun and see how long I can play this year, so when I can make it into the PLAYOFFS like I did last year, and I believe in my ability, and I think I can go out there and win next week, too. I'm just really confident right now.

MARK STEVENS: Thank you. Questions??

Q. Matt, if you could address a little bit the ability to kind of manage yourself. You know, you credited your caddie for that a little bit, but you had the issue in the bunker a couple days ago with the footprint, I think, and then a four-putt yesterday. How do you fight through that and stay focused and manage your game that well??

MATT BETTENCOURT: You know, you have to forget about the bunker. That was just an unfortunate deal kind of. The bunkers out here are really good. The superintendent did a great job of preparing them. And I feel like I'm as good a bunker player as anybody in the world. So as far as that's concerned, you know, it wasn't regrouping from the bunkers.

My pace was off yesterday when I had a four-putt. I got a little bit distracted, didn't refocus as well as I should have on the 7th hole yesterday. I just hit a terrible putt. It happens. It's golf. And the best thing for it is amnesia. You just forget about it and move on.

Q. Could you address again, too, the ties that you have to Reno? I think you said the other day you've played many, many rounds up here you have a couple friends out here? How does that all develop?

MATT BETTENCOURT: I grew up in Modesto, California Central Valley, so essentially three-and-a-half hours from here. So we used to come up to Reno and Tahoe all of the time played pro-ams, amateur tournaments, so I've played quite a few golf courses around here and I've gotten over the years really acclimated to the elevation change.

And I felt that was my strong point for the week. My distance control I felt was phenomenal all week. I wasn't always hitting it on line, but my distance control, other than maybe two shots, was really strong.

Q. And just for the record, your caddie, Matthew, what's his last name??

MATT BETTENCOURT: Matthew Achatz. Matthew, you'll remember, he's been out here a while. He's a great caddie. My normal caddie, Russ, took the week off to go do some extra work in Toronto. We're playing next week at a new course. And Matthew caddied for Rocco Mediate. So weeks that Rocco doesn't play Matthew usually steps in and caddies for me. So he's seen it all. He went toe to toe with Tiger at Torrey Pines a few years ago, and he's just a great guy, great friend and really knows my game, knows how to manage the course. So it was great to have him step in this week, and thanks to Rocco for being over at the British Open and commentating.

Q. And when Bob was standing over that putt for the tie for a playoff, what's going through your mind at that point??

MATT BETTENCOURT: Matthew said, look, he's got an easy putt, there's no chance he's going to miss it. Let's regroup, go out, we'll hit a much smarter tee shot on 18 and we'll go make birdie in the playoff.

He calmed me down, and that's what I was ready to do, ready to go back there and give it my best. You never pull against anybody out here. My heart goes out to Bob. He's fought so hard. He hit a good putt. It just didn't go in, and fortunately this was my time.

Q. Matt, were you able to -- going down the stretch you were missing greens then after your eagle there, but you were really scrambling up and down. Were you able to keep focused or were you starting to think about where things were??

MATT BETTENCOURT: I did miss greens, however, on 12, the par-3, I hit a perfect shot, hit it wherever I wanted to. I could hit 9-iron. If I really hit it as good as I could hit it, it was going to land right by the hole and I hit it nearly as good as I could, so I knew it was right in front. You had to leave yourself short there. It was an easy up-and-down.

13, I hit just a perfect shot in there. It landed, I mean, 10 inches past the hole and the green was just really firm. It hit a hard spot and bounced over. So I hit great shots there.

I hit a loose shot on 14, didn't hit a good wedge, just didn't commit to my number there. And came over the top of it on 15 a little bit off the tee, and I knew if I missed it short right, it was a pretty simple up-and-down, and that's where I was aiming.

And that brings you into 16, the wind's swirling and tough, and I knew I couldn't come up short there. And you know, Matthew gave me a great club, and I just hit a smooth 8-iron, and I just pulled it a touch, and you know, made a great up-and-down there.

17, hit a phenomenal tee shot, and you know, it was a perfect 6-iron for me. And we had a perfect spot picked out, you know, 15 feet left of the bunkers. I was really committed to that. And just got ahead of it and pushed it a little bit. But the ball flew a perfect distance.

And on 18, you know, I hit a bad tee shot. It happens. It's golf. I was aiming at the left bunkers and I kind of pushed it a little bit to the right, and I knew I didn't have enough club to carry it to the bunker. But I wasn't aiming at that bunker.

And again, we talked about it and wanted to leave the ball short of the hole and just push the bunker shot and made good contact with it. And you know, the rest is history. I made some great up-and-downs and just a lot of fun.

Q. If you had to do it over again on 18, would you hit something other than the hybrid??

MATT BETTENCOURT: You know, that's a good question. I would have liked to stayed more committed to my line and hit the hybrid at the left bunker.

There was really only two plays for me there. It was take a driver and put it right in front of the green or hit a hybrid. I think Matthew really wanted me to hit driver and tae everything out of play.

I was kind of stubborn. I felt comfortable hitting a hybrid, and I just got ahead of it. So if I had to do it over again, absolutely I would have taken driver and I would've hit it up in front of the green and wouldn't have lived through the stressful situation. I would have been able to control it on my own. How's that?

Q. How critical, you'd had some problems on 7, 8 and 9 the whole week essentially, but how critical was it to get through those three holes today??

MATT BETTENCOURT: Yeah, I really hit good shots all week on 7 and had some misfortune and had a bad pivot on 8 and I didn't hit a good shot earlier in the week and a four-putt, but I felt comfortable and I hit a really good shot in there today on 7. I hit an 8-iron to about maybe six feet, and the putt looked pretty quick. I just didn't hit it hard enough. Nice tap-in.

And 8 is such a scary tee shot, can make or break you out here, and I had such a great tee shot again today right down the middle of the fairway. And you know, I was kind of in between clubs and to the back right pin I knew a wedge, you just couldn't go long, so I tried to hit a gap wedge and just didn't hit it quite hard enough and left it below the hole, made a nice two-putt there.

I got distracted yesterday on 9 and hit just a terrible tee shot, and that's what led to my issues there. Other than that, I hit good tee balls all week and hit a great tee shot today and hit a 5-iron trying to land it in between the bunkers and just pulled it a little bit, made a great up-and-down. So I really wasn't stressed out.

No. 8, I don't care how well you're playing, that's a scary tee shot. So yes, you think about that. But you just trust your golf swing and believe in your ability and the rest will take care of itself.

Q. This tournament's working really hard to try to find a title. Can you just address that, how important you think that is??

MATT BETTENCOURT: Oh, it's extremely important. You know, Jan and her staff have worked countless hours, and you know, what goes into a tournament, you know, till you really see behind the scenes, you just don't have an idea, just to see how hard everybody's working; and you know, the membership here at Montreux giving up their golf course for us is just phenomenal for them to do that as well.

And I don't know anywhere in the country that's more beautiful than this place. Reno-Tahoe has everything going for it, and I pray that somebody's going to step up and really take care of this event for a long time because it's a special event. And I think it deserves its own date, not to go against a major championship, whether it be a fall finish late September I think would be an absolutely perfect spot on the schedule.

The weather's just so great here. It's so cool to be out of the humidity and the heat. I don't know if you could find a more beautiful place to be. So I think the TOUR is going to get it done and we're going to find a way to keep this tournament around.

Q. And then also, any big plans tonight??

MATT BETTENCOURT: I'm wore out. I gotta return some calls and several text messages, and I don't know. Just looking forward to a good dinner and some relaxation, and it'll probably hit me at some point maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day. I don't know. Maybe later tonight. Maybe after the champagne. I don't know. (Laughs).

Q. And you've had a good number of friends and family out here to cheer you on. Does that slow you down? Does that put more pressure on you? How do you take that?

MATT BETTENCOURT: You know, it doesn't put pressure -- you can look at it either way. It doesn't put pressure on me. I like playing in front of them. They know what I'm capable of and they can drive me.

And you know, like I said, my wife Kelly has been through everything with me. She's seen the ups and downs, and it's just cool for her to be able to be here and experience this great time. And yeah, it's awesome. I've had so many friends here, a few guys in here, you know, that when nobody else believed in me 10 years ago, they did and they helped me get going.

MARK STEVENS: Okay. Well, congratulations, Matt, and good luck the rest of the year.

MATT BETTENCOURT: Thank you.

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