What they said: Ben Crane

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January 20, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Humana Challenge transcript archive

MARK STEVENS: Ben Crane, welcome to the media center. You got 16-under today. If you want to kind of talk about your round and then what you see going forward.

BEN CRANE: Yeah, got off to a great start, made a bogey on the first hole.

And after that I just made an eagle on the 11th hole and birdie from the 12th, chipped in from the bunker. So that was a fun way to start.

And then I started putting really well after that. So I made a lot of 10 and 15 footers. And I made all my kind of close putts for birdie. And so overall I had 22 putts today, so just putted extremely well and every part of my game felt great. I guess that's how you do it. Just kind of got a couple good bounces and there it is.

Q. You mentioned the eagle on 11. Your second hole out. Through two days you have torched the par-5s??

BEN CRANE: Yeah, you know, last year and the year before one of the things that my coaches keep bringing up is you're not very good on the par-5s. You know, you're good on the par-4s, but you haven't been all that good on par-5s.

And so this week I've noticed that I made three eagles, all on par-5s, and yeah, just playing, taking advantage of the par-5s and making some putts and that helps.

Q. Is that a function of your focus on the par-5s or is it a function of the fact that the par-5s here are maybe a little more accessible than other places??

BEN CRANE: It's both. The fact that we're probably hitting slightly shorter clubs into some of these par-5s instead of some of the other par-5s that we play. And also I'm playing them more aggressively.

So I'm trying to, if I can't get the ball on the green, I'm trying to get the ball up and around the green somewhere. And yesterday I tried to shape a couple shots into the par-5s, which worked out for me. But if I didn't hit a little fade on one of the holes yesterday, I wouldn't have had an opportunity to get the ball close.

Q. 18 today, for instance, you did lay up.

BEN CRANE: Yeah, so that was a situation where I just realized that I kind of had a little downhill lie and didn't hit a great drive so I was a long way back. And my wedge game has been solid, so that was just a course management deal where I decided that particular situation I just felt better about laying up. But for the most part when presented with the opportunity I've been a lot more aggressive this time around.

Q. When you start a round with a bogey what do you tell yourself? How do you straighten it out?

BEN CRANE: I try not to tell myself anything. Just try to just keep going, just keep being focusing on what, on getting to the next shot, and executing the best I can. So I try not to change my strategy at all. If I let scores change my strategy, then that's when I, my emotions are going to fluctuate too much and all that. So I just keep plugging. But, yeah, it has a way of kind of waking you up, making a bogey at the first hole. I've done it the last two days, so.

Q. And is it harder when you know you have to make a lot of birdies when everybody's going to make a ton of birdies??

BEN CRANE: Not really. I think that if I wasn't making birdies, yes, you try to force the ball into the hole. But when you get a couple under, through the first few holes, it just seems like the course starts to open up a little bit and you don't try quite as hard and you tend to relax a little bit more.

Q. What was the off season like and what was the thought process coming into this season??

BEN CRANE: This off season, every off season I try to take eight weeks off. I took the first four weeks and did no golf. Actually kind of contemplating hip surgery. I thought I had a labrum issue, turns out that I don't. So I'm thankful for that.

My coach just said if I turn out my left foot a little bit more, it should take some pressure off the impingement I do have in my hip, which is really a minor issue and I'm not going to make it any worse or anything.

So, yeah, it kind of, the off season went from kind of bracing ourselves like, hey, am I going to have to have something done to, hey, I need start preparing. And so I took all my stats from last year and just came up with a few areas and one of the things we just figured out was there was something wrong with my setup and it was -- and so we figured that out at TPI and just made a little change in my shoulder alignment and that's helped me with the ball striking.

And then I've just put a lot of time in just putting this off season too. So that's kind of the two things I really worked on.

Q. I think you had a chance to talk to President Clinton yesterday, what was that like??

BEN CRANE: He's a great conversationalist and just so knowledgeable on a lot of different issues. One of the things that my wife brought up was that she really appreciates his family's work on sex trafficking and just the awareness, as my wife sits on the board of an organization called Love 146. And to not only rescue, but set up aftercare for children who have been trafficked for some reason or another.

So that was really fun to engage with him on that. And that was something that my wife and I are very passionate about helping the kids out and growing the awareness.

So, yeah, it's really given this tournament a spark to have him around and just, it's been great for everybody in this tournament. It's just grown so much in a year. The buzz is unbelievable. And it's really fun to be part of it, because we spend sometimes about a month a year here, my folks or my mother and father-in-law live here and so just to see how this tournament's grown just in a year is really fun to see.

Q. Did your wife ask him to help out with the foundation??

BEN CRANE: No. She just appreciated what he's done and so it's been, that was a neat connection.

Q. You mentioned putting. What did you do in the off season and what prompted you to do it??

BEN CRANE: One of the things that my coaches were talking about is, you seem to be changing a lot of things when you putt. So one of the things that you believe for you to help you putt well will help week in and week out, we just, they believe that there should be some consistency from week to week.

So we looked at my setup and we looked at, hey, where do you think you putt well from, ball position wise. We looked at some old footage and stuff. We just were trying to make the setup more consistent. And then I'm just trying to, I worked on just starting the ball down my line and doing that from-- I mean it sounds crazy simple, but really that's what we're, what we worked on was creating more consistency with my setup and then starting the ball down my intended line.

Q. Had it changed from when you looked at what you used to do and now??

BEN CRANE: Yeah, it actually had changed. I had crept the ball position back and with putting you really, everyone's different, but for me, I believe you want to hit a little up on the ball. And you don't want to hit the ball -- I was hitting the ball kind of at the bottom of my stroke and at the bottom of your stroke you can tend to hit it a little high on the face, and I don't know if you know that feeling when you hit a driver and you hit it high on the face it feels like the ball's heavy and the ball just doesn't come off right.

Well, same thing with a putter. If you move the ball forward in your stance and catch it in the middle of the putter or even lower it should send a little more top spin on the ball and that helps the ball roll a little bit better. So we moved the ball slightly forward and that helped the ball start rolling better. Now my caddie looks and he's checking to see if I'm letting my ball position creep back.

Q. Were you surprised when you saw the changes over the years??

BEN CRANE: I was surprised that the consistency of how, what that it looked very similar every time I putted really well. Just having the ball position more forward. So I was surprised at that. So I was like, okay, I want to do more of that.

Q. You mentioned the buzz and President Clinton. Obviously there are other changes that have come to this tournament in terms of the format and the parings and things like that. Of those, are there any of them that resonate better with you than other ones??

BEN CRANE: All of them. Humana's done an unbelievable job. I think that just everything from just having these three courses, which are the players favorite courses, having the format like the Pebble Beach format, playing with one pro for three days and mixing up the amateurs, and having the two amateurs instead of the three or four.

Everything has just been much improved and we got a much better field because of it. So this tournament I think will continue to grow. And this is a great place for players to start their year because it's like playing indoors. There's like, your caddie goes like this and he's like, um, um, I'm like, where's the wind? He's like, um, I don't know.

(Laughter.)

The grass is falling straight down. I'm like, okay, let's just hit a normal shot here.

Q. The wind's on the other side of the freeway.

BEN CRANE: Right. Exactly. Exactly. I'm glad we're not playing as much wind. It's nice.

Q. The videos were kind of at the beginning of last year were still fairly in their infancy, and then you guys went crazy with the Boys and all that. Do you think the perception of people, of you has changed just in the last season? Do you think people know more about you now or have a different view of you than they did before?

BEN CRANE: Yeah, I think that they just know more of my softer side, I guess. Yeah, it's been super fun for me to, I've had a lot of fun with my friends and Sam and the Golf Boys, just doing these things. And we think they're really funny and so, you know, any time I can make my wife laugh, there's no charity laugh in her whatsoever, and we show it to her and she laughs we're like, oh, my gosh, we have got a hit here. This is something special.

So when we showed her the workout video, she's like, she was so disappointed that we were, she's like, what are you going to do today? We're going to go film a funny video. And she's like, really? Are you wasting your time? And I'm like, well, it's just something we kind of want to do. And she almost didn't give me her blessing to go like make this stupid video.

Then she saw it and we turned it up a few hours later and she's like, okay, that's pretty funny. And she's genuinely laughing and stuff. And it's grown, the Golf Boys has been awesome and we're hoping to do another one of those. So.

Q. Whose idea was the Golf Boys??

BEN CRANE: Well, all three of those guys wanted to do something together and so instead of us all doing kind of like two and two and two, whatever I said, hey, let's just all do one together. And I talked to my friend Sam and he's the genius and he wrote this song and I'm like, oh, my gosh, it's like actually a cool song. And so it's just kind of catchy.

And then we threw -- some it was just literally we didn't even try, we just kind of came together and we just picked some outfits and the whole thing is, on the making of it, it just happened, it was just magic.

And so, yeah, and then I just watched the making of for the second time, I watched it like after we made it and I watched it like three days ago, and I'm like, oh, my gosh, that's really good. It's like funny. And I really enjoyed it.

So, yeah, it just came off, I don't know if we can match it. I don't even know if we should try. We're going to go a slightly different direction, but certainly we got -- the sequel is never as good, but we got to give it a go, right?

Q. But it's in the works??

BEN CRANE: Yeah, we have got some couple hurdles to clear, I won't talk about those, but, yes, we're trying to get another one done and we'll see if everything happens. So, but next week I'm launching one of my own videos which hopefully you guys like, at Farmers Insurance Open. And that's on, yeah, a pretty good topic, so, yeah, look for that one.

Q. What is it??

BEN CRANE: I used to be a gymnast. That's all I'll say.

(Laughter.)

Q. The suit? Is the suit in it?

BEN CRANE: I'm not going to say anything, I'm just going to -- I'm just going to say I used to be a gymnast, so.

MARK STEVENS: What day is that?

BEN CRANE: It's up to Farmers. I think, I don't know if we're launching Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm thinking early in the week next week.

Q. Do you know Paul Hamm, the Hamm brothers, any of their other male gymnasts??

BEN CRANE: No, I don't, actually, but they're probably going to want to get together after this.

(Laughter.)

Compete a little bit.

Q. State of mind is such a big part of success. Is there anything your health and wellness routine that you really attribute to that winning state of mind??

BEN CRANE: Yeah, my mental coach Lenny Basham, he and I always talk about being solution oriented. And talking about problems makes problems problematic. Talking about solutions helps you overcome. So that's one of the things that we're very aware of.

And then I would just say that my overall sense of wellness in life comes from my relationship with the living God. So there's nothing more important to me than walking with Jesus and so I read a lot of scripture when I'm on the course and that's something that's just, I love doing it. It's provided my family with a lot of joy and a lot of peace and a lot of fun and every time we apply God's word to our lives it just works. And it's not always easy, but it's always right. And so that's something that we're just passionate about.

Q. With that being the case, what do you think about Tim Tebow and his recent ascent through the NFL really with that platform and has that helped you in any way kind of be a little bit more bold in speaking on it??

BEN CRANE: I love Tim Tebow's, the way -- one of my favorite answers in the history of reporting was when someone, I can't remember who, was saying like he needs to calm down or like tone down that Jesus thing. And his response was, well, you know, when you get married do you just tell your wife you love her at the altar and then never tell her you love her again or do you tell her every single day, every opportunity you get that, I love you, I love everything about you, and encourage your wife.

And things like, so that's the way it is with my relationship with God, is that I love my God and so every time, every chance I get to thank him for all he's done in my life, I do.

So, yeah, I thought that was really cool answer and one of my buddies, Mark Teixeira and I were in Cabo kind of as this whole Tebow thing was helping and we both kind of did the Tebow like whatever, and out on the rocks and just, it's just fun. Yeah. So I love who he is, I love what he's doing and we both worship the same Christ, so, yeah, I'm, I think it's been super encouraging for me too.

MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Ben. Good luck the rest of the way.

BEN CRANE: All right thanks.

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