MORE INTERVIEWS: Valero Texas Open transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome the 2011 winner of the Valero Texas Open, Brendan Steele. Brendan, thanks for joining you. We know you had a lot going on in the weeks leading up to this event. It's finally here.
Just some comments on what it's like to be back here as you defend your first title on the PGA TOUR.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. It's an awesome feeling, I mean, come back to this course where I have so many good memories. It's always going to have a special place in my heart.
You know, the resort that they have here at the J.W. Marriott is amazing. So I look forward to spending a week here. And the golf course is in perfect shape and sets up good for my game. Obviously so excited to be here and it's definitely pretty cool to be the poster boy for a week.
DOUG MILNE: You had a tremendous rookie year last year. In addition to the win, you amassed 8 Top 25 finishes and that's the upside. The continuing part is to follow it up in 2012. You come right out of gate in 2012, finish Top-5 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year.
Has that been a transition, has there been an adjustment kind of or do you even feel like you have to carry what you did in '11 over into 2012?
BRENDAN STEELE: There's definitely an adjustment. You have to work on expectations and really understand what you're trying to do.
You know, winning in my rookie year was kind of something that I never even dreamed that I would be able to do so it's a little bit hard almost to keep yourself, not motivated, but just it's kinds of a where do we go from here-type thing.
So, been trying to fight through that and haven't had a lot of success over the last few weeks but no, I think that I've learned a lot over the last few weeks.
I don't think there's a lot wrong with my game. I think my approach has been a little bit off so I'm just trying to make that transition, start moving in the right direction.
DOUG MILNE: My last question before we open it up for questions is, in addition to defending your title here this week, I'm sure the LA Kings have come up once or twice this week. I know that's got to keep you fired up that you guys -- you're 3-up and feeling good heading into tomorrow as well.
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah. They have not had a lot of success over the last 20 years. Really since '93. So, it's nice to see a little bit of success in the postseason.
I was fortunate enough to get to go to the game on Sunday when they won 1-0. The first thing I checked win I got to the hotel was see if we had NBC Sports, and I'm happy to say that we do.
DOUG MILNE: I would imagine you do in this hotel. Okay. With that, we'll take a few questions.
Q. Brendan, you talked, you and I talked a couple weeks ago. You haven't been completely happy with your game. It's been a little uneven you said. Coming back here, swing thoughts, memories, all the different things playing on this course, how much does this course register for you even, you know, as far as those swing thoughts and coming in as far as your game??
BRENDAN STEELE: It registers a lot. It was actually more mental. I had a really good mental approach here last year. I kind of went through the same kind of thing last year before I got here and that's why I was kind of off everybody's radar when I did get here.
I was going through some struggles and trying to make the transition from the Nationwide Tour to the PGA TOUR and, you know, you have a tendency to get out here and think you have to be perfect and you can't make a mistake and you need to change your game.
It's really not the case. You need to be -- just be focused and do the right things and have the right mental attitude. And earlier this year I've gotten into a couple bad kind of swing habits and things which I think I've broken now. More of a case of getting the right mental approach going to kind of as I did last year.
Q. When you played here last year, one of the things was inclement weather for this course, wind came out of the wrong direction. How were you able to focus when a lot of guys absolutely fell off the map because of the conditions out here??
BRENDAN STEELE: I just kind of kept the ball in front of me. I kept it out of the native areas that are so penal out there and, you know, I don't know which way the wind is supposed to blow out here. As being a rookie I think it actually helped me that the tournament had only been here for a couple years and the guys that had played the year before maybe saw a different wind or different conditions.
A lot of places we go guys have been playing there 15, 20 years. You go play with a guy -- last year I got paired with Davis Love and Stewart Cink at Hilton Head. They've got 7 titles between them, right? I'm seeing it for the first time.
It's a big adjustment. You come out here and as a rookie, it was a little bit easier I think to have just as much knowledge as guys that had just played it the one year before.
Q. Has the reputation of this course -- this year, of course, maybe some guys even talked to you about it since you won here, but what is the reputation of this course out there??
BRENDAN STEELE: Brutally hard. Yeah. A lot of guys have talked to me about it. They wanted to know what it was like. A few of guys talked to me and said wow, that sounds great, sounds like the kind of course I like and they committed to the field this year.
I think it's got -- it's a really good course, very big challenge. Some guys aren't going to like it because it -- that's the way it is every week on Tour.
It's so tough that a lot of guying are going to be walking away shaking their heads. I think it's a good test and it's a little different test than we see kind week-in, week-out.
Q. You said some guys like the test. Has it chased away some? The field has diminished this year even from last year. Do you think part of it, this is a rugged place to play?
BRENDAN STEELE: Yeah, very possible. But, I mean the U.S. Open is a rugged place to play, too, right? All the Majors are. I think it prepares you for a lot of things out here.
I don't think there's anything about the course that's unfair even when the wind blows that hard. It demands really good shots and if you don't hit them, you're going to pay the price.
You know, there's nothing -- there's a difference between it being unfair and just being hard and there's definitely nothing that's unfair about it.
Q. I was told a story before you came in here about last year David Feherty kind of calmed you down at some point during your round.
BRENDAN STEELE: He was joking with me, cruising around on Saturday which I thought was pretty funny. I had never met him. He came in and he's always joking and talking about something, you know. I didn't know how it was going to be.
He told me on one of the holes -- I had missed a couple greens. I think I missed like 9 and 10 and got them both up and down and hit the green on 11 and made a birdie putt and he said, "Yes. See, I told you if you hit a green, you make birdie. You miss a green, you make a par. But you hit a green, you make birdie. That's all you need to do, just keep hitting greens." "Sure, David, no problem."
DOUG MILNE: All right. Anybody else? All right. Well, Brendan as always, we appreciate your time. Best of luck this week to you.
BRENDAN STEELE: All right. Thanks, Doug. I appreciate it.