MORE INTERVIEWS: FedEx St. Jude Classic transcript archive Q. John, in contention all day long. How much fun and excitement was it to be right in the thick of things all day??
JOHN MERRICK: It was fun. It was a blast. I feel like lately I've been in the hunt to make the cut lately. It's why you practice, man. It's fun to be in the hunt, feel pressure, and just proud of how I hung in there.
Q. I want to give you a lot of credit, couple of balls in the water, a double bogey, that did not detour you from thinking "I still have a chance to win this golf tournament."
JOHN MERRICK: Absolutely, the wheels were coming off the train. Hung in there and made a good putt for double. Hung in there, proud of myself.
Q. Mentally what were the things that you said to yourself at that point with several holes left to play and still having a chance to win the tournament??
JOHN MERRICK: I was just trying to execute shots and play well. I was trying not to look at the leaderboard. But, you know, I saw everyone moving up and everyone kind moved back to 7, and I was just trying to hang in there and somehow sneak in a birdie.
Q. Let's talk about the second shot at the par-5, 16th. You had a look at a double eagle.
JOHN MERRICK: I think I had 250 to the hole, straight downwind. Flyer lie. Hit 3-iron. Normal conditions. I hit a flyer right at it. Left the putt a fraction short.
Q. You had two good looks at eagle. At 3 you had another chance. At 18 you had O'Hern make a play in front of you on a similar line.
JOHN MERRICK: I had a really tight lie there, I had to nip it perfectly. I saw both of those shots coming down grain, and I knew it was going to break some to the left. I knew it was going to be fast, and, gosh, I thought I hit a good chip. It was really close. But, you know, I wish I had an extra shot to play. Can't complain.
Q. John, congratulations on the week. So low second here.
JOHN MERRICK: Thank you.
Q. Did you know what you had to do??
JOHN MERRICK: I saw the CBS guy. Did he go to 9? Yes. I thought I hit a great shot, the second shot on 17 was real short. Went out of my tee shot on 18, hit to the right but had an open, great lie the second shot, and just kind of hung it out there to the right and my chip. I can't complain. Good week.
Q. Obviously --
JOHN MERRICK: I saw Davis' bunker shot. I knew it was going to be fast. I remember in past years just straight down grain towards the water breaking hard left. I thought I hit a good chip. I didn't see how close it was. It looked pretty close to me. It looked like it just broke right in front of the hole.
Q. You started backing up like you had it.
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah. It looked -- I don't know, was it an inch or couple inches? It's one of those situations where you wish you had an extra shot to play with and didn't have it.
Q. Were you following the leaderboard??
JOHN MERRICK: I was. I looked at the board and I saw that McIlroy tied after 11, and then everyone kind of came back, looked like back to 7-under, and then I knew that some guys were going to make birdies coming in with 16, 17 being downwind. You know, almost.
Q. Talk about you had a 9-footer for double bogey.
JOHN MERRICK: Seems like it's tough not to play a round where you're going to have one bad hole, and I butchered that hole. I got steep in my swing. That's what happens when I get steep and hit it out at the right.
My second shot I'm hitting, how did I just hit it in the water and hit another terrible shot. I was lucky to get away with 6 or a 7. That was kind of my only bad hole of the day. Everyone is going to have them. Kind of manage them.
Q. You had a couple good pars after that. Did you feel like the field might come back??
JOHN MERRICK: All week my attitude was great. I kind of plugged along and put my head down and just had to grind it out. Some days it's all about guts and grinding it out and that's it.
Q. What did you hit on 12??
JOHN MERRICK: 3-wood. That's the right club. I made a bad swing. Wind out of the left. Little draw against the wind. I got steep and my swing got short, and I got steep and that's what happens when I get steep, hit like a little heel shot out to the right and that's kind of what it is.
Overall, I drove the ball great this week. Had a couple misses. On this track, the leading scorer was 9-under. That's tough playing. It's not a birdie-fest out here. Managing your bad holes and sneak in birdies, it's great.