MORE INTERVIEWS: Travelers Championship transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: Fredrik Jacobson, defending champion at the Travelers Championship. Thanks for being here. Coming off a great week last week, your consecutive top 15 finish at a U.S. Open. T15 last week, so obviously for a lot of reasons you gotta feel good heading into the week here at Cromwell.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah. Last week was good. I did have a little bit of time this year where I struggled with some back soreness. I was really happy last week was the first week this year where I felt really good.
I had my old physio from Sweden come over. He was over there and worked with me all week, so I was really excited about that. And started moving a bit better, and my striking was good last week, which gave me a chance to have something to do with it on Sunday. So that was exciting.
I wish I would have struck it a little better on Sunday, but overall a great week and a good way to come into this tournament.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. With that we know you're on borrowed time, so we'll take a few questions.
Q. Can I talk to you about a couple of holes on the back nine, the 15th hole, the short par-4. Can you go through your club selection, what determines whether or not you try to go for the green or you lay up to the yardage or what's your strategy there??
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah. It's tough not to go for it when you have a chance. I've always gone for the green there. I don't really feel like it's that easy of a lay-up, and also the way the green is with the little tiers. It's a very tough wedge shot.
The course plays well here and the greens have normally got a little bit of bounce to them. So it's kind of tough to hit a wedge shot and be that precise. So I normally hit 3-wood or driver. Driver most of the time, and if there is a little bit of help, sometimes can run a 3-wood up there.
Q. And the 17th hole, 420 par-4, dogleg right, that is like the fifth toughest hole on this golf course statistically. Can you tell me why it's so hard, and how do you approach that hole??
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah. There's no bailout from the tee. You just gotta hit the shot on your own elevated tee. So it's going to magnify any mistakes you make. So that's why you gotta hit the really good shots.
Normally there is a bit of breeze as well, so you gotta have the ball in there for more times since it's elevated. It's going to grip more if you don't strike it well.
And sometimes you need to lean a little to the left because there's water on the right, but if you hit it on the left bank, you have a terrible lie or terrible shot into the water. If you hit the second shot into the water, it's no better than hitting the tee shot into the water.
There's really no bailout. You just gotta hit a good shot to put it in play there or you're going to have to make a decision whether to gamble or just chip it out.
Q. Kind of a two-part question. Going back to last week, just your thoughts now that you've had some time to reflect on how the course was set up, how difficult it was, particularly the 16 and some of the holes coming in, and obviously transitioning to this week, much easier course, and I'm sure a bit of a relief for you coming here.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Well, last week I thought the course was fun. You know, it was different in the aspect that you have to hit different shots all the time. You couldn't -- I thought it suited me pretty good because I have a tough time sometimes to repeat the same swing ten times in a row anyway. So I figured if everybody has to hit slices and little draws and, you know, try to shape it because the wind was very often going the same way as the slope is.
So I thought you have to be creative. You have to see the shots and you have to hit shots that you normally don't hit. So I actually enjoyed that and thought it was maybe a little bit of an advantage for me because I do like to hit some different shots.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah. No, I did enjoy that. I grew up on a course where I have to hit different shots and hooks and slices around like some doglegs and stuff. So it reminded me a little bit of growing up where you have to put some shape on the ball and these days the balls don't shape as much as they used to.
It's not that many players that plays with a lot of shape, and I don't on a regular course, but I do remember a lot of the shots that I had to play growing up, and I thought I got reminded of that playing last week.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Well, I mean both these weeks, last week, this week here at Travelers, challenging holes coming in. You know, here you've got some water. There, you know, it was more rough or like 16, like you said, was just a long hole, and you know, like the last day, either you put it in play with a 4-iron or something or you try to hit -- in my position, I was two back. I had to go with a driver and try to hook it around the corner and see if I could get home in two and do something.
I didn't have to think about it for too long, but certainly for the guys that were in position that week, they had to decide which route to go there.
This week, I think, you know, same thing. It's a challenging, but fun finish. You know, you got some great holes coming in. 15, like we mentioned earlier, risk-reward hole. 16, tough par-3. 17 that we mentioned, you know, very challenging tee shot and second shot. And 18, same thing. You want to hit it in the fairway, you got some fairway bunkers.
You know, great finish, and that's where the atmosphere and the crowds hang out. I really enjoy that finish, yeah, obviously last week.
Q. Can you just address the atmosphere that surrounds a tournament the week after a major? Are the guys a bit looser and how does that affect the golf?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: I think so, you know. Especially for, you know, for the guys that had been somewhat in contention the week before. It's a lot of, you know, things going on around the course and on the course and shouting, screaming, yelling, people walking around. It's such a busy week and intense week that when you do come back to a regular TOUR event the week after, it kind of settles down a little bit.
And I think also, you know, you give a lot during a major and put a lot into it, not that we don't do that every week. But the way the course is and as challenging as it is, it just takes a little more out of you and I think you kind of decompress a little bit afterwards for a day or two and that kind of builds into the next week which feels normally a little bit more relaxed.
Q. You mentioned having to hit so many different shots last week, and with Olympic being so tough. Does that make what Webb did over the weekend, 68, 68 that much more remarkable??
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah. First of all, there wasn't many scores under par all week. There was a few 1-unders, 2-unders, and I think there certainly wasn't many guys that managed to put up two in a row, two scores in a row. You know if you had one, you were going to make a big move, but obviously making two rounds in a row under par, we saw what that could do for coming from quite a long way back and lapped the whole field and grabbed the trophy. So that's an exceptional weekend and great reward for some good playing there.
Q. Fred, obviously you were here last month, but now that you're back on tournament week, you've got a chance to feel what it's like. What is the feeling of being the defending champion of a PGA TOUR event??
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, it feels good. Obviously coming back to Hartford, I've got a lot of good memories from last year, and I was up here a while back seeing Travelers for the media day, got to get back on site.
It's just fun to come back to a place, you know, where I obviously reached one of my milestones last year to become a winner on TOUR. So it's always going to be a special place every time I come here. It's going to be very special. It's the first place where I won a tournament in the U. S. So really excited to be back.
Q. Are you experiencing a lot of distractions this week as being the defending champ??
FREDRIK JACOBSON: No. It was the same yesterday. I went and did my laundry and all that stuff (laughs), so I mean nothing changed. A big bag with dirty clothes from last week, and that was about it. So it wasn't too fancy. Took a day off.
This is my first time up at the course here. We were flying on Monday, and yesterday I just took care of some stuff like that and worked out and looked after my body.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Well, Freddie, we appreciate your time. Best of luck to you.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Thank you guys.