MORE INTERVIEWS: CIMB Classic transcripts archive
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Ben Crane to the interview room here at the CIMB Classic. Welcome back to a place you've had a lot of success. Maybe just your initial thoughts on returning here to Malaysia and your expectations for the week??
BEN CRANE: It's great to be back. This is a very special place to my family, and I've met a lot of friends here. It's just really cool to be back. Lot of fond memories on this golf course, obviously. It's something we look forward to every year.
So the golf course is in unbelievable condition. I'm sure you've heard a lot of players say that it's in the best condition I've seen. There is more grass on it, and the greens are really true. The fairways are really lush, and I know they shut the course down for a month to get it ready and it is ready. So I'm really excited about the championship.
Q. Can you maybe talk about your game heading into this week and your expectations??
BEN CRANE: I've been sidelined for the last couple months with a back injury. I had an injury to one of my discs, so I haven't played a lot. But did I play last week, and I feel very good about my game.
I had a great Pro-Am today. Actually made two eagles today, which was kind of fun. First hole of the day on number 11 I made a wedge shot which is always fun. Unfortunately, my caddy, my normal caddy, his dad passed away last week. So he went home, so Jonathan Byrd's caddy is caddying for me this week, Adam Hayes. It's tough not to have Joel here, but he's with his family and where he needs to be.
But the state of my game is very good. I'm very pleased with as little as I practice, I'm playing very well for as little as I've practiced.
Q. With a lot of expectations to have Tiger here, do you think that that will affect your focus??
BEN CRANE: How will all the attention with Tiger being here will it affect the tournament?
Q. Your focus in this tournament.
BEN CRANE: My focus. Any time Tiger plays in a tournament, it brings another level of excitement certainly being one of the best players that's ever lived. You could make the argument for the best player that's ever lived. So having him here in this tournament, and I know he's played here with O'Meara ten years ago they played, so very cool to have him back. Just brings a whole other level of excitement.
Me, personally, just very excited about it. I think that there's no one you'd rather be playing with than Tiger, because he's had such a dominance on the game.
Q. Can you talk a bit about your back injury, and to what extent and how did you get the injury??
BEN CRANE: I don't really know exactly how it happened, but it was just one of those things that kind of flared up and it just took me a while. It's one of those things where you can't just get it treated. You just need to rest. Unfortunately, it took about six weeks to just rest and really get going in the right direction where I could start playing again.
Q. You are here in Malaysia, have you already explored the food or culture or people? Of course you are heading to the tournament, but do you have time to indulge in the Malaysian culture including the food and those things?
BEN CRANE: Yeah, the hospitality and the culture here in Malaysia is incredible. One of the things I love so much about the culture is the diversity of all of the food that we get to try and eat. So that's been something that we enjoy. We're staying at the Westin, and just kind of going around whether it's in the mall or going around to different restaurants and trying different foods has been really fun.
Just the people in Malaysia are just so friendly. This sign here just means -- tell me what this sign means here? I don't know. Like hello from my heart, is that kind of what it means? Yeah, I love it, it's awesome. I think that's something that we Americans can learn is that I don't think we're always the most hospitable country. And the Malaysian culture has just welcomed the tournament and us in a very special way. So it's very fun to be a part of and get to know the culture.