HP Byron Nelson interview: Tom Gillis

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May 18, 2013


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THE MODERATOR:
Tom Gillis joins us here in the interview room after a 3‑under par 67. Tom, for you probably the shot of the day‑‑ or the shot of the week on 18 after a bogey on 17. That was a nice way to cap off the round.

TOM GILLIS: Yeah, well, make dinner taste better that's for sure. It was tough out there, blew pretty hard, pretty steady, 15 to 20 all day, much different than yesterday's round in the morning, but I kinda expected that.

It's a lot like the Honda or something similar to that, tough conditions, maybe not as tough of a golf course. So I think the key tomorrow is to give yourself a lot of opportunities and see if you can probably put a good one on it because Keegan is playing pretty good, but you got to play 'em all, see how it shakes out.

Q. With how tough it was out there, how satisfied are you, just one bogey on the card today?

TOM GILLIS:
Yeah, no, I'm satisfied. I haven't played well the last five, six weeks, haven't played well all year so the expectations were that you got to keep an eye on them, because they start climbing and you expect to start having good things happen. I was calm, I'm happy, like I said, we'll play 'em out tomorrow and see how it shakes out around 5:00 here.

Q. As you indicated results haven't been there the last few weeks. What do you think you've found this week?

TOM GILLIS:
As I said yesterday, it was in the papers, I reunited with my old coach of five years, and that had a little bit of a calming affect, and we went back to the old irons, and that's probably a large part of it.

Q. You were steady in the tough conditions today. Do you want tough conditions tomorrow or lights‑out‑type conditions?

TOM GILLIS:
I think today is‑‑ I think you have it like it was today. It's better to catch somebody who is 3 shots ahead. If it's calm and that, then it's a shootout from behind, everybody can come. I would rather have it just like today.

Q. With the proven commodity like Keegan, is it a little bit of a different mind‑set tomorrow; whereas, you can't really wait for him to make mistakes, you might have to be more aggressive?

TOM GILLIS:
I think if you have 5 or 10 wins out here, it would definitely be a different mind‑set, but in my case it's not. I just want to play one at a time, as boring of a cliche as it is. I'm not in a position to be taking, you know, a bunch of risks out there and shooting at every pin.

I would probably rather take the approach where I'm just going to‑‑ just like I have all week, I've tried to make it as boring as I can, hit it in the center of the green and even if it's 25, 30 feet have a roll at it and go from there. Just make it very, very boring would be my way of going about it tomorrow.

Q. Tom, sometimes you're playing great, and when you play great in the tournament you're not surprised. Sometimes it's like a bolt out of the blue you have a great week but you didn't see that coming on Monday. Did you see something like this coming on Monday, or was it a bolt out of the blue?

TOM GILLIS:
Well, when I met with Jeff Saturday and we met again Sunday, just talking, not‑‑

Q. Is that your coach?

TOM GILLIS:
Yeah‑‑ there was, you know, an overwhelming amount of calmness that came over me when I realized that we were going to reunite and we had a plan and we were going to go forward. That calmed me down and settled me down a little bit, because I was somewhat reeling for five, six, seven, eight‑‑ well, the beginning of the year I was.

So it settled me down, and I've just felt better about everything. I had a feeling after Tuesday and Wednesday, deep down I had a feeling, because I knew I was in a good state of mind. That's key. When I teed it up in Jacksonville, I knew I wasn't in a good state of mind, and I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, which it was.

Q. Number 18 seems to be taking it's toll on a lot of players. To have made that great shot there, what does that do for your confidence, and talk about 18 and what a tough hole it is.

TOM GILLIS:
It's a tough hole, the wind is in off the left, I think it's a cool hole, to be honest with you, I used to not like it much. The more I play it the more I'm starting to like it. Actually the more I play the course the more I'm starting to like it. It's never been one of my favorites. The more I play it the more I realize there is a lot of strategy involved. Hats off to the superintendents, this place is in magnificent condition, I've never seen it in that good a shape.

I couldn't believe it when I got here Tuesday. The greens were perfect and the fairways were good. It's been an enjoyable week, but as far as confidence, anytime you hole out a bunker shot it makes the next one easier.

Q. So what was it about 18 when you initially saw it that you didn't like?

TOM GILLIS:
Well, I just thought it was hard. It was just incredibly hard. I probably just didn't have a good strategy, so I never felt comfortable on it. But like I said, I've never really felt comfortable here. This week I did because there was more strategy off the tee, there was more dialogue. I've never had as much dialogue here as I've had on the tee. I think it's a good course, because even the long hitters, you've got to hit it straight at times. There is a place where Keegan can take it over the bunkers and take it out of play, but it holds up, and the scoring is not ridiculously low.

He's one of the best players in the world right now, 14‑under, and we got two mornings that it was calm. If it was like this earlier, I bet you we would be looking at 7‑ or 8‑under leading it.

THE MODERATOR:
Next to last group tomorrow, Tom, is that more comfortable for you?

TOM GILLIS: To be honest with you, it doesn't matter to me. I'm comfortable out there in the last group. I know Keegan well. We're friends, we practice/play out of the same golf course in Florida, so we're comfortable. I don't think it matters to be honest with you.

Q. Talk about Keegan's game.

TOM GILLIS:
Well, he's the "new breed" I call it, very powerful. That's the future of the game. He's one of the best players out here, there is no doubt. I've played with a lot of them, but this is the first I'm I've played with him in a tournament, and it's there. He's got the grit, he wants to do it. The sky is probably the limit.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Tom.

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