What they said: Troy MerrittNovember 14, 2010
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: Children's Miracle Network Classic transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: Okay. We will go ahead and jump right in. We'd like to congratulate Troy Merritt on being the second Kodak Challenge winner and in quite the fashion you achieved the victory. Maybe if we could just get a few comments on you mentioned out there what an incredible year it's been, kind of a year long battle to get where you are, and it obviously paid off today. And on top of that you have a job to come back to next year.
TROY MERRITT: Oh, yeah. It was I wouldn't say it was a stress free day, but definitely wasn't a whole lot of stress out there, actually.
When you're hitting the ball really well and hitting fairways, you're hitting greens, you're making birdies and you're really not staring at too many par putts, it's a very nice day.
And sitting there after I finished my round, I didn't think I'd be sweating out the Top 125. I really didn't. But Johnson played very well today. Hat's off to him.
And you know, we sat there, and I didn't even think about the Kodak Challenge playoff after that, and the nerves just kind of left me. I went out there and had fun and hit three great shots.
DOUG MILNE: Why don't you take us through that hole.
TROY MERRITT: Well, it would've been nice to draw the No. 1 card off the tee. It's always nice to tee off first in a playoff, I think. But I drew the No. 3 card and I gotta watch two guys with great golf swings pipe them right down the middle. And it definitely helped me out. I didn't hit it as solidly as I wanted to, but nonetheless, we got in the middle of the fairway. And we ended up with 133 yards, which hasn't been a great yardage for me over the last few weeks. Took a little bit off the pitching wedge but struck it pure, never left the flag and kicked in for the birdie.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Before we open it up for a few questions, Steve, we're joined by you as well. If you could give us a few comments on another great year wrapping up for Kodak.
STEVE POWELL: Yeah, sure. First of all congratulations. This seems to be reminiscent of our first winner, Kevin Streelman, last year, who not a lot of people knew him throughout the year, but got to know him as the Kodak Challenge season wound down.
I think the same was true with you here at the end of the year. People started to take notice of who you were. They were watching you in the race for the 125 and for the Kodak Challenge. You've done a great job with yourself. So we certainly congratulate you.
This is really what the Kodak Challenge is all about, drama right down to the very end with competition that's idly the greatest holes in golf; the greatest scorecard in golf. We started at Kapalua, 6 under 63 yard par 5. You know the rest of the holes, the 18th at Pebble, the 16th at TPC Scottsdale.
And the 17th at the Magnolia played very differently throughout the week. I think you had to take your shoes off at one point in time to play the hole, but you did it the right way today, and we're delighted and looking forward to having another great season next year with the Kodak Challenge.
TROY MERRITT: Thank you very much. It was a photo finish.
STEVE POWELL: You're hired.
DOUG MILNE: Thanks for the comments, Steve. We'll go ahead and take a few questions.
Q. I take it you were watching after you finished the ebb and flows of 125 in awe? And what was more nerve wracking, knowing your job was still up for grabs and playoff yet to play, and you kind of came off a double winner today. That was the best outcome in both regards.
TROY MERRITT: I think the most nervous I was after my round was just sitting in the chair making sure I didn't do anything foolish on camera.
I put myself in great shape to keep my card, and after we saw Johnson not make birdie on 18 and I knew that I was in, then like I said, all the nerves left and there wasn't really a whole lot to do except for go out there and hit some good shots on the Kodak hole; and that's exactly what I did.
Q. How much did the knowledge that you had stayed inside the 125 free you up to go out and just take it as a real bonus for when you got out to 17 tee??
TROY MERRITT: I didn't feel any nerves at all, and I think that's huge, especially in playoffs. Not just for a million dollar top prize, but in playoffs in general. And I wasn't feeling them. I really wasn't, and hey, it helped a lot.
Q. And was there any point as you were walking up the playoff, to the playoff green you said where was this earlier in the week??
TROY MERRITT: No, no, no. I was telling a story a little bit earlier. I used to play basketball and golf and all types of sports with my brothers growing up, and I'd get out to a pretty good lead and then I'd let them come back, let them come back. So it would come down to the wire. And I guess I kind of did that this year, not only with the Kodak Challenge here, but also my TOUR card. So I need to try to knock that habit out and do a little bit better.
Q. Tell us about your emotions trying to stay inside the Top 125 all day long. Were you looking at the leaderboards and running it through your mind and thinking about what you needed to do at all??
TROY MERRITT: I wasn't really thinking about it, to tell you the truth. I didn't think it was an issue.
I thought the way I was playing, as solid as I was playing, it really wasn't creeping into my mind.
I think had I known that it was as close as it was, I might have hit a few more loose shots just because I would have been a little bit more nervous maybe. Obviously you don't have your card wrapped up when you're not inside the Top 125.
And I didn't see a scoreboard till the 8th green, my 17th hole. And I didn't see a projected Money List, and I really didn't see anything until after my round that I was projected 126 at one time until Johnson made double on 16. I thought I was in the whole day. And that's not a bad thing, not in my case today.
Q. Speaking of emotions, there were some pretty good emotion after you won the Kodak Challenge with your wife and parents. Just take us through sort of what was going on there. Was it the million bucks? Was it the 125?
TROY MERRITT: Well, there wasn't quite as much emotion out of me as in typically in a situation well, I can't say a situation like this; I've never been in one like this.
But it was a tear fest after the final stage at Q School, and I kept my emotions under check pretty well, and once my wife came out and I saw tears in her eyes, that's when it kind of hit me, you know.
I might start tearing up here a little bit just thinking about it, but I stayed on pretty much one level the whole hole, and I think that really helped.
Q. Also, just wondering having shot 5 under for the day and thinking nothing is there was not going to be any worry, do you remember your immediate reaction when you looked at the scoring computer where somebody came up and said, you're 126??
TROY MERRITT: I was in shock, real briefly. Just real briefly, but not a lot. It wasn't in my hands at that point. I didn't have anything to do with it, and it was just all up to Johnson and a few other guys.
And the shock faded real quickly, and I was just kind of watching TV, watching to see how the tournament finished up.
Q. Were you 125 after you signed your card? Do you remember?
TROY MERRITT: Yeah. Johnson just made double.
Q. You were outside as you were playing your final hole and he sort of opened the door for you??
TROY MERRITT: Yeah, and I didn't think I needed to make birdie on 9, but I hit it in there, I hit a great 4 iron into 10 feet, and I hit a great putt. It just didn't quite break as much as I thought it would. It burned the high side, and if that had gone in, I wouldn't have had to sweat it out at all.
Q. Any thoughts how you're going to spend the million bucks??
TROY MERRITT: Well, the first thing I'm going to do is buy my wife a new car. Hers is a little bit outdated. So we need a safer model for her. And then obviously my caddy is going to get a little bit of the share, and after that I think we're going to put a majority away in the bank, just kind of save up.
Q. What kind of car??
TROY MERRITT: Planning on getting her a Lexus SUV.
TROY MERRITT: A Toyota Corolla. Just a little one.
DOUG MILNE: Troy, congratulations for the second time.
TROY MERRITT: Thanks a lot, guys.
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