What they said: Alex CejkaFebruary 10, 2011
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am transcript archive
NELSON SILVERIO: Welcome Alex Cejka to the interview room here to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Thanks for spending a few minutes with us. Interesting start to your round. Can you get us started talking about that No. 10 start, and then thoughts on the rest of the round.
ALEX CEJKA: Yeah, I think it was the best start I've ever had. It's nice to start on a par-5, first of all, even if it's 8:00 in the morning and it's chilly. I hit a really good drive, and I was between 5-wood and 3-wood. I choked down a little bit on the 3-wood and hit a really good shot down the left-hand side.
You know, it just carried just short of the green and bounced up and took a break towards the hole. There were like three or four marshals up there and they started screaming, and suddenly it was in the hole. So it's the first one for me. You know, I'm very happy.
NELSON SILVERIO: Do you remember the yardage?
ALEX CEJKA: I think it was like 240 yards. 240, yes.
NELSON SILVERIO: Great. So you had the double eagle. Can you take us through kind of the rest of the round.
ALEX CEJKA: Yeah, what was it? I birdied 12, the par-5.
Then, unfortunately, I three-putted the par-3.
Also missed two short putts on 16 and 17 for par.
Then birdied 18. It was a long putt, too. It was about 35 feet with a big break.
Then on the front nine, you know, I hit really good shots. I gave myself a lot of chances and birdied that par-3. I also holed a long one. I hit a good shot in, but had a big break and holed that one for birdie.
Then birdied, which one is it? Oh, yeah, the short one towards the water. Again, a good shot. Spun a little bit back. Again, I holed a couple longer ones than I wanted to have today, but it's nice to see them drop in.
Had a great a finish on No. 9. It's a tough par-3 with a back pin today on the left. Had a really good shot in at pin high, and then holed about a 15-footer.
Overall, it was a great day. I hit a lot of good shots and I putted well.
NELSON SILVERIO: Great. Any questions for our current leader.
Q. Last year, you played extremely well at the pro-am, and then of course the top 10 at the U.S. Open. Did that play a role in today's round??
ALEX CEJKA: Yes. Also, you know, every player has a couple courses out here where he always plays well. I do well in almost -- you know, certain tournaments every year. How can you not love it here? It's great. I come here with a great attitude, and so far I've been playing well. I hope it's going to continue like this.
Q. Also, Alex, I've heard your name butchered many times. Can we get the correct pronunciation??
ALEX CEJKA: Cejka.
Q. Were there any fans around the greens? Any noise?
ALEX CEJKA: Yeah, yeah, there were like four marshals and three or four people. Once the ball was rolling towards the hole they got louder and louder, and suddenly everybody was raising up their hands.
We knew it either lipped out, it's very close, or it's in. But it's tough to see because it's an uphill shot.
Q. Were you thinking, This has a chance??
ALEX CEJKA: I hit it solid. I was going down the left-hand side because it's a big slope in front of the green. I hit it just right. You know, this is luck. Even hole-in-ones or shots like this, this is always 80% luck.
I mean, you can hit a great shot, but it took the break perfectly. You can't judge that from 240 yards. It was one of those great shots what I will remember for the rest of my life.
Q. To do that on your second swing, how do you manage the adrenaline that's obviously coursing through your body for I would imagine the next few minutes??
ALEX CEJKA: Yeah, the next hole was a par-3, so I had a couple minutes by the time we walked up to the green. I played with Kevin Sutherland who also eagled that hole. So we had an albatross and an eagle.
So it's great, but then it's a new hole. You start it refocus again and play like normal.
Q. I think when I saw you, you had the ski cap on. Did that you have all morning? I guess it was a little bit cold.
ALEX CEJKA: Yeah, it was a little bit chilly. The first nine holes it was chilly, but now it's nice. You now it's mid-60s or so. It's beautiful now.
In the morning when you warm-up, it's just getting -- the sun is coming out, so it was cold.
Q. This is the first time in many years we haven't had wet greens, wet fairways, et cetera. Is this something you think is going to be changing the results this year for you and for the other players??
ALEX CEJKA: I think, yes. I think it will change. I mean, if it's a little bit firmer you hit the balls a little bit further, you hit shorter clubs into the greens. I don't want say it's playing easier, but it's playing a little bit shorter. The greens are kind of still soft. They run great, but they're soft.
What's good is when you hit a 5-iron in and you pitch it and you stop it in the next couple feet so you can attack much more flags than normal. You know, like when we played here for the U.S. Open, it was totally different story.
I never seen it like this, and I was almost in shock when I get here and played my first practice round, what kind of difference from the tournament that we're playing now in January or February, and then you come in June to the Open.
So that was a different story. But the weather is nice. It's calm and warm right now, and all three courses are brilliant. We have a couple more rounds to go. We'll see what happens.
Q. How do you like MPCC being in the rota??
ALEX CEJKA: Yes, I like it. I like it. Especially last year I also started at that golf course and I played well. I was always struggling on the other course a little bit. It was a great course, but I just never could really play it well. For me, a 1-under par was a great score out there, where a lot of guys were shooting 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-unders.
For me, it's great. You know, I've been playing twice, this year and last year, that rotation, and I like it.
Q. You started off your first hole -3. Do you allow yourself to think about what the round could be??
ALEX CEJKA: No, not really. I started with a double eagle, and then I had that two other birdies, so I was 5-under par. And then suddenly I make three bogeys, you know, it can go either direction.
You don't want to start like this, the first three holes are awesome and then finish with 1-over par or even par. In golf is everything possible.
So I had to grind back in after again the three bogey. They were a little bit unnecessary, but that always happens. I'm actually very pleased with not only the start, but with the whole way I've been playing today.
Q. What would a win mean to you, winning this tournament??
ALEX CEJKA: Well, you know, it's a long way to go. We still have a lot of rounds to go. First win is always special. I haven't won in America yet. I think the first win of everybody is special.
Then if that wouldn't case and would happen here in Pebble, that will be something I think I would never forget, and I would always cherish the moment.
Q. When you are in Europe growing up, the celebrities, do you learn about what this tournament is? Is that something you hear about when you're there?
ALEX CEJKA: A lot people now -- a lot of people know. When I was playing ten years ago, we always knew a little bit about it.
But once you come here, and I've been playing I think two or three years in the celebrity rotation, and you see all the big faces out here what you normally see on TV. So it's different.
But, you know, I'm here for one reason only: to play good and do my job. It's nice to see these boys on the range. I played with Michael Bolton, you know, Kenny G, we were practicing little bit together. When you start to know these people a little bit -- it's really nice.
So I'm very happy. A lot of my colleagues maybe don't play this tournament because it takes five or six hours. I don't know. I love it here. The scenery is nice; all courses are nice; and the people are awesome here.
Q. What is your schedule? Are you going to stay on the U.S. Tour this year or are you going back to Europe?
ALEX CEJKA: I actually joined this year the European Tour, so I have to play 13 events. I played two already on the European Tour, so I have 11 more to go. The priority is obviously the PGA TOUR. But I'm going to go over in the summer for a couple tournaments to Europe to play.
But, you know, I am going to mix it up somehow. Right now I have a schedule on the TOUR actually until the end of the west coast, so until the beginning of April.
Then I'm not sure if I'm going to go to Hilton Head. There are two tournaments they have been playing on the European Tour. They've been playing in Asia you think. I'm not sure. Depends how I play until then, how I feel. A lot factors.
NELSON SILVERIO: All right, Alex, thank you.
ALEX CEJKA: Thank you very much.