The Honda Classic interview: Luke GuthrieMarch 02, 2013
MORE INTERVIEWS: The Honda Classic transcripts archive
MARK STEVENS: We would like to welcome Luke Guthrie. You're at 8‑under heading into the final round with a share of the lead, if you want to talk about your thoughts on the round today and going into tomorrow and then we'll have a few questions.
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, obviously it was a tough day out there. Everyone that was watching, you could see the wind, and definitely made it tough because if you can't get the ball in the fairway, it just makes it pretty tough.
But yeah, I got two birdies today, obviously I bogeyed the second, just kind of wayward tee shot. That was a tough hole today. Hit a couple good iron‑‑ hit a good 5‑iron there. Rolled through the green unfortunately, but made a nice three‑ or four‑footer to settle the nerves and kind of get a rhythm going.
Then birdied No. 8. Dropped a longer putt there, which is kind of something nice. Couldn't quite get any others to fall. Hit a lot of good putts today but none of them seemed to kind of‑‑ just couldn't get them to fall.
But I'm proud of the way I played. I played smart, solid golf, stayed away from the trouble. Stayed to the strong side of pins, and if I missed, get it up‑and‑down. Missed a few up‑and‑downs, a few easy ones, that was frustrating, too.
I had a pretty easy one, good up‑and‑down on 7, and missed the green way right kind of in those trees and hit kind of a tough lie, good flop shot up there.
Missed a shorty on 10. That's frustrating, just kind of talked myself into some break there that didn't exist.
Q. It seemed like you guys maybe went ten rounds today. Are you ready for another tomorrow?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, sure. I live in Champaign right now, spent four years at Illinois, and that's a pretty flat area of the country if you haven't been. The wind whips about every day. That's pretty normal for me right there.
So I'm kind of pumped. I'm hoping the weather is like that tomorrow. I think it gives me an advantage, and hey, you've got to hit good, solid golf shots, be smart, and can't just gun at the pins blindly when the weather is like that.
Q. Did you stay in Champaign in the winter?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, I stayed there. I was finishing up school. My last final I think was around the 21st of December, and got my diploma and then stayed there‑‑ let's see, I went to Scottsdale about a week prior to the start of the year and just got a little practice in, played some golf, actually.
Q. How confident were you coming into the season that you could put yourself in this kind of position so early in your first year on TOUR?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I was pretty confident I could do that. Last year at the Web.com, I played some solid golf. I always believed I could play well. I didn't know how I would handle six tournaments in a row. I haven't played this much golf before, but last year kind of confirmed that; that I can play long stretches and consistently.
Yeah, I was very confident I could get out here and compete right away.
Q. You were the third in the threesome with Russell Henley and Scott Langley at Sony the first two rounds‑‑
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah.
Q. So I'm assuming those are friends of yours?
LUKE GUTHRIE: From juniors and college.
Q. And Scott is also from Illinois, too. Watching them and their success, how much did that fire you up; and have you seen Russell do it and finish it off, being in position, does that give you more confidence or have you talked to them about it?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Oh, yeah, for sure. They were lighting it up there at Sony. I was struggling and they were just pouring in putts from about 30 feet; it was cash inside 30 feet, didn't matter. That was pretty impressive what they did there. Obviously played a lot of golf, especially with Scott, being three years at Illinois with him.
It gives us all rookies I think confidence, kind of confirms that we can come out here and what we were doing last year on the Web.com and all other tours, kind of validates everything. Yeah, it definitely gives you confidence.
Q. Along the same lines, you've shown the ability to close at the Big Ten and at the Web.com, you won a couple of times there. Does that give you confidence at this level, as well?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I think it starts from the first tournament you play, the first time you make a 5‑footer where everything, all eyes are on you, everything starts in practice when all your teammates are on you, kind of giving you some crap and trying to get in your head and you make that putt. Those are the things you draw back to.
There's a few‑‑ I know a putt I always go back to is No.18 at Columbus in a college event. Made about a 30‑footer hook‑putt with both teams around to tie for individual and tie for the team, and it was probably one of the coolest moments for me to do for my teammates. Yeah, those are the moments you definitely draw.
Q. You've got your brother on the bag; are you going to establish a strategy tomorrow before you tee off whether you're going to look at the leaderboard or you're not going to look at the leaderboard? How do you plan on playing it?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I'm a leaderboard watcher. I want to know what I've got to do. Especially on the back nine I'll do that. I think you just kind of keep your head down and keep playing.
I think tomorrow, probably through about 11 holes, then you can kind of start peeking at boards and seeing where you're at and seeing what you've got to do, whether you've got to make four birdies coming in or whether you just need to play solid golf, fairways, greens, don't change your strategy, but just kind of‑‑ you've got to know what you've got to do.
Q. How did you stay motivated to complete your degree, especially in the winter, when you knew you were going to be out here doing something other than‑‑
LUKE GUTHRIE: I think it was easy. University of Illinois is a great school. It carries a lot of merit to have a degree from there. I put four years of work into something, and why not finish another half‑semester, and it wasn't‑‑ I had 12 hours, took six online.
So it's not like it was a crazy hard schedule. I mean, I had some tough classes, but you just need to finish off everything you need to do in life. You just want to finish it off, you don't want any loose ends, I don't think.
Q. What was the degree?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Business management.
Q. What were the 12 hours of classes that you had to take?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I had to take business entrepreneurship. I don't even know the name of the other one‑‑ I struggled in it, though. (Laughter) something with computers, I'm not very good with computers, like decision modeling and stuff like that.
And what was the other two? The other two were just like online kind of gimmies, trying to make it easy a little bit. There was an introduction to natural resources and environment sciences. Sounds hard. (Laughter).
Q. Nothing about making putts?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Nothing about making putts (smiling).
Q. There wasn't math for golfers?
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, that would be an easy one. I should have taken golf; that was offered.
Q. Do you remember, did you watch Tiger win his first major, the '97 Masters, on TV as a little kid and do you remember anything about it?
LUKE GUTHRIE: For sure, I was a golf junky, I still am. I probably have watched about every major from when I can remember. Definitely, I can remember his little like fist‑pump, circle fist‑pump.
Yeah, growing up, watching Tiger do it all at a young age and seeing all these young guys come out right away, Rory and Rickie and all these guys, it's motivating.
Q. What was the setting where you watched Tiger in '97 win the Masters?
LUKE GUTHRIE: I'll take a wild guess and say home. I have no clue. I was seven back then.
Q. While watching the leaderboard, do you take note of the names, because there's some pretty accomplished players right behind you two guys.
LUKE GUTHRIE: Yeah, you definitely see the names. I would like to see them all up there, and hopefully right behind me.
Yeah, you come out here, you want to compete, you want to play against the best, and lay it all on the line tomorrow on the back nine. Hopefully they are all there and we are all battling.
Q. Yesterday you said you hoped you would have the lead today for the first time, and throughout the round, you and Michael were kind of going back and forth, and it looked like you just never really got nervous or if you had a bad hole, you bounced right back. What was going through your head?
LUKE GUTHRIE: On a day like that, you couldn't really leaderboard watch or anything like that. You've just got to put your head down when it's tough like that and know that par is going to be a great score around here. It's a pretty good score when there's no wind and it's perfect out.
So today, obviously‑‑ I just went out there today and just tried to hit good, solid shots in the fairway, on the green. Always keep it to the strong side of pins, don't short‑side yourself, because you can get up‑and‑down all day long, and just kind of wear people out.
Yeah, we were playing well. I think I was 1‑up and then made a bogey, we were kind of going back and forth, 1‑up, tied, I was 1‑down. So hopefully there will be another day like that tomorrow and I'll make more birdies.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks for your time, Luke, good luck tomorrow.