DOUG MILNE: All right. I'd like to welcome D.A. Points to the interview room here after a very successful Round 1 of the Shell Houston Open. Open up with 5 birdies en route to an 8-under, 64. Just some comments on the round, and then we'll take a few questions.
D.A. POINTS: You know, it was one of those rounds where I felt like I was going to putt pretty well because I changed the putter and had a putting lesson and was feeling pretty good. You never know until you get out there, and I didn't hit a very good tee shot on 10 but hit a nice wedge shot and I was 7, 8 feet, and I made the putt and it felt like a good roll and I was like, okay, here we go.
I hit a better shot on 11 and hit it in there 15 feet and put it right in the middle. All right. Putter feels good. I've hit a couple good shots. Next hole I hit a couple decent shots and made another 15, 18-footer, something like that, and it was just kind of like this is kind of how I'm supposed to play, you know.
I mean, they're not super difficult holes, but if you hit it where you're looking and you leave it in the right spot, you make a good stroke, you give yourself good chances to make birdies. And today I finally saw some balls go in the hole and I played the par 5 real well. Good drive and 3-wood short of the green and chipped it up to 2 feet, maybe, and tapped that in. Went to the par 3 and I was a little in between clubs and just thought I would try to mash on a 6-iron, because if it didn't get all the way there, if it was just short, it wouldn't be that bad.
Again, I had it 15, 16 feet under the hole and rolled that one in, too, and it was just like, wow, this is fun. This makes golf more fun. And really played the next hole well and just -- lipped out a putt and hit two -- hit a good shot on 16, the par 3, and just rolled it across the edge and 17. I hit kind of a poor tee shot, but hit a good second shot in the middle of the green, but I think I saw on the board that I had 54 feet and then I rolled it in, which, I mean, I think last week at Bay Hill all the putts combined didn't equal 54 feet. It was fun to see that go in because that just hasn't happened in 2013 at all.
Then 18, which is a really awkward tee shot, I hit a bad tee shot in the right fairway bunker and actually almost pulled off a really good second shot and ended up in the bunker and hit a decent bunker shot and rolled in, I don't know, 8-footer for par. It was nice to make that to kind of keep the momentum going.
DOUG MILNE: Just real quick, speaking of putters, you pulled a putter out of an unlikely bag this week, your mom's.
D.A. POINTS: I pulled out of my mom's bag when I was probably 11, 12 years old. It's an old, old Ping Anser. Not a Scottsdale like the famous, real expensive ones that you hear about. It's a great putter, and as a matter of fact, I was using it, I won a couple State Ams with it in Illinois. When I turned pro, I was using it for awhile, then I put it away and then bring it back, and I actually sent it in to Ping, the Ping rep, Matt Rowlands and I are friends. I said, hey, can you kind of clean this up and maybe add a little weight to it, if possible.
And so they took it in and they kind of refurbished it and they put some tungsten weights in the toe and heel to give it some weight. It's just a really good-looking putter, and I brought it with me this week because I just had been putting so bad, I thought maybe I'll pull this old putter out of the garage and maybe it will have some magic in it. Sure enough, today it did.
DOUG MILNE: We'll take some questions.
Q. Mom hasn't asked for it back yet
D.A. POINTS: She might now. I've had it for a long time. I think she's been praying so badly for me to make some putts, she's probably happy for me to have it.
Q. How old is the putter
D.A. POINTS: I mean, so when I was 11, we're talking that's '87. So, it's a mid '80s Ping Anser putter. It's funny, I was talking to my caddy about it today, like I have two gold-plated ones at home because in 2004, I was using that putter and I won twice on the Web.com Tour en route to finishing second on that money list, and it was probably my best year putting of my life. I think I finished in the Top-5 in putting on the Web.com.
Maybe I'm an idiot for not having used this putter the whole time. It worked well today.
Q. What got you away from using it?
D.A. POINTS: It wasn't making putts.
Q. Obviously doesn't run hot all the time?
D.A. POINTS: Doesn't run hot all the time. It has a good track record. It's one of those, when you put it in your hands, it just instantly the grip feels good. I looked at my caddy and I said, I know this grip is worn, but if you ever change it, I will fire you on the spot.
And he's like, no problem, no problem.
It's a nice putter. Like I said, I've had a lot of history with it.
Q. When did you physically put it back in your bag, just this week?
D.A. POINTS: Yeah, I left Tuesday night after Tavistock Cup, and I pulled four or five putters that I've used in my career. I had a couple other old Ping putters that I had used when I first turned pro and even in college that I just -- they were all in racks in my garage. I just grabbed a couple of them and threw them in my bag. You never know. I -- one of these might feel good. I took a putting lesson Wednesday morning, yesterday morning.
Q. Steve Stricker, right
D.A. POINTS: No. I thought about asking him. Brian White is the golf coach at Lamar, he's also a short game instructor for Chris Stroud. Chris and I are pretty good friends.
Said, hey, I'm having dinner him. He said he'd give you a look.
Oh, great, I appreciate it.
He pointed out a couple things that I was doing wrong, and I thought it made some sense.
And he said, you know, I really like how this other the putter looks in your hands.
I said, all right.
Greens are real, real fast, and this putter, even with the weights added to it, aren't real heavy, so it's nice on these greens that are so slick.
Q. So he sort of suggested that this is a good putter for you
D.A. POINTS: No. He just didn't want me -- he didn't -- I've been using a SeeMore putter that was onset and he wanted me to have a putter that was a little more offset. I had a couple other ones.
Q. Until you physically got on the course today, you didn't -- kind of sums up golf, doesn't it, you weren't feeling great about your game and then all of a sudden, things build momentum
D.A. POINTS: It's one of those things, I felt pretty good about it yesterday. I holed some nice par putts yesterday in my Pro-Am, 9-hole Pro-Am. It was blowing pretty hard and wasn't super easy. I didn't hit it great, but I made a few good putts and the ball was going in the hole with nice pace and rolling real tight, and I thought, you know, all right, this might be the key that kind of gets me going.
Q. Is this as well as you've ever putted on the Tour
D.A. POINTS: Probably. The thing is, like I've had days where like in Greenbrier a couple years ago, I shot 9-under and -- or 8 or 9-under. I've had some great putting rounds. It's not -- but this year for sure.
Q. Your really best rounds tend to hinge on how well you putt
D.A. POINTS: Everybody's rounds does. Doesn't matter who are you.
Q. Are you officially working with Gary now
D.A. POINTS: Gary Gilchrist and I started working together a few weeks ago and, you know, I definitely feel like my golf swing is headed in the right direction and I've seen some improvement.
Today wasn't the greatest, but it's still going in the right direction. And, you know, I'm going to probably take a couple pictures and send them back to him and get his input. But I definitely like where I'm headed and how I'm swinging at it.
Q. Were you fighting some tee shots today
D.A. POINTS: Yeah. I have one patented bad move, and when I get into a certain spots that are uncomfortable -- again, I like to fade the ball and this is the opposite of a fader's golf course. It's definitely a drawer's golf course.
But couple of those shots I kind of have to be real careful on, because you try to cut it and if you hit it straight, it goes in the water on 18, on 5, on 6. There's a couple tee shots that it would be better if you could turn it.
I just made one really -- I made two bad swings. The tee shot on 18 and the tee shot on 5. 5 I just bailed out so much that it went into the hazard. I made a real good 5 and, shoot, that hole is super hard anyway. You can hit it in the middle of the fairway and have a tough time making pars.
Q. You said you were kind of talking about shortening your swing?
D.A. POINTS: I dialed it right up. I piped it on 6 and piped it on 8 and, you know, finished the round strong. That will be one of those things we'll go work on.
Q. Bunker shot was obviously the bonus?
D.A. POINTS: That was again the wind is just back and forth swirling like crazy today, and I watched Stewart Cink had hit a 9-iron over -- over the back edge of the green. I probably get a 9-iron there. My caddy is, no, you're not going to get 9-iron there. I'm trying to feather in an 8-iron and kind of half swing at it. I had a real good lie in the bunker, but, you know, I was just trying to hit a good shot, land it on the fringe and just hope to get it inside of 5 or 8 feet. And when I hit it, I was like I can't hit it any better than that. Then for it to actually do what you imagined to it do and then to go in on top of that is just -- it's luck, to be honest.
Q. You looked like the worst trouble you had was getting the ball marker out of your --
D.A. POINTS: Whoever invented a pocket in a pocket is crazy. I'm going to go home and cut it out right now. I'm all right.
Q. It's the kind of round that you feel like that you can chase with similar rounds.
D.A. POINTS: Oh, yeah. No, no question. Like again today I don't feel like I struck it spectacularly. I hit some good iron shots, and I didn't really get myself in too much trouble besides 18 and 5. So, if I can get the swing grooved a little bit more and get a little more confidence there, I mean, I could have a great week.
Q. You become a bit of a Texas fan since they got Whitney Mercilus
D.A. POINTS: I try to follow all U of I athletes. I'm in the a huge NFL fan. I like to follow guys I just like.
DOUG MILNE: Well, last thing real quick, you birdied half your holes today. I know went through a handful of them. Just run us through your cards and give us some clubs and yards, and we'll cut you loose.
D.A. POINTS: On No. 3, I hit 18-degree hybrid off the tee and just trickled into the rough. The rough here is obviously not that bad because it's mowed down grain and not very high, but the wind again was just kind of an awkward yardage and the wind was sometimes left to right, sometimes left and in, and the water is short and the pin was front, and you can't just hit it past the hole because there's a big hill. So I kind of bailed out with a 9-iron instead of going right at it. I hit it probably 30 feet right of the hole and made it. It went right in the middle. It went right the middle.
Then like I said on 5, I got way underneath a driver and hit it off the cart path into the hazard. Hit my next shot short of the green and got it up and down for bogey. Then on 7, in between 8-iron into the bunker and then hold a 25-yard bunker shot, which doesn't happen almost ever.
Then 8, 8 I hit a nice tee shot, real good 3-wood in front of the green and hit a nice pitch to four feet and made that.
Then as far as clubs go, on 10 I hit driver and a pitching wedge. On 11 I hit driver and a little 9-iron. On 12 I hit an 18 -- I hit 3-wood and a gap wedge. On 13 I hit driver and 3-wood about 50 yards short of the hole but 20 yards short of the green and chipped that to a couple feet. And then on 14 I hit a 6-iron. I think we had 204 hole and I hit 6-iron about 15 feet short and made that.
Then 17 I hit a driver and a 3-iron hybrid on the middle of the green and made a 5 4-footer.
Q. Just to clarify which tournaments you've won using this putter originally?
D.A. POINTS: I won -- for sure I won at least one State Am, I think two State Ams in Illinois. Then I won, I believe it was -- oh, the Pete Dye West Virginia Classic on the Web. com. And I believe I also won the Scranton, Pennsylvania tournament on the Web.com with this putter, because it's funny -- Ping, when you win a tournament, they give you a gold-plated one. And so I've got, you know, a couple gold-plated ones of these at home, and my caddy said there's probably room for another one, so go ahead.
Q. Have you taken those out and messed with them at all?
D.A. POINTS: It's funny. I have like this putting track system at home that has like magnets and you kind magnet the putter in there. It's called the Z-factor Putting Machine. I put the thing in there and it swings.
Well, because it's gold-plated, it sticks to the magnets real well. So sometimes I get on that thing and just swing the putter with that. Yeah, they're just sitting in my office in like my Major Championship bags from TaylorMade.
Q. Have you talked to your mom yet?
D.A. POINTS: You guys got me way before my mom. I'm going call her in a little while.
Q. She'll probably want you to keep it now, right
D.A. POINTS: Probably.
DOUG MILNE: We will let you go make that call. Great playing today.