What they said: Jonathan Byrd

October 06, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: McGladrey Classic transcript archive

MARK STEVENS: If you would just start off talking about what it means to have this tournament come back here. You've been kind of involved in it. And then we'll take some questions.

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, I mean, first of all, I'm not quite the hometown boy that Davis is. But I've been here, this is coming up on my eighth year, so I grew up in South Carolina, but this is where I call home.

So I love this area, I love this town. I love the community. And I was a little nervous about having a tournament here, you know, just kind of -- it just felt like it was going to be weird, but once the week started, you know, I feel like we should have always had a tournament here, and it seems completely natural, and I'm really excited.

My friends are here, and we get to expose our whole community to what our life's like the rest of the year, you know, with a PGA TOUR event.

MARK STEVENS: Now, Davis picked the Kodak Challenge hole this week, No. 13. For those guys that are two strokes off the lead on a par-4 this week, what do you think they need to do on No. 13 this week to catch Rickie, move up a little on Rickie Fowler??

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, obviously it's not a par-5, so it's not the best opportunity to gain two shots by making an eagle, but it's one of those holes that can play pretty difficult if the wind comes back in your face, but it looks like it's probably going to be some form of cross-wind, so the 3-wood or driver, just drive it in play and get it in the fairway, and you're going to have a short iron or wedge into some difficult pins into that green. So obviously those guys need to hit their iron shot close and try to make a birdie.

MARK STEVENS: All right. Questions??

Q. What feels weird about having a tournament here? You used the word weird.

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, you live in a small town this nice, you become kind of protective of it, you know. It's kind of like you want to tell people how great it is, but you don't want anybody else to move here. (Laughs). It's kind of your little gem.

So in that respect I mean that's just completely selfish motivation on my part. But in the sense that's kind of why it's weird, you know. Because a lot of TOUR players are starting to move here. You know, Matt Kuchar moved here. His wife is from here, though. But you know, you just kind of want it to stay low key and stay small town.

And then it's just like, how is it going to be? Like you know, it's weird because all I have is my luggage packed and all that. I have everything with me on the road, and you kind of have a routine. And I'm going into my closet to get dressed and it's like I'm home. It's not packed up. So that's kind of different.

And then I drove to the course this morning and forget my clubs in the garage, you know, (laughs). When my clubs are always in storage at the golf course we play. So there's just little things like that that just make it weird for me because I'm out of the normal routine.

Q. And speaking of it being kind of a hidden gem and wondering what it's going to be like, this is kind of a business story, but on Monday, auction going on with the Sea Island Company and two companies bidding on it. What do you hope as a resident kind of comes out of that auction and what long-term impact might it have on Sea Island??

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, I mean the Sea Island family, with the Jones family, they have always -- they have just treated me so well. When I first moved here, Davis kind of rolled out the red carpet, showed me around, they gave me a membership so I could practice and play here when I had just started on TOUR.

So they have just -- they've done so many good things for me, so in return I just want the best thing for the company and I want the best thing for the community.

And I'm not exactly -- I don't know all the details, so I don't know exactly what that looks like, but I've just seen over the years the Sea Island Company just do so many good things in the community for different charities and things across the bridge in Brunswick, and I would hope the company going forward is going to continue to do those things for the community.

But also, you know, I want them to make money, you know, and have a great company and continue to provide the services they provide, which is a five-star, five-diamond resort, and I just want them to do well.

Q. I wanted to talk a little bit about -- not taking away from the Sea Island topic, I wanted to talk a little bit about fitness with you. Six, seven years ago it was a fad on TOUR, fitness was a fad. Obviously it's now become an engrained part of the TOUR. How big a part of that is that for you every day and can you talk a little bit about the trailer and having the facilities on site??

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, obviously I wouldn't say Tiger started that fad, but he made it most popular. You know, guys like Gary Player and Greg Norman really introduced fitness to golf and made us think, okay, it's okay to work out. It's not going to mess up our golf games.

But when I was starting out, I think I was really smart when I turned pro, I looked at Tiger and said, you know, he's obviously in the best shape of anybody, and I went and saw his trainer and Las Vegas and tried to learn as much as I could. And I got kind of ahead of the curve and got a head start out here before a lot of my peers did. And I've been doing a lot of the stuff they're doing for a longer period of time, and that's helped me.

But now, you know, to have the fitness trailers that we do every week, you know, and to have -- in the eighth year on TOUR, I've seen the quality of the therapists improve every year. Our trailers are getting better every year and our access. They're at more tournaments and it's more consistent.

So the guys are just given better opportunities to stay in shape and work out and do the best things for their golf and their body.

Q. Right. Where should I go to dinner tonight??

JONATHAN BYRD: I've been telling everybody, I got kind of three phases. If you want real casual, there's two places, which is the Bubba Garcia's Mexican and Sal's Pizzeria. These are just our favorites. There's other good restaurants.

And kind of seafood, sort of not fancy, but not too pricey, Crab Daddy's. And then if you want white-table-cloth fancy, Halyards or Delaney's, top two. And then obviously the Sea Island restaurants, too, you can't go wrong.

Q. How often do you get a chance to play Seaside and what's your favorite part about it??

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, I'm a member, obviously, of the resort courses through my membership with Sea Island, but I'm also a member out at Frederica, which is on the north end, and that's mainly where I practice and play some.

But I do get to play Sea Island quite a bit, and I've played it more lately. What do I like about it? I think the thing that pops out first is it's just beautiful. You know, you get to practice right on the ocean, and I've heard a lot of guys say that already this week is you couldn't get a better spot to be. So that's the first thing.

And it's just so appealing to the eye; and then you get on the golf course, it's the same thing. You're on the water, you're on the marsh, and when you get weather like this -- you know, it's obviously not always this pretty. You get a downpour and it's not quite as pretty, but when it's 75 degrees and perfect, you just kind of get the golden marshes and the blue sky and just a beautiful golf course.

And you throw in a good test along with it with the Seaside course being a tough test. So you know, all that together just makes for a pretty place.

Q. What do you need to do well here? What do you think this course demands out of your game? I mean obviously putting's extremely important, but what is it that this course demands specifically? We're obviously not very familiar with this course, being the inaugural event.

JONATHAN BYRD: Right. Well, obviously every week the low score wins, so that's obviously the most important thing is to score well.

But I've started to do some good things last week, starting to drive the ball a little better and hit a few more fairways and hit a good bit of greens. My stats were good last week.

For me it's just -- I think -- you know, I can talk about golf the whole time, but for me the biggest battle is just going to be wanting to play really well because it's a hometown week. I have to be able to push the emotions aside and just treat this like a normal week and just go out there and enjoy the competition, and you know, not look at it like this is kind of a home course, I should play well. And just kind of have no expectations and just go play. You know, that's the best thing for me.

Obviously you gotta make putts and obviously you gotta keep the ball out of trouble on this golf course, but for me it's just kind of that try factor, try less, play better.

MARK STEVENS: Okay. Anything else? Thanks a lot, Jonathan. Good luck this week.

JONATHAN BYRD: Thanks for having me.