What they said: Bo Van Pelt

June 28, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE: AT&T National transcript archive JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Bo Van Pelt, thanks for joining us here after a 4� under 67, two birdies, one eagle. Maybe just talk a little bit about the round specifically. You eagled No.1, which was your 10th hole, holed out from 93 yards.

BO VAN PELT: Yeah, I mean, made a good up� and� down on 18, hit a good shot there that had gone long into the back bunker and had a pretty tough shot and hit it to about a foot and just kind of kept my momentum going after birdieing 17.

Hit a good drive on No.1, it's just a hole I've always kind of hit driver off of to just be aggressive. It's a tough fairway to hit, and had a good number. Been working on my wedges a bunch. Been feeling like I need to improve in that area. I was working specifically today before I played, a shot I was hitting a bunch. So it was like 98 yards, and when I got 93 I thought I had a pretty good number.

I actually thought it had kind of spun back in front of the hole, and all of a sudden this guy behind the green started going nuts. Yeah, you never know when those are going to happen, so it's nice to get a deuce.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: No bogeys today. Talk about how important that is and how good of a round it was because of that.

BO VAN PELT: Yeah. You know, I got off to a good start. I thought 10 through 14 I had hit a bunch of good shots and had some good birdie looks and didn't make any, and about a 25-footer for par on 15 that I made, just kind of kept my round going. When you make a putt like that, just kind of gives you a little bit of momentum, feel like you might make some putts today.

Then had a par save on 4, drove it in the right rough. It's probably the worst lie I've had in a long time, and laid it out to a wedge number, like 93, 94 yards, same kind of number, and had a pretty slick 12-, 14-footer down the hill and made that one to keep the round going.

Q. You obviously had a pretty good Friday, Saturday, Sunday here last year. What do you draw from that and can you compare the setups??

BO VAN PELT: Yeah, I've always liked the golf course. I think the first time I played here was the British Open qualifier in '04 and made it through, and I think I was successful both times I made it through here. Just I like the golf course. You know, last year definitely was nice to play well in a U.S. Open, in a major, and have three good rounds coming in. I felt like -- I think everybody knows the golf course last year just wasn't quite ready to be set up the way they wanted it to be set up, and it's unfortunate. I know they spent a lot of time and money to get it ready, and some things are out of your control.

You know, I think this year -- I said it last year, they needed one more year, and basically you could have a U.S. Open here this week if you wanted it. That's the way it's set up. The rough is very uniform, it's very thick. The greens are firm and they're fast. It's a great golf course, and when it's set up like that, it's going to play tough all week.

Q. Five top 10 finishes already this year. What is it about this year that's been working well for you? Do you feel like you have a lot of momentum at this point?

BO VAN PELT: I would say if you just look statistically at my stats, my putting has been there. That's improved the most. It's been a combination of things, I think. I've stuck with one putter since last year in the fall, and it's probably the longest stretch I've done that since I was a kid because I only had one back then. It wasn't an option to have another one.

And just stuck with the same fundamentals, whether I had a good day or bad day putting. I've just consistently worked on the same stuff. So I'd say this year that's probably the biggest thing if you just looked at statistically what jumps out.

Q. What kind of putter is it??

BO VAN PELT: It's a different shape of a putter. I would say I used a Ping Anser head for a long time, and I switched to a mallet style putter and started working with a guy that grew up in my hometown that had helped me some when I was in college. He's really good with the short game. He just kind of gave me a few things and stuff to do and kind of a set of eyes that I trust with my putter. I think the biggest thing, though, is just consistently trying to do the same thing day in and day out.

Q. What's the hardest part of the golf course right now, the firmness, the rough or the heat even??

BO VAN PELT: Well, I would just say there's some tee shots out there that's just hard to hit the fairway. You know, the fairways have some slope in them. They've got some movement. And so you have to shape the ball into the fairway awe lot of times. The rough is very uniform. Last year you could get some breaks even if you were in the rough and get it up on the green, and the greens were softer than they are now. The greens are really firm.

The ball is bouncing and skipping. I mean, I had 125-yard shot on the last hole, and I was planning only trying to land it 115 yards from the middle of the fairway with really no wind. So it just goes to show you if that kind of shot is moving that much when it gets on the green, imagine what a 6-iron or 5-iron is doing coming into some of those long par-4s. I think that's the biggest difficulty is you've got to put it in the fairway to have any chance to hit the green.

Q. Have you played a course as difficult as this this year so far??

BO VAN PELT: Probably not. Probably not.

Q. Does that include last week??

BO VAN PELT: Two weeks ago? I would say Olympic maybe -- it was hard maybe in a different way, but that's all you want out there right now for sure.

Q. Are you surprised that a lot of the top players, top 10 players skipped coming to a place like Congressional??

BO VAN PELT: I think the hard part is, when you look at the schedule, the PGA TOUR, we have so many great events and so many great tournaments that it's -- you can't play them all. That's the hard part, especially guy who's a top 10 player in the world, if he's up near contention a lot during the year, which he probably is if he's that highly ranked, it takes a lot out of you. Guys have family and stuff. It takes a lot to prepare to get ready for a tournament. I think that's something that people don't understand sometimes, and the mental toll of being near the lead a lot is a lot.

To me, I would never skip here just because of how much I love the course, but I would never criticize another player for skipping an event just because everybody has other things going on, and what works for them. That's the thing that's hard to figure out when you first turn pro is what works for you, how many weeks in a row can you play, how many weeks before a major, do you need to go to this.

So I think everybody finds their own way to prepare, and I think that's why you see some guys play an event that you're like, why is he playing there, and other guys you're like, how can he not be playing there. It goes to show you that we're 144 individuals that all have different ways to be prepared to play a golf tournament.

Q. You said something kind of interesting there about being mentally draining, being in contention, and that's something you've kind of been in a lot the last couple years. Is it more mentally draining or is it a confidence boost? Where is the line of demarcation there?

BO VAN PELT: Well, it's what you want, so you never look at it as a negative. But I think you just have to understand that it does take a lot out of you when you're playing really well and especially when you're playing a really tough golf course. Your focus has to be right on. You can't let your mind wander and give shots away because this golf course will eat you up. Any kind of tough golf course, whether it be a major or a course like Tampa or PGA National or a place like Augusta, if you're just a little off, it'll spit you out. Especially when you're near the lead, I think it takes a lot out of you, and I think that's why you see guys -- but I would never look at it as a negative. That's why we all show up here. We don't show up here to just barely make the cut or to finish 50th. Everybody that walked in that locker room Sunday or Monday or whenever they got here, they wanted to try to win the golf tournament.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Bo Van Pelt, thank you very much.