What they said: Billy Hurley IIIJuly 04, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started. Billy Hurley, thanks for joining us for a few minutes making your first start at the Greenbrier Classic coming off a spectacular week last week. Top 5 finish in D.C., obviously a place near and dear to your heart. Just some comments as you put the finishing touches on last week and transition into your week here at the Greenbrier??
BILLY HURLEY III: Yeah, last week was a great week, you know, my career best finish on the PGA Tour, fun to do that at home in front of a lot of friends and family. So, you know, it was really a fun week and now it sort of seems like Thursday is coming pretty fast and I'm trying to get my body ready to play and do it again.
MODERATOR: Okay. With that we'll take some questions and if you all wouldn't mind raising your hand so we can pass the microphone, that would be great.
Q Can you talk about the mindset having to endure a tough start to the year and wait for that good week to happen and that good finish, just what it takes to keep going through that start.
BILLY HURLEY III: Yeah, certainly. I mean, I had a very poor start to the year. Nobody really wants to start that way. And almost put myself behind an eight ball, so to speak, just having to play really well to finish out the year. But, you know, I did it last year and, you know, sort of it was about this time last year that I finished second in Cincinnati and sort of got going from there. So I guess having done that, having that perspective maybe a little bit, it helps sort of knowing that you can do it, knowing that it only takes a little you know, a little bit or, you know, just one good week to sort of get things turned around a little bit. So I guess it was just, you know, sort of also just trying to really just believe that God has a plan and that was a part of his plan, and we'll see what else his plan has for me as we go forward.
Q Billy, playing in the heat last week, did it take you back at all to Plebe Summer at the United States Naval Academy??
BILLY HURLEY III: Yeah, they didn't let us go outside when it was that hot. Those were black flag days. You weren't allowed to do any sort of physical activity for good reason. But, yeah, it was very similar. I've sort of always played well when it's hot, so that was it didn't really deter me. In a sense, I sort of am able to, for whatever reason, I have always sort of played well when it's hot.
Q You obviously played well last week. Is it easier coming off that momentum coming into here, or is it in some ways tougher, because it's obviously a totally different setup??
BILLY HURLEY III: It's a little bit of both. I mean, you obviously have, you know, hit a lot of good shots last week, made a lot of good putts, so you have that sort of in your mind, and that makes it easier to see it and do it again. At the same time, sometimes there's maybe a little more pressure you feel on yourself like I just did it, I should do it again or whatever. But, you know, they are very different golf courses and very different setups. So it would just be a matter of hitting one shot at a time and going from there.
Q Being a former Navy guy, the bunker here, have you seen it or are you planning to see it, take a tour??
BILLY HURLEY III: Yeah, I hope to see it. I've never seen it before. I've never been here on the property before, so I certainly hope I get to see it.
Q I'm wondering just if you could, maybe compare how mentally tough you have to be out here on tour to some of the stuff you went through in the Navy, being on a ship, maybe even Plebe Summer, can you compare those two at all??
BILLY HURLEY III: Well, the Naval Academy and the Navy certainly taught me a ton of mental toughness, and that's one of the things I certainly have learned and gleaned from the institution at the Academy and just the Navy itself. The mental toughness is very different. It's a different type of mental toughness, I think. But mental toughness is mental toughness at the end of the day, so it certainly translates and gives you, you know, just sort of confidence that you can stay with things and whatnot.
One of the biggest challenges in the Navy is probably sleep deprivation and you sort of are working more against that and trying to stay mentally tough and sharp when your body maybe, you know, isn't at its peak performance type thing. Out here you have more control over that side of things as much as you want to, you know, have sleep whenever you want to sleep for the most part. But the mental toughness does sort of translate and correlate just from having been in very stressful situations having been sort of yelled at and forced to do things or forced to memorize things you thought you'd never figure out, stuff like that.
MODERATOR: Okay. Yeah, go ahead.
Q '04 and '05 you win back to back VSGA championships, one of them in Roanoke. I know it probably seems like a long time ago, eight years. At that time did you think this was possible, what you're doing now playing out here on tour??
BILLY HURLEY III: Yeah, I did. I think it was my senior year of college when I really sort of made the leap to the national stage of amateur golf. At that time I was playing up against and playing with guys out here are major winners or multiple winners on the PGA Tour. So there was a little bit of, you know, lapse in just my timeline so to speak. But I did think it was possible. I did everything I could while I was in the Navy to be not only a great Naval officer, but also to prepare to try and come out here once I, you know, fulfilled my commitment. First let me just back up and say that my job as a Naval officer was certainly first in that. Although I was, you know, preparing to come out here and try and play golf again, my primary job was to be a Naval officer. And so I was doing what I could to be ready for to do and to have it come back and just finish, get a Top 5 finish on the PGA Tour right at three years from when I got out, I got out June 30th of '09, so it was right at three years from when I got out. In some ways that's a little quick, but it was what I was trying to do and aiming for.
Q Two questions, how hard was it to play Saturday with essentially no fans? And, two, what did you think of the condition of this course today considering it suffered similar damage?
BILLY HURLEY III: Saturday was an interesting day of golf. It was really cool in one way. It was sort of really peaceful. It sort of felt like you were playing like a skins game at your home club or something with two of your buddies. That's sort of what it felt like a little bit. But it was at times a little eerie, quiet, but peaceful is a good word, I think. Then on the other hand it was sort of like I made like a 20 footer on 5 for birdie to get to 1 under on Saturday. And it was like, okay, I guess I'll just go pick it out of the hole. Nobody here to say, you know, nobody here to clap or whatever. It was that was a little strange in that regard.
As far as the golf course goes out here, you would have no idea they lost trees out here. I mean, you wouldn't know a storm went through here. They've done a great job cleaning it up from whatever they lost or whatever damage they had. I couldn't see any of it playing today.
Q What's the balance like this week for you as far as taking care of business, playing golf, and also maybe enjoying the stuff and does last week's good play in check allow you to enjoy this week a little more than you may have??
BILLY HURLEY III: I mean, I think I came this week, you know, my family is here, came here with the intent of probably doing more family stuff than I normally do during the course of the week. So I don't know if last week's play changed it. It does in a sense relieve a little pressure of feeling like, okay, well, maybe I don't have to work on the game so much or whatever and I'll still be okay. Sort of feeling like you have a little bit more control of the golf ball feels like you don't have to practice as much and still be able to perform. So I'll definitely, you know, I'm going to get out of here in a couple minutes and probably go to the pool and do whatever else my five and three year old want to do.
MODERATOR: All right. We don't want to keep you from that. Thanks for your time and best of luck this week.