Humana Challenge interview: Brian Gay

January 20, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Humana Challenge transcripts archive

JOE CHEMYCZ:  Like to welcome Brian Gay.  2013 Humana Challenge winner.
A dramatic come from behind win today, starting six back.  Just talk a little bit about the day first of all, and your thoughts on what you needed to do, and did you think that was possible, first of all?

BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, the thoughts were just be aggressive, shoot as low as you can.  I knew Scott was five ahead.  It was going to be, even with a great round, a really low round, it would be tough to catch him, if at al
I played great on the front, just tried to stay aggressive and shoot low.

JOE CHEMYCZ:  Then when you finished, did you expect the playoff?

BRIAN GAY:  No, obviously I felt like I gave one back with a par on 18 there.  Was fortunate enough to feel like I had a second chance with two guys left that didn't birdie the hole.  Kind of a second chance, if you wil
So I was happy to be in the playoff at that point.

JOE CHEMYCZ:  Open it up for questions.

Q.  I think you caught him with your birdie at 11.  Did you know that you had caught him?
BRIAN GAY:  I wasn't watching the boards, but someone told me after I birdied 13 that I was tied.  A fan was talking to me or saying that.  But I wasn't watching the boards, so I didn't really know.  I was just trying to stay focused and make birdies.

Q.  I have to ask why your birthday is not in the media guide.  I was told you asked for it not to be in there.
BRIAN GAY:  That's totally untrue (Laughter).  I never heard that.

Q.  Then how old, when is your birthday?
BRIAN GAY:  December 14th.

Q.  What year?
BRIAN GAY:  '71.

Q.  Okay.
BRIAN GAY:  I don't like answering that question anymore since last year (Laughter).

Q.  Well, your birthday is not in the media guide.  One of the PGA guys said you asked for it not to be in.
BRIAN GAY:  No, that's not true.  That wasn't me (Laughter).

Q.  Do you feel 41?
BRIAN GAY:  Oh, it depends on what day it is.

Q.  What does this victory feel like coming off of the year that you had last couple of years?
BRIAN GAY:  It feels amazing right now.  I'm still in a little bit of shock.  It kind of happened so fast there at the end the way things went down.
But last year was a struggle.  It was along year, a lot of work.  I just wanted to come out this year kind of refocused, recharged, and believing in myself.

Q.  Do you still work with Grant Waite?
BRIAN GAY:  I do, yeah.  Grant Waite and Joe Mayo.

Q.  Can you talk about the work you guys did, why you went that and what you accomplished with them?
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, I've learned so much from those guys.  Just over a year ago I went to Grant and my whole game's been about accuracy and short game, and I've always been a short hitter on the TOUR and I felt like I was getting older I'm only going to get shorter and shorter.  So I kind of went to Grant initially to get his thoughts and to work on some stuff to try to hit the tee ball farther.  Thought it would help my game.
And it was tough last year trying to play making those changes.  I feel like it's coming around.  It's helped me a lot and just was trying to get more efficient with my driver numbers to kind of max out my distance.

Q.  Are you hitting it farther?

Q.  How much?
BRIAN GAY:  I'm hitting it I think I was about 10 yards longer on the stats last year.  I think maybe a little bit more than that, 10 to 15 yards further.  At the same speed.

Q.  Talk about how you get the most out your game.  And when you're playing with a guy who is so long, talk about that.
BRIAN GAY:  It's been that way my whole life.  Obviously my game, I've got to put it in play and score from there and take advantage of the opportunities when I have them.
But, yeah I think the TOUR, I think it's a lot of a power game now, the last number of years.  I feel like a bit handcuffed at a lot of events.  And if I don't play well on the shorter, tighter courses, then I'm ‑‑ so I felt like I needed to try to make some changes, getting older and not getting any longer, so I felt like I needed to try to do something different and help my game.

Q.  Could you talk about the playoff.  Did you think you were behind the 8‑ball when you missed the green on 18?  And then talk about the birdie, the winning birdie.
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, I mean, obviously the position we're in, somebody could make eagle.  I knew I had to at least make a four to move on.  Left side of that green this year was kind of burned out.  If you hit it on the green, it will roll in the water.  So, I mean, you want to kind of go at the hole, but you want to be just a little right of it.
Charles hit a great shot in there.  But, yeah, I hit a nice chip and got up‑and‑down and moved on to the next hole.

Q.  What did you hit in there?
BRIAN GAY:  I hit my 3‑iron hybrid second shot on 18.

Q.  From?
BRIAN GAY:  I had like 226 I think to the hole.

Q.  What did you hit in on 10?
BRIAN GAY:  10, I hit a driver and 9‑iron from 145 to the hole.

Q.  Can you just speak to what kind of emotions you go through as you're wait to go see if you're going to be in the playoff.  And then you are in one, and then you're the winner.  What's that like?
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, it was a roller coaster.  When I first finished, there was four guys on the same score.  I didn't know who was done, who was still out.  And then Scott and Charles are long hitters, I knew they had a mid iron into 18.  I figured at least one, if not both of them, would birdie 18.
So I was fortunate for that not to happen and have another chance.  And boom, there we go.  And just felt like I kind of had a second life, another opportunity.

Q.  While you were waiting for the playoff, what are you saying to yourself?  What are you drawing back on?  What are you thinking about?  If you are hoping to get in playoff, what do you draw on at that point as you think you're going to head into one?
BRIAN GAY:  On the range, I've hit a few balls, just trying to stay focused.  And when I found out Scott didn't make birdie, I knew we were going pretty quick, and just tried to think about that tee shot on 18 and try to refocus.

Q.  On this golf course, and especially with you posting what you did early on, is it a tough place to hold a five‑shot lead like Scott had, almost mentally that once you see everybody doing what they're doing, it's just that much more pressure?
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, with a five‑shot lead, it's hard to go out there and stay real aggressive.  And the scores are low here, so you're kind of protecting.  You probably don't know what to do when you're five shots ahead, and the weather is perfect.  Everything's perfect out there, so you're going to have guys shooting low scores and coming after you.  So leading by five, he still would have needed to shoot, what, 66 to win outright, I guess, or something.  Is that right?

Q.  No, 68.
BRIAN GAY:  68 would have won outright?
So I'm sure that everybody wants to be up by five.
But this is a place where we have had a 59, and guys can go low, so you still got to really be aggressive, even in the lead.

Q.  When you first came to the game of golf, can you talk about the top three things that attracted you to the game and maybe something new about the game in yourself you learned from last year, that you thought about out there today?
BRIAN GAY:  As far as starting the game, my dad played, he was a scratch player, and he kind of got me interested in the game.  I was an only child.  Maybe that was ‑‑ I played a lot of sports when I was really young and then I guess I liked the individuality of it, and not depending on anyone else and you kind of do it all on your own.
What was the second part of that?

Q.  Maybe something you learned about yourself or the game this week or today out there that you didn't know when you first came to the game.
BRIAN GAY:  Didn't know when I first came to the game?
Well, what I can take from today or this week and the start of this year is that really believing in myself and my ability and believing I can go out there and do what I know I'm capable of doing.  I definitely didn't believe that last year.
So like I said, it's happened quick going to the second event out and always feeling a little rusty after a couple months off, so it's a bit shocking and very thrilling.

Q.  Charles talked about the disappointment.  He really wanted to win here to go to the Masters.  Can you talk about going.  Are you looking forward to the Masters now?
BRIAN GAY:  Absolutely.  Been waiting to go back.  I grew up in Georgia.  My mother's family is 45 minutes from Augusta, so I have a lot of family up there.
So, yeah, I can't wait.  Luckily, it didn't even come into my mind until right after the playoff somebody mentioned it.  So I'm glad I didn't think about it (Laughter).

Q.  When you talk about the self doubt, last year, how much of that was because of the swing changes and how much of it was maybe a place that you had reached mentally?
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, I think it was, like I said, it's tough to go out and make changes and try to play on the TOUR.  The TOUR's hard enough, when you go out and you're trying to do new stuff and trusting it.  So it's easy to kind of get on that downward spiral, if you will.
So it felt like a battle most of the year.  I would have a top‑5 and ‑‑ I actually started out decent last year, but the summer was long and tough, and I think Disney helped me a bunch.  I played really good at Disney to end the year on a good note.  And I just felt recharged and refocused to get off and have a great year this year.

Q.  Did you ever look at your situation compared to a Tiger who is going through all those swing changes and the struggles that he had?  You're going through them, but you're in maybe different categories of life?
BRIAN GAY:  Do you think (Laughter)?

Q.  Do you have to look at it that way at all that it's a different kind of living for you?
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, I think that everyone says it, you know, you've got to look at it as a process.  It's tough to do week‑to‑week out here, day‑to‑day and shot‑to‑shot, you know.  Look, try to take as many positives as you can from every day, every round, every shot, every week.  Try to get better and keep moving on.
But I'm definitely not in the same situation as Tiger, but I completely understand trying to make changes and perform at a high level.

Q.  How drastic would you classify the changes or qualify them as were they very big or just minor stuff or was it pretty big swing changes?
BRIAN GAY:  It was pretty significant, I think.  A lot of the stuff I was already, I wouldn't say an overhaul, no, but more with the woods and the tee ball was definitely a pretty big change.  A lot of those things that they teach, I was already doing as far as my normal swing, but it was definitely a significant change off the tee.

JOE CHEMYCZ:  Brian, thank you.  Congratulations.

BRIAN GAY:  Thank you.