Valero Texas Open interview: D.A. Points

April 02, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Valero Texas Open transcripts archive

ROYCE THOMPSON:  Like to welcome D.A. Points to the media center.  D.A., if you could, just talk about your week last week.

D.A. POINTS:  Well, it was an amazing week.  Started out, I got in really late Tuesday night, and played in the Tavistock Cup for the first time, which was a cool event.  I was honored to play.  It's a select group of guys, and to play for Isleworth was really a cool opportunity.
Then I went from there, I got into Houston late, and got up the next morning to some crazy weather, and I played a nine hole Pro Am and that was pretty much it.  Before the Pro Am, though, I met with a putting instructor.  His name's Brian White, and Brian's the head coach at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and he was good friends with Chris Stroud, who I'm friends with also, and worked with him on his putting.
He just said, Hey, if you want, I'll set up an arrangement for you guys to meet.  So we worked for about an hour or so on Wednesday morning and gave me a couple of good things that I was doing wrong and how to fix them.  Kind of suggested that maybe I try switching putters to a more offset putter, and I did that, and went back to an older putter that I had used several times throughout my life, and it felt great.  I made a lot of putts.
The first day I made more putts, more feet of putts than maybe I've ever made ever.  Then the second two days I still putted good and played well, they just weren't all going in.  And finally the last day I got it back dialed in and holed some nice putts, and played really solid   six birdies, no bogeys.  If you do that on Sunday, you're not going to be too disappointed ever.

Q.  Still in possession of the "stolen putter"?
Yeah, absolutely.  I have it, and it's been my putter since about like '86 or '87, so it's not like I took it out of my mom's bag last weekend.  But it's a really good putter.  Ping makes great putters, and they refurbished this one for me a long time ago to add a little more weight to it, and it sits real nice and swings real good.  It's made some putts.

Q.  I don't know how much you've played here in the past, but what sort of game is going to win here from what you can tell?
  Well, this is the first time I've ever seen the golf course.  I've watched a little bit on TV.  You've got to drive it straight, but I think the most important part is just iron control.  The greens are pretty treacherous, and I know that they've even softened some of them, which is nice of them.
But there's just like the ninth hole today was the last hole I saw, and it was like, wow, it's a long hole, and the green falls off at every side and it's two tier.  And it's like, hey, this is a pretty serious hole.  Once you hit a good tee shot of 280 to 300 yards, you've got a tough second shot.  I think it's almost as much of a second shot golf course as it is a driving golf course.

Q.  Could you expand on that a little bit?  Last week your scrambling was outrageous, 80%.  In playing today, did you see you're going to have to keep that up?  Is this a scrambling course in that regard?
For sure because the ball a lot of times just won't stay on the green.  You can hit a nice shot.  A lot of the greens, especially on the front nine, slope front to back, which is kind of odd.  So you hit a shot in there, and you can land it right in the middle of the green and the thing will run over the back of the green and you'll have to get it up and down.  So there is going to be some definite scrambling.
Every week it really comes down to putting, and as long as you don't hit any crazy shots or any shots way off line into the big, deep stuff, that will be an important part of it, then, of course, holing putts.

Q.  Along those lines, this course a couple years ago was the toughest part par 72 course on the TOUR, and last year some pretty nasty weather situations that hiked the scores.  As a player, I know the courses have reputations and certain players    Zach won't come back here.  He won a couple of times at La Cantera, but he doesn't want to play here.  Do you relish these challenges at courses like this, or is there any dynamic that comes into play very, very tough courses?
  Well, you better cherish it, because, if not, you'll play terrible.  Yeah, so you better cherish a difficult golf course because, if you don't, you're just going to be miserable and you're just going to be so frustrated.  You're just going to have a really tough week.
So, for me, my plan this week is the bunkers look pretty nasty, so I'm going to try to avoid those at all costs.  I'll probably hit less club off of tees to just make sure I stay out of the bunkers and try to get it in the fairway.  Then work on trying to hit irons when I have a green light.
I did this pretty well last week too, when I didn't have a really good number into a really good wind into a pin, I just kind of tried to hit it to the fat part of the green.  Maybe I'll hole a long putt or maybe I'll make my two putt and get out of there.  And that's kind of the important strategy for me this week is just to kind of keep it in front of me and not get too greedy until you have a flag where you're like, okay, you know what?  I've got a pitching wedge; the green funnels to it; I can go ahead and try to stick it in there.

Q.  Going back to the course itself and you playing it for the first time.  When you toured it today and you played it, was there a hole or two where you said, crap, this is going to be a test?  Were there particular places where you said, okay?
The ninth hole seemed to be a pretty good one.  Again, if you hit it where you look, it's amazing.  If you're hitting it straight and you're hitting it where you're looking, you can play the hardest golf course pretty well.  So all things considered, I only played nine holes today, and I hit it okay.
I hit it into a couple of fairway bunkers, but it's just because I didn't know what to hit off the tee.  I think the hardest part will be never having played here before, standing up on the tee and feeling comfortable with the club that I have in my hand and knowing that it's the right club to hit me in the right spot.  Same with the shots into the green, especially when the greens are sloping away.
I think one other hole that is pretty long is like five or six.  Three is a par 3, and then four, I think, is a pretty long hole after that.  That third hole is a good par three.  That is a hard par three.  The green is pretty diabolical, and you have water front and you can't hit it over.  Then four looks like a 480 with a pretty small green.
So there are some good, hard holes.  But then I think you have like five and six that are shorter holes, and you might have some wedges in there. 
So if you can kind of, again, just kind of weather the storm, a couple of the hard holes.  You try to get out of there with fours or pars, and then you get to some of the easier holes, the par 5s and stuff and try to wedge it in there close and make birdies.

Q.  Have you changed swing instructors recently?  I heard something on the telecast that maybe you did.  Obviously your work last week, did it finally click last week for you?
I really haven't been hitting it that bad since I've gone to    I started working with Gary Gilchrist, and he's based just outside of Orlando.  He gave me a couple of drills to do, and I was kind of working on them.  It was just kind of some days it was better than others.
Again, it wasn't like I was hitting it all over the map.  I mean, I was putting really terrible, and it doesn't matter how good, and I'm missing cuts by one or two.  It's not like I was shooting 80 every day or shooting 77 every day.  I wasn't playing all that terrible, but I was struggling on making cuts because I just flat couldn't put it in the hole.
Last week, the first day, I didn't hit it that great, but I made everything.  And then the next three days I hit it really solid, and the two middle rounds I didn't make anything.  And then finally on Sunday, I made some putts.
I definitely think I'm starting to get the gist of what he and I have been working on.  It feels good.  I feel like it's something that's not just clicking for now.  Like I feel like it's a good theme and a change for me in the long run as well.