the Memorial interview: Scott Piercy

May 30, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: the Memorial Tournament transcripts

MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Scott Piercy. Scott, you shot 6‑under today, kind of had a little different game plan coming into The Memorial this year. Talk about that and then we'll take a few questions.

SCOTT PIERCY: Yeah, I've hit a lot of drivers and kind of pounded down golf courses, and I haven't had much success here doing it. I thought I'd hit a lot of 3‑woods today and open up the fairways and allow me to get some pins and knock them on the greens and make some putts. Maybe I'm getting older.

Q. Was it boring?

I'm not going to use that word. I'll say I was much more disciplined. It was kind of funny how last week, I don't normally play well in Colonial, and it's the same sort of golf course. I have to hit a lot of 3‑woods or 5‑woods or 3‑irons off tees. And this is my fourth week in a row, and I was trying to build up to the U.S. Open, it's a short golf course, so it seems like I've hit 3‑woods all around Colonial, all around here, and then a week off.

And the U.S. Open is going to be sort of the same thing. So maybe it's getting used to it, being patient and disciplined is a good thing for The Open.

Q. What was the course like, the greens in particular?

They were really good this morning. They're fast. They're smooth. They're starting to get spiked up towards the end, but I just told somebody on Tuesday they were like 12 and a half, and they're trying to get them to 13 and a half or 14. They've got some speed to them.

Q. How hard is it have that discipline?

For me it's difficult. I'll take 66 all the time, though. It's just learning how to play golf courses. I can hit it over almost all the corners here. But I have to hit a perfect golf shot and if I don't I'm not in a very good spot. With the wind blowing as hard as it has been, I think it dried the golf course out. I was hitting 290 to 310, depending on how hard it was going. So I was still hitting a short enough iron where I felt like I could still attack rather than hitting 3‑wood, 5‑iron or 3‑wood, 6‑iron. I still had 3‑wood, 9‑iron, 3‑wood, 8‑iron.

Q. The rough here is pretty thick this year because they've had a cool spring. Did you adopt your approach before you saw the rough or after you saw the rough?

No, I just haven't played good here, to where‑‑ everybody is like, man, you must love Memorial, you play great there. I'm like, I play terrible here.

I had to tell myself for a couple of days you're just going to hit a 3‑wood and just see where it goes, because the driver hadn't been working.

Q. Two questions, can you give a few examples of where you normally hit driver and normally hit 3‑wood?

No.1, I can fly over the corner and have 70 yards with a little bit of downwind. Today I hit 3‑wood, 9‑iron to about 15 feet. Sometimes I hit driver on 5, the par‑5, which even today I hit 3‑wood through the fairway. Kind of different.

6, every time I hit driver, I never hit it in the fairway. It's a wedge versus today an 8‑iron.

10, generally‑‑ 10, I like to cut the ball and that's a draw hole with a cut wind. So there's a lot of not good things going on for me on that hole. And if I hit it good, I hit it through the fairway and then block it out going to the left. Today I hit 3‑wood, 7‑iron.

I hit 3‑wood on No. 11. That fairway is a lot wider. 3‑wood, 3‑wood on the green. I've hit driver, 4‑iron on that green before. My landing areas get so small.

13, I probably should have hit driver today. I can cover that bunker. 80, 90, 100 yards in. Today I hit 3‑wood, hit it in the bunker, hit it to like ten feet.

Q. That worked out?

Yeah, it worked out. 17, I've always struggled on 17 because I can fly the two side bunkers. There's still one farther down. I've had 70 yards in that hole before. Today I hit 3‑wood, 9‑iron.

18, I can fly over the bunkers if we get downwind. I think last year I had 60 yards to the pin. This year I hit 3‑iron, 7‑iron.

Q. You can cover all those bunkers up front?


Q. I don't think Garrigus could do it?

I hit it past Garrigus last year. We had a contest. We played together last year.

Q. Where did you hit driver?

I hit it on 7 and 15.

Q. When was your great discipline tempted the most today?

You know, it really wasn't because I made up my mind I'm going to hit 3‑wood. I've got a 3‑wood that I like, maybe a little hotter than normal. Funny, I cut it down and am hitting it so much farther, it's just over 42 and a half. I can hit kind of a stinger ball out there that just goes.

Q. So you are resigned to this now or is this still going to be an internal struggle?

See how the week goes. My game plan this week is to‑‑ there will be a couple more spots I could probably hit driver, like 13. Today I probably should have hit driver there, but I wanted to kind of stick to my game plan. But it just depends on the wind.

If we have the same wind, I probably won't hit it. Even on 7, the par‑5, same kind of thing as 10. You hit a dog leg left, the bunkers are‑‑ for me trying to hit a cut doesn't work. I could probably hit 3‑wood, 3‑wood on that green, too. Maybe less drivers tomorrow, depending.

Q. Have you been to Merion yet, Scott?


Q. Do you know where it is?

No. It's that way (indicating.)

Q.When did you cut your 3‑wood down, recently?

When did I do that? I think it was at the Byron Nelson. I actually cut it down a quarter inch, flattened it just a hair and made it about 13 degrees.

Q. On that roll in front, what was really working for you?

I just hit it in the fairways and I hit it in there about ten feet on every hole. The holes before and after it, too, I missed them before that, too. I hit it in there about 8 feet on No. 3. Missed that.

On 9, I stuffed it in there close, just right of the flag and missed that one, too.

10, I hit it in there close, close enough to make.

I hit it in the fairways and I hit it pretty good coming into the greens.

Q. I want to ask you, this is probably a six‑week‑old question, but there's a little moment at Augusta this year right when it was over, you and your wife standing on the hill by the oak tree looking at the golf course. I don't know if you remember that. What was your takeaway from the week experience‑wise?

I wished that I could have seen it in tournament conditions before the tournament conditions.

You know, playing with Tiger those first two days was‑‑ it was so‑‑ such a learning experience.

Obviously we know how great he is. And he loves being around that place, and seeing how he played that golf course in tournament conditions taught me so much. For instance, No.1, I played it three weeks before the tournament, I hit driver, 5‑iron. And I thought I can hit driver every day. First day I hit driver, sand wedge over the green. And Tiger gets up and hits his wedge or 9‑iron ten feet and lips it out. I'm like, wow, that's a little different than three weeks ago. He gets up 2 and hits a 3‑wood off 2. I'm like, what is he doing?

He didn't really use his driver very much there, which apparently I don't need to either. The biggest thing for me was just not knowing how it was going to play in tournament conditions because it changed. I'd heard that it changes every day, and you just can't prepare for it. But it's dramatic how it changes day‑to‑day. There were so many holes that really kind of didn't do it for me.

Q. Were you able to separate tournament from overall experience?

Yeah. It was kind of a bittersweet week because I felt like I should contend there. I feel like I can win there.

Saturday was just not good. I got off to a bad start on Sunday, the first nine holes. I ended up coming in, I birdied five out of the last seven holes on Sunday. But at that point it was too late, obviously. I felt like I gained so much knowledge not only playing along with Tiger, but just throughout the week.

Q. The disciplined approach, as you call it, have you put it into play on other courses this year or maybe if you have the success this week that you had today might you look at other playing other courses that way?

You know, when I won in Canada, I called it boring just because I couldn't hit my driver a lot there. I hit a lot of hybrids and 4‑irons off tees. And then the par‑5s, I went after some par‑5s there.

And even like No. 18, there was like 460, I hit 4‑iron, 6‑iron into that hole which for me it takes a lot of discipline. But it seems like golf courses, when I succumb to it, I play well at those golf courses.

Q. Is there any direct link in seeing what Tiger did and what you're doing?

Maybe a little bit. I finally got a 3‑wood that I really like. I feel like I can get it out there. I've always played more of a weaker 3‑wood that went 265, 260. And this one I can fly it 260 and it will roll, and get it in the 85, 90 range. If I'm hitting a 3‑wood 265, 270, and hitting a driver 310 on a nice hot day, there's a big difference between 310 and 270. This 3‑wood, I think, I can get it into the 290 range, where I'm probably hitting it straighter, but just a little bit not as far. Does that make sense? The golf course doesn't call for it.

Same thing with Colonial, I hadn't played well, never really liked it. And everybody loves it. A lot of people love it. And I tried to figure out why. And it helped to have‑‑ it helps to have the right equipment in your bag to hit the right shots that you need. And right now I've got a good setup going on.

Q. You cut a quarter inch off the 3‑wood down to what? What's it measure?

Kind of like 42 and a half, something like that. So it's finishes about 42 and three‑quarters.

MARK STEVENS: Thanks for your time, Scott.