Travelers Championship interview: Chris Stroud

June 23, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Travelers Championship transcript archive

We welcome runner-up Chris Stroud to the interview room. Pretty exciting finish with the playoff. Didn't end up the way you had hoped, obviously, but if you want to give us your initial reaction, then we'll have a few questions.

CHRIS STROUD: Obviously I gave it everything I had. I played great today. Very solid. I got a text from a good friend of mine I got hundreds of texts, but the one thing he said that really stuck with me, he said "nothing fancy," and I stuck with that all day. I didn't try to do anything cute. I didn't try to overwork the ball. I didn't try to do anything out of my own game. And it paid off.

I mean I had three shots from 94 yards on 18, the exact same yardage, and I could not figure out a way to stop that ball. Regulation, luckily, I chipped it in, had a chance to play with Ken Duke in the playoff. I had two chances, the same exact yardage, two more chances. I just could not get the ball to stop I tried three different things and nothing worked.

But I can't be disappointed. I played awesome, very, very solid down the stretch, and I've always played well here, and I was feeling very solid today coming in, and I'm just glad I had myself another chance.

Okay. Thank you.

Q. Chris, can you just talk about waving your hat? You're not from here. You're a Texas kid. What was that? Is that your personality?

It is. It is. The people that know me very well, they understand that I'm a pretty calm guy for the most part. But I love people. I mean Arnold Palmer is one of my role models in golf, and I just the ropes aren't will for me. I mean the ropes a lot of guys like the ropes there to keep the I don't. I like to just tear the ropes down.

I mean I'm just a normal person that just happens to have a gift that I try to be the best I can at, and I love it. We're here to entertain. That's what I believe. I believe I'm an entertainer, and when you get a chance like that and a crowd like that with the vibe, I'm going to eat it up. I do the same thing at Scottsdale every year. I've been pumping everybody up before I hit my golf shot on 16. I love it. I wish I had that many fans every day, in every tournament I play in. So it was fun.

Q. Chris, can you go over the birdie in regulation on 18 and then if you thought you had it in the playoff?

Well, I didn't look at the scoreboard at all today until 15. That was my planned. I looked on 15, actually 14 green, and I saw that I believe I was 10 under, I think. 11. I don't know what I was. I birdied so I was 10 under with four to go. And I knew I needed to make two more birdies, because I saw Ken Duke actually Bubba was at 13. And I knew I was chasing him, too. Now, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are some of the best finishing holes in golf. So I knew I had to go out there and get it and make some birdies.

I didn't hit a great tee shot on 15. I kind of skied a 3 wood. I don't know how I did that. I thought I hit it really good, came up short, and like a 40 yard bunker shot. Not what you want on 15.
Anyway, I birdied 15, and then I knew I needed a birdie on 18. And I had great yardages. I've been practicing my wedges for months, and I had a lot of confidence. And I hit a really nice shot right where I wanted to land it, and I just could not get the ball to spin enough.

I was walking up to the green, I told my caddie, I said, "let's chip this thing in." That's what we practice all the time, and probably only one out of a 20 shot, but it went in. And it was fun. It was just as exciting for me as it was for the fans, and I think I almost lost my voice a little bit.

Q. You mentioned the three shots on the 18th fairway. You had a little bit of a downhill lie and you tried three different ways to get it to stop. What were the three ways you used?

First time I just went with a standard it's 83 yards over that bunker, and I knew if I landed it on the knob or three or four yards further, it's going to be about the same. It's going to end up the same, a little bit past the hole. There's no way I could possibly stop it short of the hole.
Downhill, down grain and with the wind behind me, I mean the first time I just hit a standard shot and it just took off it kind of rolled up the face and it took off when it hit the green.

Second time I tried to open the face up a little more and try to rip underneath. I thought I hit it perfect, but it came up a couple yards short and went in the bunker. And then the last time I said nothing fancy, went back to my standard thing I've been doing all day and I hit a normal, kind of an 80 yard shot to the left, a little bit less wind and it still rolled out 30 feet.

So I don't know. I don't know if I could hit a large bucket, I don't know if I could hit it any closer than that. I don't know. It was a tough shot.

Q. This is a big event here in Hartford. Can you talk a little bit about your experience this week, what are some of the things you got to do and spend time with Haley and your family here?

Yeah, this is a special place. I've been here for seven years. My wife came with our two kids this week, and she said something to me yesterday that was pretty awesome. She said, my wife, she said that she's never been treated so nicely by the volunteers and the staff here. That goes a long way.

And you know, this is a special event for me. I mean I feel like the vibe and the hospitality here is second to none. And it's just such an awesome event.

The first year I came here I remember showing up and going I felt like I was out almost in like a farmland and I played the back nine, and I was like, wow, this is an incredible golf course. And I've been coming ever since. So it's one of my favorites. I'll be here every year I get a chance, and I'm just happy to be here.

Q. Can you describe your emotions after a couple different shots, your chip on 18 and then when Ken sticked it so tight there on the playoff?

I knew he had a great yardage back there and he's a great wedge player. And being further back you're going to be able to spin it. So you're not going to have to worry about the ball chasing away from you. All he has to do is catch it solid. It's really not that difficult of a shot, I think. Now, he might have been thinking differently.

But the chip in, obviously, I mean when you see a shot, you visualize a shot and it just goes perfect and then it goes right in the hole, it's like a dream come true. So I was very very excited to see the ball go in when I chipped in.

And then when Ken hit that shot, I was expecting that. I mean I really was. I don't know if I was expecting a two or three footer, but I was expecting something inside 10 feet and I knew I needed to do something, and I'd already done it twice, the same exact shot in the same spot almost, and I was just trying everything I could to stop the ball. I just could not get the ball to stop. I had a 30 footer, hit a great putt. I thought I might have made it. Just a little short, a little to the right.

Q. Kind of a two parter. You piped three really good drives on 18. You've talked about the distances that you had and the different ways to play it. Did you think about choosing something else off the tee to give yourself a fuller shot in?

I thought about that, but after hitting two drives right down the middle, and I was thinking to myself, there's no way it can end up in the same exact spot three times. So I figured I would hit I hit three little bit different drives and they ended up in the same spot. So it was a little surprising. I thought the last one was further left, which would have been a lot better angle.
But like I said, I hit three good shots, but just none of them paid off. Man, I just I couldn't do anything else. I mean I think if I'd have hit 3 wood and I'd have been further back, I might have been able to stop it. But I think I had a better chance from that 90 yard shot I had.

Q. Coming so close to your first PGA tournament, do you leave with any regrets?

No regrets. I didn't make any mental errors today. I think Friday, Saturday I made a few errors. I didn't play perfectly, which is a good sign. But I played very solid. I gave myself a chance, and that's all you can ask for out here. You don't get a bunch of chances to win golf tournaments, and when you do you just want to play your best and I did, I played the best I could. I just could not get the ball to go in.

Q. You talk about your fans. On 7 you hit one of your fans. Can you talk about that?

I did.

Q. That was pretty interesting.

I did. Another great drive of the day, almost one of the best of the day on 7, and I thought it was right in the middle of the fairway, and I get down there and I'm just in the second cut and it's like a hairy lie. I'm only 115, 20 yards to the pin, so I hit a little sand wedge.

And I was trying to land it short of the mound up to that back pin, and it just took off on me; flier lie. I actually yelled "fore," because I thought it was going to fly in the crowd. So luckily it just bounced into her. I signed the ball, I made a great up and down there. So hopefully I got me a fan from now on. I don't think I hurt her. So it was good.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks a lot for your time, Chris.