THE MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE INSURANCE
June 2, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jack Nicklaus and our champion, Hideki Matsuyama.
Jack, if you would, start us off about the week, talk about the week a little bit.
JACK NICKLAUS: You don't need to hear much from me. I thought it was a great week. Great weather. Great tournament.
I think we have a great winner. This young man's going to win a lot of golf tournaments. First one in the United States. Gotta start somewhere.
We're proud he's our winner. I know that the Presidents Cup was here last year that he played in was a big help to him this week and got to learn the golf course, got to learn a lot about it.
But 22 years old. That's how old I was when I won my first tournament. So I think he's got a little time left.
Congratulate him, wish him well. I thought the tournament went great.
THE MODERATOR: Hideki, could you take us through the playoff hole.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Without a driver?? it's a tough enough hole, but without a driver it's really tough, the 18th hole.
My tee shot, used a 3?wood, caught the right fairway bunker. Had 196 yards to the pin. Hit a 5?iron. Hooked it left, just short of the greenside bunker on the left. Knocked it up about 10 feet and knocked it in for par.
Q. Did your strategy change on the first hole after you saw Kevin's drive?
JACK NICKLAUS: You drove first.
Q. I'm sorry. I meant after his drive.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Kevin hitting into the water really didn't ?? I didn't change my strategy at all. In fact, I wasn't even sure Kevin was in the water.
Q. It didn't look like you hit the driver that hard. Were you shocked when the head came off?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I was really shocked, because I didn't?? I really didn't hit it that hard.
JACK NICKLAUS: If you look at the replay, he almost just dropped the club.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Yeah.
JACK NICKLAUS: He hit it. It was a little bit more to drop, but it wasn't?? it wasn't?? it was a ?? not a whack.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Exactly how Mr.Nicklaus explained, that's what happened.
Q. Could you explain or quantify?? I don't know if you talked about outside ?? how important it was to play here last year at the Presidents Cup and how it helped.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: It had a great effect on how I played this week, especially I was able to learn the course at the Presidents Cup last year.
And even more so than being able to be paired with Adam Scott. I mean, it was just the luck of the draw. But to be able to play with Adam, who I played with a lot during the Presidents Cup, made it a lot easier for me to play today. And I owe a lot to him.
Q. The last hole of regulation tournament, knowing you had to birdie to force the playoff on the toughest hole on the golf course, what was going through your head, and when did you know you had it as close as you did?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: At the 18th, I hit my tee shot in the fairway, what I had to do. And the second shot, I had to take?? I knew I had to make birdie, so I took dead aim for the pin.
The wind was coming from the right, so I just hit it up, just my normal shot, let the wind take it a little bit. And I didn't know it was that close until actually I got up onto the green.
Q. What iron was that, what club?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: 7?iron.
Q. When you come off the double bogey at 16 and bogey at 17 and hit a tee shot that you didn't like on 18, how hard is it to get your mind back into frame to think you could win the tournament?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Right from the 15th hole, I had a lot of missed shots. And like you said, the double bogey at 16, bogey at 17, not a real good tee shot, I thought, at 18.
But when I saw the ball on the fairway on the 18th hole there, that's when I was able to think I still have a chance.
Q. And, secondly, with five wins in Japan and you really have proven yourself in performances in the majors and everything, but could you talk about the value of winning here at this tournament, what it does for your career, for your confidence and your stature in the game?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: To win my first PGA TOUR event is enough, but to win it here at Mr.Nicklaus' course, it really gives me a lot of confidence now going on. And hopefully I'll be able to use this week as a stepping stone to further my career.
Q. I was wondering what happened on 16 and how rattled you were after the ball went in the water and how you were able to recover.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I knew the wind was coming from the right. And I just hit a bad shot. And the wind took it a little more than even I thought. But I was still in it. So I was only one back.
I think there was still some holes to play, and so I just kept on going.
Q. You had a very large Japanese gallery out there, and I'm wondering if that's normal in American tournaments or if this was more or less?? if you noticed.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: This was unusual. It was a great contingency out there, and it helped me a lot. And they rooted me on, and I was grateful for it.
Q. How much do you know about Mr.Nicklaus' career?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: He's won 18 majors.
Q. Curious whether you have a childhood memory or anything, if he's focused on Jack in any way.
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Unfortunately, I never got to see him play in my lifetime. But since I was a little boy, I always watched the Masters tournament. And each Masters tournament they would always replay Mr.Nicklaus's putt at 17.
And that's the memory I have of Mr.Nicklaus.
JACK NICKLAUS: Last time I played in Japan was probably his parents were born.
Q. For probably 65, 67, 68 holes, you guys were able to score on this course this week. And all of a sudden maybe down the last six or seven holes today everything reversed and there were a lot more bogeys and double bogeys out there. Was it the wind? Was it the pressure? Was it the challenge of the holes, or what?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: All of the above. The wind blew the hardest today it has been all week. Therein, the greens hardened up and were very firm. And then you add that to the pressure of winning a golf tournament, that's probably why you saw the last six, seven holes play as hard as they did.
Q. Did you not have another driver available, or did you not have time to get it? What was the story on that?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I didn't have a spare driver in my locker. I didn't have time, of course, to go get one. And I did okay with the 3?wood, so...
Q. Jumbo Ozaki had a great career, but he never won in America. Ishikawa has done great things and still hasn't won in America. How much do you hear about that in Japan and can you talk about how important it is to have done that today?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Like you said, I'm the fourth Japanese pro to win here on the U.S. PGA TOUR. And it just goes to prove how difficult it is to win on the United States PGA TOUR.
Q. What does it mean to be such a young champion and to play in a tournament that gives so much back to younger children?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I'm really happy I can just be part of this tournament which gives so much to the Children's Hospital. And all of the players, all of us, feel the same way; that it's a privilege to be able to do something that might be able to help a little one in need.
Q. You birdied 18 four straight days and have had even par to finish. Is there something about that hole that you had a lot of confidence in, or how did you play it during the practice round?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: The 18th hole I was fortunate enough to hit the fairway all four days. And that makes it possible then to get it close enough for a birdie.
And it just happened the yardage I had all four days was the perfect yardage. And I was able to use a club that I practiced the most with. And therein lies maybe the success I had at 18.
Q. Tiger Woods had Jack Nicklaus' record taped to his bedroom wall. What were your hopes and dreams?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: One of my goals since I was a little guy was to win on the U.S. PGA TOUR. And now that I've done that, my next goal now would be to win one of the four majors.
Q. What does this do for you going into the U.S. Open, and do you know anything about Pinehurst?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I haven't played a practice round yet at Pinehurst, so I haven't seen it in person. But I did watch Payne Stewart in 1999 win there. And I know what a great course it is just from watching that U.S. Open on TV.
And I hope the momentum of winning here will carry over to the U.S. Open.
Q. Have you ever seen highlights of when Jack beat Aoki?San at the 1980 U.S. Open?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: I'm sorry, I haven't.
JACK NICKLAUS: I told you, it was long before his parents were born.
Q. Jack, I'm curious what you saw or thought of his game today.
JACK NICKLAUS: His game? I thought his game has been pretty good for a long time. I remember watching him before the Presidents Cup here last year. I saw him play in a couple of tournaments, and I loved his tempo.
I think his size is larger than most of your Japanese players. Jumbo was a big guy. Aoki was tall but not as strong. Most of the guys that come from Japan are a little smaller. Ishikawa is a little smaller guy.
He has the ability to be able to play golf courses well within himself and doesn't have to push for distance and strength.
So his tempo is so good and his composure is?? he's very calm. When he knocked the ball in the water at 16 today, you just saw him bear down and try to play a better shot. I thought that showed a lot about him.
And I just think you've just seen the start of what's going to be truly one of your world's great players over the next 10 to 15 years.
Q. Your father was your coach, right, taught you how to play?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Since I was a little guy my father was my swing coach, up until high school. And after that I've just been on my own.
Q. Who fixes it when things go wrong?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: Nobody fixes it but me.
JACK NICKLAUS: That makes?? that right there will tell you why he's going to be a good player.
Q. Jack, can you also assess his putting stroke. He obviously made four great putts on 18 plus a??
JACK NICKLAUS: I didn't see him miss any putts yet. He's made everything he's looked at. I'm being facetious, obviously. He had a chance yesterday. He probably missed three or four putts on the back nine yesterday that would have put him in the front of the tournament.
And I think that his putting stroke is so smooth. And you can do that at age 22. What happens is, though, when you have a putting stroke that good and you make putts at age 22, that not only gives you?? you not only have a good putting stroke, but you've got it between your ears that you can make the putts when you have to.
His putting stroke will hold up for a long time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.