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June 8, 2014

Ben Crane


KELLY BARNES:  Please welcome 2014 St. Jude FedEx Classic Champion, Ben Crane to the interview room.
Ben, was a whirlwind week.  Great week for you, though.  Why don't you talk about what you're feeling and looking back on the week how excited you are.
BEN CRANE:  Yeah.  Do I need the mike?  Can I go without the mike?
This has been a really tough year and I know you guys know about the changes and stuff I made in my game but it's really -- really came out of life issues of okay, I mean I had to finally become okay with golf not being in the picture; just felt like things were going in that direction and so I just got to the place where I just said, "Lord, if it's not golf, I'll will love You.  But if it is, that would be really fun but I know You'll provide something else that will be just as meaningful."
So, I love the game but the game is hard and sometimes the harder you try the harder the game gets.
But I just really simplified everything at Byron Nelson Week and just got a little momentum going, finished 37th place but that felt like just a huge lift to me and then I went to the U.S. Open qualifier after two weeks off.
I didn't get in The Colonial which is like one of my favorite tournaments and so that was a bummer.  I went to the qualifier after two weeks off and I played terrible.  It was a wake-up call.
I really buckled down and did a lot of imagery work in my head, talked to my mental coach and really tried to get ready for Thursday here and I did not expect the hole to hop up like that, start making putts from everywhere.  Just hit a lot of quality shots and obviously built a nice lead to start out with.
Sorry I got wordy.

Q.  Ben, just talk about, it's difficult on Tour to hold a lead with 18 holes, you had 30 holes today to try to maintain a lead.
BEN CRANE:  Yeah.  I mean I had every thought going through my head.  I had the thought of hey, let's try to build this lead, hey, let's just try to hang on to this lead.  You have every thought.
But it's like at the end of the day, it's like all you can do is just buckle down on this shot and do your best and then that's it.  I tried -- one of the things I try do after every shot was imagine had I hit the previously shot perfectly what it would have felt like.  That's something my mental coach taught me because it really affects the rest of the day, how you feel, stuff.
I really tried to do a lot of okay, I know that shot went over there, but had I hit it perfect it probably would have felt like this.  The last thing that goes across your mind is really a positive thing.  That really helped me hang on to the lead.
I have a couple text messages on my phone here.  Are you kidding me?  Oh, my gosh, this keeps going.  How many can a phone hold?  That's so fun right there.  Okay.  Anyway.
KELLY BARNES:  Back to questions.
BEN CRANE:  Should I start answering now?

Q.  With those thoughts going through your mind, you make the turn, get started in the final round.  Just the pars, how was it, you had trouble there on the 9 but you managed to kind of keep correcting and not letting anything build, any momentum.
BEN CRANE:  Yeah.  I wasn't looking at the leaderboard all day.  I never knew the scores other people were at.  Twice the leaderboard caught my eye, I saw my name at the top.
So -- but I didn't know if that was -- if they were 1 behind, 3 behind.  I didn't even know after two rounds, I had no idea where I stood.  I just knew I was leading.
I knew Phil Mickelson was out there.  Phil is a good friend and, you know, he kind of gave me that I'm coming after you, you know, and so, yeah, it's hard playing with the lead.
I barely slept last night.  I think I probably got I mean 150 minutes of sleep last night.  I mean just so nervous, so excited, so thrilled that my game has come around and, you know, short period of time like this and couldn't sleep so I did a lot of praying, lot of thanking God for some fun couple days.

Q.  Ben, I guess Joe, your caddy, is a former teammate of yours?
BEN CRANE:  Yeah, at Oregon.

Q.  How important was it just for him to be there during that stretch today?
BEN CRANE:  Very important.  Yeah.  He's unbelievable.  I wouldn't be here without him.  He believed in me when I certainly didn't believe in myself.  Many times I just felt like cashing it in, calling it a year.
He stayed so positive through it all.  So, I mean thousands of -- just never anything negative, always positive.  I mean what's that worth?

Q.  You head back home to Dallas.  What's the schedule look like now and --
BEN CRANE:  I'm moving to Nashville.  I'm becoming a Tennessean.  Come on.

Q.  Welcome to town.  I live in Nashville.
What's your schedule look like and does this maybe after the six months of all the changes, what do you see now happening?
BEN CRANE:  I'll say this:  A lot of people win tournaments and expectations go up and lot of people win Major Championships, and I pay attention and things get a lot harder.  Sometimes in rare situations it really propels them.
So, I really -- I wrote down six things at 1:00 in the morning saying if I win today I want to stay true to these things.
And because it is -- you forget how hard it is.  You forget how much practice went in.  You start to think you deserve things sometimes and I'll pull up my notes if people will stop texting me I could get to them (laughter).
Just to continue to work on things mentally, to stay thankful, to continue to do a lot of mental reps, they're more important for me than physical reps.
Everyone has their battles.  My battle is letting my mind relax and obviously comes out in pace of play and, so, that's something that I need to continue to work on.
So, anyway, I just -- this win is different, different for me.  I want to treat it differently and I really want to enjoy it.  I don't want to act like there's five more behind it.  I want to celebrate it with my friends and my wife and my kids who probably watched me play on TV today for the first time and kind of recognize what was going on, they're 7 and 5 and are youngest is 2.
So, our two and a half year old girl says, you know, I get on Skype, "Daddy, are you" -- "daddy, you at golf tournament?"
So, anyway it's fun, they can kind of see what I'm up to, anyway.

Q.  Speaking of everybody handling their battles Phil Cannon showed me a text you sent him.  Just thoughts on that.
BEN CRANE:  Guys don't get ever better than Phil Cannon.  He's a great guy.  He's an incredible fighter.  He's been a fighter all his life.  He's done a great job for this city, for this tournament and he's in the middle of a big battle right now and so I've just committed to praying for him because I sure love to have him around for a lot longer.
KELLY BARNES:  Thank you Ben, congratulations.
BEN CRANE:  Thanks.

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