CIMB Classic Preview What They Said

Tue 28 Oct 2014

CIMB Classic Preview What They Said

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BILLY HORSCHEL
CHRIS REIMER:  We welcome 2014 FedExCup Champion Billy Horschel to the CIMB Classic.  I know you played here last year but a few things have changed for you.  You're now a proud father and obviously a successful 2014 season.
Can we get some opening comments about being here and maybe how you look at this tournament differently now?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, I'm excited to be back here in Kuala Lumpur at the golf course, especially CIMB.  First year last year and I had an absolute blast.
I think the golf course is probably one of the top golf courses we play on TOUR.  I think the city is unbelievable.  I enjoy this city a lot.  I was pleasantly surprised coming here last year.  Everyone is so nice and so respectful and the food's amazing, at accommodations, everything that CIMB does this week is first class and I wouldn't expect it any other way.
Like I said, happy be to back here and looking forward to another great year and hopefully we can make it a victory this year.  And obviously with the FedExCup with the wraparound season, this starts and goes a long way towards the end of the year.  So playing here this week and playing next week in Shanghai, if I can get two good tournaments under my belt and hopefully a victory, it can help me possibly FedExCup next year.
CHRIS REIMER:  You're one of the first players out on the golf course Monday morning.  Does that say something to how your focus is, coming in to play well this week?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, even though I've won the FedExCup and did a lot of great things the past six weeks ago, I'm still a guy who wants to get better and improve and has high standards for himself.  That has not changed at all.  I want to make sure I'm prepared to play well every week I play.
So I wanted to get over here and got here Sunday morning just to get adjusted to the time change the best I could and got out here first thing yesterday morning and played nine holes and same thing this morning.  Feel good right where the game is.
And like I said, I think the course is in great shape.  They did a couple changes to the golf course.  Obviously it's a little bit better than the last year but the course is in perfect condition like it was last year.
Q.  What do you do to prepare (inaudible).
BILLY HORSCHEL:  There's a checklist that I have every week, I want to make sure I've hit enough golf balls and feel comfortable in my swing.
When Thursday comes, I don't really want to do a lot of work after my round.  I want to be able to take it easy, if I have to go hit a couple balls, a few huts, I'll do that but make sure Monday and Tuesday are my preparations and go through my checklist and once Thursday comes, hopefully I've prepared right and the game is in the right condition and have a chance to win come Sunday.
Q.  It's a glamorous sport, we all think, but tough times that you guys have, getting up very early in the morning, flying when you're not working, making big money.  But I know that you are a very generous person, but you always keep that to yourself.  Your charities and the work that you do behind the scenes for other people, it's not always known to most people.  Maybe you could tell us a bit about that?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, I'm a private person.  I like to, obviously I play a sport that's very public and a lot is known about the majority of the players out here.  But I like to try to keep the things I do public, I try not to always    I'm not a guy who is, hey, look at what I'm doing.  I just want to go about my business, and if someone wants to recognize me for it, that's fine.  I'm not looking for recognition.
But charities, Habitat For Humanity, it's a charity back home in the United States that I'm a part of.  I'm becoming part of a charity, a food bank, in Jacksonville.  When I get back home, I'm going to go there one day with my wife and everything.  I help a lot of other guys out with charities when they have their events.  The best thing I can do is just help.  I've been blessed with what's been given to me and I just want to help out as many people as I can.
Chris DiMarco is a good friend of mine and he's been a mentor of mine since when I turned pro, and he just had his event yesterday actually.  I've been a part of it for last several years, and the last year I wasn't been because I've been over  here.  But his event raises money for kids with cancer and sends them to a summer camp that they can be a part of other kids that have experience with cancer and just get away from the struggles that they have been dealt with.
So like I said I'm not a guy who is a flashy guy, obviously how I dress and everything.  But when it comes to charities, I just like to go about my business and if someone wants to bring recognition to it, I'm happy to be a part of it that way.
Q.  You've won the FedExCup and you've done pretty well this season.  How has life changed?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  It hasn't changed much.  With winning the FedExCup and winning that amount of money, it has not changed me and has not changed my wife and has not changed my parents or anyone around me.
I'm still the same person I was before that money in that great FedExCup victory.  The only thing that's changed is I'm recognized a little bit more back home.  My pictures are on a lot of buildings around town, and I do a couple more media interviews on Wednesdays now.  Not much has changed, and I don't want to change.
I think money and stuff that I've accomplished has sort of changed people in the past and I sort of recognize that and I'm always learning as a player what to do and what not to do.  I knew when I won the FedExCup I was still going to be the same person and still going to go about my business the same way and still going to work hard, and treat everyone that I come across    inaudible    I feel like how I want to be treated.  Like I said nothing's changed and just a little bit more recognition and a few more international views.
CHRIS REIMER:  The FedExCup, but how your new daughter, has that changed your perspective, having your first child.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  My little girl, Skylar, absolutely love her to death.  She was born six weeks ago today.  So it's been a truly amazing experience.  I'm so happy to be a father.  You know, it's sort of sad a little bit not to be home the next two weeks to be with my wife and her, but I've got a job to do and I'm happy to be here for the next two weeks.
So we've been Facetiming a little bit.  And been talking and seen her through the iPad and everything.  But yeah, it just brings a new meaning.  Golf isn't what it used to be.  I used to think of golf as life or death, if I played bad, it showed, and I wasn't a pleasant person to be around.
With her, she doesn't care if I play bad or good.  She just cares that I'm there for her and I love her.  Putts some bigger perspective in life that golf is just a sport that we do for fun and whether it's a bad day or a good day, I'm lucky to be walking on this turf and have a great family and wife.
Q.  You won two great tournaments in succession.  The one before, you were standing on the 18th tee I think with a two shot lead.  What happened and how did you manage to overcome that to win the next two?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, it's unfortunate I just made a bad swing at the wrong time there at Deutsche Bank in Boston.  Had a great chance to make a playoff.  Had a 6 iron in my hand.  Unfortunately I backed off the golf shot, I was feeling really confident.
I actually told my caddie, I'm going to hit it on the green and I'm going to make eagle and win it outright.  Unfortunately I just hit it fast.  I had to back off the golf shot.  Should have gave myself another five ten seconds, just to make sure I had a clear picture in my head, and unfortunately just hit a bad shot at the wrong time.
You know, it happens.  Unfortunately, like I said, if it happened any other time early in the round it wouldn't have been a big deal but with it being on 18 with a lot riding on that golf shot, a lot of people want to make it a bigger deal than what it was.  In my mind it wasn't a big deal.  It was a bad swing at the wrong time.  I knew the kind of player that I was.  I knew that I finally played a good tournament, and it's been a while since I put four good rounds together.
So there's a lot more positives to take away from that week than a negative.  I felt good with where my game was and I knew if I would just keep going about my business the next two weeks, that maybe I could get a victory, and do something special.
You know, lo and behold, I win twice and I win the FedExCup.  Obviously handling that situation the way I did, maybe I got rewarded for it.
CHRIS REIMER:  I know you're a big American football fan, that's the game that we play in the United States but golf is truly a global game.  Talk about the PGA TOUR and your ability your coworkers ability to come to Asia and Malaysia and the growth of the game and how you think it will help spread the game that you love so much.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, I think we're struggling right now in the United States to bring people to the game of golf, and it's unfortunate, trying to find ways to do it.  I think when you look at golf in a global aspect, I think the boom where you're going to see a lot more golfers enter the game is in Asia.  We've already seen that already.
There have been unbelievable players to come already and make their names known.  Obviously K.J. Choi has done an unbelievable good job with the Koreans and they really look up to him.  I'm lucky enough to be paired with Guan this week, how old is he, 16?  What he did at the Masters a couple years was unbelievable.  He made the cut at, what, age 14?  At 14 I was nowhere near to as good as he is.  He's making a big step getting his foot in the game and growing the game in China.
So I think for us to come over here and show our talent and help in any way we can to increase the game of golf, get more exposure, get more people involved in the game of golf, I'm willing to do that.  I love the game of golf.  The game of golf has been so great to me, and I've been so blessed with so many opportunities.  And there are so many more players that we can get involved in the game.
I think we can see how great this game is, and it's come a long way and whether it's the PGA TOUR or whether it's outside or in business or just playing with people in your company or president and CEOs of a company, it goes a long way.  I'm happy to be over here.  You see a lot of excitement with this tournament here at CIMB and next week at HSBC.
CHRIS REIMER:  What are your goals for this season, anything in particular?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, one goal I'm making public is I want to be the first guy to defend the FedExCup.  No one has been able to do it.  There's only been one guy to win two FedExCups and that's a guy by the name of Tiger Woods, he's not too bad.  But I want to be the first guy to defend the FedExCup, and I've made that known to my wife and my family and people, my instructors and everyone else and we're saying in interviews, too, that I want that chance to defend the FedExCup.  So that's one of the goals.  That would be an unbelievable thing to do.
DAVID LIPSKY
THE MODERATOR: Let's welcome David Lipsky into the interview room. David is currently leading on our current Order of Merit. You're second time playing in the CIMB Classic. Your thoughts coming back here.
DAVID LIPSKY: I love the course, and this is my fourth event at KLGCC great memories from here. The course is in phenomenal shape and I'm looking forward to this week.
[caption id="attachment_36679" align="alignleft" width="300"]David Lipsky of USA David Lipsky of USA
THE MODERATOR: How is the game shaping up for you this week?
DAVID LIPSKY: The game's good. I feel like I've been working on some stuff and it's been really paying off and obviously I played well in Switzerland. I've had a good run since then, so looking forward to the next few weeks.
THE MODERATOR: Seems to be getting interesting with the Order of Merit at the moment with Anirban winning last week in Macau.
DAVID LIPSKY: Obviously Anirban is playing well but as long as I take care of business and do what I need to do, then everything should take care of itself.
Q. You didn't have a good round the last three events, how do you get back on track?
DAVID LIPSKY: I'm feeling good. Golf is up and down, obviously. Can't win every week but I've played well here in the past and I have good memories, so I'm looking forward to the week
Q. On the Order of Merit it's a race between you and Anirban. Do you think you can actually get to No. 1?
DAVID LIPSKY: Yeah, have a pretty sizable lead right now as it is. As long as I play well the rest of the year and do what I need to do, I'm pretty confident I can win.
THE MODERATOR: After winning in Switzerland, you were talking about the form. Is there anything that's pulling you back?
DAVID LIPSKY: Well, golf is up and down. I don't really remember saying that, but obviously I've played well in spots. But if I can just get the ball striking in shape, I think I can have a good week. Every week this year, I've hit the ball somewhat decent. I've played well, so as long as I keep the driver in play, you know, my short game will take care of the rest.
Q. What is the key to this course?
DAVID LIPSKY: You definitely have to drive it well. The greens are quite slopey so you have to position yourself around the greens correctly or else it's going to be hard to get up and down to save par. Just giving yourself chances off the tee and playing the correct shots into greens is important this week.
Q. Playing in a PGA TOUR event, as well, this is a great opportunity for you.
DAVID LIPSKY: Yeah, of course, I've played with a lot of these guys growing up and on the Web.com Tour, so it's good to see familiar faces, and you know, hopefully I can have a good week playing against them.
THE MODERATOR: And you have a Malaysian caddie on the bag this week. Talk about your relationship with Sargunan. He was on your bag when you won in Switzerland, as well.
DAVID LIPSKY: Yeah, my caddie has been on my bag for the past, close to a year now. And this is a hometown tournament for him, so he's obviously very excited and he might be more excited than I am to be honest. So hopefully I can take that good energy and turn it into something positive this week.
Q. You're one of the stars of the Asian Tour. Do you see yourself moving up into the PGA TOUR at some stage or The European Tour as a full time player?
DAVID LIPSKY: Well, yeah, so I won in Switzerland, so I have status in Europe for the next couple years, but being from the United States, definitely, getting to the PGA TOUR at some point is one of my goals. So you know, I've been progressing every year with my game and developing everything so hopefully the next couple years, I'll be able to take that next step and play the PGA TOUR.
Q. Is this is first time you're playing on this golf course?
DAVID LIPSKY: No, it's my fourth event here. So I've played this is my first will probably be, you know, I've played ten rounds here. So I know the course quite well.
Q. So if you think that you can actually finish well or even win?
DAVID LIPSKY: Yeah, I finished third here in a European Tour event a few years ago, so I know I can play well around this course. It's just a matter of executing the shots I need to see.
GUAN TIANLANG
Q. You just had your 16th birthday. Did you do anything special?
GUAN TIANLANG: Nothing much, because I think I had a pretty good weekend in Melbourne, playing pretty well. On Saturday night it was my birthday. Actually the tournament had the gala dinner, so I went there and finished around 8:30 and went to another restaurant and had just a little party. It was pretty fun.
Q. And then last week, how did you finish?
GUAN TIANLANG: Fifth.
Q. So that's really good.
GUAN TIANLANG: I thought that I played really solid golf last week. But the champion just played awesome, so I think I didn't win but I had a good week.
Q. Take us through your outing at the Masters. How was it the entire week, the feeling? You were, what, 14 then?
GUAN TIANLANG: Yes. I was there like a couple weeks before the Masters to get prepared. I was excited and I was looking forward to the tournament. It's incredible how different on Sunday and on Monday. The Sunday before, it was like nobody out there, it's calm, and then Monday, everybody comes in. So it was pretty special. Throughout the week, I felt really good, playing great.
Q. For your age, you've achieved quite a bit. So how do you keep yourself grounded?
GUAN TIANLANG: Because I think like tournaments like this, I play with one of the like world's best players, so I know how much I still have to do. I mean, I'm pretty good I think but I still have to do a lot to be get to this level.
Q. Is there a temptation to turn professional?
GUAN TIANLANG: Not in these couple years I think. For sure not this year, not next year.
Q. So what are your plans for the coming season?
GUAN TIANLANG: I play this, and then I have a couple weeks off, maybe playing maybe thinking about playing one or two PGA China tour, just play a couple more. Then starting next year, I'll probably go to U.S., have maybe a couple month's break, and then not sure what's the tournament plans yet.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the PGA TOUR China, and the fact that there is a tour now in China that leads to the Web.com and ultimately the PGA TOUR?
GUAN TIANLANG: I think that's really good, especially for China and all those players from Asia and then some Australians, too. It's really good tournaments, too. The level is not this high, not this hard, but I think it's really similar to the PGA TOUR, like how it runs. So I think it's really good.
Q. How did you get into golf? What age did you start?
GUAN TIANLANG: My parents both play, so at first I just followed them when I was like four or five. Just starting to follow them to have fun around the course.
Q. When did you start playing, what age?
GUAN TIANLANG: Like five, I started to play and then eight or nine, then started taking it serious.
Q. Do you have a favorite club?
GUAN TIANLANG: I'm not sure but usually my putt error driver. I change it often.
Q. Players have a club they use to fix their swing or groove something they are working on. Do you have a specific club on the range that you use to do stuff like that?
GUAN TIANLANG: Not right now. Right now I'm feeling pretty good, so not right now.
NICHOLAS FUNG
THE MODERATOR: Please welcome Nicholas Fung to the media center. Nicholas qualified for the CIMB from his Official World Golf Ranking.
Your second time playing the CIMB Classic. How are you feeling and what are your thoughts coming into this week?
NICHOLAS FUNG: Yeah, you know, I'm so happy, this is my second time of playing the CIMB, and of course I prepare a lot before I come here. I've got a lot of experience of playing this golf course, so I think this is much better. I think I can perform well this year.
THE MODERATOR: How have you been preparing coming into this week?
NICHOLAS FUNG: Like I say, I try to gain some distance, because the traps here, always trapping me here, so I try to gain five to ten yards since last year. So I can see I'm hitting longer these first two days during my practice rounds so I feel it's slightly easier for me to play on this golf course.
Q. What's the biggest lesson you feel you've learned from being part of the EurAsia Cup?
NICHOLAS FUNG: Yeah, I learned how to be patient on the golf course, when I hit a bad shot, so try to not be too angry when I hit a bad shot, try to calm down and try to forget about the bad shot. Of course, looking forward to the next hole, and think of playing a great shot.
Q. Did you again fit from playing with people that you played with? In other words, you know longer feel in awe of these guys. You're actually one of them and as good as them.
NICHOLAS FUNG: Not scared of, because it's good to play with a good player so that I can learn and see them, how they play. This is a good experience for me to learn from them.
Q. This is the second time you're playing here in this event, and now you have very, very good players here playing. So do you think it's going to intimidate you, or do you think that like you said, you're not scared of them?NICHOLAS FUNG: Yeah, it's good to see a lot of players coming down to Malaysia and good for our Malaysian pros and our local boys, our area fans here come down to support and come down to watch the CIMB. Of course I feel good so that I can I mean, I give myself encouragement to play with them, yeah. So I've got no pressure, so it's very good.
[caption id="attachment_36171" align="alignright" width="300"]Nicholas Fung of Malaysia Nicholas Fung of Malaysia
Q. What goal do you make for yourself in this event?
NICHOLAS FUNG: My goal, playing good golf, that's my goal. Just to go out, play some good golf, yeah. I never think about winning, because if you play good golf, winning just comes to you. That's what I want.
THE MODERATOR: Have you set yourself any goals towards the end of the Asian Tour season?
NICHOLAS FUNG: Yes, of course, because the last, I think we have six more events coming down, and two of my favorite golf course, I finish good last year. So yeah, it's a good chance for me to finish well on the Asian Tour.
I tried to win one. I tried to win, yeah. I tried my best.
Q. Is the big prize money enough to motivate you in this tournament?
NICHOLAS FUNG: I do not understand this (laughing). Of course, everyone loves money, so (laughter) that's why I say, need to perform well to earn great money, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: You have not enjoyed the best of results this year on the Asian Tour. Is that down to not being patient enough on the golf course?
NICHOLAS FUNG: But so fun playing consistency, not so bad, actually, compared to last year because last year I've been down. But this year, playing average golf, I know I didn't play, like finish Top 5, Top 10, because of my putting, because I'm doing some putting changing. That's why maybe sometimes playing sometimes I putt good and sometimes I putt bad.
Q. You did not play in The Open qualifying round this year, the British Open.
NICHOLAS FUNG: No.
Q. Is there a reason why you didn't do it? Would you in the want to try to at least qualify for the British Open?NICHOLAS FUNG: Yeah, I wanted to play the Open, but this year I'm not ready yet. During that period, I think my golf is a bit down, so I've got no confidence to play. So I tried to get ready for next year.
Q. So what's your confidence level at this point?
NICHOLAS FUNG: How do I say? Definitely much, much better than last year, because I played great golf now.
Q. Playing with the Asian top guys
NICHOLAS FUNG: My uncle, my friend is coming down to watch me this week, yeah. So it's good for me, it's a good encouragement, yeah.
Q. Do you have any pressure with your family or friends here?
NICHOLAS FUNG: No, I have no pressure of this thing.
PROM MEESAWAT
Q. This is your second time playing the CIMB Classic after a few years, happy to be back here?
PROM MEESAWAT: Yeah, pleased to be back on a big field playing with the PGA TOUR players and some of the world's best players. Very nice to be back in KLGC again. We have been playing here many times.
Q. And you're not feeling too well apparently? What's wrong with you?
PROM MEESAWAT: Yeah, last week, the last round, I'm just feeling bad in my throat and after I had my dinner, I feel like uncomfortable with that and hopefully we'll get it through for this week and try to rest as much as I can.
Q. Is this a golf course which you like playing on, and does it suit your game?
PROM MEESAWAT: I switched and played nine holes today, switched front nine, back nine. I think they are quite longer, a couple tee box on 13, and 12, they move it back and No. 6, they moved like ten, 15 yards back, as well. This course quite suits my game, but this year the rough is not so long.
I think if the rough is thick and long, it's going to be a big advantage for me because. Holes, like all the guys carry about 280, they can play out of the bunker. But for me, just have to lay it up. But if they grow the rough more for those guys who try to be too aggressive, they can get in trouble in the rough.
Q. You're bringing some form into this week, that must be a good confidence boost for you, as well?
PROM MEESAWAT: Yes, of course. I've been playing good for a couple months and continue in a good form and a good finish last week again to coming this week, a bigger field. You know, build up my confidence to try to play well here this week.
Q. In these big money events, anything can happen, are you thinking that?
PROM MEESAWAT: Yes, just thinking and just talking with my manager, nobody knows, ten of us to get in this week who are playing good or finish top three or top five, we can catch the Order of Merit for this year, so the chance is open for ten of us this week.
Q. Is that one of your goals to the end of the year?
PROM MEESAWAT: Yeah, it's one of my goals to try to be ton of the Order of Merit.