CIMB Classic Rd 1 What They Said

Thu 30 Oct 2014

CIMB Classic Rd 1 What They Said

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RIKARD KARLBERG
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks for joining us.  You had a very nice round of 65 today with two birdies on the closing two holes.  Just talk us through your round today.  Great round from you.
RIKARD KARLBERG:  Yeah.  I was just going out there and trying to be as relaxed as I could and just have fun.  It's not every day that I play in this kind of big tournament, and I love this track, so I know -- and it fits my game very good.  So I was just trying to have a good time out there, and I came out a good start, even if I missed a little bit, I saved shots, and also when I missed the fairway on the par-5 and needed to lay up, made a good wedge shot, made birdie.
And the putting was great, so after a hot start, and then it was a little bit so-so, missed -- did a really important par there on 14, I think it is, or 13, the par-4, uphill.  So seems like 15 good putt there.  And kept my round going, so even if I missed a few, actually on 14 and 16, I kept it going and it was nice to finish with those two extra ones at the end.
Q.  What is it about this golf course that you like?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  It fits my eye, as normally I could struggle a little bit from the tee with my driver and so on, but here I feel really comfortable and can just smash the driver.  And I mean the flight's pretty long for me, so I can carry a few of the hazards here and there, and that makes it a little bit better for me.
Q.  You started your round early.  It seems the early guys, the scores have pretty well stood up.
RIKARD KARLBERG:  I just talked with my caddy about that.  I actually felt when we made the turn somewhere, I said when we turned it felt even better than the morning, because in the morning it was so humid, so my glasses just get foggy from -- it's getting so hot on the forehead and when the cap and the wind gets in.
I think the greens could be a bit of a difference.  I went first out, the greens were so smooth, and after the turn, it almost looked like they have grown a bit.  But I think it's just like for people that walked on them.  So I think it could be a little green thing that could be there, the difference.
Rikard Karlberg of Sweden Rikard Karlberg of Sweden
Q.  This event is probably the second or third biggest event on the Asian tour.  What was your expectations coming into this week, and did that help in any way?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  You know, I had -- it's been a busy schedule coming into this week, so there's been some pressure, and I just stopped almost enjoying the game.  I was a little bit frustrated before the two last tournaments coming into this week.  So coming into this week and I realized that before, that just enjoy it and have fun out there made a big difference for me.  I have better body language, even if I miss a shot and so on.
And so I haven't really thought about it as a big event.  I just enjoy that we play on great golf course, and yeah, enjoy it.
Q.  We spoke out here, and I think he was teasing some of the media.  Is that your nature, just having fun and just having a bit of light-hearted fun out there to ease the pressure of competing in such high-level golf?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  Yeah, definitely.  Enjoy doing those.  Unfortunately was a way now, but definitely, because it's just -- golf is a long walk with a few shots here and there, and you have to have fun between those walks, and when you're inside of the course as well, so I think me, just enjoy it and just don't over do those four seconds of concentration.  The rest is to chat a bit, have fun and enjoy the walk.
Q.  Any more videos planned?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  There is not, but I mean my wedding is coming up.  I'll see if I do something funny for my wife.  I don't know.
Q.  When is the big day?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  The week of the black mountain event actually, in February.  The third week of February.
Q.  You talk a bit about being frustrated the last two events.  Any reason?  Is it because of your health concern as well?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  Yeah, I mean it's definitely that.  There has been a lot of things going on.  Trying to combine both European Tour and Asian tour flying back and forward, getting sick because of the virus infection I suffered from the whole year more or less, and get the flu symptoms.  So I mean it was just several weeks ago I had to pull out from a ways.  And it gets you a little bit stressed out, and I realized that, as well, that, okay, I can't really do anything about it, try to eat as good as I can, at least that's what the doctors say.  So it just doesn't help when you get frustrated, and especially out on the golf course it doesn't.
Q.  There's been talk about this week the gap that may have existed in the past between the top-level PGA pros on the Asian tour and European Tour has closed a little bit.  You being on top of the leaderboard, do you think there's more evidence of that?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  Yeah, definitely.  I think you see it, as you say, on all different tours.  The top guys -- the only difference between the tour, I think, is maybe the depth of the fields we have.  Maybe PGA TOUR is 125 guys, has a better average than the top 110 guys on the European Tour and also the top 110 guys here on the Asian tour.
But I think if you take the top 20 guys from any tour, I think everyone will have the same fight.  And I think we saw that this year when we had the Asian Cup, Europe against Asia, and they actually tied the game.  So definitely, everyone, especially this part of the world, they get to learn more about the game still a few because it's quite an expensive sport from where I come from Sweden.  It's not a quite normal sport to do, but this sport is so expensive to be a member and so on, but that's starting to change to make more juniors come in and come play the game so everybody can play.
And that's why I think we're starting to see a difference in that they are more the same kind of level.
Q.  Come across as being fun.  Is this his normal soothing?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  I don't know.  It's always different, but I think we would like to be quite ironic in Sweden, and we don't mind to, you know, show our personality.  You have a few guys out there, and I don't know, I think what is the great thing with the Swedes is like we always stick together and everybody is looking out and everybody has fun together.  So maybe it is something in that that everybody is quite funny and enjoy the ironic and the things like that.
Q.  Can you talk about the state of your game?  If so, what is it?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  I mean when you come to the top and you play this big event, I think it's definitely my mental coach who does the difference, and I think he may for every player coming out, almost everyone has a mental coach, because everybody could stand and hit the ball on the range pretty great, put putters, good from everywhere.
But it comes in when you put the pressure on yourself.  So that is the difference for, I would say for me and also for a lot of other players.
Q.  Can you spell out your mental coach's name?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  Anders Haglund.  It's spelled Anders first name is A-N-D-E-R-S, H-A-G -- oh, sorry.  Anders was first and then second name was Haglund is H-A-G-L-U-N-D.
Q.  Is it crazy or the game is good enough to have concentration without the mental coaching?  Is that crazy what you're doing, you love what you're doing.  Why do you need a mental coach?
RIKARD KARLBERG:  You know, it's -- everybody wants to win so bad when you get out here, and every shots count, and you think a lot about what you need to do with the ball.  I don't think there's any other sport in the world that, you know, you have -- you think so much before you do that slow action.  So that's why so many thoughts go through it and you just want to put it at the places you want, and you know if you start to think about the misses and so on, it's really hard to just be relaxed as you maybe are just playing football, maybe you're trying to be quicker or in ice hockey, trying to tackle harder or get through the defense somehow.
Here like offense doesn't work, defense doesn't work.  You have to be natural, kind of, or have the same level all the time, and that's the tough part of it, trying to -- even if it heats up, you know, and you really want to win, you still have to stop.  You can't go back and do defense like you can do in football.  You can't go and do offense.  That usually doesn't work when you get nervous or something like that.
DAVIS LOVE, III
Q.  I know you didn't get to see the whole golf course, but you still played really well today.
DAVIS LOVE III:  Yeah.  I only got to play two holes, so I didn't see much of it, but yeah, except for a couple of holes I was a little tentative on some shots and not real sure what to do.  I made some bad swings, but all in all you take 4 under if you haven't ever seen the course before, so I'm pretty happy with it.
Q.  Then you got in obviously a little late coming over from McGladrey.  How are you feeling coming in today after the first round?
DAVIS LOVE III:  I feel fine.  I don't feel real good about a couple of those tee shots I hit.  Physically, mentally I'm great.  I'm relaxed now.  The pressure is off of last week and all the excitement.  Somebody else is cleaning up the mess, and I can go play.
I don't know if I'd have had two practice rounds if I'd have done any better or not.  Again, all in all it was a good start, no matter what.
Q.  What were you hitting off the tee, and maybe
DAVIS LOVE III:  You know, the holes that got me were some of the ones where you had to really kind of make a decision on.  Well, some of them, like 18 I didn't know what to do and I hit a drive and hit it way down there down the middle.  Then it turned out I really didn't need to hit driver because it just plugged and couldn't go for it anyway.
But like 12, a little indecisive, decided to hit driver, didn't make a good swing at it, hit in the rough and made bogey.  I hit a bad tee shot off of 14, but got away with it.  Some of those holes are just weird.  You're hitting a 4 iron, you don't know how far    you've never seen a ball fly down there, so you don't know what it's going to do.
If the guys hit away of me, like on 16, I watched both of those guys hit because I bogeyed 15.  I watched both of them hit, so I knew what to do.  So that helped, but it'll be better tomorrow.  I'll have a little more confidence in what to hit off the tee at least.
Q.  Talk us through that eagle.  Were you satisfied with that?
DAVIS LOVE III:  That was another one, 10, I didn't know    I'd seen guys laying up off the tee, and I'd seen guys hitting driver, but just decided might as well go ahead and hit a driver and hit a real good drive and hit 3 iron and luckily made a putt, about a 20 footer.
Q.  You said yesterday you're looking forward to playing a lot more golf, see how close you can get back to your best.  When you play a round like this, you must think you're not far away.
DAVIS LOVE III:  Yeah, I'm not far off.  I'm hitting the ball well.  It's more just scoring and confidence, trusting if I just get up and hit it, it's going to go in the right place.
You know, and I was off for a couple of years.  I wasn't playing well, and I was physically wasn't ready to play with my injury, and then trying to come back from that injury, I think my confidence was just not there 18 holes a day.  It's there about 14.  So if I can just keep working on that and doing positive.
You know, playing in a tournament like this where you know you got four rounds, and you know, you're hitting the ball well, you can be a little bit more patient, so hopefully this will be a good week.
Kevin Strelman of the United States Kevin Strelman of the United States
KEVIN STREELMAN
Q.  How much of a factor is the heat as the day goes on?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  It's definitely important.  It kind of hits you I'd say kind of making the turn and walking up that hill on, what's that, 13 or 14.  Man, it really wipes you out.
Fortunately you gotta get up top, you're going to go downhill for the rest of the round from there.  We're not too used to this over in the U.S., and I think this is going to be a battle all weekend.
Q.  How would you assess your round generally?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  I was happy that it was a nice start.  Making six birdies is awesome, putting it great.  Disappointed in my par-5 performance.  I played the par-5s 2-over, which I would say these are pretty easy par-5s, especially I drove it in pretty good position.  So kind of got a bad break with a bunch of mud on the ball at 18 there, but it's fine.  It's just a start, you know.  Can definitely shoot yourself out of the tournament the first round, but shoot 4-under, hoping to be there on the weekend.
Q.  Coming into this people are saying the par-5s are really the key.  I guess that makes it disappointing.
KEVIN STREELMAN:  Yeah, especially with good drives on most of -- except for 5, didn't hit it good on 5.  The other ones I hit good tee shots.
I'll just rectify that tomorrow and hopefully get those 3-under tomorrow and do the same thing, maybe get a low one in there tomorrow.  But we'll see how the weather is, too.  Looks like something might be coming in and hopefully we'll get as much golf in today as possible.
Q.  And you get a feeling, I mean it took you a while to get the first break through on the tour, you're really hitting a stride.  Are you comfortable with your game?
KEVIN STREELMAN:  Yeah.  You know, last year was kind of a strange year with having my daughter, and we had her six weeks early, so I kind of -- our plan for my schedule was much different than God's plan for my schedule, so I played a lot of tournaments I normally wouldn't have and didn't play other ones that I normally do.  But then to do what we did at Travelers was truly, you know, just -- that was a dream come true.  So that's something I'll never forget.
But I had a great start in Vegas and switched putters that Friday and still just feel great with the putter and just keep rolling.
RYAN MOORE
Q.  So just some overall thoughts about your round out there today, the 4-under?
RYAN MOORE:  It was a nice score.  I had a great finish to get to that.  I birdied the last four holes of the day, so that obviously is a nice way to finish off.
You know, early in the round it was a little up and down, and I made some great par savers that kind of kept myself in it, and you know, but was really close all day to making a lot of birdies, so to finally kind of finish off and make some putts and hit some good shots and finished off with those birdies was great.
Q.  Anything change or was it just a matter of staying patient?  Did something click that caused that?
RYAN MOORE:  No.  It wasn't.  It was just, yeah, it was more just staying patient.  I wasn't hitting bad shots early.  They just weren't quite turning out, and I missed a couple of greens in a couple of tough spots, and sometimes making good up-and-downs and par savers are almost more important than making birdies, and I did that early and just kept myself around par or I was 1-under for a good while, and you know, just gave myself a chance.
Q.  And then overall, how is the course playing out there today?
RYAN MOORE:  I thought it was playing fair.  I think it was playing very much like it did last year.  It was a little less rough overall for the golf course than it was last year, so it makes scoring a little bit easier.
But it's a good test of golf.  It tests every part of your game and you gotta put it in the fairway, and once you're in the fairway, you gotta hit good shots, and you know, always have to make putts.
Q.  And then lastly, four birdies in a row.  It's gotta feel good, carry a little momentum into the second round; right?
RYAN MOORE:  Well, yeah.  I mean it was a positive, just I made a couple of really nice putts, especially on the last hole, I made a nice maybe 20-25-footer to finish off.  The putt was in the whole way.  So it was nice hitting good putts like that and seeing them go in, and that never hurts your putting confidence.
BILLY HURLEY, III
Q.  Did the delay affect you at all?
BILLY HURLEY, III:  You know, kind of lost a little    we were on 18, so only one hole to play.  Maybe lost a little bit of feel, hit a short iron over the green on the last    trying to make birdie, and didn't.  Just kind of maybe lost a little bit of how far the ball was going and whatever.
But no, I mean overall, no.  I mean would have been nice to have finished in one fell swoop, especially when you only have one hole left, but glad we got it done today anyway.
Q.  Good enough for second place.  Are you pretty satisfied with that?
BILLY HURLEY, III:  Yeah, it was a nice round of golf.  I didn't make a bogey, I don't think, and hit a lot of nice shots and made some nice putts, so I kind of just did a nice solid round of golf today.  It was good.
Q.  What's the key around here, do you think?
BILLY HURLEY, III:  I think it's be in the fairway, I think.  The rough's not terrible, but when you lift, clean and place, being in the fairway is that much more important because you can get a good lie, you can get a clean ball every time, and you know, make sure you have more control over the ball that way.
Q.  How are the conditions, the humidity, the heat?
BILLY HURLEY, III:  I mean I play good when it's hot, so I like that.  Obviously it's a little bit more than we're used to in the U.S. for sure, and there's a little bit more water drank, a little bit more thought to your body as well, and just kind of, you know, hydration and food and calorie intake and stuff like that.
Q.  You got any read on what you think it's going to take to shoot around here?
BILLY HURLEY, III:  I have no idea.  There's a lot of golf left.  No idea.
Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the opportunity to come play in this event, and what it means and maybe
BILLY HURLEY, III:  Well, it's my first ever no cut event, so that's kind of fun.  You know you can play four rounds right off the bat.
But it's obviously a long ways to come.  It's literally halfway around the world from the East Coast where I'm from.  So there's a travel element to it, but, you know, it's a great partner for the PGA TOUR and they're in a good market for us to be in, and golf's growing like crazy over in Asia, so we need to be a part of that, and it's a great place here at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.  But you know, it's a nice event.  They've done a nice job.
Q.  And then the opportunity for you like to maybe play well, see what happens?
BILLY HURLEY, III:  Yeah.  I mean so you get    to get an event like this kind of in the fall, in the start of the season, you know, and you try and have a good week and get a little bit ahead in the FedExCup points race to start the year.
Prom Meesawat of Thailand Prom Meesawat of Thailand
PROM MEESAWAT
Q.  Prom, 4 under, you must be fairly happy with your round?
PROM MEESAWAT:  Yeah, of course, 4 under, always very happy with opening round under par.
The course is playing soft today, and the green is quite a bit slow, so I'm hitting good from the tee, teeing off very good today, just only missed a couple fairways, so that's why my game was a bit easier for today.
Q.  That's the key for long hitter's, isn't it, just to hit the fairways, isn't it?
PROM MEESAWAT:  Yeah, of course, it's the key on this golf course.  But this year the rough is not very long for comparison.  Last year when playing the Maybank Malaysian Open, but it's always the key to hit the fairway when you play a different line, you get chance to put ball in nice.  And yeah, very happy with my round today.
Q.  A few of the American guys are saying how hot it is playing in this heat.  Do you feel you have an advantage?
PROM MEESAWAT:  Yeah.  I used to this weather, and been playing around here and Singapore, it's very hot.  So a lot of advantage for Asian players who are playing on the Asian tour.
But you know, I think obviously the U.S. players, if you give them time to adjust, they will get used to it, but the player like in the U.S., also they've been playing in Asia a lot and I think they know how to manage to play with heat.
Q.  Is this just a continuation from Macau, had a good final round last week to finish third?
PROM MEESAWAT:  Yeah.  I've been playing good golf for a couple of months, and since I had my second win last month in Taiwan, so that's built a lot of confidence for me to play, to try, coming here, especially last week and finish second on Macau open, so a lot of confidence to come and play big field with world class players.
Q.  I think you just said it, big field, world class players.  Do you treat this tournament differently in your approach?
PROM MEESAWAT:  Not really, but you know, just like every tournament I go, I just    I mean like I'm playing here many times, so I just keep doing what I have been playing the same plan.  Do what I have been doing at this golf course.  Just try to stay in the fairways, hit the greens as much as I can.
But this year the green is slower than compared when we played the last time.  So it's quite tough to get the speed on when you hit a long putt.
Q.  Do you have any personal goals you'd like to achieve, maybe over the next season?
PROM MEESAWAT:  The next season?  I'm looking for my third win on tour now.  That's my goal.  Looking forward.
But for this year, playing good this week, so try to catch David Lipsky for the Order of Merit.
ANGELO QUE
Q.  Looked like a tale of two nines.  Was it?
ANGELO QUE:  I just hit it    I hit it good on both nines, actually.  It's just that on the Front 9, I hit it pretty much close every hole.  All my birdies on the front were    the furthest birdie putt was like five feet.
So the difference is on the Back 9 I hit the greens, but I just wasn't hitting closer.  I think the pins on the Back 9 are tougher to get on.  On the front they're pretty much like more open.
Angelo Que of Philippines Angelo Que of Philippines
But all in all I'm still very happy I only missed two fairways and two greens today.  Played very solid.  Didn't have any doubts with myself today, so good.
Q.  Yeah, I mean it looked like you were just swinging freely and just on top of your game, like what you've been doing the past few weeks?
ANGELO QUE:  Yeah.  I think I'm just doing right.  Trusting myself, where back before every time I'm teeing up, I'm still debating what to do, what kind of shot I'm going to hit.
These past few weeks I've just been sticking to my game plan, and every time I have a shot, I commit to it, trusting it.  You know, and also the past few months we've been playing in windy conditions, so I think that helped a bit.
Q.  You talk about committing to the shot.  Is it very difficult to do?  I mean you talk about sometimes not being committed or having different thoughts about doing something?
ANGELO QUE:  Yeah, well, whenever you're not sure, you know, you end up hitting a pretty lousy shot because you still haven't    it's not free, you know.  You're having doubts.  So when you commit to a shot, even if it's the wrong club, at least you've committed to the shot.
I learned that in Hong Kong, especially on the last hole where I committed to the shot and I hit a great shot.  From then on, you know, I think you just have to commit to it; you just have to trust it.  Whatever will be will be.
Q.  This doesn't come too often, does it?
ANGELO QUE:  Not really, especially when you're playing bad, when you got no confidence, low confidence, a lot of thoughts go into your head.  Not good thoughts.  But when you're playing well, playing with a lot of confidence, no pressure, and you can just commit to it.
Q.  This sets you up nicely for the next few days, doesn't it?
ANGELO QUE:  Yeah.  Well, I'm not thinking too far ahead.  I'm just going to keep on playing how I'm playing.  I mean ever since Hong Kong I haven't been thinking of the result towards the end.  I'm just thinking of the present and staying in the present, trying to hit every shot.  Just one shot at a time.
Q.  This must be some of the best golf that you've played in a while.
ANGELO QUE:  Yeah, I think so.  You know, although in the past years I've won, but this is the most consistent I've played actually, where I hit a lot of greens, I hit a lot of fairways, I made a lot of putts.  I haven't won in four years, but you know, I'm playing my best golf.  I think I'm more relaxed.
Q.  How do you attribute this free flow, free swinging Angelo?
ANGELO QUE:  I think my wife, I think, because she takes care of everything at home.  All I have to do is just play.  You know, that's the best deal you're ever going to get.
And so, yeah, I'm always thinking about home, but at the same time I'm not worried because my wife is there and she's taking care of everything and she just tells me, you know, just do well and I'll take care of everything.
Q.  Are you hitting balls before you go out for a round or are you just going straight up?
ANGELO QUE:  No.  I'm hitting the ball good.  I don't want to mess it up.  Because I'm hitting good I want to go to the range?  No.  I'm hitting the ball good.  I want to remember those thoughts before I tee off, so I just keep doing what I'm doing, no range.  Just chip putt, work on my putting.
NICHOLAS FUNG
Q.  You had a shaky Front 9?
NICHOLAS FUNG:  Yeah, you know, I started very struggle, you know.  I hit it so bad, like I par putt on the first two holes, and I stepped hook on the 13th hole and very good save bogey from a long bogey putt there.  And after that I hit a couple of bad shots on 16, 16.  I can't even remember what I shot.  And I got a good comeback on the first and second hole.
Before the suspend of play.  I was like, I want to finish it as soon as possible because I playing so well, because I still had a fifth hole, par 5.  It's a birdie hole for me usually.  So after I go back, everything, to read on one, so managed to get par all the way, yeah.
So overall I'm still happy with my game.  Hopefully tomorrow will go better.
Q.  So the rain suspension stopped the (indiscernible)?
NICHOLAS FUNG:  Yeah.
Q.  What did you do during your rain suspension?
NICHOLAS FUNG:  Sleep.
Q.  After that Front 9 and then you recovered on the Back 9, what sparked the recovery from you?
NICHOLAS FUNG:  My iron shot, because I struggle my iron shot on the first nine.  I stuffed a few shots, and my caddy just asked me to calm down, don't rush.  So I just listened to him.
Everything worked good for the Back 9.
Q.  Any reason for the bad start do you think this morning?  Were you just nervous, excited?  What is that?
NICHOLAS FUNG:  I think it's too overconfident.
Q.  Where were you giving yourself high expectations coming to the round?
NICHOLAS FUNG:  Well, actually I didn't give myself expectation here, but I know I can do better on this golf course because my putting these few days I'm putting good.  That's why I say I got good confidence this week.
Q.  Good thing about the event is there is no cut.  So how would you ready your spirits up and go for the next three days?
NICHOLAS FUNG:  Yeah, it's a good event, so of course, it's good for our Asian boys and for our Malaysian boys.  It's good to come down and watch so many great players playing here.
Of course, I'm still learning, keep always learning.  Keep learning.  That's my main point, while playing.