TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
7,215 yards – Par 72 – Mini-Verde Bermudagrass
Tournament Stimpmeter: 12.5 ft. … Quicker than average green speeds
Green Sizes: 4,500 sq. feet .. Much Smaller than Average Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: 750+ … Strong Field Strength
Fairways Hit (Field Average): ~63% … Average Fairways Hits
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): ~64% … Average GIR Percentage
Driving Distance (Field Average): 278 yards … Less-than-Driver Course
2015: Rickie Fowler -12 over Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia in a playoff
2014: Martin Kaymer -13 over Jim Furyk -12
2013: Tiger Woods -13 over Kevin Streelman, Jeff Maggert, David Lingmerth -11
2012: Matt Kuchar -13 over Martin Laird, Ben Curtist, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler -11
2011: K.J. Choi -13 over David Toms in a playoff
2010: Tim Clark -16 over Robert Allenby -15
2015: Chris Kirk -10
2014: Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth -12
2013: Tiger Woods, David Lingmerth, Sergio Garcia -1
2012: Kevin Na -12
2011: Graeme McDowell -12
2010: Lee Westwood -14
2015: Jerry Kelly, Kevin Na -8
2014: Martin Kaymer -12
2013: Sergio Garcia -11
2012: Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Kevin Na -8
2011: David Toms -10
2010: Lee Westwood -12
Course Horses (Since 2010)
Zach Johnson… 44.5 strokes gained in 24 rounds
Sergio Garcia… 38.5 strokes gained in 24 rounds
Martin Kaymer… 32.5 strokes gained in 24 rounds
Matt Kuchar… 30.1 strokes gained in 22 rounds
Important Interview Quotes
Q. Talk about them being bunched, does that have something to do with the golf course?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think everyone sort of plays from the same positions, no style of game really has an advantage out here. So, yeah, it’s definitely to do with the golf course and the golf course setup that it is the way it is. -2015
Q. Sergio talked about feeling like he left a few shots out there. That seems to be a common theme among some guys. Do you feel that way and also kind of on the bright side, is that also the golf course?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I feel like I left a lot of shots out there. I saw Sergio played pretty well today and the wind is down as well, so the course is a little more gettable maybe, but it’s firming up. I would like to see the greens a little firmer tomorrow again. I think that firm greens definitely separates the field. I would like to see firm greens. I feel like because it’s been quite receptive this week that’s what’s made everyone so bunched together on the leaderboard. -2015
Q. Does this make it official you’ll never play another event that’s not played on Bermudagrass?
KEVIN KISNER: It’s getting close. Yeah, it’s funny, I don’t get along with that poa annua too well. I don’t know what it is, either; I guess it’s just how I grew up. But Bermuda is sweet, and seems like every time around this time of year I start playing better, so it must be the grass. -2015
Q. You like this course, don’t you?
BILL HAAS: I do. It’s a premium on ball-striking, and I think if you do hit it well, anyone can win, which I think is a great quality about this golf course. You don’t just see the bombers winning. It’s good for everyone. I think when you leave here and if you don’t shoot well, there’s usually no second-guessing why it happened. You probably mis-hit it a little bit or you putted poorly, and if you do well here, you’ve earned it, and that’s what I like about it. -2015
Q. As someone who’s had success here, is there a certain part of your game that needs to be on to have a chance on Sunday?
SERGIO GARCIA: Like I said before, it’s the kind of golf course that is asking you to be on with pretty much every aspect of your game. I think ball striking is very, very important here because you can be — you can’t be going into these greens from the rough every time. The greens are too small and if they get a little firm, too difficult to hold, if you’re going from the rough all the time. There is some holes that you have some openings, but a lot of the holes are asking you to be in the fairway and be able to hit it high and stop it quickly. So obviously ball striking is important, but you can’t forget short game. I think personally I feel like if your ball striking is really, really good, because the greens are small, you can kind of get away with the so-so short game, but if your ball striking is a little bit off, then your short game has to be very sharp. -2015
Q. Is that one of the keys here, knowing when to put your foot on the gas and knowing when to knock it in and make par?
BEN MARTIN: Yeah, I think it’s a classic kind of Pete Dye design. I like most of his courses. I think it’s — I like Harbour Town a lot. This is probably the closest course we have to Harbour Town. So I like to think my way around the course, I think he makes you think your way around the course. So it’s a good track. -2015
Q. Ben, first-timers at this tournament generally don’t fare all that well. Obviously there’s a lot of you guys at the top of the leaderboard now. Are you surprised at that at all, and how do you think the pressure will be ramped up tomorrow?
BEN MARTIN: To be honest, I haven’t really looked at like the history of first-timers and winning or playing well. Even though it’s my first time playing the tournament, I’ve played the course eight or ten times before, so I had a feel for it and kind of knew the layout a little bit coming in. -2015
Q. You’re a good Bermudagrass player, you grew up playing on Bermudagrass; do you think that gives you an advantage?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I hope so, but Bermuda’s always very tricky, especially the rough. The rough is always tough playing out of Bermuda rough. But growing up playing in it definitely helps. -2015
Q. You got one round in the 60s here out of 18. Is it the golf course, maybe how you’ve been playing coming in different years, or how do you explain maybe the lack of success here?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don’t know. I like the golf course a lot, but it’s just like I said, it’s tough, it’s always windy, it plays difficult. I think the greens are tricky. I think putting is a big deal here. You’ve got to putt it well. I feel like I’m playing a lot more consistent this year. I’m driving it a little bit straighter. I feel like I’m hitting more greens. So that will definitely help around here because if you hit a lot of greens, you’re going to shoot a good score around here. -2015
Q. When you look at the bunched leaderboard and you realize the volatility that’s been going on the last two or three days, does that kind of change your game plan at all tomorrow, the way you would play the golf course?
CHRIS KIRK: No, not really. I’d probably play this course with a relatively conservative game plan. It’s just kind of the way it always is here. The course changes so much from morning to afternoon, especially on a hot day like today. Before I even teed off, there were guys finishing shooting 6-under and stuff like that and getting up close to the lead, and so it definitely lends itself to that. I would bet that if you took the first half of the field today and the second half of the field today, the scoring average would be a couple strokes different as the course firms up and those greens get a little bit crispy. -2015
Q. You played here one other time, 2013, what did you take from that experience that’s helping you this go round?
BRANDEN GRACE: I had actually a good tournament back then as well in 2013. I just finished off badly the final day. I was laying Top-10 with three to go and finished in the 30s. But that happens. I think I learned something from those mistakes. I enjoy this type of golf course. You have to play, not really safe, but hit it in the fairways and take the opportunities when they come, and stay patient, and I managed to do that so far. -2015
Q. You grew up in Georgia and won in Puerto Rico, so these kind of grasses you’re pretty okay with?
SCOTT BROWN: Yeah, I’m very familiar with the grass. Bermuda is obviously — it’s like second nature to me, reading them. I can see grain really well and I kind of know which way they’re going, and the way — chipping around these areas, I kind of know where it’s growing into you. It’s real easy to read for me. -2015
Q. Do you log a lot of rounds here now that you’re a quasi local?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I don’t play here ever.
Q. Practice here, anything?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I practice here. But that’s sort of dwindling down. I’m sort of practicing at my club, The Plantation, a little bit more. More or less I’m going up to Sea Island to Frederica. -2015
Q. Is there a level — this is a ball-striker’s golf course but is there a level of comfort here that maybe you feel that other guys don’t because you’re familiar with it?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I think that I’m comfortable with the tee shots you got to hit off the shapes and everything, and I’m comfortable with the shots into the greens. So, I think that’s what I can take most from it. The greens are nowhere near what they are like this the rest of the year, so the break, I can have an understanding on how much it’s going to break, but it’s different with these fast greens and firm and everything, but, yeah, there are just shots off the tees and iron shots into the greens and everything, you can feel comfortable with, because I’ve hit them hundreds of times. -2015
Q. Is there something out here that suits your eye? You played well on the other side a couple years ago on WEB.COM.
CHESSON HADLEY: Yeah, you know, I think I just love the whole tournament. Everything about this tournament, from how they run it, to the food, to the course, to where we’re staying and everything is just great about it. It’s very simple, it’s efficient, and it just, I just have good vibes here, obviously, from winning here for the WEB.COM TOUR Championship and, obviously, I’d love to shoot a really good one tomorrow and it would be pretty cool to have, to win both tournaments here. Certainly that’s why I’m here and I want to go play well and win tomorrow. -2015
Q. Being a first-timer, what advice have you sought out or gotten about playing the course here?
PATRICK REED: I got a lot of advice when I was at home with Lee Trevino. I spent a day with him, and just a lot of those things, play to your strengths, play to the angles. This is an angle golf course. There’s a lot of double doglegs. You have to know where to position the golf ball, and that’s just one of those things I’ve gotten focused on, and hopefully at the end of the week, it works out.
Q. How did you spend the last two weeks after Hilton Head? And then secondly, a word that’s been used to describe this place is some players will call it uncomfortable, and I’m just curious, you’re a guy that’s played it before, obviously different conditions, but how do you sort of feel around this place in terms of the course?
JORDAN SPIETH: About this golf course, I wouldn’t say that it’s terribly uncomfortable. I think that the approach shots can be uncomfortable. The tee shots, there’s some leeway on one side or the other to hit the ball. So I feel off the tee very comfortable here. I feel like I’m driving the ball well right now leading into the event. With the approach shots, definitely you want to say away from the swales. It’s very tight, it’s pure, it’s very tight, into-the-grain Bermuda that you don’t really know what shot to hit from down there, whether you’re going to try and nip it and spin it or you’re going to bump it or even putt it. So certainly when you’re hitting your second shots I think you’ll see a lot of bailouts on not wanting to be in certain places because they’re so difficult to get up?and?down from if you’re too aggressive.
So that’s kind of my thing is sometimes I’m too dangerous in the shots that I play, but if I draw back and approach it like it is a major, like I approached Augusta, then I should be able to play the safe shots and stay away from that trouble.
Q. Did you hit driver all day today?
GARY WOODLAND: I only hit four. Callaway strengthened my 3-wood for me. I’m hitting a pretty good 3-wood, so I don’t have to hit driver.
Q. At a tournament like this, does high scoring reflect in any way negatively on the tournament or the course, or low scoring? If the guys shoot too many good numbers, is that a good thing or a bad thing for the prestige of the tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA: Well, it depends on who you ask. I’ve always liked this tournament because of what it is, because it’s usually not a long course but it plays hard. I won with 5-under. There’s guys that have won it with even or 1-under. Then there’s a couple times where guys have shot 14, 15, 24-under or something like that like Norman did.
But for the most part, usually if the weather is right and it plays right, it’s the kind of tournament that gets won between 7-and-12-under.
Q. (No Microphone.)
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, definitely. I feel like I figured this golf course out and I can play it much better than I have been able to in the past. It doesn’t frustrate me quite as much as it used to. You know you’re coming here and you’re expecting to hit fairway woods off tees and irons and trying to position your ball.
But, yeah, the scoring’s really good out there. There’s a lot of low scores; and 70 I feel is going to be pretty average by the end of the day. So I want to go out tomorrow afternoon and shoot something a bit lower to get myself into contention going into the weekend.
Q. You said you’ve done away with the frustration, do you feel comfortable on this golf course?
RORY MCILROY: I do, yeah. I do. There’s some tee shots that I still don’t feel that comfortable on, so I sort of dial it back a little bit. You saw Harris and Justin hit drivers on some holes where I didn’t. And that’s just because I feel if I hit a really good drive, it could go through the fairway; or if it gets away from me just a little bit, this golf course can sort of exaggerate how bad your misses are. So I hit it to the corners of the doglegs and sort of played it from there.
Q. (No Microphone.)
RORY MCILROY: Visually it’s awkward. You got tee boxes lining you up in wrong directions and you’re having to hit across a lot of fairways. The depth perception is hard with the way the trees are. It’s just, visually, it’s a typical Pete Dye golf course, it’s just visually very awkward.
Q. How many drivers did you hit in a day out here?
BUBBA WATSON: Normally hit it on 1, but I didn’t today. 2, I hit it on 2, 5, 7, 11. Depending on where the pin is I hit it on 12. Today I hit it on 12. 14 I hit it. 16 I hit it and 18 I hit it. So quite a few. Probably about 10? Nine, 10, depending upon wind direction.
Q. Can you describe your comfort level on this golf course. It seems to be a golf course that fits your eye.
SERGIO GARCIA: Yes, they say that there’s courses for horses. I think that, unfortunately, Augusta is one that doesn’t get into my eyes for some reason, I seem to struggle to feel comfortable there. I see too many shots at Augusta.
Here, I see less shots. I see, in my head, I have everything a bit more clear of what I want to do. Then it’s a matter of being able to do it. I’ve been fortunate to play well here, I’ve been fortunate to do well for awhile now here, so I’m always, obviously, always excited to come back and give it a shot.
Q. You’ll hit driver maybe a little more often because it’s softer but the fairways are more receptive, so does it even out as far as trying to hit the fairways? Will you hit driver more often?
MATT KUCHAR: It sounded like you said the same thing, that you’ll hit driver more and the fairways are more receptive, so yes, I’ll hit driver more.
My game plan is not going to change. I probably hit driver more than most guys around here. I probably feel like the driving is a strength of mine, I feel like particularly accuracy. I think a lot of guys, I see a lot of guys hit very few drivers here. I’m probably one of the guys you would say I hit driver off most tees, try to be aggressive on a handful of holes. 4 comes to mind, 4 fits my shot shape really well. Just a little bit of left-to-right curve to it. And most I’ll be one of the few guys in the field to hit driver on 4. But I feel like that’s a hole I hit a great drive, now I’m looking to take advantage, whereas 4 is kind of an iron for most guys or 3-wood and a short iron, but I’m trying to go kind of driver, wedge, where I’m really looking to score on that hole. So I hit driver more than most, and certainly not going to change that game plan with the conditions.
Junior Golf Experience at TPC Sawgrass
-Played at the Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass