Team UK

PGA Tour: 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational Winner Tyrell Hatton Speaks to the Media

Englishman Tyrell Hatton addresses the media following his first PGA Tour victory at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational after finishing with a one stroke lead over Marc Leishman

PGA Tour: Tyrell Hatton speaks on first PGA Tour victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome our 2020 winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Tyrell Hatton.

Tyrell, challenging week overall. Congratulations on your first PGA TOUR victory. If we can get some comments, please.

TYRELL HATTON: Thank you. Well, firstly, it’s an incredible feeling to win on the PGA TOUR and to do it at such an iconic venue that, I’ve grown up watching this event as a kid on TV and to be sitting here next to the trophy now is an amazing feeling and very thankful I managed to hold on at the end.

JOHN BUSH: Before we open up to questions, you move up to number 14 in the FedExCup standings. Talk a little bit about how this sets you up for the rest of the season now.

TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, that’s a big jump for me. Coming into this week I didn’t have any exemptions, so when the season starts you are kind of just playing to keep your status for the following year. Obviously, I’m trying to juggle both tours, which is never easy and I’m normally playing around 16, 17 events, so that makes things certainly a little bit tougher to try and keep your status over here where most of the guys will probably be doing mid-20s. So to wrap that up and — how long is it?

JOHN BUSH: A three-year exemption.

TYRELL HATTON: A three year exemption? Wow. That’s amazing. So obviously I kind of know where I’m at now for awhile, which is great and hopefully I can push on and keep climbing the FedExCup.

John Bush: All right. Let’s go right into questions.

Q. For a guy who looks like he’s on edge a lot of the times, on a golf course that keeps you on edge for all the four hours you’re out there, how did you do it?
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, the setup was extremely tough. And I said yesterday the hardest thing for me will be to manage myself. And over the course of this week I feel like I did a decent job of that.

It was so tough and obviously everyone’s dropping shots quite easily. And after the double on 11, which was pretty tough to take, I’m happy with, I kind of — I feel like I could easily have blown up after that, and managed to kind of keep my head a little bit, although I did get a bit frustrated. That’s always going to happen with me. And as long as it’s not kind of keeping on over to the next shot, then I’ll be okay. And I’m just happy that I’ve managed myself well enough this week to be sitting here.

Q. A lot of us know Mick as a kind of colorful guy and a good time guy. But obviously he’s a very positive influence on you. Can you speak about how he’s done that and especially on a day like today when it’s really tough out there.
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, me and Mick have been working together since the British Masters in May of last year, and I’ve loved working with him. He’s a national treasure, I think (Laughing). He’s so funny. He’s, he keeps — he’s good at talking to me on the course and we have had some really good results and he’s played a huge part in my success recently — or our success, I should say.

Q. Some players say that the tougher the challenge, the better they like it. Are you one of those players or have you come to become one of those today?
TYRELL HATTON: I think players kind of would look back at this week and it’s nice to play something different. Most weeks it’s not target golf, but the scores are super low. And this ended up sort of feeling like a Major with the setup and how firm the greens were and it was just, it was hard to hit it close. I don’t think there was, there was only a handful, not even a handful of guys that were under par for the weekend.

Q. Can I get you to comment just on a few shots in particular today, please? The putt on 11 for double was pretty big. The one out of the rough on 13, that was, looked very difficult. And then the 17th hole.
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, so the, obviously, the putt for double on 11 isn’t, is never ideal to have a 6-footer with more than a cup right-to-left break. It was, I hit a terrible first putt. I kind of, I didn’t trust my line and I was worried about it coming out a bit soft and I end up rip pulling it and then you’re left with a really smelly putt. Thankfully that managed to go in.

The 8-iron on 13? Yeah, obviously, terrible tee shot to end up there. I kind of struggled with flighting the ball as low as I normally would like to and obviously I had just come out of it and with a spinny fade. But we didn’t, we actually had a decent lie in the rough over there. Although, I imagine I was the only person in the field to be over there this week. It came out perfectly. And the wind didn’t gust too much, although I think we only had 140 yards, we knew it was all carry.

And then the 5-iron into 17. It’s amazing the thoughts that you can have upon impact, because at impact I genuinely thought I had hit a spinny cut into the water. So to look up and see it having a little baby draw into the pin is, obviously, I was quite relieved at that.

Q. Well done, again. This time last week we were sitting here and there was a bit of controversy in relation to comments made of Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood. Now, you winning here on the PGA TOUR for the first time, can this be a reflection and a statement that European Tour players are good players and they can win on the PGA TOUR, without getting to controversial?
TYRELL HATTON: No, I don’t think it’s a statement. I think whatever TOUR you play on it’s extremely hard to win golf tournaments and we’re all trying to do that each week. And more often than not, I guess things maybe don’t go your way and you end up not winning. So like I say, it’s tough to win and I’m sure, obviously, everyone’s time comes and thankfully my time was this week.

Q. When you came off 11 you made a pretty animated gesture back at the hole as you were heading to 12. I just wonder what was going on in your mind at that moment and how long did it take to you kind of flush that as you got back to 12.
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, well, I was just annoyed because my third shot in was actually one of the best swings I made all day. We had, the run out on the TV tower, which was my line, we had 193 and I’ve hit a 5-iron at my target and the wind just completely dropped. So that kind of went against us on that hole and I was just having a little moan, like it’s the grass’s fault and the wind’s fault. It’s never my fault. But this is, like going back to a question about Mick, he was really good. Obviously, he just told me to kind of get focused again, it’s done, move on, and have a few practice swings and just kind of get some good feelings again. And I stood on the 12th tee and that was probably one of the best tee shots, certainly, that I hit today.

Q. You spoke of Mick’s influence, but why do you think you’re better equipped now to handle those potentially blow-up situations than you were maybe three or four years ago?
TYRELL HATTON: I guess it just comes with experience. This is my — well, third year on the PGA TOUR, my seventh season on the European Tour. You get yourself in, if you play well enough, often you get, you give yourself opportunities, and I guess you learn things, and I guess I was a little bit more comfortable out there today. And also, this is only my second event back from wrist surgery. So it might sound daft, but my expectations maybe aren’t as high as they would be in a middle of the season if I was, been playing quite a bit. But this is still kind of part of the comeback for me and maybe that helped.

Q. I remember a couple years ago at Honda you talked about living in this town probably at about age 20 or so, you had a few roommates, trying to play the Hooter’s Tour, scratch out a living. At the time did you have a lot of belief in yourself or did this seem a far, far ways away?
TYRELL HATTON: I think you have to believe in yourself, otherwise you’ve got no chance. So obviously the goal was to, at that time, to be playing the European Tour and hopefully eventually PGA TOUR as well. And I think this was 2012, I think that we were out here playing Hooter’s Winter Series. I’ve got good memories from that time and we’ve, me and Emily, my fiance’, we have rented a place here in Orlando now, so it kind of feels like home away from home, which is nice to have. And that’s one of the reasons we come back.

Q. When your wrist injury was taking longer than you hoped, your recovery, did the thoughts of events like this one help sustain you? And also, living in this area, has your appreciation of who Arnold Palmer and what he meant, has it grown?
TYRELL HATTON: Well, at the time, obviously, the surgery took longer to recover from, but as it became more apparent that the, that I was kind of getting back into golf, I knew that I was going to be starting my season in Mexico and I was going to have two weeks in Orlando before then. And we were actually really excited to come out, come back out here, and obviously, we feel very comfortable here and that’s why we have kind of made it our second home. And to, I guess to have your own, to sleep in your own bed on a tournament week is something that we don’t get to experience too often. And home comforts, I think maybe helped keep me a little bit more relaxed as well.

Q. No Englishman has won next week. Just with your form and Tommy, do you think it’s as good a chance as any to break that drought?
TYRELL HATTON: Time will tell. It’s hard to kind of think about next week at the moment with the sort of potential celebrations we have got later today. I don’t think I’ll be in any fit state but, at least until Wednesday. But yeah, I think we’ll savor this one quit a bit. But next week’s going to be, it will be interesting and hopefully an Englishman can finally win that trophy.

Q. Curious, how frustrating was it today to sort of be grinding the way you did? And given, if there was a level of frustration, how rewarding is it to battle through that?
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, it was really tough out there and obviously I was getting frustrated at times, but nowhere near the blowups that I am capable of. And it’s just one of those days where you just got to stick in there, and patience is one of the hardest things with me. To think that I’ve shot, what was it? 3-over for the weekend and ended up winning the tournament. If you told me that on Friday night I wouldn’t have believed you. But it just shows how tough it was. And obviously, like I said earlier, I’m very thankful to sit next to this trophy.

Q. But does that in some way make it more rewarding, I guess, when you have to battle through that, not only the challenge of the golf shots, but battling yourself?
TYRELL HATTON: Yeah, I think this is, it was, it’s such a tough week and to come out on top is a great feeling and you certainly feel like you’ve played a lot more than 72 holes by the end of it.

Q. I got two for you. The first being, do you have, what do you think you’ll do with the red cardigan?
TYRELL HATTON: Well, I don’t want to ruin it and with the celebrations that will occur tonight I think it’s best to put on a coat hanger. But it’s very special to have this and it will take quite a place in the wardrobe.

Q. The other thing is, in the broadcast David Feherty made this comment, he said that you’re nice to everyone but yourself. Do you agree with that?
TYRELL HATTON: That’s probably a good thing to say, actually. Yeah, like I’m a shy person, but I feel like I’ll be, I’m nice but obviously to myself I give myself a hard time and that’s one thing that I should probably get better at.

Q. I don’t think you came over here until, U.S. membership until about 2017 or so. But even from your days in the Hooters Winter Series, have you ever had any occasion to either come over here or meet Arnold?
TYRELL HATTON: No, I never sort of had the opportunity to. Yeah, sorry. Yeah.

Q. A quick one. You were saying at the start of the week that this event is the first of seven over eight weeks. Do you think that may change now, the sort of schedule over this sort of part of the season that includes the Masters as well?
TYRELL HATTON: Potentially. That’s something that I’ll sit down and talk to my management company about and we’ll kind of go from there. Obviously, like I said, the immediate thought is to kind of get celebrating, so I’m sure the relevant conversations will be had, but obviously I want to be playing golf, give myself a good run into the Masters and so we’ll see what happens.

JOHN BUSH: All right, congratulations once again to our 2020 champion, Tyrell Hatton.


Orlando, Florida

March 8, 2020

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Team USA

Rickie Fowler To Play Special Edition Taylormade PIX Ball at Arnold Palmer Invitational

It has become a yearly routine for PGA Tour professional Rickie Fowler to pay homage to one of the greatest to ever play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational via a collection of special edition Arnold Palmer themed gear including shoes, hats, and bags. For the 2020 edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Fowler will be seen playing a special edition Arnold Palmer “umbrella” ball designed by Taylormade. Unfortunately, for the majority of us that would love to purchase this ball, it will be unavailable for retail purchase. Below are pictures of Fowler’s ball that will be in play this week.

Rickie Fowler will begin his 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday, March 5 at teeing off at 12:44 Eastern Time alongside Australian Marc Leishman and last week’s winner Korean Sungjae Im.

Apparel Equipment Golfshoes Products

Rickie Fowler To Honor “The King” With Arnold Palmer Themed Puma Gear

Five time PGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler will be continuing his annual tradition of honoring the late Arnold Palmer at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational by sporting special edition Puma x Arnold Palmer apparel and equipment. Find out where to get your hands on the latest gear below.

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Fowler to pay tribute to Arnold Palmer again in 2020 via customized Puma/Cobra apparel and equipment

Rickie Fowler will continue to pay homage to Arnold Palmer this year by wearing a select run of special edition Puma Golf apparel including hats, shoes and a staff bag. Many of the products will be available hand-signed by Fowler himself with all proceeds going directly to Palmer’s foundation. At the 2019 edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Fowler raised north of $40,000 via the autographed apparel. Below is a more detailed look of the gear Fowler can be seen wearing this week and where to purchase for yourself.



This classic Puma “P” hat has been engineered to be a true head turner, featuring the Arnold Palmer signature umbrella on the Puma “P” and an Arnold Palmer themed camouflage pattern on the backside. The hat is available in a array of colors and is available for $35 direct from Puma’s website here.


This Puma x Arnold Palmer mashup features a nylon rope across the bill of the hat, similar to the rope found on the perimeter of courses. The numbers and letters scattered on the hat might not be recognizable to anyone, but die hard Arnie fans will notice that they are the tail number of his signature Cessna Aircraft. The hat is available in three colors and can be purchased for $35 here.


Pay tribute to the legendary Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Florida host of the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational. The cap is additionally available in a “Latrobe City” format to pay homage to Palmer’s hometown. The hats can be purchased for $35 direct on Puma’s website here.



This Arnold Palmer special edition collaboration between Cobra Golf and Vessel stand bag embodies everything the king represents. The bag features Palmer’s signature colors in a camouflage pattern and a ultra comfortable carrying strap. The bag is available for purchase for $599 direct from Puma’s website here.



These limited edition Puma golf shoes pay tribute to Arnold Palmer in a unique way via his extreme passion for aviation. The classic silver, white and blue colors are a humble nod to his famous Cessna aircraft he would fly across the country. The N1AP represents the tail number from his signature Cessna. These one of a kind shoes can be purchased for $249 direct from Puma’s website here.


Pay your tribute to the king with these Arnold Palmer inspired Puma Ignite golf shoes, featuring the unique camouflage pattern in red, white, yellow and green meant to honor the late Palmer. The shoes can be purchased on Puma’s website for $150 here.


Golf in France: The Top 5 Player Reviewed Courses

Planning on taking a golf vacation to France or maybe have a free day during a business trip and want to sneak in a round of golf? If so, then this guide is for you.

France is home to more 600 golf clubs so there is undoubtedly the perfect course suited for each individual. Golf in France has no shortage of claim to fame as well given it’s hosting of the 2018 Ryder Cup as well as the annual French Open European Tour event. Mild summers combined with a consistent cool ocean breeze make France a highly sought after golfing destination for all players.

The guide below is compiled of the 5 highest rated golf clubs in France based on Golf Post user reviews of a variety of factors including: course condition, value, food, drink, friendliness and more. Continue below to find the perfect destination during your stay in France!

The Courses

#1. Golf de Bitche

Golf de Bitche Overview

Golf de Bitche is a golf club located in Bitche, France and situated closely to the Germany-France border. The golf club offers 27 holes to play and is situated in a nature park, ensuring spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. The club is considered to be of average difficulty mainly due to its hilly terrain and possible weather factors. Given that there are 27 holes available for play, players can play 3 different combinations of 18 holes which vary is distance and difficulty depending on the combination. Men will find their tees playing at 6169m for the longest combination and 5527m at the shortest combination. Likewise, women will find their shortest combination playing at 4473m and 4959m at the longest


As of 2020 the greens fees for 18 holes at Golf de Bitche is 70,00€ during the week and 80,00€ during the weekend. Students and players under the age of 18 will find 18 holes to cost just 35,00€ during the week and 43,00€ during the weekend. Additional discounts are available for those making bulk tee times for groups of 10 or more players.

What the Community is Saying

“Fantastic surroundings and absolutely well maintained.”

“A very neat and demanding place”

“The overall package of the system is right, great weekend breaks. The place itself is very beautiful.”

“Super place maintenance and beautiful landscapes”

Addtional Ratings and Reviews

Club Contact Information

Phone: +33 3 87 96 15 30

Email: [email protected]

Tee Times and Reservations

#2. Golf Club Opio Valbonne

Golf Club Opio Valbonne Overview

The Golf Club Opio Valbonne is a spectacular club situated along the southern coast of France and nestled closely to the France-Italy border. The club’s proximity to the ocean provides a mild summer experience with a consistent ocean breeze. The club offers 18 holes of play with 9 being of moderate difficult and 9 of a higher difficulty. The club is often characterized as being not flat but rather very hilly and and requires above average driving accuracy given the frequency of water hazards. Men will find their tees to play at 5738m while women will find their tees at 4974m. A large driving range, short game practice area, and a putting green are available for use prior to play.


The current cost of 18 holes at Golf Club Opio Valbonne ranges between €50- €80 during both the week and weekend depending on which time of the day it is. Powered golf carts are available for rent at an additional cost as are club rentals and professional lessons.

What the Community is Saying

“At the foot of the volcanic mountain, in the forest. Simply wonderful to play there”

“Upscale golf course / club.”

“Very Welcoming”

Additional Ratings and Reviews

Club Contact Information

Phone: +33 (0)4 93 12 00 08

Email: [email protected]

Tee Times and Reservations

#3. Golf de Saint Endréol

Golf de Saint Endréol Overview

Golf de Saint Endréol describes their signature course, one of the most renowned in the entire country as “Set under the impressive Rocher de Roquebrune rock, which glows a flamboyant red at sunset, the course winds around the river and a series of water obstacles, among dry garrigue, veteran oaks and umbrella pines” (viaé The course is often described as “hilly but not overwhelmingly difficult” and is suitable for the average golfer. A key characteristic of this majestic course is its offering of a view of the Endre river from nearly every location. Men will find the course playing 6169m from their tees while women will find their tees playing 4613m.


The current greens fees as of 2020 are 68.00€ for 18 holes in the offseason and 78.00€ during the peak season for 18 holes. Playing 9 holes will cost 42.00€ in the offseason and 49.00€ during the peak season. Powered golf carts and push trolleys are available for rent at an additional cost as well as practice balls for the driving range. Club rentals are additionally available as well.

What the Community is Saying

“Simply a place of superlatives. Pure untouched nature. You should definitely have played here”.

“5/5 Landscape”

Additional Ratings and Reviews

Club Contact Information

Phone: +33 (0)4 94 51 89 80

Email: [email protected]

Tee Times and Reservations

#4. Alsace Golf Links

Alsace Golf Links Overview

Located in Eastern France and situated close to the German border, Alsace Golf Links provides a links style golf experience for a fair price. The course provides spectacular views of the surrounding winery’s and vosges from nearly every location. Alsace Golf Links is flatter with less difficult terrain to navigate when compared to other typical French courses. A main feature of the course that poses the biggest challenge are it’s abundance of water hazards. Men will find their tees playing at 6433m while women will find their tees at 5077m.


As of 2020 the cost of 18 holes during the week is 65€ and 9 holes during the week is 35€. 18 holes during the weekend will cost 75€ while 9 holes will cost 40€. Golf carts are available to rent for 35€ per person and manual push trolleys for 4€. A full driving range and practice facility is also available at an additional cost.

What the Community is Saying

“Left similar course far away from more. Great view of the Vosges. Because of the ground, it is especially good to play in winter and wet.”

“Great atmosphere and wonderful greens in the links design”

“Great greens on a scenic course”

Additional Ratings and Reviews

Course Contact Information

Phone: +33 389 785 212

Email:  [email protected]

Tee Times and Reservations

#4. Royal Mougins Golf Club

Royal Mougins Golf Club Overview

Built in 1993 by world-renowned architect Robert von Hagge and located on the southern coast of France, this championship golf course is one of the best the country has to offer. The course is characterized by many as being “technical” in difficulty but still offers a fun and relaxing experience for golfers of all levels of experience given its superb panoramic views from all over the course. The course has an abundance of water hazards coupled with a hilly terrain which could make this course difficult for some. Men will find their tees at Royal Mougins playing 5967m and women will find their tees situated at 5400m, all tees play to a par 71.


As of the 2020 the price for non-members of Royal Mougins to play 18 holes is 200€ during the peak season and 145€ during the offseason. Club rentals are available from the pro shop and vary in price between 10€-50€. Golf carts are available for rent as well and are included in the price of the greens fees for non-members.

What the Community is Saying

“Just enjoy”

“very welcoming culture”

“superb landscape”

Additional Ratings and Reviews

Course Contact Information

Phone: +33 0492 92 4979

Email: [email protected]

Tee Times and Reservations

#5. Golf de Strasbourg-Illkirch

Golf de Strasbourg-Illkirch Overview

Golf de Strasbourg Illkirch is a parkland style golf course located in the north-west of France and close to the France-Germany border. The club was founded in 1934 which gives it the honor of being the oldest club in Alsace. Additionally the course is located only about 10km from both the Strasbourg cathedral and the airport. Although the course is relatively flat in terrain, there is an abundance of water hazards and trees along the course as well as bunker surrounded greens to make sure everyone plays their best golf. Men will find the course to play 5871m while women will find that the course plays at 4687m.


As of the 2020 the greens frees for Golf de Strasbourg Illkirch the price for 18 holes during the weekdays is €40 while on the weekend this price is increased to €50. Golf clubs, golf carts, and trolleys are all available to rent at an additional cost from the pro-shop.

What the Community is Saying

“Great parkland course that can be reached from Germany in a few minutes. Very good condition and good value for money”

“old classic golf course”

Additional Ratings and Reviews

Club Contact Information

Phone: 03 88 66 17 22

Email: [email protected]

Tee Times and Reservations: Please contact the pro shop for tee times :

Tel : 03 88 61 71 78
Email :  [email protected]

Additional Club and Region Reviews

Team Spain

PGA Tour: Jon Rahm Talks About Potentially Being Number One in The OWGR Prior to The Waste Management Phoenix Open

PGA Professional Jon Rahm speaks to the media ahead of the start of the Waste Management Phoenix Open about potentially becoming the worlds number one ranked golfer with a victory.

PGA Tour: Jon Rahm talks to the media ahead of the Waste Management Phoenix Open

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Jon Rahm to the interview room here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This is a bit of a home game for you. You went to ASU, still live here. What’s it like to be playing at home this week and be back here playing in Phoenix.

JON RAHM: Always fun. I mean, I would say for a lot of people, I mean, I would say for me it’s probably if not the most, one of the most, one of the best atmospheres in golf. It’s unique. There’s nothing quite like it. You have more people in the pro-am day here than a lot of tournaments get all week. So that shows a lot of the fans that come to this event and how fun it is. You got the 16th hole and even though it feels like that’s just stretching, the last three holes basically feel like they’re completely enclosed. It’s just a fun event, great golf course, always in great shape, so I’m always looking forward to it, especially sleeping in my own bed. That’s always a real bonus on a week like this.

THE MODERATOR: In second last week and then won the start before that. How are you feeling about your game coming into this week?

JON RAHM: I’m feeling good. Last week was a really good week for being as uncomfortable as I was off the tee, being able to manage myself around and kind of salvage what started as a really bad day. So battled hard. I’m going to learn a lot from that experience and as simple as that. Today, it’s a new week, new tournament and just looking forward.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions, please.

Q. You’ve got a chance to become world No. 1 for the first time with a win this week. I wondered how much is that a motivation or how big a goal is that for you?
JON RAHM: Yeah, actually, I found that out 10 minutes ago. I had no idea. A little surprised. I mean, I have been playing really, really good golf and especially since that U.S. Open, just missed one cut, and for the better part of the tournaments I play, I pretty much I’ve had a chance to win or finish top-10. It’s been a really good stretch of golf. But, yeah, like always, as I said many times, being No. 1 in the world, it’s a consequence of good golf. So I got to take care of business this week and it’s not going to change my mindset. Obviously, it’s a goal in every player’s, I believe, mind to be No. 1 in the world, and it is a goal of mine at some point, but I still got things to do to, take care of every day and make the right putts and hit the right shots for that to really happen. So I’m just going to focus on what I have to do starting tomorrow.

Q. What would it mean to accomplish that goal here in your hometown?
JON RAHM: To be honest, I just, you know, it’s such a fun event that I really want to win, so I’m trying to focus more on that. But if I were to do both, you know, I mean, it would be really special. You don’t really get to choose where you do it but, yeah, it would be quite a unique experience to be able to share it here and knowing that I have a week off to properly celebrate it after on Sunday. But like I said, it’s a consequence of good play. It would be a consequence of me winning this week, so that’s what I got to take care of. I got to stay focused and like I said, keep hitting the ball good and make the putts and hopefully hold the trophy and be back here on Sunday and you can ask me how it feels again.

Q. Maybe I’m wrong, but does it sound like, has it ever been a goal of yours or is it — being No. 1?
JON RAHM: Of course. Of course. Yeah. It is. I mean, I wouldn’t be doing this if my goal wasn’t to be the best. It’s as simple as that. I tee it up to win every time, I practice to be the best I can be, and hopefully the best I can be takes me to No. 1 at some point.

Q. Can you talk about your memories of this event, like coming here as an amateur, and then from there to now?
JON RAHM: Well, I’ve played good pretty much every year, and the first year, obviously, being extremely different. You come here as an amateur and I tee off on 10 and from 10 to 15 all I can think of was 16. That’s probably why I was 4-over par. I could not focus whatsoever on what I was doing. I was just completely scared of 16 and getting booed. And yeah, I hit probably one of the worse pitching wedges I’ve hit in my life, made a good up-and-down, and that’s what got things going, and after that, that’s about as much fun as I’ve had on a golf course really ever, right? I mean, go from college events, some amateur events that gets some people on the golf course. I did play Mayakoba before, but it just doesn’t have room for big crowds.

And then to play here Saturday, being out there with Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley and just having a big group, it was unique. And to actually have the support I had from being an ASU alumni and then every year after that it feels like the crowd has gotten to know me a little bit more and more and more. And even this year, the support I’m feeling this year, it’s quite unique. But every time I come back it’s like, I feel like it’s back to 2015 again. I feel the same way. It’s just such a joyful week for me, so much fun, and it’s great to have the home crowd support.

Q. You posted an emotional tribute to Kobe on Instagram the other day. I want to get your thoughts as the first tournament back since his passing and how it’s going to affect you going forward.
JON RAHM: Well, I tried to express my mind as much as possible in that video. I’ve told many times — not many people know this, but I’ve told some of my closest friends, I mean, I’ve been asked before if there was one person in this world that I would love to talk to, because I idolized him so much, I’ve read everything about him, seen everything about him, read his books, it would have been Kobe Bryant. And I actually have a friend who was friends with him who was, it was going to be a possibility, we were talking about possibly meeting the week of L.A. or next week. And just how much he’s impacted my life. He’s, him and Rafa Nadal are two of the people that I really lean on to try to improve my behavior and the way I’ve, I come through sometimes on the golf course and I’ve seen a lot of their stuff and how they think and how they portray themselves and it’s just so sad. I mean, and not only him, there was nine people on that helicopter. There was three teenagers that didn’t get to live full lives. There was, I think that one of the teenagers’ parents, who also have two other kids, those kids missed, are never going to see their sister and parents again. And I think there was another, an assistant coach, a mom of three, and obviously, the other people in the helicopter, right, it’s an incredible tragedy. I know a lot of people are just focusing on Kobe, and I did mention that in the video, but you can’t forget there’s many other families affected. And to me it’s just, I think a lot of us take for granted how much of a blessing it is to walk out the other side of your front door and just come back the same night. You never know what’s going to happen, you never know what could happen. And that’s why we got to live our life to the fullest. We all have an expiration date. Unfortunately, we don’t know when it is and that’s why you got to live every day like it is your last and just try to enjoy it as much as possible.

Q. You played with Michael Phelps today. Can you talk about what you think about him as an athlete and how was playing golf with him today?
JON RAHM: I would say he’s way too flexible to play golf. That’s what I can say. He is, he’s super nice. We’re members at the same golf course and we had a really fun group going on, so it was a really fun day. But when it comes to athlete, I mean, he’s the most decorated Olympian of all time. It’s crazy. And he has to be up there in the conversation with many greats of the greatest athlete of all time. What he’s done for, I mean, competing in as many Olympic teams as he’s been and to do all he’s done, I mean, I don’t know how many medals does he have? 25? 26? I know in the 20s in gold as well. It’s ridiculous. I know they have maybe more events or athletes competing, but to be at that level at every single one of those events and to be able to win every single one of the events one year, it’s absolutely mind blowing. I don’t think a lot of times people appreciate some of what these Olympians accomplish because we only hear about it every four years. But I mean, he’s, if he’s not the greatest Olympian of all time, I don’t know who is. I got to say. It’s, and he’s got to be really, really the discussion of greatest athlete of all time could not be had without him in mind. It’s unbelievable what he’s done. And it was nice to see him have fun and enjoy life. And his wife was there with the kid and it was just a fun day and it’s nice to see somebody like him just have a normal day and enjoy, if you can call a pro-am at the Phoenix Open a normal day.

Q. So with your chances of being an Olympian this year, how much of an emphasis is that?
JON RAHM: Yeah, it’s great, because I never grew up with that being a goal of mine because golf wasn’t in the Olympics. But four years ago we got enough to be introduced. And as an athlete, I know I’ve said it before, I don’t think it’s got the, maybe the validity or the level, that other sports have to have a gold medal in golf just because it’s so new, but it will get to that point. And to be an athlete to have a gold medal, I don’t think there’s anything better than that. There’s not many things that you can say that would be a better feeling than to say you have a good medal from the Olympics. You’re and Olympian and you’re a gold medalist. It’s a very select group of people that can say that in human history. So it’s, now, it’s definitely a goal and I hope it can be there in Tokyo and fight for it.

Q. You mentioned earlier your recent results and the fact that it hasn’t been a few weeks, but this is really seven or eight months in the making, going back to Pebble Beach and there was so much discussion at the end of last season focused on Brooks and Rory and the Player of the Year debate. Do you feel at all like your results and your performance recently has gotten a little loss in that shuffle?
JON RAHM: The only reason why I mention that is because I just saw it on the TV, so that’s why it’s in my mind. I would say I’ve been playing great golf for the last three years. You got Brooks winning Majors PLAYERS, WGC’s, Tournament Of Champions — sorry, TOUR Championship — you know, it’s, it’s of course they’re going to be in that conversation. I’ve just been incredibly consistent for three years and I’ve been able to win some events on the European Tour that maybe in the U.S. can be overlooked or forgotten about as well, so that’s why I’m showing my face over there right now. But it is not my job to put myself in the discussions. Like I said, my goal is to go out there and beat them all and that’s what I’m trying to do.

Q. I was told by D.J. Gregory that he was walking with you this week. I don’t know, I’m sure you know his story and all that. Just how much can that inspire you in a given round or just in general does his inspiration, how much his story inspires you?
JON RAHM: You know, it reminds me a lot of what Kobe would talk about. We all are trying to be the best version — we should be trying to be the best version of ourselves and trying to inspire others. And D.J.’s definitely doing that. I mean, a lot of people don’t even walk 18 holes and he has a hard time walking and he walks all 18 of them on every single golf course, every single week of a year, it’s unbelievable, I see him everywhere. And that’s actually, this year I asked to see if we could have him, I could help him out more than one tournament, just because I really believe in what he does. It’s quite unique and how many people he’s helping out. And, I mean, I hope I make a lot of birdies so we can donate as much as possible, because it’s a worthy cause, it’s something else to play for, which is always a nice thing. It’s, it’s, I can’t think — I’m thinking in Spanish right now — when it’s, when it’s something, like it’s a fundraising thing or you’re donating for a good cause, it’s, I mean, it’s always a special feeling. I’m lucky, I’m really lucky to be 25 years old and to do what I love for a living and luckily earn more than I need to live my life. So if I can share that with the people that can actually make a difference in this world and hopefully at some point start making my own difference in this world, I’m going to do it. So it’s nice to have somebody like DJ focusing on golf and doing what he does and hopefully, like I said, hopefully I can make a whole lot of birdies out there.

Q. One last one, on playing 16 — and Gary asked this to Justin earlier. The difference between if you play it in the spring or fall to this week and just how seismic a shift that is from when there are no grand stands to when there is and all the factors you then have to evaluate as well.
JON RAHM: Well, the grand stands and the atmosphere turn what is relatively a simple hole — I would never hit probably, unless it’s windy day, for me it would be no more than an 8-iron to the back, maybe a pitching wedge to the front if I’m feeling, particularly swinging good that day. It will be a par-3 where on any other course or even in a PGA TOUR event without the grand stands would just be average people looking or watching, you’re probably looking to at least go even par on that hole. Just because of the atmosphere and how you get full of adrenaline and how hard it is to control that sometimes, I don’t know about other people, I will take 3s all day for the rest of my career and I’ll be perfectly happy with that, honestly, play that hole even par forever, I’ll take it. Because it make it that much harder. It’s not just the fact that you’re in a semi-stadium, it’s how pumped up you are and how far you can hit the ball. I can’t believe how many times I’ve gone with, I’m going to hit an easy nine, and completely just flush it way over the pin just because you can’t control what’s going on. It’s one of the few shots in golf where I can’t hear when I make contact with the ball, just because of the noise around it and how unique it is. But it’s fun, I mean it’s one of the main reasons why probably people come here to play, just to experience that hole, and I wish there was more of it.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in, best of luck this week.

JON RAHM: Thank you.

January 29, 2020

Scottsdale, Arizona

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Team USA

PGA Tour: Justin Thomas Talks Olympic Games Ahead of Waste Management Phoenix Open

PGA Tour professional and major champion Justin Thomas addresses the media ahead of the start of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Thomas talks the importance on becoming world number one as well as his desire to compete in the 2020 Olympics.

PGA Tour: Justin Thomas meets with the media prior to the start of the Waste Management Phoenix Open

THE MODERATOR: Justin, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. Getting ready to make your sixth start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Coming off a third place finish last year, coming into the week as the FedExCup points leader and with two wins already under your belt this season. That’s a pretty good for an entire season, let alone just the beginning of a season. So with all that said just some thoughts on being back here this week.

JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I’m excited to be back. This is a course that I enjoy. I feel like it sets up well for my game, if I can execute properly. I got a good couple weeks rest and I was able to put some good work in there at the end of last week getting ready for here and feel like we’re doing some of the right stuff at this point. I feel like when I take two weeks off sometimes I have a hard time getting back into it or get focused or make some sloppy mistakes, so I need to make sure that I don’t do that starting up tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: You had a chance to get out and see the course. Is it pretty much what you remember, still setting up well for you?

JUSTIN THOMAS: It’s always in great shape. I think that’s something that’s very underrated about this place. It’s obviously a great tournament, a great field, but the course is always tremendous. The greens are always rolling very, very true. The fairways are all — I mean, it feels like there’s not a blade of grass out of place. It’s very nice. Greens are maybe just a touch softer than usual. But, no, it’s always in great shape.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.

Q. Can you imagine a scenario in which you would not compete in Tokyo if you’re one of the first four?
JUSTIN THOMAS: No. There’s — no, no scenario for me.

Q. What did you think of Brooks’s comments that the Majors and the FedExCup playoffs are more important? Do you get a sense of is that a majority view still or —
JUSTIN THOMAS: I hadn’t heard those comments. That was the first I heard of them. But it’s tough. I mean, no offense, but I feel like it’s a very uncomfortable question to be asked because there’s no right answer. No matter how you say it, you’re going to be ridiculed for it or say your priorities aren’t in line. I know one thing, I’m very content with winning any of those and I plan on trying to win all of those, but it’s something that’s, it’s just different. It’s once in every four years and you have the opportunity to do it. But then again, I’ve never competed in one, he’s never competed in one, so maybe our thoughts will change if we go play in it. But, no, it’s just, it’s very, you can’t really compare it to anything because it’s in its own, I think.

Q. Any thoughts on the competition out there this week with guys being overseas and in different places?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I mean, the field’s tremendous. It’s always great. It’s, I think that’s another thing that’s very underrated about this tournament. I think that it gets all the wrap of being the Waste Management and No. 16 and it’s a party, it’s out of control, but I mean, every year this place brings an unbelievable field and some of the top players in the world. So it’s something where, yeah, it would be great to win this tournament and be awesome just to kind of be in the realms of history of the Waste Management, but you’re beating a lot of really, really quality great players if you win this tournament. So that’s something I think that possibly doesn’t get talked about that much, which is, obviously, overshadowed by some stuff going on here this week. But it’s a great, great event with an unbelievable field. So I feel like every year it produces a really good tournament with a lot of big names up at the top come Sunday.

Q. I want to talk about, I guess, Kobe’s impact on you. You said that you’ve never cried for another man that you never met before. Just wanted you to just share your thoughts and what you’re going to do with your rounds going forward. This is the first tournament coming back since the tragic news, so.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I mean, it’s weird. I was actually I was talking to Brian about it a couple days ago. It’s just, it’s weird because I’ve never met him. I’ve always wanted to meet him, but it’s just for someone to have an impact on somebody that I’ve never met, never been around, is bizarre. And yeah, it’s crazy, it’s sad. I think what really got me is just how he lost his life just being a dad and being a great dad and the fact that his daughters are never going to be able to spend any time with him anymore was just like, for me, just really hard to kind of comprehend and deal with.

And yeah, I mean, in terms of playing this week, it’s a golf tournament, it’s not like I’m going to try any harder or do anything differently. I mean, I have the stampings on my wedges. I was getting new wedges anyway so the timing worked out well to put some stamps on there for him. Just, I’ve always been a huge fan of his. I’ve always loved watching him play, just loved hearing about his work ethic and stuff that he did on and off the court and how he just always worked harder than everybody else, and it’s probably the reason — I mean, obviously, he’s freakishly talented but why he was better than everybody else because he was going to work harder to get there and just kind of will himself to be a winner. And that’s something that I hope to do when I’m out there playing, when I have a chance to win the tournament, I want to have that Mamba mentality, if you will, to try to close it out.

Q. Justin, Jon Rahm can get to world No. 1 for the first time with a win this week. Can you speak to how big of a goal that was for you and how satisfying it was when you got to No. 1?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, it’s a huge goal. It still is for me because I’ve lost it. But it’s a tremendous honor. I think it’s always something being, always really cool being a part of something that not very many people have done. You’re just, he’s going to be another name to that list if he gets that and whoever gets it next that hasn’t done it will be added. So it’s, it’s pretty cool walking around. I mean, I it for all of two weeks or whatever it was, but walking around, it’s like, I’m better than every single person on this planet in golf. That’s a pretty satisfying feeling. I’m very confident and I feel that when I’m playing well I do feel that about myself, but I unfortunately have a 4 next to my name and Brooks has a 1. So there’s three people that are better than me right now and Jon has the chance to be at the top of the top and that’s a pretty cool feeling.

Q. Could you talk about the actual difficulty level of playing the 16th hole when there’s nobody there versus playing it when there’s 20,000 people there, because the hole doesn’t look super hard and yet, you know, it’s a tougher shot than because of the situation?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Yeah, I’ve never played it when it’s empty, so I don’t know that sense. But I mean, I feel it’s very similar to like the 17th at Sawgrass. If I went and played 17 at Sawgrass, I mean, I would feel like I would birdie it every other time. I mean, it’s a wedge, 9-iron at the absolute most, potentially a sand wedge or a gap wedge, and to a relatively big green. Yeah, when you have windy days or it gets firm it’s tough. But the thing about 16 here is that just the green is tough. It’s not, it’s not a flat green, it’s not all the same. You have a lot of subtleties and you have that false front, and then when that pin’s front left, it kind of falls off to the left to where if you have anything with left spin it goes down in the bunker and then you’re short-sided, and then if you have the right pin, it all falls away. So, you know, every fan wants to see us hit it in there inside of five feet and make birdie. But in reality it’s kind of a sneaky tough hole if you get certain pins, because you never know where wind is, you’re blocked out by everything, so you’re really are kind of guessing what wind direction it is and if it switched at all from 15, then have you no idea. And it’s just, it’s an interesting hole and an interesting experience because when you have that much adrenaline you wish you could just tee a driver up and hit it as far as you can, but sometimes you have to kind of hit a little feathery 8-iron in there to a back pin with not much room for error or whatever it might be. So it’s quite an experience.

Q. Did you hit a memorable good shot in there?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I’ve hit a couple good ones. I almost made an ace a couple years ago, hit it to about a foot. Made birdie on Saturday one year. I had pretty good success my first couple years. I haven’t played it great the last couple years.

Q. Have you hit anything that caused the crowd to really —
JUSTIN THOMAS: I 4-putted, so that was pretty.

Q. Did you get booed, though, or no?
JUSTIN THOMAS: Are you kidding me? They boo a par. I 4-putted.

Q. A 4-putt, they might have had some sympathy at that point.
JUSTIN THOMAS: Oh, no. There’s no sympathy on 16 here.

Q. Players were e-mailed earlier this week about the Premier Golf League and I’m just curious to get your thoughts, not so much on the e-mail itself but more about the concept of that. Have you looked at it at all, does any element, are there any elements of it that intrigue you in any way?
JUSTIN THOMAS: You know, I feel like I’ve heard more about it from other people than I have itself that’s bad. And, sorry, Jay, but I haven’t really read the e-mail that in depth. I know I have it, I’ve seen it, but just to be perfectly honest haven’t really taken the time to sit down and just read it thoroughly and check it out. I’m, I feel like I’m out of the, a lot more so than I wish, a little bit out of the loop of what’s going on with all that. But it’s also a good thing I’m focused on what’s going on now. I mean, if that does happen, if it, I don’t know if it happens in four months, if it happens in a year, if it happens in five years or whatever it is, but at the end of the day I just need to be focused on trying to play well at the Waste Management and that’s what I’m doing. But who knows what will happen going forward, but I need to figure out what’s going on a little bit more before I say anything, I feel like.

THE MODERATOR: All right, Justin, thanks for your time good luck this week.


January 29, 2020

Scottsdale, Arizona

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Team Ireland

European Tour: Padraig Harrington Speaks on Long Absence From Omega Dubai Desert Classic

European tour professional and major championship Padraig Harrington speaks with the media following round 1 of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

European Tour: Padraig Harrington speaks to the media following opening round of Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Q. Just how good is 71, 1-under par, feel in those conditions?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah I’m happy because I finished strong. I 4-putted second hole today, my 11th, so at that stage, I had thrown away a few shots. I did the same at the par 5, 13th. I took four shots from nowhere. I was feeling bad. But it really got windy on that last nine holes and I made a couple of really good up-and-downs. I’m pleased with the finish.

Q. Give us your opinion on the way the golf course is playing. Some players are coming in saying it’s too firm to be this narrow and you can’t get it on the fairway.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I’m happy with my driving. It is tough to hit the fairways. But it’s not playing long with the heat.

If you want to sort all the professional golfers out, just give us firm greens. The chip on the last hole, probably had 40 feet of green and all I’m worried about is chipping it in the water on the far side. Firm greens really sort us out and we find it difficult. If you do miss the fairways, coming into firm greens, it’s very difficult. Firm, fast greens, I could see guys, if you get on the wrong side of things today, you would be moaning. If you’re on the right side, you’d think this is the way golf should be.

Q. You’ve played this championship seven times before but not since 2004. Is it Ryder Cup Captaincy that’s brought you back?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I’d normally play farmers in the States at this time of the year, but I want to be around the European players. And these are the big events on The European Tour; they always have been in the Middle East. As Ryder Cup Captain, I felt I should come.

I’m delighted to be here, as well. I think they are important events, but they are also some of our best events in Europe; the quality of the golf courses and the conditions, they are good events to play in for sure.

January 23, 2020

Dubai, UAE

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports