Press Conference - Sunday, January 22, 2017
DOUG MILNE: All right, we will go ahead and get started. Like to welcome the winner of the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge, Hudson Swafford. Congratulations on your first career PGA TOUR victory. A 5-under 67 today, including birdies on three of your last four holes, that gets the job done by a stroke. And with that, move to No. 6 in FedExCup standings. So, congratulations, and with that, just a few thoughts on your first career PGA TOUR win.
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Appreciate it. Appreciate it. No, they don't give them away out here. It's not easy, I've been close, I've been in the heat lately, just keep giving myself, keep putting myself in position, and this just feels unbelievable.
Last week was kind of a bummer, Sony's one of my favorite golf course, felt like I was swinging at it good, got a couple bad breaks on Sunday, but really felt comfortable in the situation. I was really looking forward to coming back to this week, because I know my golf game was good, I felt very comfortable with it and what I was doing. I just put myself right back in contention and thought I handled it pretty nice. Was patient all day.
After the 3-putt on 1, just tried to give myself as many chances after that as possible, and reeled off three to end the front nine. And I looked at my caddie on 10 green and told him that when I won the Stadium Classic at the WEB.COM, I 3-putted the first hole and made bogey and ended up going on to win by one. And I was like, I don't know how it's going to happen, but we're going to be right in the mix on 18 and we're going to have a chance to win and this is going to be a fun afternoon. And it's kind of what happened.
DOUG MILNE: You got the job done today, but I've got it take you back to Sunday or Monday in Salt Lake City airport. You got to share the story.
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Yeah, I was in Salt Lake City and we were coming through and the first two people I see were these two (Indicating) and they said, "well, you're going to win this week." And I was like, "okay." And they go, "we just were talking that the first player we see, that they're probably going to win this week." And so I hope I get to see y'all every flight that I'm on now going forward. That would be very enjoyable. I can't thank y'all enough for the support that y'all have given me.
DOUG MILNE: We're out of the business now. We're a perfect 1 for 1, so we're stopping after that.
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Absolutely.
DOUG MILNE: We'll open it up for questions, please.
Q. How many texts have you gotten asking for Masters tickets already?
I don't even know. I just got my phone and it just keeps vibrating in my pocket. I don't know. Hopefully many. But they will be very limited.
Q. Particularly satisfying after yesterday with 16 and 17 to come back today and really grab the thing on those two holes?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Absolutely. Actually, yesterday was probably my best round of golf this week. I know today was pretty good, but it was tough yesterday and I got -- I had a really poor lie in the bunker on 16, I know it's not easiest bunker shot, but I was on an up slope, so it wouldn't have been too terrible. But I was kind of in an -- I don't want to complain, but it was in a bad rake, it was kind of sitting down and I had to go down at it. Hit it over the green, short sided, downwind. Next thing you know I want to give myself a putt, you can't leave it short with the sticky rough, so I flew it, it went pin high, rolled down. Unfortunately, led to a double bogey.
Then I hit a great shot on 17 yesterday and I got a really bad gust of wind. I watched my playing partner, Daniel Summerhays, in front of me hit a gap wedge, fly about pin high, and I think most of the day -- I watched little of the coverage in the afternoon -- and people were just hitting three quarter pitching wedges. And I just got a bad gust and I was chipping a 9-iron and really hit a wonderful shot and barely cleared the water.
But today, stepped up there and hit some really good shots on those two holes, knowing what happened yesterday and I was just really confident on those two holes today. I knew the bad stuff on those holes were gone, I had already seen it, it had already happened, and just visualizing really good shots.
Q. First of all, congratulations on beating the rain for the second time this week.
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Absolutely.
Q. You did get off to the 3-putt on the first hole. Didn't get a whole lot going there. But it didn't look like anybody else was getting it going at that point. Did you know for sure exactly where you were and was that what kind of gave you the confidence to go to the back nine?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: I really didn't watch scoreboards that much. I'm actually kind of a scoreboard glancer, I look at it, but today I really didn't. I just knew if I played my game I would have a chance. I kind of had some awkward numbers on the par-5s, usually I go for them. But on No. 5, I hit a great drive, but I couldn't get my 5-wood over the green. To that pin you want to go long right. So I ended up laying up. Hit a poor layup in the left rough. Hit it out to 15 feet, didn't make it.
But I was giving myself a number of chances for birdie. And then on No. 6, my 4-iron off the tee, my rhythm just came together. It was a little off early, I'll be honest. But I was patient, I didn't create a hole after the 3-putt. I gave myself some chances.
When I hit the 4-iron on 6, then I knew I was ready to play golf. I knew my rhythm was back. I hit a great wedge shot in there, good putt -- or I guess it was 7, not 6. Excuse me. Excuse me. Not 7. Yeah, 4-iron on 6. Excuse me, on 7.
And then on 8, hit a great driver, cut 5-wood right in the middle of the green, lipped out for eagle.
The game just felt comfortable from there on, I just felt like I could hit any shot where I wanted to and just felt in total control.
Q. What did you hit on 16 and 17?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: 16 I hit a driver, 4-iron. I was actually playing just for the front edge. I had 219 front edge. D.J. said I didn't need to swing hard at it, just nice and solid, just good rhythm, that's all I was trying to focus on. Just trying to maybe chase it up on the front edge. And it was probably my best swing of the day. It was just right out of the middle, flew on the green, I thought it was actually even going to get closer than it did. But after kind of what happened yesterday, I was really satisfied with that.
Then 17, it was 161, adjusted downhill. I had the same exact shot on 15. It was just choke up on an 8-iron and swing at it. I knew the ball couldn't go long of the green, a little puff of wind back into. So we had 171 back edge. So, it was just choke up and swing an 8-iron and it was it ended up being perfect.
Q. Then Harman said that you act like not a lot bothers you, but he thinks that seeing all these guys ahead of you from Georgia and Sea Island win got to you. Did it light a fire in you at all?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Absolutely, yeah, that bothers me. But, no, I'm just happy to be in the club, happy to be part of the Georgia family. Those guys are great. Yeah, I mean, if it doesn't bother you, that all your friends have won around you, then you probably need to look for another job. Not saying that it was, you know, holding me back or anything, but it just, it creates a little fire. Play with these guys day-in, day-out, live a couple miles away from them, and it motivates you. Harris has two wins, Harman has a win, Russell has two wins, Chris Kirk has four maybe. B-Todd has one. I played golf in college with all these golf, played junior and amateur golf. It's just satisfying to be a part of it.
Q. Given all that, and knowing how hard it is to win out here, what was the immediate emotion for you? Exhilaration, relief, what?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Yeah, not so much relief, but maybe a little bit, just of getting in contention a number of times lately and finally being comfortable with it and just executing some great shots down the stretch. Really hit some good ones coming in. I would have loved to have made the last putt. I got a great read from Dom on his putt when he dribbled it in. I thought mine would kind of go left-to-right at the end, but it didn't. But I'll definitely take a two-inch putt for a win of any PGA TOUR event.
Q. You talked earlier this week about putting yourself in good pressure situations consistently. What is that exactly for you and did you feel a lot of that on 17 looking down?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Yeah, I had put myself under pressure. I've been in the last few groups the last few tournaments and had chances and hadn't got it done. Felt really comfortable at Sony last week, was in the final group on Saturday with a guy that's blitzing every golf course, and that's Justin Thomas. But me, Justin, and Gary Woodland played together and felt great. We had a fun time on Saturday. Shot 66 and lost ground. So I was a little sad about that.
But Sunday, felt good all day, got a couple crazy breaks, that's part of golf. Ended up finishing 13th. I played way better than that. My caddie just kept reiterating, you're playing great golf, you played way better than your finish last week. And I know I did, my golf was really good last week.
So, that kind of hurt a little bit, but knew coming into this week just stay confident, just stay patient on these golf courses, that we're going to be right in the mix again. He goes, "just get ready, you're going to be in the mix again this week." And we were.
Then the 3-putt on the first hole, you know, you just kind of have to calm down a little bit. You don't have to make it up on the next hole. Just give your self chances. Don't compound mistakes. That's just kind of what we harp on. I was really patient. We reeled off three before the front nine and right in the middle of it on the back nine, that's all you want coming into a golf tournament, be in the middle of a golf tournament on the back nine.
Q. How much more tense or tougher is it when you have such a crowded leaderboard and obviously less margin for error and don't always know what's going on around you with the other players?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Yeah, you just got to execute your shots. You can't really focus on the leaderboard. That's pretty much like the first time that I really hadn't focused on the leaderboard. D.J. just kept telling me, "just don't look at the leaderboard, let's do what we need to do, let's just keep giving ourself the best chance of birdie, whether it's five feet, 25 feet, 30 feet, whatever it is. Just keep hitting solid shots, just keep hitting your target, let's not worry about what anybody else is doing, take care of us and just do us and we'll be fine."
Q. I think it's 19 straight cuts now. Was there anything specific you worked on in your game to improve consistency?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Not really. Just getting my miss better. Scotty Hamilton's done a really good job of helping me with my golf swing, getting it more up-and-down the plane, instead of laid off. And he's helped me so much. I can't thank him enough. Mike Taylor at home, the guys, I wasn't a very good putter a few years ago, very streaky, and two and a half years ago he made me a good putter and I believe that. And those guys, I can't thank them enough for all the time they spent with me and what they have gone through and just listening to me and get down. And they know that I have the ability and then just telling me that, just be patient, you're going to win, you're going to win, you're going to win a lot, just be patient. So just hope this is the first of many with those guys.
Q. When did you start working with Scott?
HUDSON SWAFFORD: I started working with Scott Hamilton probably almost two years ago. Yeah.
DOUG MILNE: All right. Well, Hudson, congratulations. Well deserved.
HUDSON SWAFFORD: Thank you. Appreciate it.