2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: MARK SHEFTIC
Q. How was it?
MARK SHEFTIC: I don't know how to describe it. The first shot I hit, I hit well. Second shot I hit, caught the bunker, double bogey, didn't get off to a very good start. Nerves started to calm down and played very good in the middle of the round. Hit a couple of shots in the rough.
When you're a bunch over par, I probably tried some shots you shouldn't try, but it didn't work out. Again, I was going to miss the cut. I was already too many over to make up any ground. I fired at a couple pins, hit into the rough and just didn't have the strength to get it out. Sure, a lot of people can say that, but you get in that rough, either off the tee ball or around the greens, you were struggling just to advance it. You just didn't know how it was coming out.
But what an experience. Robert and the other gentleman I played with, great gentlemen, and I really hope Robert goes out and wins this thing. I learned a lot. When you play in these things, you try to, even if you don't play the way you want to, you always want to walk away with something positive, and I have a couple positives ... these guys are special. I'm a club pro, and I never gave up on any shots, and it was an honor to play with these guys. That's what I can say, just to walk with these guys and compete with them, it was such an honor.
Q. What did you learn about playing with Robert, playing with a lead or playing close to the lead, even early in the tournament?
MARK SHEFTIC: I've seen myself play at a pretty high level, and at the back of my mind, you say to yourself, if you can just play your game and get everything clear, you would like to see what you can do. I really think that I can go out when I'm playing my best, I'd like to see ... I'd love to see how I can contend. But Robert, boy, what a great player. You look at the all around game, distance off the tee, accuracy, distance control, irons, short game and putting, he's got it.
I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the winner's circle more often. These guys are special. These guys are special. You go from a club pro level ... I think I said this earlier, you look at college football to the NFL, it's a difference. If you're not used to the environment ... I think the first tee shot, I said to my friends, I couldn't feel my legs. I just looked at my caddie and said, "Please just tell me it went somewhere straight."
Once I got comfortable and started to play a lot better, you actually feed off the galleries. I think the galleries here want to see us do well.
Q. Yesterday players were conceding the easy conditions; just your feeling about how much of a struggle it was collectively for the club group to get into the mix there.
MARK SHEFTIC: One thing I don't think the members understand is how far they hit the ball. Including myself, I don't think the comprehension of how good these guys are ... these guys hit the ball that far, and you get soft greens, they are going to go pretty low. The golf course is outstanding. You know, in my opinion, it's a true test.
If you're not hitting the ball well, there's some big numbers out here. And if you're hitting the fairways, there are some good numbers. It would be interesting to see if it firms up, see how the scores go. But the membership should be very proud of their golf course. It's a true test. What an amazing practice area. The short game area, I know they used a bunch of holes from the other golf course, and then they open up their golf course to us ... and the greens are perfect. If you get the ball in line, now, because it's soft, there's some spike marks out there, and that's no one's fault, just soft conditions.
But I think the members should be proud and hold their heads high of how their golf course played. You get the best players in the world, the greens are receptive, I don't care where you put them, they are going to go low.
Q. Now the PGA Cup, just your feeling about that competition.
MARK SHEFTIC: I'm excited. That is the greatest, in my resumé, as a golf professional, being able to compete in the PGA Championship three times is special. Being able to compete in three ... even in one PGA Championship is just as special. It is the greatest honor I can go into. I played with Brian Whitcomb and Jim Remy and now I'm going to play with Allen, three phenomenal individuals.
The thing about the PGA Cup, it's not about the golfers. It's getting to know the officers, guys like yourself. Being around that atmosphere with nine other great professionals who work hard, who still have a passion to play; it's an honor. I know I'm going to be nervous out there, and I'm going to go do a lot of work with my game.
I didn't play as bad as I scored. Man, this rough is tough. And there's some hard holes out there. And again, you get someone like me who is not used to this environment, you've got to, here is something, this is my opinion. I'm not saying it's right or wrong.
I think as a club professional, I'm more involved in the service industry, where I'm always trying to make people feel really good. I always put people in front of me. My feelings, I think to be out here on the PGA TOUR, you've got to be more hardened. Not saying ... the players out here in my opinion are more ... what's the right way of saying it ... they are more focused and they are not afraid to miss shots, where I'm more focused on making everyone feel good and I feel like if I don't play well, I let people down.
Yeah, I'd like to get that tournament hardened ... I think when I play with the tournament professionals, I'm at ease but out here I'm a little more jittery. The big thing I've learned out here, if I've learned anything is you don't have to be perfect. Just find a way to keep the ball in front of you. That's why you have 14 clubs in your bag, and to be a player out here, you have to have the whole package.
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