2012 PGA Championship Interview Transcript -- Carl Pettersson

KELLY ELBIN:  In with his first PGA Championship round in the 60s, Carl Pettersson, joins us after shooting 6 under par 66 in the opening round of the 94th PGA Championship.  Terrific round, six birdies, no bogeys, 12 of 14 fairways hilt, 15 of 18 greens in regulation.  Congratulations on a great round.  Comments on the round and the conditions, please.

CARL PETTERSSON:  Okay.  I played really good.  Obviously getting off to a good start was the key to the round.  I birdied 1, 2 and 4, so I was 3 under early.  There really wasn't much wind on the front nine, so I knew I had to keep going low because I figured the wind would get up.

The wind started blowing a little bit on the back nine, and I carried on solid play, hitting a lot of fairways, hitting a lot of greens and making a few putts.  So it was a great day for me.

KELLY ELBIN:  Could you please go through the birdies starting with the one on No. 1.

CARL PETTERSSON:  Okay.  No. 1 I hit driver, gap wedge to five feet.

No. 2, I hit driver, 3 wood in the greenside bunker and knocked the greenside bunker shot to six feet.

No. 4, I hit a 3 wood off the tee, 5 iron to about 25 feet.

No. 7, I hit driver, 3 wood on the green about 25 feet and two putted.

No. 10, I hit a driver, 7 iron to a foot.

And 16, I hit driver, 5 iron, sand iron to seven feet.

Q.  Just a question about the heat.  Are you used to the heat because of living in North Carolina?

CARL PETTERSSON:  Yeah, a little bit.  It's a nuisance.  It's hot, sweaty, but it's been hot and sweaty for the last two months on Tour.  I guess I'm about as used to it as you can get, really.  It wasn't too bad on the back nine when the wind got up, but the front nine it was pretty muggy, yeah.

Q.  This golf course is rated the hardest golf course in North America by Golf Digest.  Can you see that?  Because you're shooting 66 out here.

CARL PETTERSSON:  Obviously I played well today.  You know, it's a little bit softer so that makes the fairways wider, and the wind really hasn't blown, and the greens are still a little bit soft.  Under the right conditions, if it got really firm and fast and you had the wind, it would be very difficult.  I think we've seen it about as easy as it can get today this morning.  It still is a very good and very tough golf course, but I think we had it under some of the easiest conditions you could probably get.

Q.  There's a lot of anticipation that the governing bodies are going to make rule changes with regards to the longer putter.  For you as a player, how devastating would it be for you to change, and when is the last time you putted with a conventional putter?

CARL PETTERSSON:  My sophomore year in college I used a short putter, so I've used one when I was an amateur.  I've used one for 15 years now.

I don't see why they should change it.  I don't like the way they say it's easier to putt with a long putter, an anchored putter.  It isn't easier.  If it was easier everybody on Tour would use a long putter or a belly putter.  You have to practice and develop a stroke with the long putter just like you do with the short putter.  There's no guarantees of making it easier.

I think the long putter has been around for 30 years, and I think it would be a shame if they did ban the long putter.  If you're going to ban the long putter, you might as well ban the hybrids, the big drivers, the ball that goes 300 miles.  I think it falls into the same umbrella as some of the other equipment like hybrids, big headed drivers.  This is the way the game has gone, and it would be a shame.

Q.  Could you adapt?

CARL PETTERSSON:  Would I adapt?  Well, I'd have to.  I've got a high school diploma.  What else am I going to do?  (Laughter.)

Q.  Wouldn't it have been easier for you to go to the belly putter when you decided to go longer?

CARL PETTERSSON:  It wasn't invented.  Nobody had invented the belly putter back in '97.  I probably would have tried the belly putter if it was invented, and I went to the long putter and practiced and developed a method that works for me, and I've been using it for 15 years.

Q.  How much do you practice?  How many hours have you put in on that long putter?

CARL PETTERSSON:  I don't know, 15 years?  10,000, 15,000 hours?  I don't know.  A lot of hours, yeah.

Q.  Earlier this year you were talking at some length about the weight issue.  Are you still talking about that, having taken weight off?

CARL PETTERSSON:  That was three, four years ago.  I lost some weight, my golf game sucked, and I put the weight back on.  Yeah, that's kind of old news.

Q.  Obviously a long way to go, but with 16 different players having won the last 16 majors, does that give more hope to guys who haven't won a major and seeing what's happened the last four years in golf?

CARL PETTERSSON:  Yeah, obviously you see different people, some of your friends winning majors, some of the guys you know really well.  Yeah, it motivates you.  You think if they can do it, you can kind of see yourself doing it.  I haven't contended that much in majors.  I think I've had two top 10s.

But I'd love to have a chance and see what happens.

Q.  You mentioned your major record.  You haven't been a presence on the leaderboard very often.  Any particular reason do you think?  Any one aspect that's kept you back in the majors?

CARL PETTERSSON:  I don't know.  Every major the golf courses are set up very difficult, so I think if you don't come in with your A game it's very difficult to score.  You have to be on the whole week because of the setup of the golf courses, and I guess I haven't done that enough.  Maybe I needed a little bit more experience of playing tougher golf courses, and I feel like I do that fairly well nowadays, so hopefully I can contend more.

Q.  Your game seems to peak this time of year, and this being a Ryder Cup year, and I believe you became a U.S. citizen in January  

CARL PETTERSSON:  Yeah.

Q.  Are you thinking at all about qualifying for the Ryder Cup for America?

CARL PETTERSSON:  No, because you have to be born here.  I was born in Sweden, so I'd have to play for the European team.  But I'm not a member of the European Tour, so my points don't count on the points list, so I'd have to be a pick.  You never know.  Hopefully I can play well.  I've played solid this year, and if I can play well, then the next month or so, who knows, we'll see what happens.

Q.  What about the World Cup?  Would you play in that?  For whom?

CARL PETTERSSON:  I played in the World Cup before for Sweden.  I've played a couple times.

Q.  Can you kind of give us a sense of the day?  Did you need a leaderboard to realize what you were up against today in terms of scoring conditions?  In other words, when you saw your first leaderboard and there was probably a bunch of 2s and 4s, did you need to see that to know what kind of day you had?

CARL PETTERSSON:  No, I knew early on because there was no wind the first few holes, I knew it was gettable today.  I think I saw the first leaderboard around No. 3 or 4, and there was a bunch of guys 2 , 3 under, so I knew it was scorable.

That's why it was important to shoot a good one today.  I didn't quite see a 66 out there, but it was important to shoot under par today for sure.

Q.  You're a player who likes to work the ball.  Do you think that bodes well for you if you wind comes up here?

CARL PETTERSSON:  Yeah, I think so, especially like on the back nine, the wind is blowing strong from right to left, so the ideal shot is to hold it up against the wind hitting it left to right so it goes straight.  So I think it's important to shape your shots, especially when it gets windy, yeah, for sure.

KELLY ELBIN:  Carl, South Carolina has been pretty good to you so far this year with the win at Harbour Town.  Wouldn't be a bad two for two this year.

CARL PETTERSSON:  Yeah, for sure.  Long way to go, but I'm thrilled with the start, and we'll see what happens.

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