2012 PGA Championship Interview Transcript -- Gary Woodland

KELLY ELBIN:  Gary Woodland in with a 5 under par 67 in the opening round of the 94th PGA Championship.  Gary, eagle to get things going on No. 11, then four birdies.  Congratulations on the round today.

GARY WOODLAND:  Appreciate it.

KELLY ELBIN:  Comments, please, about the round and the conditions out there, please.

GARY WOODLAND:  Conditions were ideal.  You know, we definitely got lucky this morning, no wind when we teed off for probably nine, 10, 11, 12 holes.  It was ideal conditions.  I drove the ball great today.  Out here there's a lot of holes where I can take advantage of the driver, hit my irons into all the par 5s, which is a huge advantage.  Me driving the ball in the fairway I gave myself a lot of chances and made a couple putts coming in.

KELLY ELBIN:  Can you go through the eagle on 11 please and then the four birdies and the bogey on 14.

GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, you know on 11 I hit a good drive down there.  I hit a good drive down there, had 2 iron in and hit a great shot just short of the green just off the front edge, and I used putter, rolled it right in the middle.  Bogey on 14, it was one of the better swings I made all day.  I flew it too far, caught the downslope and rolled it over the back of the green, which is just dead. And then 17, I think I hit the pin, is what they said, hit a 5 iron in there, hit the pin, stopped right next to the hole, tapped in for birdie. 18, hit another good drive, hit 6 iron in there to about 10 feet and made it. 7, the par 5, that's really where I used my advantage.  I took driver over the bunker on the right, I had 8 iron into the par 5, knocked it on and two putted. 8, I almost made another hole in one on 8, I hit 8 iron in to a couple of feet.

Q.  Could you play 17 in any easier conditions than you had it this morning?

GARY WOODLAND:  No, I mean, it was perfect.  Wind off the right.  For me, I like to cut it.  I teed it off there, aimed right at the flag and just held it right up against the wind.  I mean, it was ideal conditions for that hole today for sure.

Q.  Could you tell us a little about your swing change, the progress of that, and where you were and where you are now and what the battle has been, if it has been a battle?

GARY WOODLAND:  The main deal is I'm healthy now.  The British Open was the first tournament I played this year where I didn't have pain.  Now Butch and I can work.  It's just a process obviously making changes, but when you're not able to do it, it's tough. The last couple weeks Butch and I, we've worked as hard as I've probably worked in my life, and it's nice to be able to do that being healthy.

Q.  Can you specifically just elaborate on what the injury has been and how long a process it's been?

GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, I mean, it was a left wrist injury.  I had a ruptured cyst that just kind of built up, and it ruptured the eighth hole at Augusta, obviously caused me to withdraw there and took some time off, probably came back too early.  We did everything we could to get inflammation out.  We just couldn't do it.  Finally, we got injections in the wrist the week before the U.S. Open, and it's just still took some time to get the inflammation out, and finally we did that right before the British Open, and been pain free since.

Q.  Can you sort of describe the swing change, the principle that you're going to achieve?

GARY WOODLAND:  Yeah, really when we sat down, Butch told me I've got to drive the ball better to contend in majors.  Obviously a really good year last year.  I finished top 30 in all four majors last year, but Butch said I didn't contend enough and really it came down to not driving the ball straight enough.  So we've worked hard on a couple of changes in the swing to drive it straighter.  Today it played off.  I drove the ball as best I've driven it all year, and when I drive it like that I'm playing a game that most guys can't play out here.

KELLY ELBIN:  For the record Gary hit 9 of 14 fairways today.

Q.  The weather was so awful the last three days.  Was there adjustment going out and playing in such different conditions today, and did you feel the pressure like you really have to take advantage knowing it could be a two or three shot swing weather wise?

GARY WOODLAND:  Absolutely.  We knew when we woke up this morning that today was going to be a day you had to go out and get one.  It was tough the last couple days starting and stopping.  It was tough to get into a rhythm out there.  Luckily, Monday I got off early Monday morning when the sun was out, so at least I had nine holes in with that.  But today was definitely a day to go out and get one this morning.

Q.  Did you have any occasions today to be in the sandy areas that they're playing them differently this week?

GARY WOODLAND:  I was in one today.  That was it.  I was in the bunker on 6.  It's different taking practice swings out of there.  It's definitely an adjustment.  But they were perfect.  They're firm, they're matted down.  I had a long bunker shot there, and I played it almost like you were just pitching out of a bare lie.  Fortunately today I stayed away from it.

Q.  Just to kind of follow up on the injury.  How bad did the pain get, and sort of how much did it limit your practice time?  Were you on a ball count or anything like that?

GARY WOODLAND:  I mean, the shot on Augusta on 8 when it ruptured, it took me to my knees.  That's tough for me.  The pain got to the point where I couldn't hit golf balls.  And when you're making changes and going through a process that I was going through, it was tough mentally more than anything.  So get back now to where I am where I can do whatever I want, it's been a big relief the last couple weeks being able to work with Butch.

Q.  What's the longest you went without hitting a shot?

GARY WOODLAND:  A month.

Q.  Was it a golf related injury or any basketball roots or anything like that?

GARY WOODLAND:  They just said I overdid it.  I went in with Butch, and when he told me I was going to make changes I was trying to find a way to get it done quickly, and I just pushed it too hard.  I was out there with Butch, and we were playing with Band Aids all over every finger.  I just overdid it, and I worked too hard early.

Q.  Was it a change in your ball flight from a draw to a fade?

GARY WOODLAND:  We just wanted to be able to hit the ball both ways.  I was pretty stuck with a fade the last six years, now we're trying to hit it both ways a little bit, and just get a little more consistent, control the golf ball a little bit better.

Q.  What's been the biggest biomechanical change; posture, grip?

GARY WOODLAND:  No, everything is pretty    I'm swinging a little more down the line.  I swung hard left for six years, so trying to swing a little more straight down the line, which is a big relief.  My eye sight has been tough for me.  I aimed on the left side of the whole for six years.  Trying to aim a little straighter was the biggest adjustment for me.  But now it's been eight months, seven months, so it's getting there pretty good.

Q.  And it's all the way through the bag or mostly the driver?

GARY WOODLAND:  Mostly the driver.  It was still with the irons, as well, though.  The irons were a little bit easier than the driver was.

KELLY ELBIN:  You tied for 12th in your PGA Championship debut last year.  How do you compare your ball striking today compared to the way you struck it last year.

GARY WOODLAND:  I definitely hit it better today.  Last year I was riding a lot of momentum.  I was playing very well.  I didn't feel like I was hitting it great then.  Actually my driver caved in on Friday so I didn't hit many drivers on the weekend.  Last year of the PGA.  I was just riding a lot of momentum, and I played solid last year.  Today I feel like I'm starting to gain momentum, and hopefully can carry it on through the weekend.

KELLY ELBIN:  Gary Woodland in with 67 in the opening round.  Thank you, Gary.

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