An Interview with: DUFFY WALDORF
KELLY ELBIN: At age 50 and competing in his first ever Senior PGA Presented by KitchenAid, Duffy Waldorf in with a 5 under par 66 tied for the lead with Jay Haas. Nice playing. Thoughts on your round? Six birdies, one bogey. Got the ball in play and got the ball on the green. Good day all around.
DUFFY WALDORF: It was a good day. Tee to green it was a very good day. I had a couple points that were key in the round, especially No. 16. Although it didn't lead to much. I made a ... I was in the bunker off the tee and made a nice, holed it out from the bunker, which is a big bonus.
I made a nice putt on number 3, when I made the turn, for par, which I felt like kind of kept me in it.
And then I made a good kind of a, hit some nice shots after hitting a bad drive on number 5 and hit shots on 6, 7, and 8, which allowed me to get back in it.
All in all hit the ball really well tee to green. I really liked my iron play. I had quite a few birdie putts, I didn't make them all, so I feel like I still had some more out there. But with the up and down, I made some really nice up and downs. I felt like it balanced out well. I didn't make a ton of putts, but I had some real nice up and downs which really saved the round.
KELLY ELBIN: Briefly go through the birdies, starting at 12 and then the one bogey you had on the front nine, please.
DUFFY WALDORF: Sure. No. 12, drove it, I hit a 3 wood off the tee into the sand trap and had about 143 yard shot and hit a 9 iron. Hit a beautiful shot in there 10 feet right below the hole. Made the putt for birdie.
Then on 14 ... I don't remember. The course seems a lot different to me than it did in '92. Did they change the course since then? Well anyway, 14, yeah, that hole, drove it in the fairway and then I hit a good approach, about 20 feet from the hole right of the hole and I made a nice 20 footer with a good break in it. Pretty big right to left break for birdie.
And then 16 I hit a 4 iron, came up just short into the bunker on the left and it's a pretty tough bunker shot. Had a lot of green to work with, but you're down low and you're blind and I hit a nice shot. Didn't get to see it go in, but it's always nice when you get that crowd reaction and even my caddie was happy, so that's always good. So I made that for a birdie there.
Number 4, par 5, I hit a good drive down the left side. Had about 195 to the pin. Hit a 5 iron came up just short of the green and then I chipped it about four feet and made that for birdie.
The bogey, I drove it in the right trees, almost in the hazard on No. 6. Then I, in fact, I was in the hazard, but in the grass, so I chipped it back into the fairway and I hit I had about 190.
KELLY ELBIN: Number 5.
DUFFY WALDORF: I'm sorry?
KELLY ELBIN: Number 5, not No. 6.
DUFFY WALDORF: Right. Number 5. Right. No. Well I was almost in the hazard on No. 6, on number 5. That's not a good tee shot.
I'm trying to give color to the shot. It was that bad a tee shot. It wasn't in the trees, it was almost in the hazard on No. 6, on number 5. But chipped it out, hit a 6 iron about 30 feet from the pin and 2 putted for a bogey.
Then number 7, 3 wood down the middle, 121 to the hole, I hit a beautiful sand wedge in about six feet. Made it for birdie.
And then number 8, hit a good drive, 240 to the pin, hit a terrible hybrid way to the right, but it was a good angle. The pin was tucked left and I had a nice open, about a 50 yard pitch and I pitched it about four feet and made it for birdie.
KELLY ELBIN: Duffy tied for 9th in the PGA Championship here in 1992. Open it up for questions.
Q. It's 21 years later from '92, and there was a redesign, but it's not dramatically different. Is this just a golf course that you think that sets up well for you?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, I obviously the grass I think is the same so that's important. I think the zoysia grass is, I find it not an easy surface to play off of, but I like playing off it and I had a lot of success on it, occasionally when we play it. So that's a factor.
Honestly, the greens look totally different to me. I don't remember ... the greens look different. Like No. 9 kind of looks the same, but they feel a little different ... they're all in the same place and kind of the same shape, but the grass seems a little different and I think some of the contours seem different which is fine because I probably wouldn't have remembered anyway. I mean, I'm 50 now you don't remember that stuff.
But like tee to green it's pretty similar. So it feels comfortable and I obviously had a lot of success in '92. It was certainly, I think, a much, seemed like it was a very severe test because it was summer, it was hot, it was, the greens were very firm and bumpy.
Today we had pretty nice greens. They're reasonably soft and they putt well. It's a little different test right now. I think that can change with the weather. But the weather's made the course friendlier, at least on the greens speed of greens and how they hold.
But obviously I'm comfortable with the grass and the way the course lays out.
Q. One other, there weren't a lot of, the leaderboard, most of the scores on the leaderboard were from this morning. You and maybe one or two others this afternoon. Did you get a sense that the course played differently in the afternoon and was it raining a lot while you were out there or just sort of intermittent?
DUFFY WALDORF: Where I come from 10 percent chance of rain means it's not going to rain. It's just there's going to be a cloud that looks kind of dark that passes by.
It rained a lot more than I thought it was going to rain. It wasn't ever a real heavy rain. But there were a few points where it was like, oh, okay, it's pretty pesky right now. If it goes another couple holes ... but it only seemed to last like two or three holes at a time. And it came about three different times. It rained about three different segments for about two or three holes each.
So we had, but it wasn't that heavy driving rain. And I think the toughest part was the wind. Because when the rain came, the wind changed from what it was doing all day. You might have some periods where you had different wind. The wind was kind of blowing steady from the northwest all day, but when the rain came it kind of felt like it could flip around or stop or get a little gusty.
The rain wasn't too much of a problem, but I didn't watch the scores, I didn't really watch much golf this morning or follow the scores. I don't know how it played in the morning. I thought it played reasonably ... it was kind of on that borderline, it could have played really difficult this afternoon if it just kept staying the way it was. But there were periods where I felt like we had little break that is made it nice where we had some holes where it was pretty calm and nice.
Q. I know you played a few times on the Champions Tour last year after turning 50, but what's it like to be a rookie again first full year on the TOUR.
DUFFY WALDORF: It's a lot better than the last time I was a rookie I can tell you that, because I feel like I have about 25 years of experience of playing tournament golf. But it's nice ... this is the best TOUR to be a rookie on, I think. Usually you're an experienced player, you can be healthier, you can be maybe more fit, you can be longer, I mean there's a lot of positives. I've been playing a bit on the web.com and Regular Tour the last couple years and certainly it's good preparation for this TOUR.
Q. You talked about age a lot. How do TOUR pros look at Tom Watson and what he's able to continue to do at his age and both on the Champions Tour and in major championships.
DUFFY WALDORF: Well I think for a lot of people age is a factor for some of us age is just a number and I think for Tom Watson it's just a number. It's really, if you feel good and you love your golf, I think that a lot of it ... there's a combination of physical and your attitude and how you are emotionally. And he's always had a great attitude, emotionally he's good, and he seems to be physically fit.
I think that the first two really are the ... I mean, I don't know what's the hardest. They're all important. I know that, bad attitude, it's not going to help. It doesn't matter what age you are.
But if you're physically fit, I think you can play a long time. And he's obviously stayed physically fit. His swing looks, I don't know, it looks as long as ever. Even I've had periods in my career when my swing tends to get a little short.
But I think working on staying fit and keeping the swing nice and loose and long and fluid and not having too many aches and pains I think is really important and allows you to play for a long time. And I think you're going to see a lot more of it, guys playing longer on the Regular Tour and I know it's a youth movement, but there's no substitute for experience and as long as you're feeling good and your mind is right, you can be a good golfer for a very long time.
Q. I saw you on 8 a little funny incident when you went to mark your ball. Could you describe what happened in that, did that relax you a little bit with your coins?
DUFFY WALDORF: Yeah, very relaxed. I'm glad I had a good eye on my coin. I pretty much emptied all the contents of my pocket on to the green.
I cut myself before I teed off and I've been obsessed with not getting my pants bloody. So I've kind of been half digging in there, so I just dig in with my fingers and don't get my hand in there.
So I think I have been pulling up the pocket slowly and that time I just reached in with a finger and pulled up and the whole pocket came with me.
So I'm very glad that it didn't like any of them roll on top of my actual mark, because it was kind of like, mark, and then they all fell like right behind. So at least I had a good idea which one my mark was. Of course, it was the closest, so I guess ... I hope it's not on tape.
Oh, you didn't go to the right coin. There's only.
Q. David Eger is calling in. Hang on a second.
DUFFY WALDORF: Leave it up to David Eger, definitely.
Q. Following up on the age thing. Are there, not so much the length of the golf course, are there courses on the Champions Tour where the terrain is fears enough in terms of uphill, downhill, that for the older player it might take their legs away more readily than say a course, a Florida course or some place with a flatter layout. Is that an area where age may be a real detriment?
DUFFY WALDORF: I would say that being fit is important and I know as far as like I played last week at the Nelson and it was like one of the first hot weeks of the year and I think heat's a big factor too. I was really I was pretty worn out after the third round. It was super hot and it was pretty hot the fourth round too. I think that heat is more of a factor, pace of play is a factor too. How long you're standing up. All that stuff kind of adds up.
This course has some hills, but the temperature wasn't hot today so if you take the hills slow, unless you have some kind of condition, like arthritic condition or a problem with your knee or something, your hip or your back, that having that kind of stress, extra stress of going uphill or downhill is a problem, I don't think the hills are as important as the weather conditions. I think they're a big factor for energy.
Q. You already brought it up I'm kind of curious, are you a fan of the idea of fans being able to sit on their couch and pick up a phone and couch snitch on players?
DUFFY WALDORF: Hmm, no, I'm not really a big fan of it cost me about 150,000 about 10 years ago or whatever it was. So ... and I didn't think I did anything wrong. And that one was kind of a, because it was a gray area in the rules, and then the officials had to go by the camera ... it's supposed to be the players, I always thought the player has the first say. When you have to go by the camera angle and then the official looks at the camera, well, you know, this, this, and this. Well, no, that wasn't my intent at all.
I think that I'm not a big fan of the camera snitch. Because the camera isn't on everybody. It's only on certain people at certain times and I think that ... I think, I don't know if we still do it, we used to have an official watch the television or have one person watch. I think that, as far as I am concerned, that should be the only thing you could have. Have one person, an official watch it. If he sees something, maybe he could ... then you also have instant, some kind of instant action too. You can have a radio and say, hey, tell him to stop or maybe that's a problem. Maybe you could stop it.
Because really, at the end of the day, there's nobody out there trying to cheat, it's just occasionally ... there's just so much that can happen in golf. I would imagine almost every day something weird happens that could be questionable if you could watch everybody all day.
KELLY ELBIN: Where did that incident take place?
DUFFY WALDORF: That was I believe it was the FBR Open it was a tournament at Avenel. TPC Avenel. Happened the last day for me. I was almost ... I was right, like second place. I was just a shot or two behind Rory Sabbatini when it happened. And it was ... oh, I was thinking it would be nice to be able to go to court on that one. I could still use the money now. 150 grand is still a lot.
Q. Did somebody call in or did Mark Russell just play hard ball with you?
DUFFY WALDORF: No, well, he played hard ball with me after somebody called in. It was one of those, it was one of those ... talk about the universe acting a certain way, it was on a Monday, the person who called the called the USGA. The USGA was closed, because the next week was the U.S. Open. Some weird stuff.
So they forwarded the guy to the PGA TOUR. So the guy wasn't even calling, he called the USGA for some reason, they forwarded it, said, here, call the PGA TOUR. And the PGA TOUR finally got it and, I mean, they got it, I was on the 12th hole when it happened and I found out on the 16th hole, that I may have done something wrong. May have done something wrong.
So bogey, I think I was bogey, birdie, bogey finish. So that was that. You don't like to have the unknown that you're either two behind or four behind. That's not really a good ... or maybe I was one behind or three behind. I don't remember what it was. Something like that.
Q. When did you cut your hand and how did you do it?
DUFFY WALDORF: Oh, I don't know how I did it. It was just a little scrape. I was reaching in to get something like a pencil or tees at the first tee box or number 10. I started on 10.
And I didn't even feel it hardly and then it was all of a sudden it was like, oh, just a slow little drip. It was just like, oh. My daughter could do a little makeup for a horror movie.
But I was kind of fine. I teed off and I drew a little more and I just thought I would try to stop the bleeding a little bit. And it did stop and I wiped it off. But it's ... I don't know, it doesn't look great now. I'm sure it will go away.
Q. Coming in, did you expect this round and what would winning this tournament mean to you?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, winning the tournament would mean a lot. Because I feel like I can be competitive out here and to be competitive you need to win tournaments.
So I'm looking forward to contending and doing well in as many tournaments I can. And that's one of the nice things about the Champions Tour, I think if you're playing well, you're usually at least somewhere near the lead.
I've been playing well. I played well last week in Dallas and I played really well in Atlanta a few weeks ago on the Champions Tour, finished fifth there. Last week I was, I didn't have a great weekend, but I was 5 under after two rounds last week at Nelson.
So it's been a weird year. I played well a lot and then there's been a few tournaments where I just have had a bad round or the course hasn't suited me well. So I thought, I felt like if this course suited me well would I do well.
Q. You just said out here you know that if you play well you'll be contending. Can you talk about on the web.com TOUR and the PGA TOUR, do you ever find yourself kind of banging your head when you know you're playing well and it's just a complete birdiefest?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, the golf courses can be a little different. We tend to play a little bit shorter course out here. So I feel like you tend to have more birdie holes. Sometimes you get courses on the TOUR, pins are set hard, the conditions can be hard and you're like, it's hard to make a birdie. And you feel like it does tend to favor the longer hitter a bit on both those tours.
Out here I think any player whose playing well has a good chance to do well. So it's nice to come out here, I feel like if you're playing well out here on the Champions Tour, I don't care who you are, you're going to be ... there's some weeks where guys go really low and you may not win, but you're going to be somewhat competitive.
And the Regular Tour, you just got to play well every day and the courses can get very hard. The Nelson was a good example. We had, it was pretty okay the first two days and the wind started blowing the last two days. I mean, it's hard to hit the ball in the fairway. It's hard to hit the green, hard to get it close, hard to make putts. Everything can be quite a bit harder.
The conditions, in general, just on average, I would say are a bit harder on the other tours. Web.com, sometimes they're hard but, a lot of times they're not hard, it's almost the other thing, they're quite easy and then you got shoot 4 or 5 under every day or you got to be at 20 under par. Totally different kind of situation where you really need to just go low, low, low and that's a different style of golf and like the PGA TOUR's I think is one style and web.com is one style and out here on the Champions Tour, any style works, really.
Q. People who remember you from your TOUR days remember the crazy hats. You've got a pretty normal hat on there. What are the chances we'll see one of the old hats coming out this weekend?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well the problem is I'm with TaylorMade golf and they, not that ... they don't even mind the wild hats, it's just they're not in existence any more. I'm going to have to go special and special order hats.
I mean, they're like we have got Rocketballz and we got the R1, so I got keep my graphics up to date. TaylorMade's very tricky. They get new equipment every nine months, so very hard to keep up with graphics. And the number of flowered hats out there is pretty much diminished. I mean, it's a new world out there and the flowered hat doesn't seem to exist in it.
KELLY ELBIN: But the golf balls you still have fun with those, right?
DUFFY WALDORF: I've actually been farming the balls out. My mom has been helping me out and she goes to art class once a week and brings a couple dozen balls and she just gives them to the students and they all, it's always very interesting, this week's very interesting. I obviously made an impression that they shouldn't be too dark, because the designs are very subtle. You almost wouldn't recognize it as my ball. But they're still very unique.
KELLY ELBIN: Unique and in with 5 under par 66 tied for the lead Duffy Waldorf, thank you very much.
DUFFY WALDORF: All right. Thank you.
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