Media Center Interviews
April 20, 2016
Interview With Branden Grace
NICK PARKER: I'd like to welcome Branden Grace into the Media Center. Obviously won on Sunday at RBC Heritage with a 67 on Sunday.
Branden, just kind of what have the last 72 hours been like? You've had worldwide victory.
BRANDEN GRACE: It was great. Pretty surreal, hasn't really sunk in. It's great, nice to finish, get over that last hurdle and take it off of you in the States. It's been enjoyable.
Good night on Sunday with Ernie and, you know, came down, one nice day to really relax and maybe watch some highlights of it back home in Palm Beach and managed to get down here yesterday afternoon.
It's been pretty good. I'm excited to be here. This place has been nice to me the last couple of years, you know, the sponsorship, given me the invite for two years in a row. It's really, really nice of them and, you know, it was the right thing and the nice thing to do to come and support the week this week.
NICK PARKER: I know you finished T-30 last year. This is your third time here. How is it, how does the golf course handle the rain?
BRANDEN GRACE: I got here yesterday afternoon. I know the golf course, I know the things that don't really change a lot but I'm excited. I know it's a little bit wet, the golf course is going to play totally different than last couple of years.
Last year with the very strong winds and getting firm and quick and this year I'm sure it's going to be a little bit softer and obviously playing a lot longer.
So, it's going to be a completely different test but the golf course still has its own obstacles, you really have to hit it straight and obviously everybody knows this is some funky greens out here. You really have to hit it and place the ball well on the greens to give yourself some opportunities.
NICK PARKER: I'd like to open it up for questions.
Q. Branden, how much of an emotional change will it be this week to kind of just bounce back from the high that you had on Sunday?
BRANDEN GRACE: I've dealt with it pretty good in the past. I've had wins, I had my first victory a couple years ago in 2012 and bounced back the last week to win again. I think it really helped.
Wasn't a good thing on missing the cut at Augusta but it helped. I did some prep with the putting for last week. I wasn't too tired or anything like that. Last week was good and, like I said, I was fortunate that I got with Ernie coming down yesterday and had the day off on Monday, didn't do anything.
I actually feel quite relaxed and quite rested up and excited to get on the golf course and see what it has to offer this year.
Q. Tell us what you did to celebrate.
BRANDEN GRACE: You know, after I finished I was -- Ernie -- I actually had the first phone call was to my mom and them, my parents back home and then the second call was Ernie phoning me telling me he's waiting for me in Palm Beach.
So, you know, we were fortunate for Wheels Up to send us a plane and managed to get out of there in the evening and arrived at Ernie's house probably about 9:30-ish and then the celebration started. It was good.
Very relaxed, just him and his family, myself and my fiancee and a couple of mates. Really had a good time and sat around the fire and had a couple drinks.
Q. That was in Palm Beach?
BRANDEN GRACE: Yes.
Q. You had a fire in Palm Beach?
BRANDEN GRACE: We did, yeah (laughter). A little bonfire. Actually quite nice. The last time I was there a couple weeks ago it was so warm and hot and sticky and this time around it was really cool so Ernie got a nice pad back there. Managed to make a nice fire and sit around and had a couple of drinks.
It was perfect.
Q. You say your first call was to your parents?
BRANDEN GRACE: Yes. Just obviously with the big time difference and them staying up and watching it all, done a lot to get me to the place where I can really start going after my goals and dreams.
It's obviously a neat thing to share with everybody back home and give them a call and take it from there.
Q. You called Ernie or he called you?
BRANDEN GRACE: Well, he actually called me but I was busy with the interviews and then he was texting my fiancee and he's like, "Listen, tell him to call me urgently." I gave him a call back. He's a hard one to deal with at sometimes, you know. He says call me, you call him.
Q. He doesn't take no for an answer.
BRANDEN GRACE: Exactly.
Q. I'm going to ask, you were talking about how Ernie said that Hilton Head fit your game. Do you find that this is a little different course and maybe presents more challenges for you?
BRANDEN GRACE: It is a little bit. You know, I think it's similar in some aspects. I think just because the greens are so funky, there's a lot of undulations and things that you really have to also narrow your targets down a bit.
Also can kind of make the greens very small similar to last week. You have to hit the fairways. If you're not going to hit the fairways the rough is going to be a little bit thicker than usual off -- especially after the rain that they've had the last couple days.
There's always going to be tough. The only difference I would say is just the distance. Obviously last week is not the longest of golf courses especially because it's in such a small area and the tree line.
Bit more room to work with. I'm sure it's going to play a lot longer than usual. I like this place. This is one of those courses the same as last week. Obviously the guys have been kind enough to give me invites in the past but it's one of those that I real like.
You have to place it and kind of -- the style of golf around these places and ball-striking is something that you really have to be on top of your game this week.
Q. You're talking about this was your first PGA TOUR win but given your status in the World Rankings, did you feel like it was just kind of going to be a matter of time before you won here on Tour?
BRANDEN GRACE: I did. I've been playing well. I played well pretty much in the rest of the world and, you know, I came close last year, couple of close calls.
The Majors are big things. But, like I said earlier, people don't remember the 3rds and 4ths, they only remember the wins. I really wanted to get that first W over here and this is great now.
I told Zach yesterday, my caddy, when I was on the range, it's happened pretty much in a short space of time, my first full year that I'm over here in the States and also said just a matter of time. Was going to happen. Just pretty much of when it's going to happen.
Q. The South Africans have had a pretty good run here in the last --
BRANDEN GRACE: Yeah. The international team has probably kicked the butt over here lately. It's been great. I think with Charl obviously getting the win again couple of weeks ago it's been great and it's a big inspiration not only for myself but for Ernie and Louis and a couple of other guys to try to get over that hurdle.
I thought I've been playing well, if I just getting to put all those aspects together then might happen sooner than I think.
Q. You think this will help maybe relax you and enable you to take the next step here in the U.S., whatever that is?
BRANDEN GRACE: Yeah, definitely. You know, in the beginning of the season when I came over -- because this is my first season, I played pretty well last year, secured the card pretty quickly and things like that but being kind of like a rookie for the first time out here, keep thinking about keeping your card and that stuff.
The World Ranking is something that takes care of itself over a certain time. But, you know, so I was kind of in the back of my mind putting a little bit of pressure on myself and trying to do well and pushing things a bit. I can really sit back, not really relax but enjoy it a little bit more and really start preparing for a couple of things that I really want to do well in the Majors, in the WGCs and then kind of push to get those big boxes ticked off.
NICK PARKER: Anymore questions anyone? Perfect. Congratulations on the win. Thanks for coming in.
BRANDEN GRACE: Thanks.