Media Center Interviews

April 19, 2018

First Round Interview with Grayson Murray

DOUG MILNE: Grayson Murray, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. Off to a great start at 5-under 67. I'm guessing it wasn't easy out there with the wind. I guess was it an east wind today?

GRAYSON MURRAY: Yeah, north, northeast.

DOUG MILNE: Yeah. So with that said, 5-under 67, you've got to feel pretty happy.

GRAYSON MURRAY: Yeah, anytime you can get one low on the first day gives you a little bit of confidence going into the next three days. I came off of a bad ball-striking week last week at Hilton Head and I put in some really good work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of this week and it's showing. I'm a lot more comfortable in the wind. I'm starting to stripe it a lot better, which my ball doesn't really get affected in this type of wind so that's one of the biggest differences.

DOUG MILNE: What was going wrong for you last week that you've been able to correct?

GRAYSON MURRAY: Yeah, I was just getting over the line on my backswing and then it was coming down really steep, I was kind of rerouting and getting steep. I only had two choices and that was to flip my hands and hit a hook or come out of it and I would hit a short right shot.

Last week I was hitting one club -- I mean I was hitting each club 10 yards shorter than I normally do and you can't play like that because your caddie is trying to give you a number and a club and you keep hitting these bad shots or keep coming up short. I got back to kind of the basics with the setup and the takeaway, got my club in a better position at the top, which kind of frees my downswing, then I can start going at it.

I typically hit a fade, I like to see the ball go left to right, so once my clubface is good at the top I can basically hold it off and I know it's not going to go left. If you think of kind of a Dustin Johnson swing, he has his club really closed at the top and he just holds it off and he never sees the ball go left. That's why he can swing so hard at it.

Us players, some guys obviously draw the ball so they don't like to see it go right, but the majority of us don't want to see that ball go left. So when you can eliminate one side of the course as a player, then you know you can shoot well.

DOUG MILNE: Well said. With that, we'll take a few questions.

Q. Grayson, can you talk about this recent stretch that you've had, because you've had a couple of top-15s sprinkled in with a couple of missed cuts. Is this that continual search for consistency that we all seem to have?

GRAYSON MURRAY: Yeah, it goes back to what I was just talking about with my swing. I mean, I tend to -- when I get off, it's never far off but it seems like I'm always searching for something and then I start compensating and then I create a new bad habit. Ball striking for me gives me confidence with every other club in my bag when it comes to putting or chipping or anything. I know if I hit it well, those parts of the game are going to be good, too.

So for me it starts with ball striking, and like I said, I worked hard this week to get to where I feel good with my swing. I hit the ball really good in Houston and just putted terribly and finished T-14. The guys who win week in and week out are usually positive in strokes gained putting for the week. You can't really putt it just like halfway decent and win out here because there's too many good golfers. That's just kind of just -- when you win out here you've got to put all the pieces to the puzzle together. It starts with my ball striking and works down from there.

Q. I did want to ask you about 7. Did you just get a tough lie there? You were in the bunker, right?

GRAYSON MURRAY: You know what, it wasn't a bad lie. It came out with no spin whatsoever and it runs off about six, seven feet past that pin into a swale. I thought I made the putt but it just didn't break. I was frustrated with that because I started off good. It's going to happen. I mean, you know, I would have loved to limit that to a bogey because bogeys don't really kill you; doubles are the ones that now you've got to have an eagle or two birdies to come back with and out here it's kind of tough to make birdies. But I kept my head. My caddie keeps me very positive out there, that's why I think we could finish 4 under the last nine holes.

Q. You started great and finished great. I think that was the only bogey you had was the double on 7, is that right?

GRAYSON MURRAY: Yeah, that is correct.

Q. Yeah. So talk about that and in spite of the conditions having that kind of a round with just the one double. I don't know how many birdies you had.

GRAYSON MURRAY: Yeah, I had seven birdies and one double. Yeah, I mean, I know I sound like a broken record but when I'm hitting it well, I know I can start seeing putts go in because I have more opportunities for birdie. When I'm hitting it bad, you're just going to have more par putts and all that's going to do is put pressure on your putting because now you know if you don't make it, you're going to be 1 over, 2 over, that type of deal. So when you're putting for birdie, you don't feel the pressure like you have to make it type deal like you do a 10-footer for par so it frees you up. You know, just the fact I did give myself enough opportunities today for birdie, it took a lot of pressure off.

Q. How was the wind? I mean you guys play in wind quite a bit. How would you rate this today?

GRAYSON MURRAY: You know, it started off not too bad, and then I feel like as the round went on it just kind of became stronger and stronger. I was playing with Aaron Baddeley and Graeme McDowell and it seemed like we all three would kind of back off of shots and kind of restart. It was tough to kind of get over the ball and feel confident that you knew you had the right club in your hand. Once again I go back to my caddie, he gives me the confidence when I'm over the ball that I do have the right club and it's just up to me now to trust it and put a good swing on it.

Q. So it seemed to get a little worse as the morning wore on?

GRAYSON MURRAY: It did. It definitely was howling those last four holes, five holes, I guess. And you know, us pros, we play in wind all the time. Obviously this might be a little more than usual, but it doesn't mean that it's not scorable out there. You've just got to give yourself the opportunities.

Q. You're talking about your shot, your game. The wind doesn't bother you that much; what is it, you have low trajectory normally?

GRAYSON MURRAY: The wind bothers me when I'm hitting it like I did last week when I'm not compressing the ball. That's just the bottom line. I didn't even want to hit balls on Monday here, or Tuesday -- I don't know which day it was, Monday -- because it was so windy and I was hitting it bad. I was like that's just going to make me frustrated. But once you start swinging it well, like hitting it into the wind really shows you how you are hitting the golf ball because it's going to only maximize your dispersion. So if you hit a 5-yard cut, it's going to be probably a 10-yard cut into the wind. That tells when you you're hitting it good.

So I worked through it on Monday and that's probably why I played well today just because that gave me confidence that I'm now compressing the ball. If you don't compress the ball, if you start coming out of it, start hitting these short weak right shots, the ball's going to do whatever it wants to do in the air.

And then the balls are good enough, my Srixon golf ball, I know other companies, their golf balls are the same way, if you hit a good shot and hit it how you're supposed to, it really doesn't move much in the air like say a balata would back in the day.

Q. A 5 under in this wind would be what if there was no wind?

GRAYSON MURRAY: Say that again?

Q. A 5-under in this wind like you had today would be what if there was no wind, to put it in perspective as to how much the wind kind of impacted the scores?

GRAYSON MURRAY: I don't know. I mean, this course can still hold its own without wind, I feel like. You've still got to hit the ball good when there's no wind, you've still got to putt it good. Yes, the scores would have probably been lower, but a day like today you can really separate yourself from the field because, you know, guys know if they shoot even, 1 over, 2 over, they're not really losing much ground, but a guy who can shoot 4, 5, 6, 7 under, really that separates himself. So that's kind of the hard days like this is when you really want to buckle down and try to get as much out of it as you can because days that don't blow well, it's just going to be bunched up. We're all too good out here to shoot 3, 4 over when it's calm.

Q. This may not be a good question or fair even, but do you expect with the afternoon group just teeing off, do you expect to see your 5 under hold up?

GRAYSON MURRAY: No, I think there will be other 5 or 6 unders. There's good players. Like I said, this is a good field, there's guys who have seen this course in worse conditions. I know a few years ago it was howling so the scoring average must have been 79 or 80 that day. That's ridiculous, right?

So today I don't know if the wind's going to kind of die down as the day goes on or if it's just going to stay like this, but I know tomorrow I think there's supposed to be wind too. It all equals out, I guess you could say, when it's windy back-to-back days. It's those days that it blows hard in the afternoon one day and it's calm the next and you get the lucky wave, right? That's the nature of our business. We get different waves and sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't.

The one tournament, I haven't played in it but I know from hearing is the British Open is the one that really if you're in the wrong wave, you pretty much don't have a chance to win that golf tournament.

I think these next couple days are going to be pretty fair between late-early, early-late.

DOUG MILNE: Well, Grayson, we appreciate your time, good start.

GRAYSON MURRAY: Okay, thanks.