Media Center Interviews

April 4, 2024

First Round Interview with Denny McCarthy

Q. Denny, how did you feel about the round today overall? What stood out to you?

DENNY McCARTHY: I just liked how my attitude was today. It was a tricky golf course. I hit some not-so-great shots early but just kind of hit it and moved on and didn't let it bother me. I knew it was going to be tricky once the wind started to blow. It wasn't really supposed to. At times it got pretty windy. Also, the greens were so much and slow earlier in the week and they got really firm today. Some of the wind yesterday and today kind of dried out the golf course. It's crispy out there.

So just missing the ball in the correct spots, which I did today. Kind of just taking my medicine on some shots. If I hit a tee shot maybe just in the rough and knew it was going to be difficult to hit the green, I made sure I missed it in the correct spot, so I used my head really well.

Q. Yeah, it seemed like you did a good job in scrambling or otherwise recovering from any mistakes. How critical was that to today's outcome?

DENNY McCARTHY: Yeah, it was big. That's why I was able to -- my scrambling percentage was so high. I left myself very manageable chip shots, able to chip 'em inside six, seven feet and cleaned up really nicely around the hole. So yeah, I did, I played some of the hard holes really well. Kind of messed up some of the easier ones, some of the maybe easier opportunities today, but all in all, it was a nice solid start.

Q. You've had some pretty solid results at this event in the past. How do you feel overall about this course and your history on it?

DENNY McCARTHY: Yeah, I like this golf course a lot. I think it's difficult. There's a lot of slope in the greens, there's a lot of falloffs. When the wind gets blowing, it's tricky to hit it on the green, especially when it firms up like this. You get a lot of crosswinds. If it's blowing left to right hard, you kind of need to turn it into the wind to kind of hold its line. If you get something cutting on that left-to-right wind, it's just going to land on the green and roll off.

So you've got to be creative and shape your ball. Yeah, especially when it blows like this, you've got to just be using your mind and kind of -- I like that it challenges you. I felt like my brain was really engaged today thinking a lot where I wanted to miss it and how I wanted to play certain shots and the hole. When I'm thinking like that, that's kind of when I play my best golf and I liked how kind of I was in my own little bubble today, it felt good.

Q. How do you assess your season overall so far?

DENNY McCARTHY: It's been frustrating, it's been frustrating. It's been a slow start. Feel like I put in a lot of good work in the offseason to get stronger and I feel like I'm a better golfer than I was last year, I just haven't quite shown it yet this year. And that's how golf can be sometimes, sometimes you don't get the results right away and that's OK.

But yeah, it's been frustrating, but I know that I've been putting in a lot of work and I know that I could still compete to try and win tournaments. So this was off to a nice start this week. I've been kind of waiting for a round to just kind of get going a little bit and this was a nice one today to kind of start this week off.

Q. What went into the decision to play the week before the Masters?

DENNY McCARTHY: Just to get some reps. I played three in a row in Florida, Honda, Bay Hill, PLAYERS, or Cognizant, Bay Hill, PLAYERS and then just felt like I needed to work on some things and get a little rest, so took a couple weeks off. So I feel somewhat refreshed coming into this week.

To me, I always -- you know, I like playing the week before a big event. I feel like you get good tournament feels, you get under the gun a little bit, test kind of what you're working on under the gun.

So yeah, I like kind of how I handled what I've been working on today. Yeah, I've played Augusta a handful of times over the last month and a half and I love the place. I think it's a good golf course for me, I think I can play well there. Kind of taking what I think I need to do well at Augusta and working on that over the last few weeks and kind of bringing that here, yeah, everything feels like it's in good shape.

Q. A good round of golf on this golf course no matter the conditions. Those conditions got feisty to play in down the stretch.

DENNY McCARTHY: Yeah. Honestly, it was a little unexpected. Once kind of got four, five holes in, you knew it was going to be kind of a test today. It was really soft and slow Monday, Tuesday and starting to firm up a little yesterday, and I was very surprised how firm the greens were today and how much it blew really. It was really only supposed to blow around 10, feels like we got some gusts up to 15, 20 at times. A lot of crosswinds, tough to tell if it's help or hurt on some shots.

Yeah, it was a tricky golf course today. I played nicely, I hung in there, had some nice saves, cleaned up nicely around the hole. I did a lot of good things today.

Q. Do you have your tally of number of greens you hit today?

DENNY McCARTHY: I don't think it was that many.

Q. Seven is officially the number, but 10 of 11 scrambling, let's focus on the glass half full.

DENNY McCARTHY: Yeah, even though I missed greens, I was hitting shots and missing them in the correct spots, which you had to do today. Sometimes -- there were two or three shots where I wouldn't say I wasn't trying to hit the green but I was trying to hit a very small portion of the green and if I didn't, I left it in the right spot, so that's why you see that scrambling number so high, just because I missed several balls in the correct spot. I used my head very well today and Derek did a great job kind of confirming that this, here, there was a good miss. Yeah, it was a solid start.

Q. So we asked the question on the air and I'll ask it to you, the hole locations on the front nine especially were really difficult out there today.


Q. Would you rather get that nine out of the way or have to finish on it after you got off to a good start like you did on the back?

DENNY McCARTHY: That's a good question. If it was blowing west, I think I would maybe want to start on the front. I think it helped that I played the back first. I got into a nice rhythm, started to kind of find a groove. And it played tough on the front nine, it was brutal. It got firm, like I said. A lot of crosswinds, some tough pins, hard to get the ball close.

Yeah, I like it how I did it just because I played a nice nine holes on that side, I got into a groove coming off the back nine into that side. Yeah, I think it's going to be a really tough golf course tomorrow, too. I think it's supposed to blow 20ish tomorrow, so going to have our work cut out for us, but I like the direction I'm trending in.