Saturday, July 11th, 2020


American Century Championship
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Mardy Fish
Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the new course record holder, a man that just made ten birdies today and finished with five straight; shot 63, which is a course record. Beat Lee Trevino’s record of 65 back in the mid- to late 80s. What a round. Congratulations. All-time record for second round points in this Stableford format by four.

MARDY FISH: It was a dream day, for sure. I’ve been looking for one of these out here. I’ve been looking to play well.

I didn’t particularly score well yesterday. And I hit it fine. I just didn’t get it in the hole very quickly.

So today was much cleaner. I had a lot of chances, a lot of looks, a lot of putts. And I missed some that were pretty close as well.

So my new strategy of just hitting driver and trying to figure it out from there is working okay.

Q. This is your seventh time here. You finished in the top five five times; second twice as well. In the past, it’s been the putting that’s held you back a little bit.
MARDY FISH: Thank you.

Q. How many putts did you have today?
MARDY FISH: I don’t know. But I made a few, for sure. I felt like I put the ball in pretty good spots to have some comfortable putts. A lot of times you can put yourself in spots where you get pretty defensive because the greens are pretty fast.

So we saw that last putt on 18 there, I certainly wasn’t going to leave that short. But blew it by by four or five feet. Held my nerves pretty good today. Whenever I hit a bad shot, it felt like I got either lucky — I got a lucky bounce on 6 today off a tree that could have gone right in the water, it went left in the fairway.

I got lucky and found my ball on 8 and 13. So there certainly was a little luck involved as well.

Q. Did you feel like you were in a zone like you haven’t been before or in a long time?
MARDY FISH: What’s funny, I’ve played with Jack so many times. We’re members at Belair together, Belair Country Club. So we played a little bit before these events just in Orlando just to try to gear up.

And so it felt really comfortable to have him there and sort of cheering me on, rooting me on a little bit, because you can sort of tell when each other is playing well and we’ll sort of step aside and root for the other. So that was great to have him in our group.

Q. Thinking about tomorrow, what’s going through your mind? You’ve got to be feeling pretty strong.
MARDY FISH: Yeah. I mean, I haven’t looked at a leaderboard, but I did look for a little bit there, and it seemed like Kyle was playing great, too. So I think if he birdies 18 —

Q. He’s one back. He’ll be one back if he birdies 18.
MARDY FISH: There you go. 37-pointer and I can’t get away from him. He must have had a great day as well. Should be fun.

Q. What happened on 1?
MARDY FISH: I know. I had a crazy putt, didn’t know what to do. 3-putt.

Q. Where would you rank this among your greatest rounds of golf?
MARDY FISH: It’s funny, the only other one that sort of comes to mind is I got to play nine holes with Jack Nicklaus like a year and a half ago. And I shot 29 with him on nine holes.

And so that one certainly was fun to play with him. Made eagle and five birdies in the nine holes we played. He was pretty impressed.

Q. Where was that, and what did he tell you after the round?
MARDY FISH: That was at The Bear’s Club down in Jupyter, his course, The Golden Bear, The Bear. So he said — he was super nice, and we’ve kept in touch over the years. He’s a big tennis fan and plays a lot of tennis. He has three grass courts at his house in Palm Beach.

So I’ve been there to play tennis with him and was lucky enough to play nine holes with him that day. He was complimentary.

Q. If you win tomorrow and your wife tells you that you can’t put the trophy indoors, you have to put it in the garage, deal or no deal?
MARDY FISH: Okay. I didn’t know where that was going. Why would she say to put it in the garage? (Laughter) There are a couple of trophies in the garage but they’re tennis trophies.

Q. You had mentioned you’ve played a lot of golf with Jack, won club championships down in Southern California at your home course there. But what did it feel like for them? Did you have any idea? They had to just feel like they were getting blown by. And they’re good players, both him and Carson?
MARDY FISH: Carson, they both had a couple of stretches where they made either a double — I think Carson had two doubles in a row. And you just can’t — in this format, you can’t go backwards.

So that’s the goal is to sort of not go backwards and just keep adding points and adding points, and you set a goal before the week to 25 a day. Something like that. Get around in the mid-70s, and you are usually in the hunt then. But that may not be enough this time.

Q. You’ve won a couple times down in Orlando at the Diamond Resorts event. You haven’t won here yet.
MARDY FISH: No. Thank you. Yes, no.

Q. I’m building you up for a victory.
MARDY FISH: Thank you. It would be special, for sure. I’ve wanted to play well here. But again there’s a lot of golf left and a lot of good players out there. So we’ll see. It would certainly be special because I’ve wanted — this is the best week of the year for us. And I’ve wanted to win here for a long time.

Q. Has the putting been getting progressively better in recent weeks, months, years?
MARDY FISH: I’ve got a putting green at my house that we put in for my son. And he never goes down there and putts on it. So he goes in the pool and I do my putting. That’s really all I did to sort of gear up for this.

I played maybe three or four times in the last sort of four weeks, because we’ve had the kids at home with no help and been kind of stuck at home. So I haven’t wanted to leave for five hours a day to play golf. So I try to play kind of once a week before coming here and then knowing I can get here and play Wednesday all day and play Thursday all day without the Pro-Am, I knew that I could sort of catch up a little bit.

And again, I’ve seen this course a bunch now and know the greens a little bit. And, yeah, I feel comfortable. I didn’t have a caddie either this year. And it’s kind of nice to sort of — caddies are great. I’ve usually had a buddy come, and it’s fun, certainly fun and great.

But it’s nice to sort of make up your mind and know what you’re doing on your terms; and then if you miss it’s on you, it’s not on anyone else. So, it’s been nice to sort of jump in a cart and sort of stay away from everyone and teach yourself a little bit, which is the distancing thing, I guess.

Q. Isn’t that “hit it as far as I can and figure it out from there,” isn’t that reckless kind of sophisticated golf approach?
MARDY FISH: The thing is, first of all, I know exactly what I can do hitting the playing safe off the tee. I finished second twice. I finished third. I finished top five five times. I know I can do that. But I can’t win that way.

If I can get myself close enough to the green where I can have a couple of chips and pitches and put myself inside ten feet more often, that bodes well. And the other thing is I hit my driver as straight as any club that I hit. So it makes sense to do that.

Q. Kyle just parred 18. So you have a three-point lead. You’re lapping the field. It’s a two-horse race?
MARDY FISH: What’s third?

Q. Smoltz is at 36.
MARDY FISH: That’s third place? Oh, geez.

Q. You’re up by 18 points and he’s up by 15. That’s what I’m saying. Have you ever played with Kyle before?
MARDY FISH: I’ve never played with Kyle. I met him last year. I know he’s a great player. Obviously had an awesome day yesterday and today. So, yeah, I’ll need the three points, I think, for sure.

Q. You’ve always gone up against the quarterbacks and the pitchers, and now you’ve got a defensive lineman 285 looking at you. How is that going to feel tomorrow?
MARDY FISH: He’s menacing looking for sure.

Q. Quick follow on your putting. Did you come into this week — you said you played a few times. But did you come in with confidence with your putter, or when you got here and played on Wednesday and played all day, did the confidence slowly build?
MARDY FISH: I did. Like I said, I’ve been putting a lot, been lucky enough to have a putting green at my house with the synthetic grass, to be able to hit some putts. And, yeah, I just found a nice little — I’m the kind of guy that will switch putters every other week and switch putting stances every other week because it’s so frustrating to putt.

So I kind of found one specific putting style, and it feels good.


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