Transcript Of APL Champion Vogel


By USGA
July 14, 2012

Q.  Could you start by going through the details of the six birdies.  
T.J. VOGEL:  Well, I was hitting it good.  He made a few mistakes.  I turned it on. No. 12, par 3, hit a 9‑iron 10 feet, made it. Next hole, drivable one, hit it off to the left of the green and then chipped on and putted. The next hole I had it right on the number.16 was a really good drive, then I was kind of in between a 4‑ and a 5‑wood.  I decided to go with the cut 5‑wood, landed right on the middle of the green. 17, 6‑iron. Good numbers all week.  That makes a big difference.  I don't know if everyone understands golf, but having perfect numbers all week, it's like a great feeling.  You don't want to have to hit half shots in some of these hole locations because you have to put spin on the ball.  If you take spin off the ball, it's going to be tough.

Q.  Can you talk about what it means for you to win this tournament. T.J. VOGEL:  It means everything.  I played well as a junior, coming into college, then had a little hiatus.  I decided to make a change and the change has been great.  Guidance from one of the greatest college coaches ever has really turned me around.  Had a great season. Then to come out here, I have a lot of confidence after the season I just had.  It just means a lot to be able to further myself in big tournaments and compete with the best.

Q.  Was it pretty easy to block out all the extra stuff, what was on the line, when you woke up this morning?  What was this morning like to get ready for today?  
T.J. VOGEL:  Today was weird 'cause I felt the most comfortable today than I felt the entire week.  I felt no pressure whatsoever today.  Normally when I wake up I feel anxious, like I can't eat, I just want to get going. Today I was able to eat, so that's a good sign.  And then, I don't know, just one of those things where I felt so confident that it just blocked out any of the pressures that I had.  Like I could carry the weight of the world on my shoulders this week, that's how confident I was with week.  I don't know how to put that any other way.  Nothing was going to stop me, I felt like.

Q.  When did you get that feeling? 
T.J. VOGEL:  After I beat Alberto, after I finished strong, closed him out.  I felt like that was probably the turning point in the week.  Then my next two rounds were the best two rounds I had in the tournament. The first few matches were tough.  They played great and I played average.  If I was a little off, I could have been going home.  But I really found something in my swing when I played Ernst, and it continued today and was even better today.

Q.  In any of those close matches, was there a moment where you could have lost it and not been here today?  
T.J. VOGEL:  I went to the 18th hole three times this week in match play.  My first match was very tough.  He was great.  Great guy, good swing, solid player.  I didn't know what to expect.  I didn't overlook him, thank God.  He was great. Then I played Greg, who was probably the most impressive 50‑year‑old man I ever met.  He was able to take me to the 18th hole.  He could have won, no doubt.  If he beat me, that guy that was ridiculous.  Such a good competitor that knows how to play the game.  50 years old, he knows what he's doing, yeah. There were times where I was down in both and I came back to win.

Q.  You likely earned an invitation to the Masters.  
T.J. VOGEL:  It's in the back of my head, but it's too surreal right now, to be thinking that I'm going to be playing in the Masters.  Once I get that invitation, it will hit me.

Q.  Do you feel like you were driving exceptionally well or was it more iron play that was a bigger factor? 
T.J. VOGEL:  I'm pretty long off the tee.  I don't know many people who can keep up with me off the tee right now.  My wedge game, I hit some of the best wedges of my life.  I had more tap‑in birdies at this tournament than my best three tournaments combined.  It was unbelievable how good my wedge game was.  That's the good feeling.  Having gimmes for birdies is what you want.

Q.  Did you ever feel sorry for him, letting off the gas a little bit?  
T.J. VOGEL:  It's a fine line.  I guess the morning I felt kind of like (indiscernible).  But then I saw someone said the record was 13, 12, something like that.  I wanted to go get it, get that record.  But I didn't.  That's fine.  I still played well.

Q.  Your dad said you were a little ticked off when the rain started.  
T.J. VOGEL:  I was.  You could kind of see.  I mean, yeah, I didn't let much affect me this week, but that kind of got me mad.  I don't know why.  Normally that stuff doesn't bother me.  I thought it was going to rain forever.  I mean, it poured.  This wasn't what I was expecting, this wasn't the way I wanted it to end. But then it cleared up and everything was fine.  He told me to hold on, you're being ridiculous, you need to stop complaining and play.  I was like okay.  It's good to have dad there to say stuff like that.

Q.  Overall what was it like to share this experience with him? 
T.J. VOGEL:  Great, phenomenal.  Can't even put it into words how much this means to me and to him to be able to go through this whole thing with him every day, 36 holes a day, last three days.  There's not that much time left that he's going to be able to do something like this.  For me to get it right now is huge, really means a lot.

Q.  Will he caddie for you at Augusta? 
T.J. VOGEL:  There's no way he won't.

Q.  Is putting something that Buddy has helped you with, too? 

T.J. VOGEL:  Buddy always told me to develop something and just stick with it.  Like the last several years, I've been kind of changing grips, changing strokes, kind of going back and forth when stuff wasn't working.  The thing he told me to do this year was find something you putt well with and do it, don't change it, know what you want to work on when things aren't going well. I actually got a new putter before this tournament.  I put it in right away, which was kind of a gutsy call.  I putted phenomenally within 10 feet this week.

Q.  You said you were struggling with your putting earlier.  
T.J. VOGEL:  I was great all week within seven, eight feet.  These greens are hard to read.  A lot of double breakers.  It's one of those things where you hit it so well, it's close enough to where you think you're going to make it, but the percentages are against you.  That's always tough.  It's frustrating. Those are the most frustrating rounds for me, when I hit it really well, 12, 15 feet all day, and not make it.  That's kind of what I was going through. I did make some really clutch and good putts in match play.

Q.  Plans for the summer? 
T.J. VOGEL:  When I get home, I have to work on summer school, summer class.  Then I have two match play tournaments. 

Q.  Your opponent is hitting hybrids in, how much did that play into you building a lead early on? 
T.J. VOGEL:  Absolutely huge.  A lot easier when you're hitting wedges.  It's a lot easier to get them close.  You can hit greens 7, 8‑irons all the time, but you're going to score with your wedges.  That was probably the biggest difference. Also it was cold this morning.  It played way longer today than it did any other day, like way longer.  My length really helped today.  Even I had some midrange approaches, and he was coming in with a hybrid.  That's a huge advantage that I'm able to get it on the green.

Q.  You say you're a bit of a perfectionist.  
T.J. VOGEL:  I am a perfectionist.  I'm working on it.  Not so much this week.  I tried to accept every shot before I hit it.  I tried to just let it go.  I was much more under control than I've ever been emotional‑wise. You get in these events, you're going to be emotional, you're emotions are going to be high.  All I tried to do this week was stay very calm, even‑keeled no matter what.  I hardly fist pumped because that can get you too emotionally high.  I tried to stay really calm, not let anything affect me.  I think that was probably the key to my success this week actually, being able to control my emotions under pressure.

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