Travelers Championship 2015

Tuesday, June 23

Press Conference

Branden Grace



THE MODERATOR: Branden Grace, thank you for joining us for a little bit today. First of all, I want to congratulate you on your performance last week, solid play. We just talked about getting chartered over here and being ready for this week. So just talk a little bit about the last week for you and switching gears to the Travelers Championship?

BRANDEN GRACE: Yeah, thanks. It was a good week. It was a great week from start to end. Obviously would have preferred to walk away with the trophy, but we mall know how things turned up. But it was fun. I had a great week, played some great golf. I managed to do a couple of things which was on the list to try to reach in the season, and one of them was to secure my card, and I think I've pretty much done that. So that was a big thing for me. Yeah, just coming over here it was nice enough for the guys from Travelers to put up a jet for us to charter over here. It made it convenient getting over and trying to get ready for today. Obviously, I would have liked to have a little bit of a sleep in, but I heard there was some bad weather on the way, so we had an early practice round which was nice, and the course was in great shape and the greens are a lot better than last week, I can tell you that much.

Q. First of all, Branden, congratulations. It was a great week at Chambers Bay. I kind of predicted it. I had a feeling you were going to have a good week. Another person that had a great week was Jordan Spieth. You got an up close look at that. What impressed you most about his game being that close to him all week? Was there anything that he did special?
BRANDEN GRACE: Well, I think we had the opposite side of the draw the first couple of days. Obviously Saturday you just get so in your own zone. You know what's going on in front of you and behind you, but you don't know what they do themselves. When I played with him on Sunday, he's a great guy. Obviously, we all know the talent he is, the proper golf that he plays. Obviously he's won Augusta, which is phenomenal, and to win two in a row is something special. He just handled himself well. Kept in the space of the scorecard. To be honest, he never hit the ball that great on the first nine holes. He struggled around the tee, but he'd get it around. He hit it on the green, took the bogies out of play, took the pars and head forward. On the back nine started to make a little bit of putts and didn't make a mistake coming in until the 17th hole. Then on a course like that, the one mistake might just be enough to put you back the way it did myself. He just had that one extra hole which he managed to hit a great 3-wood going in there and just had enough to finish it off. So that's a great week for him.

Q. What prompted the desire to have a TOUR card over here? You've obviously had success in Europe. When did you kind of make that decision, and what was the thought process there?
BRANDEN GRACE: Yeah, well, I've been over here the last couple of years coming over the start of every year so far being in the top 50 or there about. I've given it a go every year just trying to play all the big events and trying to get your money and your points up in the 12 events which we are allowed to play and take it on from there. But this year I really felt that I got off to a good start back in Europe, and I really felt my swing is getting there. I felt like I'm in a much better frame of mind this year coming over to the States. I've played nicely. I had a couple of top tens early on in the season. Obviously just off to Augusta, and I felt my game was there, and I just needed a break. I went home for three weeks, which was nice, and it was nice to come back and perform the way I did at a U.S. Open at a big venue like that after a break, which is something I needed to do. It was nice to get all the money and the points up to secure it, and I could just relax and play the golf that I know I can play.

Q. Will you play a lot more over here? And have you sort of reached out to -- if so, have you reached out to anybody in terms of juggling the two tours?
BRANDEN GRACE: Not really. Obviously, I'm actually staying with Louis this week. So I think if we join together as well. I actually just spoke to him -- well, I didn't speak to him. He sent me a message saying, Geez, you got a bad draw this week. So I know he's there with me this week. He's that kind of guy. But I'll probably ask him and Ernie for some advice to see how they've done it in the past. I know he's only been out here the last two years. Before that he's been on both of them. I think it's going to be tough. You just need to plan it well and come over here. I think the one thing that's working in my favor, I've won this year, so I've got another two years exemption in Europe. So I might come over here full-time next year and play a whole full season and see what it's like and just go back for the bigger ones. That's just all in the mind that I'm thinking of now. I just have to put my head down and decide and stick with it.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
BRANDEN GRACE: Yeah. Depending on how things go towards then, I think there are still a couple big ones out there. We've still got two majors left. So I think by the time we get to the PGA then I should know what's going on.

Q. After playing so well last weekend, you want to keep going, keep playing well. Yet you came so close to winning there has to be some disappointment there. How do you balance the two to where you want to, again, build on momentum, yet at the same time you need to have a short memory?
BRANDEN GRACE: Yeah, it's a tough pill to swallow. I've played pretty much 71 holes on perfect golf out there last week. One hole cost me one bad swing. I didn't actually think I had a bad shot. I struck it and it went straight right. It's just one of those things. You have to live with it, you have to look forward and keep on going. I was fortunate enough for Andy and the guys here at Travelers to give me an invite for this week. I've heard a lot of great things about this tournament. A lot of times when I've played with Lee and Charlie before, they said this is one course that will soot suit me, so I've had in my mind that I'm going to come here and play, and I really want to do well here. So after last week, having that positive feeling of hitting the ball nicely, making the good finish, the positive vibes are up for this week. So last week's gone. I can't turn the clock back. I would like to, believe me. But it's just one of those things to swallow it and keep forward. If not, then I've had that taste to be in contention with the majors so I'll know what to do next time.

Q. Again, congratulations on a successful week last week. Obviously, last week was such a grind trying to make par on every hole. How do you transition into a tournament like this where you're really trying to make birdie on a lot of the holes out there?
BRANDEN GRACE: I think for all the guys that played last week, when you come to a week like this, we play a lot of PGA golf courses now, and the courses are in great (Indiscernible) and things like that. Last week was tough. It was sort of a mental grind. Just trying to keep to making pars instead of bogeys. I think it's going to feel a little bit easier this week just coming off a regular grind like that. I've felt it in the past when I've played in Europe since before I was in Europe full-time, I played both TOURs in Europe and in South Africa, I always found it easier going back to South Africa and playing there. Just mentally you find that you're tougher. So I think this week would be a little bit similar to that. But it looks like it's going to be a birdie course again. You have to get in and make some putts on the green. The greens are great, so there is going to be some low scoring.

Q. You mentioned Louis and Ernie. Can you talk about the pride of being a South African golfer, and who was or is your golfing idol?
BRANDEN GRACE: Yeah, golf in South Africa has been great. Obviously we've had some big names up there from the days I can remember even starting watching golf. Ernie has been one of the biggest idols for South Africa, not just in golf but for all sports. And then he was up there, and he's done tremendous, not just in golf but what he does for autism, for sport back home, for golf back home, for underprivileged. So he's done big stuff. If we can find of get into that direction and follow a little bit in their footsteps, then we're also succeeding somehow on some points. But it's nice to be out here. Nice to be able to play with guys like that and to learn from guys like that. So just to get to the second part of it. My idol growing up, I always had two. Ernie was one. He was a great guy. I met Ernie when I was younger. I've been part of his foundation back home. But Tiger was always one of the guys that we always look up to. Just the way that he played golf, the fire he had in him, what it meant to him. So those two definitely.
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