RBC Canadian Open

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ancaster, Ontario, Canada

Hamilton Golf and Country Club

Taylor Pendrith

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Taylor Pendrith to the interview room here at the RBC Canadian Open. Taylor's making his fourth start in the event and first as a PGA TOUR winner. So, Taylor, how does it feel to be back at the RBC Canadian Open?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, it feels great. It's obviously a super fun week for the Canadians. Playing in front of the home crowd. It's always a week I'm really looking forward to and nice to be back in Canada and at a beautiful golf course. So, looking forward to the week.

THE MODERATOR: A lot of momentum over the last couple of years for Canadian golf, but especially this tournament with Nick winning last year. How much motivation did that win from Nick give you to try and make it two in a row for the Canadians.

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Tons. I think it's a big deal for all the Canadians playing in this tournament. It's a major for us. It's the one time we get to be here in our home country and play in front of the home fans, so it's a big deal for the players and the spectators and the whole country. It's a huge event, and to see Nick do it last year was unbelievable, it was super inspiring. I think all the Canadians on TOUR right now are playing great, so the more flags that we can get up top of the leaderboard and try and chase it down on Sunday, the better. It should be a fun week.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take some questions.

Q. Obviously the last year you played in the Canadian Open, but you did miss it for a few years because of injuries and for other reasons. You're playing some of the best golf of your career heading into this Canadian Open. How does it feel to be carrying that momentum into our national championship?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, it feels great. Obviously I've played some nice golf this year. This is my fourth start here, third as a professional. Like I said before, it's always a week that I look forward to. My game feels like it's in a good spot, and I obviously gained a lot of confidence with the win a few weeks ago, so I'm looking forward to competing and ready for the week.

Q. What are some of your thoughts on the golf course so far this week?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: I've only seen the front nine. It's really nice. I can't really remember it before the changes. I've only played here two times before. It's beautiful. It's a little wet, and I think we got some more rain last night, so hopefully it firms up a little bit by the weekend. I think the weather's supposed to be good. It's really nice. You got to, there's a good mix of holes where you can hit driver and try and push it up. I think they added some new bunkers so it makes it a little tighter and trickier, but if you hit the ball in play it will be scorable. Even around the greens it's a little tricky. Being smart coming into the greens is going to be key, and making some putts, the greens are pure.

Q. What was your first thought when you saw your grouping for tomorrow and Friday?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, I was obviously super excited. Get to play with Nick, defending champion, and Rory, who won here last time, so should be fun. Feel bad for my parents who probably won't be able to watch me play golf, but it's okay.

Q. With being now a PGA TOUR winner, how does your mentality about your expectations and how you approach a week, is that different at all, is there a little bit of a burden off in a way, or is it still pretty business as usual, and do you feel any different as you make your way around a tournament site?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, I think just kind of managing expectations. I think this will be my 77th start maybe, or 76th, I don't actually know, and I have one win. Obviously you're not going to win every week -- obviously I would like to, but that's not the reality, so just trying to manage my expectations and preparing like any other week. This is a big week. We're in Canada, so I guess it's a little bit of added pressure. I would love to perform well in front of the home fans, but yeah, just trying to go through my stuff and do what I've been doing for the last 10 years before every tournament. Obviously I have a little bit more confidence knowing that I can play well under pressure. That's good to know, but just trying to manage my expectations and hopefully have a great week, but just do what I've been doing.

Q. With the Presidents Cup being in Canada, does that pop into your mind here and there like, oh, that would be cool to be on that team, and what have the conversations been like with Mike Weir and the captains throughout the year?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, for sure, it's a huge goal. To have it in Canada, Mike being the captain, he has all the history at that course, beating Tiger, it's a big deal. It's a huge goal of mine at the start of the year, and I've played well so far this year to put myself into that conversation. Hopefully, I'll have a strong summer and be in the mix. It would be a huge, huge honor to be on that team in Canada under Mike. It would be awesome. It's definitely on my mind, but you got to play good golf for that to happen, so just focusing on that.

Q. What is your relationship with Mike?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, pretty good. I've got to know him better over the last few years. He's been very open to having conversations. He texts me once in a while. He texted me on Sunday morning before I played in Dallas. We had an International Team dinner that week. It was cool to hang out with all those guys. Yeah, he sent me a nice note on Sunday morning before and just told me to play my game and go have fun and don't need to do anything different. So, yeah, that meant a lot. Obviously he's somebody who I look up to a lot. He's a legend in Canada. So it's cool to have a relationship with him.

Q. What's it like coming into this event and not being asked about being the first Canadian or next Canadian or last Canadian to win it after last year? Is it kind of nice not to have to answer those kinds of questions?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, well now I can just answer Nick Taylor, so it's easier. Yeah, it was amazing to see him do it and end the drought in that fashion. I still get goose bumps watching the video. His caddie is a buddy of mine. Hopefully we can have more of that. Might have to change the Canadian Open logo next year.

Q. What are your thoughts about the logo just as a piece of art?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: I think it's unreal. I think it's, it was an iconic moment and it's pretty cool. Yeah, it's really cool.

Q. I know you were close a few times before winning, what was the difference between making it happen?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: I think coming short a few times before really helped me. I learned a lot in the times where I was in the final group and didn't play my best. I learned that I got to stay aggressive and try and win the tournament and not let it come to me. I feel like you have to be in that position a few times before you do get it done. But every part of my game that week was really good. Putting especially. I guess that had been my weakest statistic for the last however many years, and the last couple years I really worked on it and it's been a strength of mine. I made a couple really crucial putts the last few holes and so I think that's what got it done.

Q. I recall last year this tournament was I think a week later and it happened to fall around your caddie's birthday; am I remembering that right? Any birthday gifts in store this year now? Maybe a little better gift now that you won?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Well, it's my birthday tomorrow so hopefully he gets me something. But, yeah, I can't disclose what it is, but he'll be getting a gift.

Q. 10 years since your first Canadian Open at Royal Montreal. Had obviously a good week there. What are your most vivid memories of that tournament?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: I think just showing up on-site and seeing what goes into a PGA TOUR event. I forget what tournament it was that I had just came off of and played horrible, so I had no expectations. Then I shot 68 the first round and was in third. The next day -- I guess I made the mistake at night watching all the highlights, and everybody's talking about, oh, you could be the first Canadian in how many, however many years, and I obviously got myself worked up, and I think I shot 75 the next day. Made the cut and played its weekend. Played good on the weekend. Yeah, it was a cool moment. I think there's a record number of Canadians here this week and it's something that we take -- it's an honor to play in your National Open, so I'm excited for all these younger guys playing, because my first one was really special. It was a lot of fun just to be around the pros and watch them practice. I was 22 years old, I think, and still an amateur, and learned a lot that week. It was kind of eye opening what goes into a PGA TOUR event. Playing with some of the pros, I played with Hadwin I think my first two days there, and just watching him go about his business was really cool and something that I learned from, for sure, and kind of implement into my preparation now.

Q. Is that result, given it was at Royal Montreal, was that something that you would just casually slip into Mike that you've had some success there before?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: I haven't, but I should, yeah. I love that golf course. It's old school, it's really cool, a cool track. I think the Presidents Cup, it's going to be a perfect venue for that. It would be very cool to go back there. I haven't been back since, so it would be awesome.

Q. With your shoulder and everything, is it 100 percent healthy, is it still kind of a week-to-week thing or where are you at with that right now?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: I wouldn't say it's a hundred percent, but it's significantly better than it has been most of the year. Still working on it daily, recovering with it, and it feels pretty good right now, so it's promising, but it's something that I got to keep up with and hopefully get it stronger. Yeah, if it stays like how it feels right now for the rest of the year, that would be wonderful, but still a work in progress, but it's feeling good.

Q. It's also with it being an Olympic year, is that something that's on your mind at all and trying to play your way on to that team? I know it's a pretty competitive group of Canadians trying to get those spots.

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Yeah, absolutely. I would say at the start of the year it wasn't really on my radar, but now I kind of played my way into the mix, and it's going to be a tight race for the next couple weeks, it could go so many different ways, depending upon who plays good. So it would be an honor to do that. I grew up watching Olympic hockey and all the Team Canada sports and it would be an honor to be a part of Team Canada and get to do it. Good golf will take care of that, so just focusing on the next few weeks and hopefully play well and can get on that team and it would be an honor.

Q. I wanted to ask you just as you progressed in your path as a pro, kind of the process of building a team around you in terms of swing coach and strength and conditioning and all the rest of it. Is it kind of trial and error or do you kind of ask maybe more veteran players as to how to go around that process, how difficult is it, how important is it?

TAYLOR PENDRITH: Definitely super important. I've pretty much had the same team for a long time now. Derek Ingram is my golf coach, he's been my coach since I was a part of the amateur national team, so that's, I don't know, 13 or 14 years now. He's great. He knows my game. I'm comfortable with him. He's a great guy to hang around. I started working with a physio out here for a couple years that's helped me with my body and preparing me week-to-week. I have a mental coach who I've recently started working with again who, again, was part of the national team, so I've known her for 13 years. My caddie's a good buddy of mine who I've known forever, and he's been with me for six years. So I wouldn't say there's much trial and error for me, it's more of, I know it works and they're a huge part of my success. Even in the bad, the down times, they're still there for me. My family and my wife is a huge part of it. Yeah, they're a big part of the team and they're a huge reason for the success.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
144595-2-1044 2024-05-29 23:25:00 GMT

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