PNC Championship

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Orlando, Florida, USA

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club

Justin Leonard

Luke Leonard

Quick Quotes

DOUG MILNE: Congrats, off to a great start. A really good start to the round, 7-under through six holes, 11-under 61. Just a few comments on how much fun it was out there today.

LUKE LEONARD: I really enjoyed it. It was a really cool experience, and it was fun to get off on the right foot.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Yeah, great start, unfortunately just the last few holes we couldn't get it in close enough. We just needed to make a putt here or there.

Really fun day to feel the competitive juices standing next to him and watching him perform the way he did. I'm a proud dad. And it was a lot of fun to be out there with him today.

DOUG MILNE: How special is it for you to be in this kind of competitive environment, watching your dad do what he has made such a great career out of doing?

LUKE LEONARD: It was really cool. It was cool to actually be inside the ropes and playing and feeling maybe something that he was feeling, like feeling those same emotions, whereas usually I'm outside the ropes spectating. That was a really cool feeling and experience.

DOUG MILNE: How special was it for you to have him in, not only him watching you but you getting to watch him and see what he's got?

JUSTIN LEONARD: Well, it's hard to describe the experience because as a player, I'm used to playing. And then I watched him play a lot of junior and high school golf the last couple years. And like it's a different feeling watching and playing. And today I got to experience both like about 20 seconds apart.

So but what a blast. And, I mean, for him to get off the start that we did and the way he putted and played today, I think this should give him confidence going forward. It gives me some confidence going forward.

Look, in this game, you always have things to work on. We've got some things we need to work on. But to be out there and play the way we did, on a fun golf course and a great format, with playing with the Cinks and in this field, it's kind of a dream come true. And to be able to do it side by side with Luke and the rest of our family is all here, it's like Christmas come early.

Q. Luke, I was hoping you could tell about your journey in the game and when you started to love golf.

LUKE LEONARD: Well, I'm actually kind of a COVID golfer. When everyone was shut down in their houses, I started to get out to the range with my friends. So I've kind of played golf all my life, but I really started taking it seriously about two years ago.

But I enjoy it, and I think that I've improved a fair bit over these past two years. So it's just really fun. And it gives us something to do together, where it's something that we're both really passionate about.

Q. Has being competitive in this game kind of changed your perspective a little bit on what your dad was able to accomplish?

LUKE LEONARD: Yeah, I definitely understand the emotions that he feels and just the reactions to bad shots and all that stuff much better now that I do play as well and I kind of feel those same things.

Q. Have you ever thrown a club in front of him?

LUKE LEONARD: Not, not yet (laughter).

Q. Have you ever thrown a club?

JUSTIN LEONARD: Yeah, I had a little bit of a temper when I was younger, and I might have put a wedge or a putter into my little carry bag, and it bent the shaft in this 4-wood that I used. And my parents made me play with this bent-shafted 4-wood until I could work off what it cost to reshaft it.

And I had no idea, but apparently at that time, at about nine or ten years old, it takes about six months for you to work off buying a new shaft. Because I played with this 4-wood, it turned it into like a 7-wood. Literally, it was bent like this. And I played with it for six months. Kind of learned my lesson on that one.

Q. You were able to play with your dad in this before. Did you think then what it would be like to maybe play with your son one day?

JUSTIN LEONARD: I did. We've even talked about it. And that was, what, five or six years ago. He wasn't playing much golf. He came along with us, and he had clubs at this time, so he brought his clubs and hit a few balls when he was down here with us. And there was a little bit of a spark, but it fizzled out really quickly because we were back to Colorado and skiing and everything.

But we talked about it. And even in the last couple years, when he started playing, he goes, Dad, do you think I can get my game to where we could go and play? I said, If you work hard at it, yes, I do think so.

And golf is a funny game. It's hard because I see the improvement that he's making from week to week and month to month. It doesn't always show up on a scorecard, but his game is getting there.

And we saw some great glimpses of it today. He hit some incredible shots and made some great putts. And the improvement is there. He doesn't always see it, but me on the outside, I can see it.

So really fun day, but just the whole the last couple months, knowing we were playing here and getting ready and practicing and all that stuff, it's fun to finally be here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
127788-1-1222 2022-12-17 21:14:00 GMT

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