You came from 3-down with three to play to halve your Ryder Cup singles match. Did you know how important your match was to the U.S. team?
It’s always going to mean something coming down toward the end of the Ryder Cup. I knew that if I could sneak out half a point, it could have a big impact. It was kind of a do-or-die situation. I just focused on what I needed to do and played it one shot, one hole at a time. Next thing I know, I’m walking down 18 with a chance to halve the match. Pretty cool.
You seem to really gear up for match play. What makes you so competitive?
I actually haven’t been that successful in match-play tournaments like the U.S. Amateur, the Pub Links, or the U.S. Junior. I’ve done better in the match-play events that have been team events, like the Canon Cup, a junior event, and the Walker Cup, which I played in twice. It’s the team atmosphere, the team camaraderie, and being a part of a team playing for my country. It gets me going, it gets me pumped up. I feel like I play some of my best golf in those team atmospheres. I don’t know what it is. Something clicks, and I start hitting it better. Obviously, those last few holes I started really focusing on what I needed to do. That kept me from thinking negative or getting nervous.
Do you feel like that halve was your biggest highlight of the year?
Yeah. Obviously, I’ve played well in a few tournaments and had some chances to win, but on the last day of the Ryder Cup, with the Ryder Cup on the line and my match having some influence on the outcome, coming from 4-down to halve the match was pretty big.
Do you regret tossing your ball into the water on 18? You could have sold that on eBay!
I was just kind of in the moment. I didn’t really think about what I was going to do after the putt or when I made the putt or anything like that. I have the ball that Jim [Furyk] and I halved the match with. It would have been different if that was the putt for us to win the Ryder Cup. The ball would have gone in my pocket. We’ll save the ball if it comes down to that.
You had a good rookie year — six top 10s, nine top 25s — but no wins. Do you feel like the year was a success?
It was OK. I mean, obviously I had some good tournaments. I felt that I was inconsistent at times, and I missed some cuts that I probably shouldn’t have. But part of it was just getting my feet wet out here, getting to know some of the courses, because I hadn’t seen many of them before. I had some good finishes, and some chances to win, and obviously I would have liked to have won one of them. Making the Ryder Cup and having a good showing there definitely made it a good year, but I think what would top it off would be to win.
Do you miss Oklahoma State? Is life on Tour tougher than college?
Sometimes it’s tougher in certain ways, and sometimes it’s easier. I’d say it’s busier out here. You’ve got to learn some time management. I learned to manage my time pretty well in college, and it’s helped me out here. This year, with so many new courses, I had to play more practice rounds than most guys, so making sure I was well-rested for the tournament was a big thing. I do miss the guys on the team. I still go back when I can. Some of my best friends are there, and I’m close with the coaches.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve bought since turning pro?
I like my car, but I’m closing on a house right now in Florida.
Hey, you’re a real Tour pro now, living in Florida!
Well, I’m not giving any addresses out. I like to fish when I have time off, so I’ll practice and fish and hang out down there.