Goydos Talks about Pebble Beach

Paul Goydos always has a good time playing in the A&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The 2011 edition tees off Thursday. For one thing, he's home on the West Coast and can tend to various domestic duties, and for another, he generally plays well on the Monterey Peninsula.

After a practice round Tuesday, Goydos, one of two players last year to shoot a magical 59, met with reporters and discussed the tournament. He also had funny anecdotes about playing with amateurs. Here's what the witty and droll PGA Tour veteran had to say during his Q&A.

MODERATOR: Paul, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. On the cart ride over you said, Why do they want to talk to me? That's so dark. I threw this tournament away last year.

PAUL GOYDOS: It's dark. But I did win the pro-am.

MODERATOR: Not necessarily harping on that, but just some thoughts on kind of how you're feeling in 2011 as you make a return here in Pebble Beach.

PAUL GOYDOS: Well, I played good here -- for parts of tournaments anyway. I like it here. I haven't played well this year. Like last year I finished fifth at L.A. coming into this week. The game was moving in the right direction. It moved in the right next for about 68 or I don't know how many holes that was. 67 holes maybe. But I like it here. It's a great place. Supposed to have good weather. I think the courses are in good shape. There's hasn't been any rain apparently in at least a month, have they? I think going to be a good week.

Q. Have you played the course yet?

PAUL GOYDOS: No. I just flew in to talk to you guys. That's why I'm here. I'm going to play Pebble tomorrow with Kevin and Fleschy.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: The west coast I do because I can go home. I would never do that if I had to switch a lot of time zones, no. But the west coast, I will, yeah, hopefully go home Sunday night, Monday take care of whatever I need to do, laundry, and then drive over to L.A. Tuesday morning. That's kind of how I am on the west coast. Once you start going to Florida, in my opinion, you need to commit yourself to the time zone. So when I play Honda, I leave on Sunday and make sure I'm there and get three nights of those guys on the wrong time.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: Well, first of all, where you're playing. It's close. Pebble Beach is an iconic golf course. Quite frankly, the last few years it's gotten better and better. The golf course has gotten firmer. They've put some money in the drainage getting the golf course ready. I know U.S. Open last year the golf course was fantastic. We could never ask for a better U.S. Open. I don't think there's anybody in the field here -- is this thing even on, by the way? Yeah, did even par win the U.S. Open I want to say? I don't think there's anybody that felt that they played good and couldn't shot even par. Only one guy did. Most, like me, missed the cut. But the golf course is just -- and the golf course doesn't necessary favor a fader or a hooker or a long hitter or a short hitter or a straight hitter, whatever. Anybody can really kind of compete here, too, which is nice.

Q. (Question regarding what it's like playing with an amateur.)

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah, generally I would say amateurs worry too much about us. It's almost like -- a lot times you play in the Hope or you play here where you're playing actually in a tournament round, and their big fear is they're somehow gonna screw us up. I don't really get that. We play golf every day. I play with amateurs at home. We play pro-ams. Golf is that sport. You can have a guy that's never played before play with a Tour player, and it really should affect the Tour player. Really shouldn't.

I think the amateurs don't do enough concentrating on themselves. Then when you get to Sunday -- I've had my amateur make the cut three our four times now. I had a guy, really nice guy, Alan Hoops, who is actually from Southern Cal, and he played on Sunday. I don't think he hit a tee ball on every -- I mean, he didn't play the round. I think that's kind of sad. I think amateurs make the mistake of worry too much about the pro and the pro aspect of it. The reality is I've never had an amateur even remotely been -- affect me in any way, shape, or form in the event. What I try to do is just play golf. We're not here to watch me play golf. We're here as a team. Yes, you can actually do both. I can actually play individually and I can actually help out the team. You can do both at the same time. It's not impossible.

Q. What is the funniest thing you've seen an amateur do?

PAUL GOYDOS: Funniest thing I've seen an amateur do? I did have a guy a few years back -- it's more than a few years back. I'm getting old. Sit down -- but my parents came out early. They used to come out earlier, maybe Monday, and found me in the player dining on Tuesday afternoon and said, What do you think our strategy should be? (Laughter.) I said, Shoot as low as possible. He's all gung-ho and this and that. I want to say we played a practice round on Wednesday. He was a pretty good player. He was like a single-digit handicap for sure and talked a pretty good game. We get up on Spyglass, he started and hit it 50 feet of the first tee. I shot 74, and I think we shot 73. Well he rolled it, he putted, right up to the ladies tee. Yeah, I think maybe very should change our strategy.

But, you know, I've never been around -- I played with Rush Limbaugh when he was Pernice's partner a few years ago. Then I had Michael Bolton as a partner and I got paired with him when he made the cut with Tim Clark. And then my rookie year I played with Donald Trump. I went to I guess it was Paul Spangler and I said, Why are you pairing me with Donald Trump? This doesn't make any sense. He said -- well, we had Harry Crosby and Donnie Hammond. Why are you having Paul Goydos the last group off the first tee at Pebble on Saturday? He should've been with Payne Stewart or something. If we pair him with Payne Stewart's, it's Payne Stewart's group. Oh, okay. If we pair him with you, it's Donald's Trump's group. (Laughter.)

Q. How did Trump play that year?

PAUL GOYDOS: He got a hole-in-one. Yeah, 12th hole at Spyglass. You have a decent crowd when you play with Trump. Couple hundred people. I guess you would have to look it up, but there is like a picture on the front page of the New York Times: Trump makes hole-in-one in front of 25,000 people. I was like, Did they count the viewers? Where did the 25,000 people come from?

Q. You were a rookie that year?

PAUL GOYDOS: I was a rookie, '93.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: With Mr. Stewart again from Hertz. Defending champs, are you kidding? The 18th is the perfect handicap. He can play it a little bit. He's an 18. Don't get me wrong. He's getting a stroke every hole. I'm gonna make a few bogeys in there, and it worked out quite well. He would make three or four pars a day, and I played the eyes off of it for 67 holes.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: I did, a long time back. Actually, this tournament in '94 I got paired with Frank Olson who is the CEO of Hertz.

Q. (Question regarding younger players not wanting to play pro-ams.)

PAUL GOYDOS: I'm sure there are -- I don't think it has to do with young. I think it has to do with all our generations have players that think that way. I don't know that young players are any different than the young players 20 years ago. Some guys don't like playing pro-ams. I grew up in Southern California, and to me, that was the most famous golf tournament when you're a 12-year-old kid is the Bob Hope. Celebrities, Palm Springs, it's 95 degrees when you're freezing cold, even though that wasn't the case. I wouldn't skip the Hope for anything. Well, I did once, but it was for something important.

But I like playing in the pro-ams. I like playing Disney, the old format we had with three golf courses and we played with three amateurs. I always loved that. But I think there are players - and everybody is different - that they just don't like that. To each their own. That's why we have 47 events.

Q. Last year Sunday, you stayed around for the presentation ceremony. Going through that, positive, upbeat, giving perspective as possible. I couldn't help but think, maybe go out and shoot 59 the next year. Do you believe in the golf gods and little things that you hear that maybe nobody notices coming back to you on the golf course in terms of performance?

PAUL GOYDOS: I think part of what we do, especially in that -- and to be honest with you, Dustin won the tournament. And when you're on the west coast, they have deadlines for the media. He can't do a bunch of presentations because he might miss some deadlines. So they're gonna take him to the media center as soon as he finishes for a number of reasons, one of them because they want to watch the emotion and whatnot. So they had time to kill. I didn't want to go talk to anybody. I just made nine. I thought, Yay. So we went over there, and it was fun. It's a great event. I think part of this event is the amateurs. This event wouldn't exist or AT&T wouldn't be sponsored this event. This event started as a pr-am, and that's what it is. So winning the pro-am is a big deal, especially for the amateur. We had a great time. I'm looking forward to playing again this year. It's a big part this event.

Again, I don't think I'm any more unique than the other players. You have position, you played in the last group. Yes, I was not happy about things, but, hey, it was part of the event. They asked me to go do that. I'm gonna go do it every time. I obviously enjoy dealing with the media, maybe because I've been out here for 17, 18, 19 years and I know what to expect. If that would have been my rookie year, I might not have gone to talk to them. I might not. I might have been working on my clubs and going to the lake behind me, the ocean behind the 18th green. So part of that's experience. That's what it's about. That's why we're here. I think my amateur had a great time. Clint Eastwood is standing there. What are you going to say? No, I don't want to speak to these people. That's just not going to happen. I think it's unfair to the rest of the pros to say you were good for doing that. I would argue that almost everybody in that situation would most likely do it.

It goes back to the same issue: After the Players Championship or during the Players Championship when I got interviewed by Bob Costas and I gave him all those stupid answers to his questions. I say he's quirky and different and funny. If Tiger Woods says that, he's a jerk, the exact same quirky questions. So sometimes it's a little unfair to judge players because we don't do the media -- everybody is at a different place. How I answer a question is going to be taken one way, while somebody else answers the question the exact same way it can be taken another way. You can't have the same expectation from all players for all issues. Does that make sense at all? I kind of got in circles. I do that.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah, again, he said something that didn't quite come out right. I don't even know what happened. Somebody else told me about it. He said he made a comment about Tiger. I don't even know what he said. Don't talk to the media. That's my answer. (Laughter.)

Q. You said about the tournament and how good it is and what they've done, and last year they added Monterey, which I think was pretty much a success. They've improved the field size, but yet this event, there is still bias in regards to the quality of the field. What do you do to try to change that?

PAUL GOYDOS: You know, I think the Dubai issue has made the problem. They're paying guys to show up. If AT&T could pay guys to show up, what do you think this field would look like? That's the problem. I don't know how you go about doing that. That's why we have commissioners and things like that. Again, you're going to have players that just don't want to play pro-ams. Everybody has that right. But generally, you know, this tournament from a television standpoint does very, very well. I think one of our better commodities on tour. I think the tournament itself is almost more important than necessarily -- we get decent celebrities playing in the event. The focal point, I don't know if Bill Murray is playing this year - but Bill Murray, and we can go all the way back to Jack London trying to make the cut.

It's not necessarily about -- the event that's the big deal here, not necessarily who's not here. I think they do a good job of that with this event. It's unique in that sense. Yeah. We have that problem with the European Tour and how they structure their tour versus how we structure our tour. But, again, those things have been going on forever. Going to have to find a way through that. Again, it's not fair to compare it to last year. With the U.S. Open here you're always going to get more people showing up. That's just the way life is. I think the field is generally represented.

Another thing we talk about is field strength. I don't know how you're judging that, if you're judging it by past performance of the payers in the event. How good is this field going to be if you judge it by future performance? What if Dustin ends up winning five or six major championships? Maybe he's the next Tiger Woods for all we know. So depends on how you judge a field, too. We tend to judge it by what they've done in the past, as opposed to -- we'll take a look at this field in five years and you might say, Hey, that was a pretty good field.

How was that answer? Huh? You like them apples? But I think that's a one-sided argument thing. Well, the field is not good. Well we don't know that yet. If we could have Phil Mickelson as a rookie and Tiger Woods as a rookie and all these other guys as rookies in the field, that's crap because they're a bunch of rookies. Well, no. The future best player of all-time was in the field. When he played Milwaukee that year, his first event, that was a crappy field, even though it had the best player in the world in the field.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: A lot better field than you this. I agree with that. That's what you're selling: the future. Who cares about the past? What matters is what everybody is doing from today.

Q. You mentioned Dustin and his future. You got to know him a little bit last year with the Ryder Cup as well. Seems like he's on the verge of something. What's your take on him?

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah, we've never had an athlete like that play this Tour. I think he's the best athlete that I can think of who's playing out here. Yeah, I mean, just in the sense of just this type of athlete coming into our game, when we talk about what's going on in the European Tour being kind of a Faldo influence. I think we're just now going to start seeing a Tiger/ Mickelson influence on the PGA Tour, how better -- it's more glamourous to be a professional golfer than when I was growing up, and you're going to see a better group of athletes come out and play in the game. People out there are going to change it. It's ridiculous you watch this guy work out.

(Indiscernible) here last year here for 18 holes. I think he's a tremendous talent who can do things that very few people have ever been able to do. To be honest with you, I think you ought to be pretty impressed with Bubba Watson, too with what he's accomplished over the last year basically. He had a chance to win Hope, won Hartford. He didn't make the Ryder Cup team. But the story this year is Mark Wilson. How about our boy, Mark? 150 pounds dripping wet. All my arguments about length being all that matters, he's throwing it right out the window. I had to rethink my whole thought process.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: Goes back to my argument about the field. Just about everyone in this field has it in 'em. It's just a matter ever getting it out of yourself. But I think he's obviously right now feeling good about his game, feeling confident. You know, there are guys like me who will complain about places like Torrey Pines, about how the bombers have a big advantage. The reality is if I go out and play well and make putts, I'm going to be competitive. If I go out and play poorly and don't make putts, I'm not. That's the way it is. You know, I don't think Mark looks at a place like Phoenix, which, again, historically it's kind of been a place where guys who move a little bit have had a lot of success.

Believe me, from what I understand - I didn't see it - he flew it over the water on 18. Hit it in the left bunker off the tee on 18, didn't he, in regulation? I can't do that. I can tell you right now. Maybe pound for pound he might hit it a little farther, too. But I played with him last year. I don't know if he made the 1.5 last year. I don't know where he finished on the Money List last year. But he's been a good player for a while. We'll see what happens. He's obviously showing everybody how to do it right now.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: I read that. I guess they're going to have world rankings to get in the top 60 or something? And they FedEx Cup points -- in my opinion for the U.S. Open, the more stops they have for qualifying, the better off. They're the best -- I would half the field there qualifies. The British Open it's not even a quarter of the field. I think the cool thing about the U.S. Open is their lack of exemptions, not their -- giving out too many. I think people having to qualify is a big deal.

Q. What is your highest world ranking?

PAUL GOYDOS: 39. Rare feat for me. I went from like -- I finished second in Tampa and then won Hawaii. It was back-to-back. I went from 200 to 39 within two tournaments -- wasn't even two tournaments.

Q. Has it picked up at all in credibility, the world rankings, in the 17, 18, 19 years you've been out here?

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah. They were originally designed by IMG to market Greg Norman. There's nothing wrong with that. They are doing what they can to make them more accurate. I don't think anybody is going to argue very much about Tiger being No. 1 for 15 straight years or whatever it was. The guys who are up there now and over the last couple years, they're pretty good. Lee Westwood, yeah, he played pretty good, so... The arguments as you go down, they obviously get less valid, in my opinion. How do you know I am 198 and some guy over here in Zimbabwe is 199. Doesn't make any sense. I don't know how you could even know that. But for the top whatever, I think they're reasonably accurate.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: I have no idea.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: Not much. Not much. I mean, I would like to see -- again, we've become the globalization of the game. We have to find a way to get to the specialized events, world championship golf type events, we have to find a way to get criteria to get people in. That's the only thing we got. I don't know if you're comparing apples to oranges in a sense, how I play in Pebble Beach or how someone else plays in Dubai. You know, I don't know how you can do the comparison, but you have to do it somehow. They've come up with they're not saying they're perfect. They're tweaking and trying to making them better. I think their heart is in the right place.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL GOYDOS: Caddies are important, but I think that -- we were just talking about it at lunch. You play in the pro-ams, and it doesn't matter whether it's Wednesday of L.A. or this one or the Bob Hope or whatever, those guys are probably club players, playing twice a month, so 25, 30 rounds a year in. They get a caddie and they just stop doing anything. What do I do? Like they have never played before. The caddie is not there to tell you what to do. He's there to help you out. There's a big difference. The caddie is not the CEO, you are. They'll get on the green and stand there and wait for the caddie to tell them what to do. You'll never make any putts doing that. Read it yourself. That's how you create putts, is you do it yourself. Sure you're gonna be wrong. If you're not sure, ask.

They almost do it the other way around. If they run their businesses the way they run their golf game, they never would play in this event because they never would have gotten the money to qualify. It's just crazy watching these guys. Like they never played before. They think a caddie is like the Lord Jesus himself. It's crazy.

Q. How often do you think about the 59, and how has that changed your game?

PAUL GOYDOS: I think about it every day. You spend -- I can come up with a number. It's been 180 days, and still haven't figured out what I did right that day and why I can't do it again. It's a cool deal. It's a cool thing to do. It's one of the cool things I've done in my career. I'm more proud of the fact that I've won a couple times, and probably even a little bit more proud of the fact that I played at the Players. I would argue at John Deere I played about as well as I could. Had a little couple sketchy spots in the middle of the second round, but other than that I played pretty good. Just one of those cool things to do. Something that I'll probably personally cherish for a long time. Hopefully it's something I can remember for more than one day. It's one of the coolest things I've done, but not nearly as cool as winning. Not even close, by the way. Not that I would know much about winning.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.