Woody Austin left the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Sunday knowing one thing for sure: You just can't give the world's No. 1 golfer a lead and expect to beat him.
Austin made a strong run at PGA Championship winner Tiger Woods, but came up two shots short - settling for second place, by far his best finish in a PGA Tour major.
In the clubhouse, Austin said he actually played better than Woods tee to green, but that missed opportunities earlier in the tournament helped give Woods a seven shot cushion over him which proved too much to make up in the final round. Take away those missed opportunities, Austin said, and things might have been different.
Here is some of what Austin had to say to reporters on Sunday.
Q. You were awfully hard on yourself all week because of missed opportunities.
WOODY AUSTIN: I was right, wasn't I.
Q. You were right, yeah. That was sort of -- but that was where I was kind of going. Now that it's over, how do you feel?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, like I said on Friday, you cannot give somebody seven shots, especially someone [Woods] who happens to be the best player in the world. And I -- like I said, I went over his round and over my round, and I outplayed him from tee-to-green. Seven shots I gave up in one round. Now, I wasn't supposed to be disappointed? Like I said, a person in my position cannot give that man that much cushion. That's why I was disappointed and that's why I came up short.
Q. Was this a breakthrough for you, and what, if anything, did you learn about yourself during this experience?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, there's no question it's a breakthrough for me because I had never been in this position before. So I can't say that it's nothing but a positive. I'd like to know exactly how I did it today, to be totally honest. You know, I was able -- I was able to control myself better than I was yesterday, and what the formula is, I have no idea for me. But I'm going to take this as far as I can take it and try to be as positive about it as I can and hopefully turn the corner.
Q. How does the satisfaction or emotions of finishing second in a major here to winning the regular tournaments that you have won?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, obviously this was -- you know, this was probably a little bit more electric obviously because it's a higher atmosphere. Like I said, the roar on 12 for me was bigger than anything I had ever heard. So from that standpoint, it's obviously better. And to be in this position for the first time and to actually give that good of a run at it, I'd probably be crazy to say that it was not better than the victories.
Q. My question is quite similar. You're in your early 40s, why now, what about your game, your career has made this possible?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, like I said all along, I was a pretty good player a long time ago. I didn't just come out of the bank like everybody thought I did. I just got sidetracked. Everybody gets sidetracked. There's only a few of us that their lives just kind of go according to plan. Most of us have all of those bumps and peaks and valleys. Unfortunately I had a few pretty big peaks and valleys, and it's just taken me a little bit longer to maybe -- like I said, it may be just that at 43 I deal with my nerves better than I did at 32. I was a better player at 32 than I am now, but maybe I just handle my nerves better. That's the biggest key for me is how I handle my nerves. I don't think anybody plays any better than I do when I'm on; I know that's crazy, but I think I can hit any shot anybody in the world can hit. But it's hard to do that when you're afraid of it, and that's the fight I have every day.
Q. I understand that qualified you for the Presidents Cup. Do you have any thoughts on that or is it too early for you to tell?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, that makes me real happy because I've always wanted to be in one of those things. I think my personality suits that kind of competition. I'd like to think that my personality is a lot like Tiger's, very out there, very emotional, and I think in that format, in a team format, in a two-man or a one-on-one, I like the idea. I like the competition. I like the mano-a-mano, one-on-one, look you in the eye, as opposed to coming out at 8:00 and the other guy comes out at 3 o'clock. I like looking right at you when I'm playing you and I think that's going to be a lot of fun.
Q. On the telecast right afterward, you said that you're always aware of what Tiger is doing. How does that awareness, how did it shape what you were doing on the back side?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, like I said, it doesn't take a genius. Everybody follows him. He always has the biggest gallery, every time he does something, even when he hits it 30 feet, he goes crazy. You can't not know what he's doing. So whether it's the Buick Open or the PGA, they go crazy for him. So you always know -- you can always tell what was -- well, that was a great shot or that was a birdie. It's just -- and so from that standpoint, you know -- I knew where he was at, and I've looked at a few boards, so I had a pretty good idea. When I made my run on 11, 12, and 13, I wanted him to know that there was somebody else out there.
Q. It seems a lot of times when guys come in here after Tiger wins a major, they feel beaten, but you and Ernie both gave him a run and it seems a positive experience. Do you think the corner is being turned for everybody in terms of putting a little pressure on him?
WOODY AUSTIN: I can't speak for other people. I can only speak for myself. But I think it's great that Ernie and I didn't let him just coast in. You give anybody who is really good a four-shot lead over you -- I beat him today, but it doesn't matter because he had four shots on me. So, you know, I don't care -- he happens to be the best player in the world, but if you put any great player, any good player with a four-shot cushion, their odds are going to be pretty good. Especially when they happen to be the best. So it almost is insurmountable when you give somebody like that -- that's why Friday and Thursday were so disappointing because I know you can't do that.
Q. You've alluded to this a little bit, the disappointment you had with the missed opportunities earlier on, but the way you played today and the way you kept the accelerator down, you're going to have to feel really proud of what you've accomplished over the weekend I would think.
WOODY AUSTIN: Oh, absolutely. To be in this position the first time for me as far as in this exact position, to go out and play the way I did and perform the way I did, I've got nothing -- I've got only good thoughts to myself or whatever you want to say, praise for myself or what have you. You know, it's so early from it being over; so I still can't help but think of the missed opportunity, too. I'm human.
Q. Along the lines of knowing where you stood, as it turned out the birdie putt on 15 would have tied you; were you aware of that?
WOODY AUSTIN: No, I did not have any idea on 15, no.
Q. Can you talk about that putt?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, unfortunately that green was pretty tough for me because I hit it that close almost every day there and I kept missing it. And I was -- I believe on Friday's round, I had it about six feet almost in the same spot, and I felt like I miss -- I felt like I misread it on Friday. So Brent and I talked about it today and I thought I played even more break, and I just think I had to hit the putt so easy that it just either hit or just snapped. I don't know, that green just didn't like me.
Q. Going back to your comment about liking to look players in the eye, would you have liked to have been paired with Tiger today?
WOODY AUSTIN: I said it yesterday. I was upset -- I was disappointed with my bogey and Steve's birdie. I wanted to be in that arena. Like I said, I maybe looked at it as a little bit strange, but I think I have the almost identical personality in a way that he does, in that I want to be right there. He always says -- what does he always say? He always says, "I want to be in the last group on Sunday." If he wants to be there, and I want to be -- why do I not want to be there? Why would I want to be somewhere else? I want to be there just as much as he does. I don't get why you would want to not be there or be, as you say -- as you always say, are you intimidated by him? I don't get that either. What, are we going to fight? Are we going to get into a fight? Why should I be intimidated? I'm intimidated by the fact that I have a chance to win a golf tournament. I'm not intimidated by any other person. I'm intimidated by the golf.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports
August 12, 2007
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