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Beau Knows Tiger


After setting the world on fire at the U.S. Open two weeks ago, 17-year-old amateur Beau Hossler received an invite to the Tiger Woods-hosted AT&T National. The $6.5 million event starts Thursday at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

The senior-to-be at Santa Margarita High School in Orange County, Calif. - who'll attend Texas on a golf scholarship - opened with an even-par 70 and sent reporters scurrying in search of answers to the question, "Who's Beau Hossler?" The spotlight intensified in the second round, when he briefly took over the top spot on the leaderboard at the Olympic Club.

After a 73 Friday, he returned for the third round and carded another 70, becoming one of the "stories" - regardless of the outcome - in the 2012 U.S. Open. Though he came back to earth with a 76 to end up second behind future Longhorn teammate Jordan Spieth for low-amateur honors, Hossler definitely made an impression on tournament director Greg McLaughlin, who extended an invitation to the teenager to play in the AT&T National.

Both Hossler and Spieth are in the AT&T. In the first round Hossler is paired with pros Kyle Reifers and Billy Hurley III, while Spieth - who led Texas to the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf Championship just before the U.S. Open - with Bobby Gates and Brian Harman.

On Tuesday, the kid with the braces, the beautiful controlled-tempo swing, and cool, collected demeanor met with reporters and discussed his whirlwind stretch atop the golf world. Here's what Hossler had to tell the media at Congressional.

MODERATOR: Welcome, Beau Hossler, to the media center here at the AT&T National. Beau, you got a chance to play the golf course with Jordan Spieth and D.A. Points today. Why don't you start us out with just your impressions of the golf course and maybe your expectations for the week.

BEAU HOSSLER: Yeah, I played the front nine with Kelly Kraft, as well. He backed out after nine. It's playing pretty tough, I think. I mean, the greens are firm. The golf course is tough without PGA Tour conditions. It's just a difficult golf course. It's a great golf course. Greens are perfect. And I feel like I can go out there and compete and learn, so I think it's going to be a great week. Can't wait.

Q. First of all, what's the coolest thing that's happened to you personally since playing the Open a couple weeks ago?

BEAU HOSSLER: Definitely getting a sponsor's invite here. That was pretty special, because it was really late notice and I wasn't really expecting it. But to be able to be here is quite a blessing.

Q. Tiger said he had something to do with it. What do you know about that?

BEAU HOSSLER: I don't know much, but I know he does, so I'll be sure and thank him when I see him out here. He's obviously a huge reason I'm out here, and I'm really appreciative of that.

Q. You don't seem to be intimidated at all by any of this. How do you go into this difficult environment playing the best in the world at the age of 17 and not shrink from it?

BEAU HOSSLER: Yeah, I mean, I feel pretty comfortable. It's still me and my caddie and the golf course, no matter all the media, who's in the field, where the venue is. I've still got to go out there and compete against the golf course and compete against myself. I've got to go out there and make good decisions, make aggressive swings. Obviously it's tough to say this, but it doesn't really matter where you're playing. You've got to go out and do the same thing. You've got to beat the golf course.

Q. Can you talk about the difference coming here this year with all the attention you got at Olympic compared to last year when you came in here sort of as a fairly unknown guy, and also, is there more pressure on you or would there have been more pressure playing the California Amateur this week than playing here?

BEAU HOSSLER: I don't really see the difference in the pressure. The pressure only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. I've got to go out there, and like I said, I've got to play the golf course. I'm not worried about where I'm playing. I've still got to go out there and take care of business. I'm not going to go out there and look at who's hitting next to me, whether it's Tiger Woods or Nick Watney or D.A. Points. I've got to go out there and make sure I'm focused and make sure I'm prepared. Pressure I don't think is a huge factor for me other than what I put on myself.

Q. How about in terms of the difference between this year and last year?

BEAU HOSSLER: Yeah, obviously I think I'm a little bit bigger name this year than last year, relatively unknown. But it's really great because especially at Olympic, I had a ton of supporters and fans and it was really awesome to hear their roars any time I hit a pretty good shot.

Q. Sort of funny to hear you say it's hard here when you're coming off Olympic, obviously a difficult course. What are the differences between that course and this course or similarities, if there are any? And then secondly, how different is this course compared to last year when they had the Open here?

BEAU HOSSLER: Yeah. From what I remember, the course was pretty soft last year. I think it was raining at night. It didn't maybe rain half of a round at most. But it rained at night. So the fairways were really soft and we weren't getting much roll and it played really long. This year it's dried out a little bit. It's going to get hot obviously, so I don't think they're going to completely dry them out I would think, unless they're going to die. But it's definitely different.

The rough was longer last year. The rough is by no means short this year, but it's not U.S. Open rough, that's for sure. I think the golf course is set up great. It's not set up easy at all. It's tough. The greens are firm. I'm sure the pins are going to be tough, as usual. But it's set up pretty tough. As far as similarities and differences from last week or two weeks ago, I wish I could say there's anything similar except for maybe the course is bent, both bentgrass. And they're both firm greens.

But as far as off the tee box, you've really got to shape it a lot at Olympic, and here you can get away with a straight ball on a lot of holes. If you can cut it down the right side of the fairway and hit it straight, you're going to have a good opportunity to hit it pretty long. The golf course is a long golf course, I think. There's a lot of par 4s that are 460 plus, maybe five or six of them. So it's a tough test. It's definitely a different course than Olympic, there's no doubt.

Q. What's the biggest thing you took out of your U.S. Open experience or biggest thing you learned from it?

BEAU HOSSLER: Yeah, it's probably the confidence and belief in myself to go out there and compete against the best players in the world. Obviously I know I'm not quite to their level yet, but I feel like I can potentially be there in the future if I keep working hard. It's good to see a little precursor of what I need to have in my array of shots. I feel like I can do it but I've just got to get more consistent. To see what there's no substitute for competition or experience or anything like that. To know I'm able to be out there at least and to compete, that's a huge confidence booster for me.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the reaction back home when you did go home? What are some of the things that have happened to you since the Open, any invitations from Letterman or anything like that? What was the reaction?

BEAU HOSSLER: No, I haven't had anything like that. But I'll tell you what, I was buying socks at Macy's the other day and some person didn't believe that it was me, so I had to show them my ID. It's pretty cool, though, because a lot of people know who I am now, being stopped in airports and everything, taking pictures. It's definitely different. You don't really expect it because you still feel like - you wouldn't really expect the guy at Jack in the Box to recognize me, but they kind of do now. So it's definitely different.

Q. Free hamburgers?

BEAU HOSSLER: No. I wish.

Q. I think it was Johnny Miller compared you to Colin Montgomerie. Are you even old enough to remember him playing? You kind of have an upright rhythmic swing similar to his. Did you copy his swing at all?

BEAU HOSSLER: Not at all. I worked with my coach Jim Flick. I have only seen Colin Montgomerie play maybe three or four tournaments. The latest I remember may be the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which was a while ago, because I think he played mostly in Europe, didn't he? No, I haven't really watched much.

Q. Is there any one aspect of your game that you know you really have to take to the next level?

BEAU HOSSLER: Yeah, probably my driving. I'm normally a pretty good driver, but sometimes I feel like I've had some inconsistent weeks. When you're playing on difficult golf courses, there's no cheating the driver. You've got to hit it straight and you've got to hit it long. You see the guys that drive it well out here, they're consistently in the top 10 and consistently winning, top 5. If you can put the ball in play off the tee, obviously you've got to putt well, that's a given, but I think some people underestimate the driver sometimes.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about your relationship with Jordan Spieth? Did he have a little influence on you going to Texas?

BEAU HOSSLER: Yeah, we've been great friends for a while. I've known him probably three years now. He was kind of - when we were playing in age-group events he was kind of ahead of me because I think he's two or three years older than me, two years, so I haven't played that much with him, but I've been in the same tournaments, I just haven't been paired with him that much frankly. But he and I have a great relationship. We kind of push each other, give some crap. It's fun.

As far as influence, I talked to him about Texas just like a lot of the guys on the team. But by no means did I choose to go to Texas because of him. Because of the information he's given me, absolutely, but not him personally because I made my decision based on what was best for me.

Q. Kind of segueing on the Texas front, were you kind of hoping for an all Texas pairing with you, Jordan and Justin Leonard?

BEAU HOSSLER: I wasn't hoping for it because - I had heard of the possibility, I guess, maybe two or three days ago. But obviously the pairings came out today. It doesn't really matter who I'm playing with. It would be fun to play with Jordan because he and I are friends, but same with a lot of guys out here I've gotten to know really well. They're all really cool guys.

Q. When you think about where you might be on Sunday at about 6:00, can you envision yourself taking the trophy and winning this tournament?

BEAU HOSSLER: Sure. I mean, I respect the games of every player out here. They're obviously the best players in the world. But I feel like I can go out there and compete. I feel like obviously I'm going to have to play my best golf, there's no doubt about it, but I think I can go out there and if I prepare well, which I feel like I have, gotten some rest, if I go out there and play my game, I think I can get myself into contention.

Q. And did you ever consider turning pro right out of high school?

BEAU HOSSLER: Not at all.

Q. How come?

BEAU HOSSLER: Because college is going to be the best time of my life. I'm planning on spending four years there, graduating, and I can't wait to do it. I love all the guys on the team at Texas. I love the coaches, everything about the school, the area. It's just going to be a blast. Golf is not going anywhere. I cannot wait to spend those four years in Austin, that's for sure.

Q. What was more surprising to you, that you had the lead at the U.S. Open at one point or you were No.1 trending topic on Twitter?

BEAU HOSSLER: Surprising? I guess the Twitter thing. I wasn't a big tweeter before that, I guess, but now I've kind of gotten into it a little bit, figured out how it works. I had the app on my phone but never really used it. Yeah, that's pretty cool. As far as leading the U.S. Open, that's pretty special in itself, as well. Obviously I feel like I have the game to go out there and compete, just got to get more consistent, and I think the confidence is coming.

MODERATOR: Beau Hossler, thank you.

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

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