English Hopes to Continue Fine Play


Harris English is off to a good start in his rookie season on the PGA Tour. So far, he's made the cut in all six of his 2012 starts and has three top-25 finishes, earning $305,095.

The 22-year-old is coming off a fine collegiate career at Georgia, which was culminated with a roster spot on the 2011 USA Walker Cup team. Last year English ventured twice onto the Nationwide Tour. In just his second professional event, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, he became only the third amateur to win on the development circuit.

English is in Palm Harbor, Fla., this week for his seventh PGA Tour event, the Transitions Championship. The $5.5 million tournament starts Thursday on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort.

On Wednesday, English sat down with reporters and discussed his season to date.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome PGA Tour rookie Harris English to the interview room here at the Transitions Championship. Thanks for joining us. Obviously off to a solid start to your rookie year, six made cuts in six starts. You played in the last group a couple of weeks ago at the Honda Classic. If you can just give us some thoughts on your year to date, maybe that experience playing in the last group, didn't play quite as well as you would have liked, but now two weeks after that, your thoughts on that experience and we'll go from there.

HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, playing the last group at the Honda was awesome. I haven't been in that situation yet in a PGA Tour event and it was awesome playing with Rory and seeing him become world No. 1. I'm going to learn from it and gain a lot of experience. I sat back and talked to my coaches and people around me in Sea Island and kind of figured out what went wrong and what I can work from and help me move forward and learn from it. That's what I'm doing. Rory (McIlroy) was awesome to me, and I enjoyed it. That was really, really awesome appearances.

MODERATOR: Your first start here at the Transitions Championship. I assume you've played the Copperhead earlier this week. Just thoughts on the week and the golf course, and we'll open it up to questions.

HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, Copperhead is awesome. I played the Southern Am here last summer, so I have pretty good memories from it. It's an awesome golf course and in great shape and looking forward to a good week. There's a really good field here, so just looking forward to it.

Q. Who did you meet in the Southern Am here?

HARRIS ENGLISH: I shot 65 in the last round so I kind of came from behind. Bobby Wyatt, Parker McManus, a lot of good players in Southern amateur golf but elite college players.

Q. Wondered what exactly you learned from Honda. You had kind of a squirrelly lie on 2, wasn't it, that bunker?

HARRIS ENGLISH: Yeah, I didn't really plan to be buried in the bunker on 2 but it was - I faced a lot of adversity but hopefully I can learn from it. I hit some shots that probably looking back, I shouldn't have hit. I tried to force a little too much. After that double on 2, I kind of changed my whole game plan, which looking back, that's not what I should have done. Should have stuck with it. I played well all week there and just a couple shots that last round kind of got a way from me. I took a lot of positives away from the week and I'm playing well and hopefully keep going this week.

Q. What did Rory say to you?

HARRIS ENGLISH: He was awesome. He talked about how well I've been playing and it's awesome being a rookie and playing so well at Honda. He knew that I played well the first five events, so he was really, really nice to me and had a lot of good things to say. We had a blast on the golf course. I enjoyed watching him, how he composed himself and how he stayed within himself coming down the stretch. It was really, really good for me to see that and hopefully I can use it towards my preparation in the next couple tournaments.

Q. Did he know of you -

HARRIS ENGLISH: He knew about Walker Cup and a little bit Nationwide. I was a little surprised he knew. We are the same age, kind of hard to believe, but it was good to see that in him.

Q. What was the most impressive thing about him that stood out to you?

HARRIS ENGLISH: He treated every shot the same. No matter if it was a 12 footer for par, 3 footer for birdie, a wedge shot from 100 yards. Did he his routine perfectly every time. He didn't get flustered by anything. That's what I really liked about him. That says a lot about him as a person and it shows why he's such a great player.

Q. Did you tell him he's No. 1 now but you're still taller?

HARRIS ENGLISH: Did not tell him that. (Laughing). I don't think that was a good thing to say after he had just won the Honda.

Q. When you think about early success of young players and you mention Rory being the same age, what would be your thoughts about the fact that Bud Cauley is the oldest guy in his group tomorrow?

HARRIS ENGLISH: That's pretty good to see. That's a good pairing. I know Tom very well and I know Ryo (Ishikawa) very well. I've obviously played a lot with bud in college and he's great guy. Great player. It's kind of cool to see that pairing and a lot of young golfers out here on Tour. It's I guess what the young generation wants to see as fans. It's awesome to I guess be a part of that.

Q. You've got, I think, anyway, a great deal of humility to you. How do you balance that with a competitive side, with wanting to win, wanting to succeed now and still trying to very slowly learn your way through.

HARRIS ENGLISH: It's kind of how I was brought up. Success, it doesn't overwhelm me. I'm just still learning out here. I just graduated from college six, seven months ago. So it's still a learning process for me. I know it can go away just like that. I mean, golf, golf is a sport; you can build it up. You can get it taken away so easily. So I realized that. I've definitely had my up and downs in my career, and I know to stay level headed and to keep going, keep my head down and keep plugging along.

Q. Has there ever been a time where you didn't show the game enough respect? By that, I mean, I don't want to say thought it was too easy but thought things would come easily and were reminded it's not always that way?

HARRIS ENGLISH: My freshman year in college, I played pretty well and won two tournaments. I guess I took it a little for granted. I didn't have great sophomore season, but golf is hard. I mean, just little stuff can get you off and the smallest things could be your worst enemy. I definitely learned that a lot in college. I kept it as a process and kept working on things, and not to let it get the best of me. Played well my senior year and had a good summer this past summer and just kept building up and here I am.

Q. Good summer? Would you classify that as a good summer?

HARRIS ENGLISH: It was probably the best of my life. Started right here at the Southern Am and went on to the Nationwide tournament and Walker Cup. It's just been a blur but it's all been awesome, an awesome experience.

Q. You're making it look easy out here. What have been some of the things you've found the most challenging about life on the PGA Tour, whether it's travel or pro ams; you tell me.

HARRIS ENGLISH: Definitely travel. The West Coast events, I never played the golf courses and it was tough going to Humana, playing three courses before the tournament, and right after Sony I was tired. Like Pebble Beach, playing three golf courses there; it was tough. They say rookie year is the toughest because you're kind of learning all this new stuff and learning new golf courses. Luckily for here, I've seen the golf course before and can kind of ease into it. But it's a good learning experience. I've had a lot of help from veterans, especially Sea Island guys to tell me about the course, tell me where to stay, tell me where to eat. They have done a great job of that and to help make my life easier.

Q. Just compare yourself in the game now to a year ago just starting the spring semester, and what did you do during the off week between Honda and here?

HARRIS ENGLISH: I feel like I'm a much smarter player. I've had a good relationship with my caddie, Joe Etter, these past five, six months. He's helped me a lot. Just really different shots. I would normally try to pull off a lot of shots in college and amateur golf, but now I'm just playing safe and really playing for par. But I think that's the difference. I mean, I know I made a lot of doubles in the final round at Honda, but I'm trying to cut stuff like that out because that really hurts you. I think that was my biggest problem in college. I made too many doubles. Just trying to play smarter golf. That's what it's all about.

I played with Lucas and Scott Verplank and Justin Leonard and I was just kind of talking to them yesterday about that stuff and watching them play golf. They know what they do and they play their game. If they get in trouble, they get out and try to make par. They don't do anything stupid. That's why they are so successful.

Q. What did you do in the week between?

HARRIS ENGLISH: Just worked on shots. Kind of worked on stuff. It was pretty windy on Sea Island last week, so got to work on some of the troubles I had in that final round, and just kind of practicing and playing a lot. That's what it's all about. Just getting ready for these next couple week.

Q. No paddle boarding?

HARRIS ENGLISH: No, I've never done that before and after Lucas's injury, I might have to ease into that.

Q. Hate to belabor the point but let's go back to Michael Irvin for a minute. Where did this Michael Irvin come from? He's not the only 47 out there, is he?

HARRIS ENGLISH: Joe has a pretty cool imagination, and he loves sports just like I do. He just rattles off random facts to me most of the time which is pretty funny. For some reason we started talking about Michael and he said, "Do you know what number he was in college." And I had no idea. He said 47. For some reason I had a pitching wedge shot and I decided to call it Michael Irvin, and he liked that and kind of stuck.

Q. What would happen if it was 48 degrees?

HARRIS ENGLISH: Might have to get a new player.

MODERATOR: Thanks for your time. Best of luck this week.

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


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