Featured Golf News
Points - and Murray - Yuk It Up after Big Wins
D.A Points and his famed amateur partner, Bill Murray, were having a fine time after their double-win Sunday at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Not only did Points secure his first victory on the PGA Tour, he and Murray also won the pro-am portion of the tournament, finishing at 35-under-par 251 and a two-stroke victory.
The win for the 34-year-old Points in his 128th PGA Tour start was worth $1.34 million, a two-year exemption and an invitation to the Masters in April. For Murray, who's been one of the headliners of the former "Crosby Clambake" for two decades, it was his first-ever victory in the popular event on the Monterey Peninsula.
After accepting their hardware - and Points his paycheck, the two sat down with reporters and were more than happy to talk about their big week. With the 60-year-old Murray on hand, you can bet the conversations of the two Illinois natives ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime.
MODERATOR: We would like to welcome the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion, I know that sounds good. Congratulations on the win. A few minutes ago out there, you were just kind of standing off to the side, just looking out over the water, obviously a lot going through your mind, not only is it your first PGA Tour victory after having started playing golf at the age of 18 months, but it was a PGA Tour victory with one of your childhood idols in Bill Murray right alongside, who also claimed a victory of sorts, as well. So can you even comment yet on the feeling of what it's like.
D.A. POINTS: No, I probably don't -- probably it will take me a really long time to truly grasp what I was able to accomplish with Bill this week. But it's really exciting and it's a dream come true. I grew up on the 17th hole of the local Country Club in Illinois and both of my parents played and taught me the game, and to win on the PGA Tour, and especially at Pebble Beach and especially with Bill Murray, gosh, I mean, I don't think I could even dream it up. I don't think I could even dream it that well.
MODERATOR: Well hopefully we'll be joined by Bill in a few minutes but earlier in the week, there was some questioning about as far as would he be somewhat of a distraction to you. It sounds like it was almost more of the opposite effect and he was more of a calming effect.
D.A. POINTS: Yeah, everybody all week kept saying, well, you got the shortened of the stick playing with Murray and he's so crazy and I never, ever felt that way and I kept thinking, you know, why does everybody get so worked up thinking he's this big distraction. I tried to embrace it. I was expecting him to be, you know, more of a distraction than he was, and maybe he toned it down, maybe he didn't, I didn't know, but he just seemed to have fun and he taught me to go ahead and have a little more fun and in turn, it distracted me from trying so hard. It kept me more loose and having a good time with Bill.
Q. You said it was a gap wedge; what was the distance? And also, would you give a couple of your favorite Caddyshack lines? And did any of them just hit you walking down 18?
D.A. POINTS: Well, on the 14th hole, the distance was 107 yards, 110 yards with some uphill, but it was a little downwind so I was trying to hit it about 107 yards. I hit it barely thin but it was still a decent shot and as long as -- I knew as long as it carried the bunker, it was going to be fine. I didn't know if it would go in or if it would be ten feet or 25 feet. But I knew it was going to at least be a decent shot and I saw it just barely carried the bunker and I could hear the crowd, because we could not see anything from where we were hitting but the crowd, they went nuts. It was great. Our chest pump, he was trying to do it where we would not actually hit but I went all the way so I was a little embarrassed about that part. But really, that was -- it was an amazing moment and it was a pivotal shot for the outcome of the event. You know, Caddyshack lines, there are so many great ones that I would not do it justice trying to give my rendition of any.
Q. Can you recall watching what No. 14 did to the leaders last year and can you describe how difficult of a shot that is?
D.A. POINTS: I never really expected it to go in or anything like that but it is a difficult shot because like I might have said earlier, it was a couple years ago, I was playing pretty well here and I was in the Top-10 and I was making a lot of birdies and I came down there and I had a gap wedge, similar kind of shot and I spun it left off the green and rolled down the hill under the tree and I made double-bogey. So you're trying to hit it on such a small little table top that this year, comparative to other years, most of the time we are worried about putting too much spin on it. This year we are trying to get as much spin on it so we can hold it up there. It's just a treacherous shot. There's not much green and when it's firm and there's a little wind and it's so uphill and the lip on that bunker makes it just kind of a scary shot. And so I was very, very fortunate today.
Q. Do you remember where you were, were you watching on TV last year?
D.A. POINTS: No. I was probably at the hospital with my daughter or waiting for my daughter to be born or close to it.
Q. With the TV on, though, right?
D.A. POINTS: No. (Laughter) We were focused and trying to make sure that my wife and daughter were both healthy and happy.
Q. You indicated that maybe the nerves got to you on 16?
D.A. POINTS: Yes. After I holed the shot on 14, really hard to come down in and try to settle myself. And then I haven't really looked a ball hardly at all this year, or at least this week, and then I snap-hook a 3-wood and still thought it was going to be okay and didn't realize it was out-of-bounds for a while and then came back in0bounds. And then I hole a putt and I'm like, oh my gosh, I can't believe I did that. And then I get up on 16 and I'm just trying to hit a solid hybrid and I didn't think I made that bad of a swing but the wind compounded and it went way left. I hit another one up short of the green and hit an okay pitch and now I have a knee-knocker, 4- or 5-footer with like over a couple of break. And obviously for momentum and confidence factor, you really want to make this putt. And my caddie asked me how I was feeling and I said, "Not very good."
You know, and that's, again, when I said something to Bill, I said, you know, Bill -- as he had mentioned to me a few times this week, if I would make a putt, the crowd would really join that and I said that to him and he hit an amazing put that I thought was going to go right in the middle but still, even just getting into that mode for a second to root him on and to kind of play around with him totally took me just out of the moment for just enough to kind of help bring me back to life a little bit. And then I was able to sneak the putt in the left side and then my composure got a little better and I played solid the last two holes.
Q. Now that you're a golf star, do you think next year you'll be kind of tight-assy and stuff?
BILL MURRAY: Next question. (Laughter).
Q. We know actors do not like to do second takes on great scenes but we could not quite hear what you were saying when you were over the putt at the last; could you repeat that?
BILL MURRAY: Well, I was just doing -- I was remembering that I got similar a few years ago -- I had a putt to make the cut, and just as I lined up over the putt, some guy in the stands says, "You're Carl." And it's really, it's bad, because you can't not do it. You can't not do it. It's sort of like a 4-footer with a little bit of break in it, so I had to do, you know, tears in his eyes, a putt to make the cut, the sea otters and the harbor seals, paddling in attention waiting for this young strong boy to hopefully make a dream come true, seal the deal, as it were.
And went on and on and on and then I made the putt which I can't believe I could even hit it. (Laughter). I didn't have it -- I wasn't as good as I was then today because honestly the whole last two holes were kind of an out of body experience. I didn't -- I mean I wasn't sort of like -- I didn't know how to be particularly funny or particularly good golfer. I just managed to get sort of like stumble in, and I knew I had to sort of get out of the way. Once knucklehead here made that eagle and then the birdie -- the birdie afterwards was more ridiculous in a way. I was just laughing hysterically, I could not even speak. I just started laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing, because I realized that this is it now, and, I don't know, it's like when I see real art, I laugh. When I saw like a Rembrandt, I laugh, because it's so -- it's just this combination of this beautiful thing, it's alive, yet it's not. And that moment of his making birdie is like, we are playing this -- we have won this tournament and yet we are not done yet. I knew it was that moment. I was just babbling up there and wished I could have hit a really good shot on the 18th hole.
I did hit one really good, hard shot, but unfortunately this was a tree right in front of me. So I was robbed. I got robbed. But I hit that ball really, really well and actually my drive was pretty good, too. I wanted to do something dramatic, but Mr. Drama here just sucked all of oxygen.
Q. Looked like you were over by some sort of power thing on 15 off your drive; did it restrict your swing?
D.A. POINTS: No, it was an out-of-bounds stake that I was kind of almost straddling. It was just by my right leg, and you're not allowed to move out-of-bounds stakes. I would have enjoyed to move it but it really did not affect the shot all that much. You know, I was just trying, again, just to get a good shot, hit it up on the middle of the green somewhere, give myself a put at it and fortunately Bryce was right in front of me, similar of the line and gave me a really good read and when I hit it and saw that turn in there, I was like, oh my gosh, it's going right in the middle. Whether I needed it or not, it was so important to get that putt to go, just to kind of keep going in the right direction, because if it ever gets going the only direction, it can be really, really bad.
Q. How long was the putt?
D.A. POINTS: Gosh, I'm guessing 30, 35 feet, something like that.
Q. Can you take this experience with you? Are you going to turn into the clown of the PGA Tour now? Can you take this less serious attitude with you the rest of the way?
D.A. POINTS: I need to. I absolutely need to. And I think about when I've played well, one of the tournaments I won on the Nationwide Tour in West Virginia, I was chatty with the crowd and when I can be a little bit more chatty and why I seem to generally play halfway decent in Pro-Ams, is because I get to spend time chatting with my am and trying to help him or her or whatever I'm playing with, with their game and that helps me take me out of my way for a little while. When I'm are more chatty and more outgoing, it helps me. You look at Rocco Mediate and Peter Jacobsen and other guys that I look up to, even Mr. Palmer, he had his army. When he was in that mode, everybody -- that spurred him onto play better. And I think that that's something that I need to be better at instead of just boring walking down the fairway, minding my own business and not saying anything.
BILL MURRAY: I made a joke about that, I was just trying to be tight-asked with that question and you looked at me, it wasn't -- but what he says is, when we first met I said, well, my goal when I play is I like to have the most fun and win. And he said, "Those two things usually go together." And I thought, that's about as solid an endorsement of where we are going this week as I could have gotten. I felt like, this is cool, this could really happen. And it did.
Q. Did it feel differently for you today? The Pro-Am board was back and forth, and did you ever look at it? Did you ever know where you were?
BILL MURRAY: Well, sometimes you kind of know where you are. But I couldn't really get like -- you know, I sort of knew kind of where we were, and when we teed off, I knew relatively where we were with like Harry was sort of with us, but we sort of pulled away a little bit from Harry and then there was some other guys but then I realized they were on the back nine. They were almost finished and I thought, well, we have a lot of holes, I don't even have to think about that. But really I was just thinking about knucklehead here. I just thought, if I could not screw this up for him that, would be great. And if I don't screw it up -- and it's sort of like the acting that I was taught, which was if you make the other person look good, you don't have to worry about yourself.
So I felt if I could like help him, I wouldn't have to worry about the Pro-Am thing, and that's pretty much what happened. I mean, I just tried to stay positive and not like get too serious or funky about my game. I didn't really -- I hit the ball kind of good, but I didn't really help the team much, too much, but as long as you're hitting it good, you're not -- you're helping him in a way because if you're hitting it bad, and you're playing with like a real human being, they get concerned about your golf. They get concerned about your golf and they get distracted from their golf. So as long as I kept going forward and hitting pretty good shots, maybe not scoring, then he didn't have to think about me and they could just sort of focus.
You know, I try to be funny whenever I thought there was a place to be funny, and his being funny on 16 was big. That was really big. When he said, "Bill, I think the crowd would really appreciate it if you would knock this in" that was a big thing, because the crowd laughed. And I knew that that the last handful of holes were where we were going to make our -- my caddie said, Billy, we have the home-court advantage here. The crowd is going to be rooting for you. And I knew from coming in that that was where it was going to happen and 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18, it was done; 14, 15, 17, it was over. It was done. 17 and 18, we were buying ice cream bars. (Laughter)
Q. The other day, Pádraig was over a wedge on 14 and he said he was changing his mind four times on what he wanted to hit, which partly his nature but obviously that hole, that shot is so difficult in people's minds, and given what happened last year, does it compare to any other shot on Tour?
D.A. POINTS: It doesn't compare to a shot that I know of. One thing that's helped my confidence is I've been fortunate for a kid from central Illinois to have the opportunity to play Pebble Beach as much as I have with this tournament and the Callaway Invitational that I feel like I've hit it enough. So I know how many yards uphill it is and I know that you want to try to land it on this portion and all -- then it comes down to execution. And if you can execute, you know, it's not a mystery. I know where I've got to hit it. I just have to step up and hit the shot. That's the advantage that I feel that I've played here so many times that I feel very comfortable.
Q. How many times would you say you've played here?
D.A. POINTS: Well, if I've played in this tournament, maybe five years and maybe the Callaway five years, so I don't know, something, 20 times, 25 times, something like that.
Q. What's the closest you've got to the pin on 14 prior to that?
D.A. POINTS: I've hit a couple two, three, 4-footers. Yeah, I've hit some decent shots in there.
Q. First of all, have you ever been to Augusta National and have you considered that this win gets you into the Masters?
D.A. POINTS: Yeah, I know, I asked earlier. I wasn't sure. Thanks. Yeah, I played August Country Club, one of my good friends, John Engler (ph), but no, I've never played Augusta National.
Q. Your thoughts on that?
D.A. POINTS: I'm so excited.
BILL MURRAY: Really good food. The course is okay. But the food is unbelievable. (Laughter).
D.A. POINTS: I had my friend John and his uncle is a member there and he's grown up there all his life and I thought, you know, there's a couple times, if I ever really wanted to go play there, I could maybe try to call all of the people I know to try to get a tee time or play with somebody. And the more I thought about it, I just want to play in the Masters. You know, and the fact that it's at Augusta National will makes it wonderful. But to me to play in the Masters at Augusta National is way up there.
Q. When did you play?
BILL MURRAY: You'd be surprised how many times I've played it. My friend, Bubba, was the assistant pro at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Illinois, and his friend became the head pro at Augusta. And when they first put on the tournament he said, Bubba, you have to come help me and Bubba came and came and helped everybody year for 14 years. And around about the 10th year, all of the people that worked the tournament get to play the week after. Well, by that time, you know, there's a lot going under the bridge and things were all pretty good so Bubba got to not only come to play but he got to invite his high school friends to come play with him. So I got to play there.
But as far as the food goes, that was only recently. We could play the course but the food, I was a guest of someone and they have got like biscuits and gravy for breakfast. They have got unbelievable food. I mean, chops, it's sweet. But the food is really good. It's like big-time, Southern cooking food. But their wine cellar, it's a joke. It's like the greatest vineyard in the world. But the course, it's a laughaholic, because all of a sudden you're just going to be standing like on 13 on the fairway and you go like, I know where I am, I know exactly where I am and exactly what this shot is. It's cool.
Q. There are a number of players who just cannot be bothered with the hassle of everything Pebble Beach is whether it's the entertainment side or corporate side which is just as valuable. What do you think they are missing?
D.A. POINTS: Well, an opportunity to play one of the greatest golf courses in the United States, and now, you know, all three courses are great. Not just Pebble Beach. I mean Spyglass is amazing and Monterey Peninsula, some of the holes by the water; it's a great event and Peter Jacobsen spoke to me my first year on Tour and he kind of got in my face. Because I had either missed this tournament or skipped a Pro-Am or I did something and he got in my face and he said, "Listen, son, the reason why I have a job and the reason why you get to play for any money at all is the Amateur that is play in these events." He said, "I don't want to hear you ever skip a Pro-Am."
And that kind of stuck to me because I thought, you know, he's absolutely right. We are super fortunate and I think some guys lose sight of that, that we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to play golf for a living and, if we are successful, to make a really great living. And we are playing Pebble Beach and Spyglass. It's not like we are playing really terrible places.
BILL MURRAY: It's not like you're working for a living. (Laughter).
D.A. POINTS: And so I try to keep that perspective and to remember what Peter taught me, and I will try to always play, because I think that's -- I want to be able to have a job ten years from now and 20 years from now, and if we all stop playing in these wonderful Pro-Am-type events, finally they are just going to say you know what, we are not going to spend the time or the money. And I don't want that.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on that, Bill from the amateur side?
BILL MURRAY: The way the PGA runs, it's a real juggernaut, it really is. It's an amazing thing. The players, obviously, they make some money. And they get to play wonderful golf courses. But somehow, it's an extraordinary I don't want to use the word symbiotic relationship between business and charity where it takes hundreds and hundreds of people, thousands of people maybe, to make this thing happen. And you wake up in the morning and if you're driving on the road and you go like, that's some explorer, kid, from 70 miles away who is directing traffic, why is he doing that? Well, because somehow some of this money gets funneled down to his charity and it's there. And the marshals that are working the road and the fairways, some of that money is going to their hospice, or their fire department somewhere else. Everyone is in it -- obviously it's a joyous experience to walk the course and to see the event and be part of the excitement and the energy of the crowd. But some of that money is coming back to someone and there's a give; there's a giving back, there is a giving back. It's a very impressive thing that the PGA does.
And the Pebble Beach guys seem to have harnessed it really well. They have got like the most, you know, maybe like just two really wonderful tournaments to watch, this one and the Masters, and this one is like fan friendly. This crowd is having a lot more fun than the crowd at Augusta. You know, you can't have the kind of fun at Augusta that you can have here. It's a whole different thing and you're next to the ocean and people get sort of blissed out so there's just a whole -- and when it works well, it works great. It works -- it never sort of, you know, everything fumbles a little bit but there's so much positive energy in this experience of playing next to the water and playing on the Peninsula and the money that moves through and money that goes to the charity.
You know, it's like, what he said and what Peter was talking about is this is -- there's no shame in being attached to this tournament. There's no greed in this. I remember hearing some knucklehead say, well, yeah, you guys go out there and you get all your publicity. It's like, you get it, do you. No one is here to get publicity. This is really fun and you can ride -- this ride, when it's great, it's awesome. It's just really different and no entertainment experience, anything like it. Something about the energy of golf and having fun at it is so unusual that it can only happen in this place and a couple of others. And it's very unusual, very singular kind of experience, and all of the people that are working are kind of going, go ahead, I'm in this, too, because this is good, what I'm doing is giving back too, we are all in.
Q. Have you ever won a golf trophy before this? Your brother said Friday night you went to the range until dark and got a tip from Vijay. Is this all true?
BILL MURRAY: I've won all kind of things, nothing that I could cash in at a pawn shop but I've won a couple of Pro-Am kind of things. We were the low girls at the Boys & Girls Club tournament on Monday. I got pro shop credit, you know what I'm saying. I'll get a vest that's marked down or something. And in the course of the round Monday, I played a few good holes early, and then really lost my swing and it was ugly. Big, flying mud and everything, it was terrible. And he thought I would go back and start hitting some balls and there was Vijay Singh on the range. I've known Vijay a long time and I'm friendly with him. And I would never go like, "Hey, you big Fijian, help me out here."
But he saw me, sort of struggling and he came over and he said one thing, and I did it, and then about three minutes later he says another thing, and I did it and then about four minutes later, he said another thing and I did it, and I never hit the ball that well in my entire life. And I just thought, holy cow, I don't know how you can play this long and get something that late that can work. That's basically why I'm up here today drinking wine and looking for another glass.
Q. So what day was that?
BILL MURRAY: Make that two.
Q. What day was that?
BILL MURRAY: Let's say, days of the week? It would have been Thursday afternoon, yeah. I was hitting it really good, I don't know why, and then completely lost it and then I always do something at the end just because of the pressure.
Q. Have you given any thought to the arc of your career how early on it was, oh my God he's going to screw up the golfers and now it's, D.A. is going to come next year and people are going to say, he has an advantage, he gets to play with Murray.
BILL MURRAY: I always thought that was the case to be honest with you.
D.A. POINTS: So did I.
BILL MURRAY: I always thought that was the case. I think most people playing in a tournament, or any enterprise, they just get too nervous. We could have won this, Scott and I could have won this a couple of times, both times when they knocked out the tournament, we were right there. We were right there and that was like Scott was still playing his good golf and everything. We were almost there to win it. And I think we would have won it but you know, we didn't, that, was sort of the time we had to do it and didn't happen then. But staying loose, I mean, the best people in any profession, the whole thing is about being as relaxed as you can. Michael Jordan is all about being relaxed. He's the greatest there was and couldn't be more relaxed and great actors are the same way. There's almost no tension in them.
Q. To have it happen here has to make very special?
D.A. POINTS: Pebble Babe may be the most iconic place in America to play golf and to win here is just a dream come true and I'm so grateful to have this opportunity.
Q. The 14th hole is pivotal, last year for negative reasons, because a bunch of guys make nines and you hole your third shot for 3; take us through that.
D.A. POINTS: I was trying to lay it up to a good, full number and of course I didn't for about the 17th time today and just tried to hit a little gap wedge and just caught it barely thin but thought, oh, it has a little extra spin and will help keep it on the green and just caught the edge and trickled down and it's way one in a million.
Q. I have to give you partial credit for his victory because you helped him relax, and you win the Pro-Am finally. How does that make you feel?
BILL MURRAY: Makes me feel better than all of the other which is nice. I knew the only chance D.A. had to win was if we could make it through the entire week without asking him what the initials D.A. stood for, and I didn't, and he's the champion.
Q. You're a great host here, you're a great comedian and entertain the people beautifully but you work hard on your golf so this is a reward that you justly deserve.
BILL MURRAY: Thank you. That's nice of you to say. It's really fun to win. It's pretty easy to have fun here. I honestly didn't know what to do the last couple of holes. I felt like my mind and body left and I didn't know how to behave and that I should just behave poorly and couldn't get that together.
Q. Did he help you stay relaxed and cool?
D.A. POINTS: I think one of the pivotal parts was on 16, I was -- my caddie asked me, how do you feel and I said, not very good. And I stood over a long par putt and I hollered over at Bill like he had hollered at me a few times this week; the crowd would be happy if you could make that. That loosened me up and hit a great putt and almost went in. That helped.
Q. I suspect this might be a partnership for a few years ahead?
BILL MURRAY: Just thinking about turning professional, I probably won't because I have other responsibilities but it's really nice to play with a gentleman. He's a good person. He's from Illinois. He's very Lincolnesque in stature and always is unfailingly polite; and I feel comfortable, he's a nice guy, if he'll have me.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.