BETH MURRISON: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us at the 2009 U.S. Open Championship here at Bethpage. We are very happy to be back.
We are very happy to have with us today Bronson Burgoon, who is joining us from Texas. He's from the Woodlands, Texas, and it's been an exciting few weeks: He led Texas A&M to its first national title, the Division I team title a few weeks ago; and he can talk about the very exciting shot he had to help the ago guys win the title. Shortly after that, he qualified in Dallas for his first U.S. Open. He shot 69‑69, to make it here to his first U.S. Open.
Bronson, thank you very much for joining us today. Talk a little about the national title and how that came about.
BRONSON BURGOON: Well, it's one of those, the old we got into match play, barely, and made it on the number. It's a brand‑new format this year. Used to be four round stroke‑play; three rounds stroke play and went on to match play. So we did real well our first two matches and beat Arizona State and then Michigan, and we played Arkansas in the finals.
I was the last match out. We already had 2‑2 split and I was 4‑up with five to play. I lost four straight holes to make it all‑square going into the last hole and Andrew Landry was my opponent from Arkansas; he hit it right down the middle, like he was doing all day. I sprayed it way right. He hit to the front middle of the green, so he had about 35, 40 feet for birdie, and I was right rough.
And I just hit probably the best shot of my life and it rolled ‑‑ I mean, it nearly went in. It stopped about two inches away from the hole to give us the National Championship, so it was pretty exciting.
BETH MURRISON: Qualifying for the Open, you said you played this morning, can you talk about your experience, arriving at the Open and playing your first practice round?
BRONSON BURGOON: It was one of the coolest things I've ever done. Golf course is tough. You have to keep it in the fairway. It's mainly the only key to this golf course ‑‑ well, not the only thing, but that's the major thing is keep it in play and staying below the hole, which is kind of routine with any golf course you play, but especially this one.
The feeling, it was incredible. I had a grin on my face; I've been smiling since I arrived here in New York. It's been an unbelievable experience.
Q. How is this rough compared to that rough you hit that miracle shot out of?
BRONSON BURGOON: You know, the rough at Inverness is pretty bad, but you know, the first cut of rough here is about the same, and then you know, the second cut is brutal. I mean, you can hardly advance the ball out of the second rough.
So you know, hopefully I hit some shots like I did out of the rough at Inverness here; that would be nice. It's pretty similar.
Q. I know the playoff at Pinehurst, was that '05? Have you tried qualifying since?
BRONSON BURGOON: I lost in a playoff at locals every year since. So it's been awesome. (Laughing).
Q. The phrase "whirlwind" gets thrown around all the time. Can you sort of take us through since you hit that gap wedge to 2 1/2 inches, whatever it was, and have there been days where you haven't played golf? Have there been days where people haven't asked you yet, or are you still reliving that, even here, are you reliving that as the days get further and further along from it?
BRONSON BURGOON: I've talked about it every day since I've hit that shot over ten times, at least. Even here, the gallery knows about it here.
I'll talk about it whenever anyone wants; I love it. You know, it's one of the coolest experiences of my life, and it was awesome.
Q. As you know this is a Walker Cup year, and coming off what you did at nationals and qualifying for the Open, obviously huge on the resumé, how much are you thinking about that this week and knowing that Buddy is going to be up here watching some of the Amateurs in the field; have you tailored your schedule this summer to play some of the bigger events to try to qualify for that team?
BRONSON BURGOON: Good question. That's why I'm not turning pro. I want to make the Walker Cup Team. I hope Coach knows that. I don't play many Amateur, usually the Western and the U.S. Am, so it's hard for me to get my name out there like other kids who are playing six, seven of the top amateur tournaments.
But I am going to more tournaments this summer. I'm planning on playing the Southern, the U.S. Amateur and the Western Am, and so three of the biggest, including this tournament. So I think I'll do real well, so hopefully it gives me a good shot.
Q. Have many of your teammates kind of talked to you since you made it here?
BRONSON BURGOON: I talked to them all before I left. Last night I went to bed and I was out, cold, and I'm sure I'll talk to him throughout the week. I'm really close to my entire team. I keep in touch with them always.
Q. Have you had a different mentality going into this Open as opposed to the (national) championship?
BRONSON BURGOON: You know, not much. I'm trying ‑‑ it's so hard to keep focused out there. The National Championship, yeah, it's a big tournament, but there's not a lot of people out there watching. So you can really focus on your game.
Out here there's so many things to distract you. You're trying to hit your shot and all you can see are people and tents and cameras. That's going to be the hardest thing for me is to just keep my focus this week and just play golf.
Q. You mentioned Adam Scott is one of your favorite players; have you had a chance ‑‑ do you know he's in the field, obviously, and have you had a chance to talk to him yet, and for you, how do you keep yourself focused?
BRONSON BURGOON: To answer the first part, he was right behind me in registration. I turned around and he was right there, I was like, whoa, hello.
I don't want to bother him, so maybe later on in the week I'll say hello. But for me, personally, I've got a good caddie, my high school golf coach who is going to keep me focused.
Like I said, I'm just going to try to keep looking right down the fairway instead of gazing all over the place, and if I do that, I feel like I can play pretty well. So as long as I don't let my mind wander and eyes go everywhere, I should be okay.
Q. I noticed you were one of the first people on the range this morning. Is that because you couldn't wait to get out there or what? It was still raining at that point.
BRONSON BURGOON: Yeah, obviously this is a dream come true, so any second I can have out here, I'm going to take it. I wanted to play early this morning to see how the golf course is; obviously it was still raining, but I was still practicing.
Tomorrow I'm going to play late, but I'll be out here in the morning, as well.
Q. You said there were people out here this morning that knew what you did at NCAAs?
BRONSON BURGOON: Yeah.
Q. Does that kind of mean ‑‑ there's that Tiger guy here this week and Phil and others that people are here to see; does it blow your mind that people here are aware of you?
BRONSON BURGOON: A couple of guys called me "Champ" from national champ. I was like, what? It's just a dream come true. People have been awesome so far, and it's been the first day. So I'm really looking forward to the next few days.
Q. There are 15 amateurs in the field at of this morning, another got in today, last year 11, a year before 12; why do you think so many amateurs are able to qualify when you have 9,000 people and the best pros trying to get into the field? Is there something going on in the amateur game?
BRONSON BURGOON: I just think the level of competition as amateurs now has gone way up. You know, like you can tell Anthony Kim comes out and does real well; Dustin Johnson comes out and does really well. Time and time again, people are just proving that young guys can play, and that's why college is so great. You get awesome competition and it prepares you for this. So, you know, people are ready.
Q. Following up on that, they had a couple of amateur winners over on The European Tour this year with Danny Lee and the kid that won in Ireland; I guess the same principle would apply over there.
BRONSON BURGOON: Absolutely. I've got a couple of Europeans on my golf team, and, you know, they are awesome. Over there the golf is just as good as it is over here.
Q. You said you played the U.S. Amateur. What kind of success did you have at the Amateur? Have you gotten far?
BRONSON BURGOON: I managed to mess everything up the last three holes to get into stroke‑play. I have a curse; I shoot 74 every round of the U.S. Amateur. I've shot ‑‑ I played in three U.S. Amateurs, and obviously I mismatched play by one stroke two years and I shot 74 five times. I thought I would just go ahead and break the streak at 78 my last round at Pinehurst.
No, I never had a practice round. I never got to see No. 2 and I had no caddie and I was out there blind, and that's not a fun golf course to go out there with no caddie or no help.
Q. What have you done with the wedge? Did you hit it and is it in your bag this week?
BRONSON BURGOON: No. Inverness, they wanted it. They are going to put it up next to Bob Tway's wedge where he holed out. So I got a whole new set of wedges in the bag this week, so looking forward to using them.
Q. You mentioned you have your high school coach as your caddie. Have you brought other family members along; and how many people have asked you for tickets?
BRONSON BURGOON: A lot of people have asked me for tickets. Most of my family is coming except for my mom. She, unfortunately, can't make it, so that's disappointing.
But I know she's rooting me on. My brother is coming in tomorrow which I can't wait. You know, he's my best friend, and I wouldn't want anyone else here with me except for him, so looking forward for that.
I'm playing with Angel Cabrera tomorrow so he's flying in the morning and he's going to be able to walk with us. It's just going to be a really cool treat.
Q. Do you speak Spanish?
BRONSON BURGOON: My dad's fluent but I know nothing ‑‑ well, a little bit.
Q. You said that you didn't have that wedge with you, but do you have anything to commemorate that day with you that you carry as a memento or a good luck charm or something to remind you of that?
BRONSON BURGOON: I don't know if I should say this but our coach gave us all like little rocks right before just to know that the other guys are out there battling with us. So I've got that in my bag just to kind of remember them and know that they are thinking about me. It's nothing special; just wanted us to know that there's four other guys counting on each other.
BETH MURRISON: Bronson, thank you very much for joining us today. We wish you well this week and enjoy every minute.