MARK STEVENS: I’d like to welcome David Mathis. David, got to 7-under today, one behind Carl Pettersson who was just in here. Both have ties to this area.
Want to talk about your round and what it means to get off to a good start here close to home?
DAVID MATHIS: Yeah. It’s really nice to get off to a good start especially the position I’m in with the FedExCup and being on the outside looking in.
It’s nice to get off to a solid start, give myself an opportunity to go forward to have a good finish and get in those playoffs which, gosh, it’s a pretty big deal.
It was a great day out there. I played well. I putted the ball just beautifully all day which was really nice you know. The greens are so good for being so young. It was a fun day.
Q. David, you’ve come into this position before. I think we’ve talked the last couple years where you’re trying to get into The Playoffs and here you are again.
Are you getting almost used to it? Is the pressure off?
DAVID MATHIS: I prefer not to do that. I prefer to be in there, you know, on the inside looking out by a lot would be the nice place to be but, under the circumstances, it is what it is. Gosh, just thankful to get off to a nice start.
Playing from behind or just making the cut and having to press to try to get a good finish to get in The Playoffs is not the spot you want to be in. It’s nice to play a good round of golf and hit the ball in the fairway, knock it on the green and make some putts.
And I chipped the ball well — I just did everything really solidly pretty much all day and, you know, added up to a good score. Thankful for that.
Q. I noticed that you missed your last four cuts. Are you doing anything different now? Have you made any changes?
DAVID MATHIS: You know, I put the putter back into play that I putted with in the Fall Finish last year and I’m trying to figure out why I took it out of play to begin with because I putted well in the fall.
That time over Christmas, you do silly things, I guess. I don’t know. I put it back in play this week and, you know, gosh, I putted the ball just so nice. I can’t, for the life of me, why in the world did I take that putter out of play? I’m not really sure. I haven’t really — not too much different.
I haven’t felt like I’ve been playing poorly. I just haven’t been getting the ball in the hole. You know, it’s a pretty fine line out here, obviously. Gosh, I’m just thankful maybe hopefully to be on the other side of the struggle, I guess.
Q. At 15, 25 minute delay. Good your wife was out there so you could talk to somebody?
DAVID MATHIS: I was trying not to. I think the worse part when you’re in that situation to go back on the tee and stand there and look at where you’re going to hit it.
I figured had she not been there I was going to go over and sit under one of the TV towers and walk back to try to get back in that rhythm of walking back to the tee. That’s what I tried to do. You know, it’s never fun to wait.
Q. You birdied 15 despite that, too.
DAVID MATHIS: Yeah. I hit a pretty good tee shot and kind of got in between clubs on the second shot but thought that that back bunker was a better place. Just skirted around the bunker and left myself a pretty dicey chip there and hit a great shot and just rolled through on the fringe and made about a 16, 15-footer. It was nice after that long wait to make 4 and continue on.
Q. David, you talked about the fine line. You’ve walked that line for a long time.
DAVID MATHIS: I have.
Q. How close have you come to giving it up or have you ever even thought of that?
DAVID MATHIS: I have. In 2005 — ‘4, maybe, I was going to give it up. I had had a pretty decent summer playing mini Tour golf as good as you could have.
I went to the first stage of Q-School and didn’t get through. I’m like, “That’s it, I’m done.”
The girl I was dating at the time, who is now my wife, I said, “All right, I’m done. I’m going to find something else to do, I’m not playing anymore golf” and she refused to let me quit.
She said, “You can not quit playing. You’ve been playing for so long and every part I’ve known of you has been you playing golf and traveling and whatnot. If you quit, it would take such a huge part ever you away.”
She encouraged me. I sulked around for three, four weeks and played some event and won and that next year I guess I went straight through Q-School, got to the finals, got on the web.com and feel like I’ve been progressing from there.
So, it was a good thing to have her in my life at that point because I might not be playing anymore if that were the case.
Q. Does it make you appreciate it more now?
DAVID MATHIS: Oh, yeah, for sure. I can remember, you know, when you think about being out here and playing, you know, just over 8 percent unemployment rate and people, two kids and no job and we’re playing for 5, 6 million bucks every week, it’s pretty humbling, it really is. It really makes me appreciate coming out here and playing and being able to do this for a living. Pretty thankful for sure.
Q. We were talking about Wilshire. You didn’t come up country club. Played Hillcrest and Wilshire?
DAVID MATHIS: I didn’t come from a lot. We didn’t struggle but I wasn’t — I wasn’t a member at a club, so to speak, and having a place where I could do whatever.
My mom particularly would drop me off at some place when I was young and I’d be there all day and pick me back up or my dad might pick me up and that’s what I did.
You know, hey, it is what it is and I’m just thankful for that, you know, thankful for the opportunity my mom and dad gave me to even play.
Q. Are you and Carl at the same club at TPC Wakefield?
DAVID MATHIS: We spend sometime there but mostly as Hasentree. We see each other back and forth mostly on the road but, man, I sure would have liked to have clipped him by a shot today (laughter). He’s playing good. It’s good to see for him, for sure.
Q. Did you have any chances the last few holes?
DAVID MATHIS: I had like a short little chip, like a birdie chip I guess you call them off the fringe on 17 that was pretty makeable. 18, not really. 16, not really. So, no, just on 17 I had a decent look at it. Just glad to get them all up and down.
Q. Par save on 16 was about 8 feet?
DAVID MATHIS: 6, 8 feet. I was fortunate to see DJ’s ball and to see his line. That definitely helped for a putt that fast and down the hill.
Q. You brought the FedExCup up pretty quick in your first remarks. How do you keep that out of your mind on a week like this?
DAVID MATHIS: I don’t know. Can you tell me? I try not to think about it but it’s really difficult not to think about because it’s such a big part — it’s such a big part of the year.
Your life can change really quick in the FedExCup if you play well. You know, certain finishes get you in the next week and get you in the next week and, before you know it, if you’ve played well for three weeks you’re in the Tour Championship and, all of a sudden, you get in every Major the following year.
It’s — they’re big events. They mean a lot for us out here for sure.
Q. Considering the location, circumstances, do you consider this your best round on Tour or opening round on Tour?
DAVID MATHIS: I don’t know. That’s a tough question. I played recently pretty well the first round at Hartford and was leading by a shot. I think I left town after that, I think.
You know, I’ve been had some good rounds. I just haven’t — I’ve had some chances this year, maybe 9 holes I had a stretch in the summertime where I played well and gave myself maybe a chance to win if I would have played a certain 9 holes throughout the tournament better.
But as far as first rounds go, it was good, it was consistently good. I rank it up there as one of my better opening rounds for sure.
Q. Did you play this course at all growing up?
DAVID MATHIS: Very little. I played it in Junior Golf but it was totally different that I can remember, anyway. But that was a long time ago. I’m getting old. It was a long time ago. I do remember it.
I’ve learned a lot about the history of it. Gosh, it’s so — it’s a neat place, really neat place. It was a good change bringing it here and especially with the bermuda which is only going to get better over time, be more and more of a challenge, especially if they don’t get four inches of rain on Sunday or Saturday before tournament week.
Q. That’s what they’re saying about Wilshire, you know.
DAVID MATHIS: I heard they had some trouble over there with the greens. They’ll get it figured out.
MARK STEVENS: Okay. Thanks a lot, David. Good luck the rest of the week.
DAVID MATHIS: Thank you all.
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