THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, and welcome back to the 105th PGA Championship where Cameron Young is joining us. Cameron, you’re playing in your second PGA Championship this week after finishing tied for third in your debut last year at Southern Hills. What do you remember about that week and how you played?
CAMERON YOUNG: I remember playing really well. That golf course was very difficult. I think it set up really well for how I was playing at the time. I was driving it great, and that’s a place where driving it really well can turn an extremely difficult golf course into a more normal one. I’m not going to say easy ever; it’s a very difficult golf course. But I was driving it so well that there were some really hard holes that I just kind of had 8- and 9-iron into instead of having some more difficult shots. I remember playing really well. It was obviously fun to kind of have a chance late on Sunday. And made a couple mistakes, a couple shots I’d like to try again down the stretch, but there’s a ton that I hit throughout the week that I don’t want to have to try again. That all evens out, and obviously it was a really good week for me, and I’m happy to be back again this year.
Q. How do you feel about your game coming into this week at Oak Hill?
CAMERON YOUNG: I think it’s been going in the right direction. Obviously I had two kind of good results in a row at Match Play and the Masters, and then some very mediocre golf from there. But I feel like I’ve played okay; I’m just struggling to score a little bit. I think I’m just really excited for this week, to get on a New York golf course that’s obviously in major championship condition. It feels like home. Obviously I didn’t live that close to here, but it’s the same style of golf, and I’m just excited for the week.
Q. Does this kind of bring you back to your childhood a little bit, this kind of style?
CAMERON YOUNG: Yeah, for sure. I think even walking down the first hole today, there’s something familiar about just the grasses and kind of the weather that I feel like is unique to this part of the country. It was beautiful out there today, and even just something as simple as that just feels very familiar to me. It’s a lot like playing spring golf at home when I was in high school and really still spent some time there.
Q. We had Tony Finau in here earlier. I mean, driving it long and straight works anywhere, but he was talking about how imperative it is here. With driving such a strength, do you look forward to that this week?
CAMERON YOUNG: Yeah, I think so. I think that’s something that I kind of noticed about a golf course first is if I — one, do I get to hit driver a bunch, and two, is it rewarding for me versus maybe someone that doesn’t hit it quite as far. I haven’t seen the whole golf course, but so far it seems like I’m going to get to hit driver quite a bit and there’s going to be a few holes where I’m able to take advantage quite a bit.
Q. Did you anticipate that you would be as comfortable in these huge environments on these setups here? Obviously Southern Hills, Open Championship, and then August National this year. Did you anticipate you would feel that comfortable?
CAMERON YOUNG: Honestly, it wasn’t something I thought about ahead of time, obviously. It kind of snuck up on me I feel like midway through last season or toward the end of last season. I think this tournament last year was a big step for me in that regard because I had finished high in big tournaments, but having a chance to win a major a Sunday was a little different. Yeah, I would say the level of comfort did kind of sneak up on me. At this point it’s here, and if anything I enjoy the major weeks more. It’s just a little bit more fun for me for some reason. It’s hopefully something that doesn’t go away. It’s been nice to finally settle in and be comfortable.
Q. Talking about the comfort of playing a type of golf course that you grew up on and you know well, was there favorite shot or shots? I don’t know if hitting around trees or other things like that that you really enjoyed as a kid playing on these old golf courses that you still enjoy now and give you an advantage?
CAMERON YOUNG: Yeah, I think one of the things is just the fairways. We play so many places that are Bermuda fairways, and to get some really tight bent-ryegrass-poa annua fairways is really fun for me. I think it’s really rewarding with your iron play. I think it opens the door to hit a bunch of shots that you can’t necessarily other places, so that’s something that I really enjoy. I think the chipping, the wedges and the iron play off those really tight fairways is something that I look forward to anytime we get to come up this way.
Q. As a kid did you ever come down and play here?
CAMERON YOUNG: I played once in the New York State Am. I think I was probably 14. I honestly don’t remember the golf course that well. I think there’s more than one here, and we played some different holes. I don’t remember it that well, and obviously nothing golf-wise has translated between then and now. But yeah, I remember being here. Obviously it was really hard then and it’s really hard now.
Q. Is it one of those places you feel the tradition of it, though?
CAMERON YOUNG: Yeah, walking through that clubhouse is very cool. It’s somewhere they haven’t — I feel like they haven’t tried to modernize it too much. Golf-wise, too, I’ve heard they’ve moved some tees back and stuff, but that’s kind of just the way the game has gone. Yeah, it’s a really cool place and I’m excited to get going in a couple of days.
Q. On last year’s finish, immediately after the finish there’s the pain of being so close, I guess, but at what point do you allow yourself to pull all the positives out?
CAMERON YOUNG: I think it was harder the first couple times. I finished second at Sanderson Farms; lost by one. And second at the Genesis; lost by a couple. This one last year I lost by one to finish third. It was a bummer to come up short again, but I think the more times it’s happened, the more I’ve just tried to kind of use it as proof to myself that I can win a golf tournament out here and win a big one. I’m just trying to keep giving myself those opportunities. I’ve said it a bunch of times; one of these times I’ll shoot 5-under on the back and it’ll be good enough, and I did it at the British Open and I still lost. But one of these times it will work out. Obviously it would be nice for it to be this week or any week on the PGA TOUR is a good one for me.
Q. Growing up around PGA members and knowing that culture pretty well, what do you think about the 20 that made it here this week? What do you think is going through their minds and what is going to be the struggle for them?
CAMERON YOUNG: Yeah, it’s a tremendous accomplishment. The number of good players in that field to qualify for this event is pretty amazing. Those guys work really hard. For as many of them to be as good a golfers as they are is really incredible. Obviously my dad was a PGA professional for a long time. Well, still is, but has retired from Sleepy Hollow in New York. He was a great player for a long time. He never quite qualified for one of these. But I have a tremendous amount of respect for guys that are able to compete that well knowing how intense their jobs are. It’s a hard business to be in, and to maintain that level is golf is very impressive. Obviously I hope for them to have a good week. It’s a great experience to get to play in a major championship no matter the circumstances. It’s an amazing week for them and cool to have them around, too.
Q. Why did you shave?
CAMERON YOUNG: Why? Honestly, my wife just kind of said, why don’t you shave. It wasn’t like — I don’t think I looked terrible. I don’t know. Yeah, I haven’t been clean shaven probably since our first son was born. No real reason. It just happened to be a couple days ago. It probably won’t stay this way. It’s too much work. Yeah, just kind of a random occurrence.
Q. What was tougher, that beard or this rough?
CAMERON YOUNG: I don’t know. Pretty close.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for the time. Appreciate it.
Courtesy of: PGA of America, Oak Hill Country Club, ASAP Sports