Interview With WAPL Champion Emily Tubert June 25, 2010 By USGA

Q.         Tell us overall how do you feel?  How do you feel about your victory?

EMILY TUBERT:  It hasn't totally sunk in yet.  It was a tough battle out there today.  Lisa's a great competitor.  To walk away with the win is unreal at this point.  But it's been a great week, long week.

Q.  What do you think it will mean to your young life or further on?  What is being the National Champion going to mean to you?

EMILY TUBERT:  I can't tell you at this point what it's going to mean for the future.  But I was looking at some of the names on the trophy, and there are some big names on there.  So for my name to join them is awesome.

Q.  Now you're just a month out of high school, right?

EMILY TUBERT:  Yeah, I graduated May 27th.

Q.  This is kind of a lot to take for someone who is really young.  You haven't played college golf or anything?

EMILY TUBERT:  Absolutely.  You know, I graduated last month, and I've been playing golf for five years, and to walk away with this National Championship victory is amazing.  I can't believe it.

Q.  Talk about your streak in the middle of the round.  What happened?  Let's go over it a little bit beginning with your birdie, I guess, on number 9, was it?

EMILY TUBERT:  I chipped in on number 6 for birdie to, I think, it was to pull even at this point.  I got off to a really rocky start.  I didn't think I was that nervous, but, you know seeing how my shots ended up, there were definitely some nerves there.  It took me five or six holes to settle into it.  Luckily I was able to get away with not too much damage done.

The key for me was putter.  I was rolling in birdie putts from everywhere there through the middle stretch in the first 18 holes.  And I was able to get ahead there and finish 4 up after the first 18 holes.

Q.  Let's talk about those holes individually. 


Q.  6, chipped in from about how far would you say?

EMILY TUBERT:  Where was I on 6?  I don't even know.  I don't know.  I remember I had a good lie.  It's all a blur at this point.  I remember I had a good lie, and I thought to myself it was makeable if I just hit my spot.

I hadn't chipped in for a while.  I knew I was due for a chip‑in eventually, and I just wanted to keep playing my game.  And I hit it, and it came off exactly how I wanted it to, landed on my spot and it went in.  That was awesome to get the momentum rolling.

Q.  Seven?

EMILY TUBERT:  Teeing off on 7, I had been struggling a little bit off the tee with my tempo, it just got really fast because of the nerves and everything.  Number 7, I hit my first really good tee shot of the day.  It was a bunker in the middle of the fairway, and I took it to the left side of the fairway.  Left myself a wedge in.  Wedged it pretty close.

I think, if I'm not mistaken, she missed the green left.  So I was able to two‑putt par for the hole.  Yeah, that's right.

Then on 8, I think I hit another good tee shot on 8.  I don't really remember the second shot.  It's a lot of golf.  It's been a long week.

But I ended up parring it.  I think she missed the green again, I don't remember.  And I two‑putted for par there.

Number 9, I just made another good swing, and I kind of found my swing at that point.  I hit a good tee shot, and I think I was closer.  So she had missed her birdie putt barely.  I gave it to her, so she parred.

I had a downhill lie there, and I told myself just get it on line and watch the downhill speed.  I just touched it softly and it went in.

Q.  How long was it?

EMILY TUBERT:  Oh, goodness.  About 18 feet, maybe.

Q.  18 feet.

EMILY TUBERT:  I would assume.  I mean, I'm guessing.  I tried to remember.  Yeah, going into 10 I played that hole well all week.  I love that hole.  And hit another great tee shot right in the center of the fairway to give myself an opportunity to go for the green.

I had the ball a little bit below my feet.  I think I had like 200, maybe a little over 200 yards.  But the pin was plus 11, and I just wanted to make another good swing, and I ended up hitting ‑‑ it just barely rolled off a couple inches of the green on the right, and again, I told myself just good speed.  I almost made the eagle putt.  But she conceded the birdie, and she missed a birdie putt.

Q.  How long was it would you say the birdie putt?

EMILY TUBERT:  My birdie putt?

Q.  Yes.

EMILY TUBERT:  Yeah, maybe about a foot.  And then going to No. 11, I was kind of in between clubs.  The wind was a little bit into us.  I think we were playing it 180, well, 184, and I hit a 5‑iron, and things were going farther today with all the adrenaline running through the veins.

So even with the wind, I figured make a good swing and if it ends up on the front of the green, it's all right.  So I hit it pure, and it landed a little short and rolled out to five feet, and I made the putt for birdie there.

Then going to 12, I think that is the longest par‑4 on the course, like 404 yards.  And yesterday I made a poor swing and hit it out of bounds.  So today I just really focused on my tempo and putting a good swing on it.  I hit a great tee shot, and I had like 162 in, I want to say.

I hit an 8‑iron on to the green and left myself probably like 10 or 11 feet, and I made the putt for birdie there.  So those few birdies in the middle of the round really helped out.  After that, I don't know what happened.

Q.  What about this afternoon on 12?  I mean, I know the ruling.  I know what happened you hit a ball into the woods, thought it might be lost, so hit a provisional.  Got down there, it was unplayable.  She could have taken a drop, but there was no place to drop it and play it.  So now she had to play another provisional because of an unplayable lie?

EMILY TUBERT:  Her options are two club lengths online with the pin as far back, and back to the tee.  And I was so far into the forest, that two club lengths would leave me in the forest.  So straight online left me in the forest.

Q.  So did that hole just have your number, is that it?  You said you were out of bounds there earlier?

EMILY TUBERT:  Yeah, yesterday I made a forced swing on there.  This morning I made a great swing.  But we were getting to the point where the match, we were running out of holes and I was up.

That was a mental error, you know.  Just thoughts in my brain that shouldn't have been there, and I probably should have backed away mid poor swing, and hit a provisional, hit another poor swing, and thankfully was able to find the first one, and go back to the tee.

At that point it was important for me regardless of whether I could even halve the hole.  She ended up parring the hole.  But it was important for me to just get back on that tee and make a good swing just with the next few holes coming up.

I was able to ‑‑ I thought I was trying to feel a slow swing, and apparently it was still pretty fast.  I went back to the unplayable and made a better swing, and tried to help with my confidence with the last few holes to play.

Q.  How about when you knocked that last putt in the hole?  Not that you really did need it.  You weren't that close having conceded.  What was your first thought?

EMILY TUBERT:  Well, on that hole, the hole before I hit 4‑wood off the tee and I pulled it.  It was a really interesting tee shot.  So I pulled forward again on 16.  I made a great swing, so that was to a sigh of relief there because I was free of dormie.  Second shot I just wanted to get on the green.  I was thinking I have to make her make birdie.  If she wants it, she's going to have to take it from me.

I ended up on the front of that green, and the pin was over a ridge.  I was like, oh, my goodness, how did I leave myself this putt?  Again, all I was thinking was good speed.  The line is secondary.  Most important thing is speed.  We don't need to make it, just get it close and apply a little bit of pressure and force her to make her putt if she wants to keep going.

And I hit it and it was a little bit right, but it was pretty good speed.  I left like two feet.  She conceded the putt.  You know, with all the pressure, I thought she'd made me putt it.  It was nice of her giving it to me, but, yeah.

But when I made it close, I thought I was going to have to putt the second putt, you know, getting ready to read it, and just trying to calm my nerves and then she gave it to me.  It was a waiting game at that point.  I sat with my dad.

Q.  You sit with your dad?

EMILY TUBERT:  I sit next to him, and it's out of our control at that point.  The ball is in her court to do as she pleased.  Unfortunate for her she missed the putt, and with that I won the championship.

Q.  What was your first thought?

EMILY TUBERT:  Oh, my God.  I cannot believe this.  I mean this whole week I just wanted to take it one shot at a time.  So this was just another match.  Just another thing I had to do.  It just happens to be the match to decide the championship.

It was a crazy feeling.  Such a sigh of relief.  Thanks to the caddies, and the officials, and volunteers and I went over to give my dad a hug.

Q.  What did he say?

EMILY TUBERT:  He couldn't say much.  He started crying.  He said I'm so proud of you, and you belong.  So for me it's been tough just believing that I belong with this caliber of players, especially starting around 13.  I've only got five years in.

I've come up through the rankings kind of quickly, but it's still been tough for me to truly believe that I belong with these girls.  So he told me, Emily, you did it.  You belong with these girls.  So that was awesome.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?

EMILY TUBERT:  I dislocated my shoulder?  Yes, I did.  I played quarterback for my powder puff football team at my high school in Burbank (John Burroughs).  And I called my coach in Arkansas, and I asked permission because, you know, a little risk of injury.  It's flag football, but still.

We were at practice one day, and we were doing a defensive drill.  And I went for a flag.  It was just a weird thing, and I fell on it and it popped out, and I was laying on the ground.  All my classmates knew my situation with golf and University of Arkansas and everything.

I went down and everybody was like, oh, my God!  And people were running from everywhere.  But it popped right back in, and I got up, and I was like all right, let's keep going.  I think everybody was kind of shocked.  They said, no, you need to sit down.  You're the quarterback.  No more defensive drills, just go.

But I think the game was March 8th.  So we started practicing like six weeks earlier.  It was a couple weeks into practice, so maybe some time in April, March, April.  No, February.  Sometime at the end of February.

Q.  I know you have another AJGA win, but other than that, what else in your career does this compare to or is this by far and away the coolest thing?

EMILY TUBERT:  This is definitely the biggest event I've won.  I did get my first AJGA victory this year.  But this is a National Championship.  This is an amateur event.  You know, there are a lot of junior golfers here, but there are a bunch of college players, and really talented college players.  It's a who's who at this event.

So definitely this is the biggest victory for me.  It's amazing.

Q.  That stretch of four birdies that you had, how does that compare to your career?  What is your longest stretch of birdies you've made?  Was that it, four?

EMILY TUBERT:  In a high school match, this is a little different because the courses are playing a lot shorter, and there are par‑4s I could reach or par‑5s I could reach in two.  I birdied the first 7 ‑‑ no, I had six birdies in a row.  So that's the most I've ever had.  I had six birdies in a row, and a bogey and a par.  Maybe I had two pars or something, which that was crazy in itself.

On a quality golf course at championship length and conditions, I think this is the most I've had in a row in such a pressure situation, too.

Q.  You told me you had not yet tried to go for 10 and 17 in two.  Did you decide last night?  Was it a last‑minute decision?  When did you make the decision to go for it?


Q.  Yeah, today.

EMILY TUBERT:  Well, first of all, I knew I had to hit a good tee shot, and have the opportunity to try to go for it.  But I was talking to my coach, Zachary Allen, last night and he said, you know what, you're playing in the championship match.  What an accomplishment in itself.  Just tomorrow go out and let it all hang out, give it all you've got.

So I had a little bit of momentum.  I felt good with my swing coming into 10 in the first match.  And first up, hit a good tee shot, check.  Then I have to look at my yardage and the wind and my line and everything.  I mean, she had laid up short.  Even if I missed the green somewhere up around there, chipping well, putting well, I don't see a point in taking a 7‑iron or 6‑iron, and laying up and leaving a little wedge shot in.

So I'm thinking on 17, first up hit a good tee shot, and I just bombed the tee shot.  The yardage, with the wind, with the club, I was like, well, now or never.  Risk‑reward.  Risk, you know, it's a small green.  And 17's a small green, and 10 has the water hazard.  But the reward is pretty big.  Match Play, worst‑case scenario, I lose the hole.  It's just one hole.  It's not a stroke play event.

So I really didn't see, for me, after I hit my good tee shot, that was the only option.  I had plenty of distance to get there.

Q.  You mentioned that you hit a 4‑wood on 15 off the tee?  When you're not hitting the driver tee, is it always the 4‑wood or sometimes do you hit the 3?

EMILY TUBERT:  I only carry a 4‑plus wood, so I carry two hybrids.  On No.  2 this morning I pulled a hybrid on that hole.  I'm fortunate that I hit it long enough to give me options off the tee.

I don't necessarily have to pull driver.  Driver on some of these holes brings in a lot of trouble.  I think the driver shoots it a little further.  So for me, I can take that club and feel good with it.

So it's course management thing.  Hit it whether it be my 4‑wood or hybrid or driver off the tee, and still leave myself a short iron to wedge.  I've hit 4‑wood off the tees and leave myself a 9‑iron or pitching wedge.  The longest hole was number 12, and I hit an 8‑iron.  So maybe a 7, depending on the wind.  So it's been nice.

It's tough when people hit it past you and they have shorter clubs.  They have the opportunity to apply some pressure on me, but they're usually hitting long irons to hybrids or woods in, and I've got a wedge or 9‑iron in my hand.

Q.  Yesterday when we were talking, you used an analogy because you've only been playing for five years and other people have been playing for 15, 12 years, that you always felt like the fat kid, still skinny, but felt fat?  So today were you able to exorcise some of those demons?

EMILY TUBERT:  Yeah.  I felt like I've been playing well this week.  I really just wanted to play my game, and win or lose I just wanted to go out and stick to my game plan.  Not deviate too much and get outside of myself.

Even winning today it's still kind of tough.  It's something that maybe might take a little bit longer just to feel comfortable.  I feel more comfortable now than I did a couple years ago, and this victory helped.

But it's something where golf and confidence and any sport and in life ebbs and flows.  This is definitely a high point.  But I'm sure at some point it will go down again, and I'll have to fight those demons.  But right now I'm just going to try to take ‑‑ you I leave tomorrow for Arkansas for Tournament of Champions.  So hopefully try to take some of the confidence from here and roll it into there.  But it's a strong field of juniors golfers in the country.

Q.  You just played a strong field of women.

EMILY TUBERT:  Which is true.  They're the top college players in the country, so we'll see.  This is my third week on the road.  It will be my fourth week on the road, but a lot of traveling this summer so far.  So try to keep my head in it, and try to relax tomorrow, and then back out on to the playing field on Monday.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?

EMILY TUBERT:  Yeah, Juniors up in Washington.

Q.  So what was the decision to go through a qualifier and play that tournament?

EMILY TUBERT:  Well, I haven't played in a USGA event.  Doesn't mean I didn't try to play in it (laughing).  I qualified after I've been playing golf one year for the girls junior, which was a crazy experience.  Then I tried every year since then to qualify again for the Girls' Junior and was just unsuccessful, and that was just mental, a mental game.

For me I've been to the Girls' Junior which was the biggest event I've ever played in my life.  I had come from one day events.  So to get to the USGA Juniors, the USGA does such a good job running it.  I was just so in awe with everything:  The practice rounds, the strength of the field, the activities for us, the party, the locker room.  I mean, crazy, crazy, crazy.  At that time I'm playing one year, I was like a deer in the head lights.

So I think after that, playing two years, I had a little more experience, and then three years, four years.  But I knew what that was, and I wanted so bad to get back there.  And instead of just going out and playing golf, I just wanted it.  Sometimes when you want something so bad, you're not going to play well.

Each experience was a learning experience.  Absolutely, my mom said show up and put it in your hip pocket.  The good, the bad, the ugly, put it in your hip pocket and you can draw on it in the future.

So this is the first year event I've qualified for since then, and so to win it is amazing.

Q.  You've earned a number of exemptions to play USGA championships.  You don't even have to qualify.

EMILY TUBERT:  Awesome.  I mean, the qualifiers I feel a little better about them now, to pass that stage is also really nice.  And scheduling‑wise, we're trying to figure out for the Amateur qualifier I was going to play that and hop on a red eye that night or the next morning and fly out to Wisconsin to play an AJGA Open event.  So scheduling‑wise I was trying to figure that out.  But if I don't have to play that anymore, that's awesome.  That frees up my day.

Q.  Talk about your dad?

EMILY TUBERT:  Absolutely.  He was such a trooper out there.  I don't think he's ever walked that many golf holes in such a short amount of time.  Once we got into Match Play.  The first day was 18 holes, but from there on out, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 36 holes.

He's carrying that bag.  He's 58 years old.  But he was telling me, you know, gearing up for this event.  Going to the gym, getting stronger.  I'm going to be so ready to carry that bag.

It was so great to have him standing there with me for support.  He's really not going to be able to help me so much with shot selection or reading putts or whatever, but that's exactly what I needed this week was somebody to talk to, and somebody I felt comfortable with to be there and help me stay calm through the pressure situations.

Q.  Thank you so much.