David Gossett: Pre-Championship Press Conference
BETH MAJOR: Good afternoon. Welcome again to the 2014 U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The 1999 U.S. Amateur Champion. He's playing in his second U.S. Open this week, his first since 1999. Welcome back -- 2000, I'm sorry -- very happy to have you here. You went through local and sectional qualifying to get here, can you talk about your journey to the championship.
DAVID GOSSETT: Had to play 54 holes of golf to earn a tee time. Played in Austin, Texas, at the local. And actually lost in a playoff and was an alternate. I had to play a four hole playoff, after losing the playoff against Beau Hossler for first alternate, instead of second alternate. And then I got the call Friday, before the Memphis sectional, and said a spot has opened up, so you've got it. I went to Memphis and shot 66, 69 and earned a spot in the tournament. Played well.
BETH MAJOR: Can you talk a little bit about being back at the Open, you said you've been here a few days, what it's been like the last few days.
DAVID GOSSETT: I got here Friday night and got a chance to take a look Saturday and Sunday and played today. I love the golf course. It's challenging, I'm sure all the folks in here will say, yeah, everyone is going to miss a lot of greens. I've really been pleased with my time here at Pinehurst. I like the vibe around here. I like how Crenshaw and Coore routed it and made some changes. It feels great to be here playing in a big tournament. I'm almost getting ready to play. Another couple of days of practice, looking forward to teeing it up.
BETH MAJOR: Do you place any expectations on yourself coming -- being at the U.S. Open, knowing what sort of week this is? What sort of expectations have you put out there for yourself.
DAVID GOSSETT: Really my attention has been on just getting prepared. There's so much to take a look at on the greens and sticking to a game plan. Essentially, my expectation is to go out there and have a clear plan and just go out and do that. Yeah, as far as projecting a result or what I hope to do, I hope to win the golf tournament. I wouldn't throw down a 150 dollar entry fee if I didn't think I could win. But like I say, we'll see when the gun goes off.
Q. You spoke about the journey during the local qualifier, getting into the sectional qualifier, playing from there. What about the journey for the last 14 years, how difficult has it been, and did you think you'd get back to this point?
DAVID GOSSETT: Well, I went on the PGA TOUR on 2001 and kept my card in '02 and '03. It's been, I guess, ten years. Yeah, it's been a roller coaster. I've played poorly. I kind of got my wires crossed trying to get better and improving my mechanics. I felt there for a while I needed to improve my mechanics to do better than 80th and 100th on the money list on the PGA TOUR. I wasn't contending in the majors or having a crack at winning these type of tournaments. I changed my method on what I did, and it didn't go so well. There were a couple of years of playing really poorly. There's been a rebound, but it's been a slow, kind of mental process of cultivating and developing that confidence and trust in what I've been doing. Chuck Cook, working with Chuck, this is my fifth season working with him in Austin where I live. He's been helpful, steady. Really feel good about what I'm doing. I'm starting to trust it and believe in it. There's a big difference between doing it on the range, of course, and competition is a different animal. I really am excited about what I'm doing. I'm pleased with the improvement I've been seeing.
Q. Is there a low point for you, was there ever a point where you said, I'm not going to play competitive golf anymore?
DAVID GOSSETT: Never got to a point where I chose not to play or was going to quit, never took any job interviews or anything. Certainly there were times of disappointment and question marks, gosh, I mean, maybe I should pursue something else. But I never really went there long. And I was just kind of -- I'm more wired of, okay, what are we going to do next? And when you get punched, how are you going to handle that, rather than just dwelling on that. So, anyhow, there were low points. Missing at second stage Tour school, numerous years in a row. One year I missed by probably like 10 shots. I was kind of sick the week before, I didn't play well. I was thinking, man, this is no fun. That would probably be the low point. I'm encouraged when I see 66, 69, and against a lot of good qualifiers in Memphis. That's kinds of an improved situation.
BETH MAJOR: You have a young family, three small children, how does that change your perspective, and does that affect your game and how you take things out onto the golf course?
DAVID GOSSETT: Yeah, I mean, I think in life it's nice to have that balance off the course. But when I come in from a golf tournament, I've not qualified, like a Monday qualifier, and I come home, and all of a sudden my wife is, here you go, a child or two, you kind of -- you certainly don't rehash poor shots as long as I have. But off the course my life has been fantastic. I've got a great wife. She's my best friend. I've got healthy children and I've really been blessed. It's just the golf thing we're trying to get that back on the map. So I'm encouraged.
Q. The last few years you've been playing on the Adams Tour, the NGA Tour --
DAVID GOSSETT: Yeah, a combination. I haven't played on the NGA Tour, but I've been playing on the Adams Tour. And I played 11 events on the Web.com Tour last year. I've played some events out there, done some Monday qualifying. Haven't played in a PGA TOUR event in several years. Just trying to eek my way back out. I missed playing well enough to earn status for Web.com this year, so I've had to Monday -- I haven't played an event this year. I've had to do the Mondays. I've come close a few times. But it's tough. When you shoot 69, you go home when you play in a Monday qualifier.
Q. Do you have sponsors? Do you still have sponsors?
DAVID GOSSETT: Yeah, David Gossett and Company is my sponsor (laughter). I play Titleist equipment. And I play their ball. I guess Titleist, Scotty Cameron putter, that sort of thing, Titleist folks.
Q. One thing first to clarify, this is your first tournament of the year you said or have you played --
DAVID GOSSETT: No, I've played Mini Tour golf. But, yes, the first -- well, this is not a PGA TOUR event. It's my first USGA event of the year.
Q. Outside the mini-tour, your first tournament of the year?
DAVID GOSSETT: Yes, first one I've played in. I've tried to qualify in five PGA and four Web.com. And I haven't made it. And I've played in five Mini Tour events on the Adams Tour.
Q. You talked about you kind of wanted to take your game to go from sort of maybe in the middle of the pack to where you had a chance to win and you kind of went all wrong, as you put it. Anything specifically in kind of what you were trying to do and how that got messed up there?
DAVID GOSSETT: I mean, without sitting here rehashing it all day long, yeah, I just wasn't hitting the ball consistently well enough to have a poor week and finish in the top-10 or 15; or not play my best and be in the top 15. There would be too many weeks I would make the cut, but I finished 30th to 60th, and I didn't like that. And I was contending three or four times a year, but didn't win. I just want to get better. I want to be more consistent. I wanted to be in the hunt more often and have a chance to win golf tournaments. So I tried to improve the swing motion and wasn't able to do it.
Q. Would you say at this point it's more mechanical or more a mindset for you?
DAVID GOSSETT: I would say it's more mindset, attitude, confidence, you know, focus, really. I'm hitting the ball -- I'm not like a machine or anything. A lot of it has to do with whether I trust what I've been training and what I've been working on. But certainly I hit the ball well enough to compete and play good golf on this type of level.
Q. You talk about David Gossett and Company funding you at the moment. I'm fascinated by this. Realistically, has it been tough funding this dream, which is still clearly very present with you?
DAVID GOSSETT: Yes. Yeah, I didn't rent a house this week and pay 20 grand to rent a house this week, if that's what you're asking. It has, but, fortunately, I've been able to have some funds available to where I can play. I mean, I made some money when I played well on Tour. I had some good counsel and was able to piggy bank myself to continue the dream. Yeah, I keep telling my wife, the private plane is in the shop, can't find the mechanic and that sort of thing. Not that she would expect that sort of thing. We kid around with that. Yes, still going after it and able to pay the bills.
Q. How long more do you think you can continue to do that?
DAVID GOSSETT: Before or after I hoist the trophy?
Q. Hopefully, you're going to hoist the trophy. I'm curious, because it's such a financially challenging --
DAVID GOSSETT: I don't know, I have to take it one year at a time. Take it from there. I have some good counsel and people I trust and making sure we make wise decisions. I have responsibilities as a husband and father of three. I'm not out here to put the pedal to the medal until, oh, we're out of money, that sort of thing. We're being responsible. We have more time.
Q. Well, you touched on there, could you just tell us your wife, and you say you have three children, the names and the ages of the children and your wife's name.
DAVID GOSSETT: My wife's name is Jennie, J-e-n-n-y. And then I have a three-year-old daughter, Grace. I have a 15- month-old daughter, Caroline. And then I have a five-month-old boy named Hawkins. So you can probably figure out, we did two kids last year. We had one in February, one in December. So two deliveries in one calendar year. It was not planned, but it happened and everybody is healthy.
Q. When you talk about trying to fund the thing. In your mind, you're a relatively young man. There's plenty of good years, possibly still out there. Is that still on your mind that you can have a very successful, maybe PGA career, somewhere here down the line?
DAVID GOSSETT: Absolutely. I mean, I'm 35 years old. So when I grew up, when I was ten years old players, played in their peak at 35 and they were comfortable, more at ease where they were in life, more experienced and they seemed to win these Major championships. A few years later a gentleman by the name of Mr. Tiger Woods came by and kind of rewrote the experience and now there's a different age group playing this year than it was in 1999 or 1989 U.S. Open. So I absolutely know and believe that physically, obviously, I can do it. It's just a function of continuing down the road and doing it.
Q. You said it's been a roller coaster, which implies that there have been multiple low points. What has gotten you through those dark times, I guess?
DAVID GOSSETT: Just balance off the course. My faith helps me and keeping things in perspective. Having my wife and kids. And then I think deep down what really helps is just, I guess, at the end of the day, I have an inner belief that I know I can do it. I feel like I can get back on it. I'm really fortunate that I've won on the PGA TOUR. I've won the U.S. Amateur. Playing Mini Tour golf, you know, I've gotten to see a lot of guys out there who are trying and they're not as fortunate; and knowing that they've done it, believing they can do it, but knowing you can do it is a little different experience. I think a combination of those things has really helped me to keep my head on somewhat straight and keep plugging away.
BETH MAJOR: Well, we're glad that plugging away has brought you back here this week. We're happy to have you and wish you well this week.
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