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Bruce Heppler Interview

May 21, 2014

The team having seen Prairie Dunes in the fall – “You only get one practice round now, and if that gets washed out with weather, then you don’t see it at all. They changed the rules where you can go some places without having a competition, and we took advantage of that. They know the sight lines now, they’ve walked around, they’ve been in the clubhouse and they know where everything is. I think that will make a big difference. Now what they have to do is chip and putt and get the speed of the greens. I think they’ll be more at ease. We were lucky when we were there. We got to play in a North wind and in a South wind, so they’ve played the course long and short depending on what the wind was going. It was great preparation.”


Playing three straight weeks as opposed to having a break – “We’ve had a week to get ready for this. I’m not sure this is better. (Before) I had to find ways to keep them busy for seven days. This year, we really only had two days to practice before we go out there. I think it’s a lot less stressful for them.”


On scheduling earlier in the spring to prepare for this stretch – “It was more about the golf courses and the weather. How the courses felt, the grasses for one, depending on where we would get sent for regionals, and to find as much wind to play in as we could. I think they feel a whole lot better about it now than they did six months ago. I think there’s peace of mind knowing that they can play well when it’s hard. We’ve worked a long way toward making them embrace that.”


On the expectation of being one of the top seeds – “We try to open the door every year with expectations. It’s why they came here. It’s why they chose the program. That’s every day. We don’t try to build toward ‘this is the year’ or ‘this is our best chance.’ This is the expectation every year that we start. The goal every year is to win the ACC, advance through regional and then go try to win the national championship. There’s nothing new to that.”


On making the NCAA Championship just another tournament – “That’s the whole key. How do you not make a big deal out of it? They see [the media] once a year. It’s not like we get covered all the time. When everybody else is now telling you this is important, how do you tell yourself it’s just another golf tournament. Nicklaus felt like the majors were the easiest to win because two-thirds of the field we’re going to try too hard. Once in a while you’ll see somebody play out of their mind, but typically it’s a really good team that plays to their level. They don’t have to be anything different, but can they be themselves when everybody else is showing up with cameras and microphones telling them this is a big deal. That’s the hard part, and if you can do that, then you have a chance.”


On the depth of the team – “It’s certainly one of the better ones (we’ve had) because all five of them have won really big events, and some of them more than one. Richy Werenski is a good example; he’s really hard on himself. He underestimated what his 5-under (66 in the first round of the NCAA regional) did on Thursday. It got us going. He didn’t play as well the next two days, but that round was as important as any of the 18 holes played by anybody. We got off to a good start because of him. You don’t want to be coming from behind in a regional. Every good round you play is important. You have to get over your own individual deal. The odds of all five guys being in the slot and having a great day… it doesn’t happen very often. If oyu don’t have a good first day, can you come back and have a good round the second day or the third day and make a difference?”



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