CURTIS LUCK/BRETT COLETTA/HARRISON ENDYCOTT | EMIRATES AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2016 | PREVIEW – 16 NOV 16
MARK: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a special conference at the Emirates Australian Open where we’re joined by three of our leading amateurs, all in the top 20 in the world, which is a fantastic result, especially when we’ve had another couple just go pro in recent times.
Let me just introduce you for those who don’t know, on my immediate right here, your left, is Harrison Endycott. He’s won the Lake Macquarie Amateur, the Avondale Cup, Riversdale Cup and the South Australian Classic this year, and then went on to win the Porter Cup in New York.
Next to him Brett Coletta, who was runner up in the Asia Pacific Amateur, runner up in the New South Wales Open and followed in Stuart Appleby’s footsteps and won the Queensland Open, first time in 25 years, as an amateur.
On the far right, to your left, Curtis Luck, the number 2 amateur in the world, West Australian Open champion, he’s won the US Amateur and also the Asia Pacific Amateur championship.
The three of them are all great mates and we’d ask you to ask questions and specifically address their names, so we can get it on the transcription correctly. If you could ask them so it’s Harrison, Brett and Curtis.
Of course, I forgot to mention the Eisenhower Trophy which Harrison and Curtis were key parts of. Fire away. This is going to be a great week for all of them.
Q. This is for all three of you. Obviously, 17 yeas ago Aaron Baddeley was competing against the biggest golfer that we had. Fast forward – is Adam Scott the equivalent of Greg Norman for you guys, like, is that who you’re looking up to and who you’d love to beat?
HARRISON ENDYCOTT: In my opinion I’d say yes. Obviously Greg Norman was probably just out of our era, so yeah, Adam Scott has probably been the guy that we’ve looked up to as an Australian ambassador, so I’d say yeah, it’s pretty cool to be playing in a field with obviously Adam Scott playing this week.
BRETT COLETTA: Yeah, pretty much you’ve hit it on the head right there. Obviously Australian golf is in great hands with us amateurs and professionally. Jason Day, you can’t go past, he’s number 1 in the world at the moment, so we’ve got great people to look up to in the professional status. But definitely Adam Scott being in the field this year, he’s one of my idols as well and I’m really keen to go out there and play against him.
CURTIS LUCK: Definitely, the boys summed it up. With Adam, he’s the guy mainly that all the Aussie guys have really looked up to, being Australian and that, but at the same time, it’s pretty special to be in the field with Spieth this week. He’s still a kid out there and for the phenomenal things he’s done too, so it’s really special to be a part of that. He’s definitely a guy you want to pick his brain and see how he goes out there; so, it should be good.
Q. We mentioned Aaron Baddeley, we spoke to him before. For all three of you, he won here 17 years ago, does it give you faith that you guys might be able to pull off an upset?
HARRISON ENDYCOTT: Yeah, definitely. Look I played nine holes with Aaron yesterday and it was great to go and pick his brains, what he thought on a few spots around here, because it’s definitely a very strategic golf course. Aaron was very kind to me out there and gave me a lot of courage and he just said kept doing what you’re doing and yeah, I’m really confident this week, considering the information I got off him.
BRETT COLETTA: Obviously, I just met Aaron probably about 20 minutes ago. Obviously, 17 years ago was it, he got it done here at this venue. It gives us hope, definitely, that we can go out there and do it. We’ve all had stellar years, at different parts obviously, so we’re not short of confidence out there. We’re all very determined to do well.
CURTIS LUCK: For me, I was lucky enough actually to play, I think six holes with Aaron Baddeley when I was 17 in 2013; really nice guy. It’s awesome to obviously be at a venue where he’s won as an amateur. I think we’ve definitely got the games; if we’re playing good, we can definitely compete at this level.
It’s something that probably favours the amateurs a little bit, is that we all seem to be a little bit fearless you could say. We kind of maybe go not so defensive at times and I think this course, from what I’ve played it, maybe will suit that.
Q. Curtis, your name has already been in the headlines leading up to this Tournament, how are you handling the pressure?
CURTIS LUCK: It’s great. It’s been a really good learning curve for me. This is my first national Open, so I’m just kind of looking forward to getting the week underway, but it’s been really good and as I said, it’s going to get busier and busier for me. So, it’s a great learning experience and I’m kind of taking it all in.
Q. Brett and Curtis, we know you’re good mates, but you’re also pushing each other along. Brett, have you forgiven Curtis yet for what he did to you at the Asia Pacific, and Curtis, have you stopped apologising yet for what you did to Brett?
BRETT COLETTA: Can you apologise now?
CURTIS LUCK: I’m not sorry.
BRETT COLETTA: There’s a perfect example. It’s a tough one. You go out there and you put your best foot forward and you put yourself out there. He’s got to go out there and play his best, which he did and full credit, he beat me. He beat everyone out there. Like I said, it’s a real tough one. It’s heartbreaking obviously for me, but it might be an omen moving forward. It might lead to something else in the future, so you just never know.
CURTIS LUCK: I just think we’re fortunate enough that we’re close enough mates that we can get through it. It was a little bit awkward at dinner that night I think we can both agree, but that’s how it goes and we’re fine now. We’ve known each other since we were pretty young, I think probably 14 or 15, so we’ve got past it and as I’ve pretty much said, I think that night he was going to definitely go onto better things anyway and he’s proven that the last couple of events he’s played.
Q. Curtis and Brett, I guess you guys have beaten some of the top amateurs in the world. What impact did beating pros have in terms of coming into a Tournament like this? Do you genuinely come in and think: I can win this Tournament, I can beat the pros?
CURTIS LUCK: I’ve had a couple of good learning curves, experiences I guess in the last year and a half in particular in the professional ranks. Last year I nearly got on top of a professional field at my State Open, and I didn’t quite get the job done. It was a really good experience for me, at the time I needed it. It kind of taught me how to deal with the pressure when you’re coming down the stretch. This year obviously I played WA Open and managed to get on top of that field and I think the big key to that week was that it gave me an understanding that your best golf isn’t required to win. You need good golf and you need to be able to manage yourself throughout the week. Golf’s a sport full of imperfections and you’re rarely going to go out and have four rounds where you don’t have a bad golf shot. I’d almost say it’s impossible.
So, just managing myself out there has been super important. As I said, it’s not about playing great golf, it’s about playing good golf.
BRETT COLETTA: Was this addressed to me as well?
BRETT COLETTA: Basically I’m in the same boat. My heartbreak obviously isn’t the WA Open, mine was Asia Amateur, learning how to deal with that in the last round, having the lead, the prize ultimately having a spot in the Masters, so that’s pretty much the biggest prize you’re going to get as an amateur.
At the same time, it’s probably the best experience or one of the best things that has ever happened to me in that regard. I’m just giving myself full credit how I came back from that at the Queensland Open, playing, like I said, not your best golf. You’re not going to play your best golf for four rounds, it’s virtually impossible, but how you deal with your bad shots or your bad stretches or your bad thoughts in that regard is what makes a key player and a champion, I think.
Q. Questions for both Curtis and Brett, Curtis, obviously, you’ll stay amateur for another few months at least. How hectic has it been in terms of the invites that are coming your way now to play in professional events?
CURTIS LUCK: It’s pretty amazing. I played Asia Pacific Amateur and didn’t even realise that was probably going to be my last event whilst I was there as an amateur, well, playing in an amateur event I should say. So, interesting, I guess it’s a pretty good way to go you.
My schedule is evolving constantly at the moment. I haven’t really committed to anything yet, because as I said, it’s still evolving; it’s getting better and better, so, I kind of have to keep my options open at this stage before I really get to know the full extent of what I can play, particularly early next year.
It’s been awesome, it’s really exciting and I can’t wait to be able to make those decisions on where I’m going to go.
Q. Brett, for you, obviously there was a lot of pressure on you after winning the Queensland Open, questions were being asked as to when you might make a decision to turn professional and I admire the stance that you took on that, but do you have any thoughts that you can reveal at this stage on where you’re going with that?
BRETT COLETTA: It’s all up in the air obviously. It’s a tough decision, it really is. You only have to make it once, you’d hope to turn pro, and you want to do it right. At this point, everyone’s been asking, it’s been a constant blab on in my ear and all that stuff.
I think I’ve made the right decision, moving forward. It’s probably going to help me in the long run. You can talk about the prize money I’ve lost in the last few weeks – for a 20 year old it’s plenty of money. If you go home and tell your friends that you’ve earnt this in two weeks, they’re going to pat you on the back.
It’s one of those things, you’ve got to look deeper into that and more ahead into your future, talking about calendars and where you want to play, that’s ultimately where you want to go.
Q. It’s hard to believe Harrison, four big wins at home and the Porter Cup and all the questions for Brett and Curtis. You’ve kind of been overshadowed, despite having a great year yourself. What have you got to do to push in front of these two?
HARRISON ENDYCOTT: We really took a slow and steady progress this year. We’ve really been patient with a few things and we’ve just got to keep doing that. Golf’s a game where you have a lot of ups and downs. The last few weeks I didn’t play as well as I would have liked, but there were a lot of positives out there. There are a lot of areas in my game that are feeling awesome and I can’t wait to take those skills into this week.
At the same time, we all train as hard as each other and I feel that with those areas in my game, like I said, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and we’re all going to take turns at beating each other and all that. There’s no better feeling when you absolutely smash your mates, but, it’s the worst feeling when they smash you.
But if we can keep that attitude and just keep plugging away and having a really slow, steady progress, there’s no reason why good things can’t happen eventually.
Q. Just a question to all three of you guys, I know there’s been a lot of discussion about the various reasons why you’ve kept your amateur status for the moment, but how much confidence do you get out of seeing someone like Cameron in his first start on the US PGA Tour, top 15 finish, he’s banked I think $US130,000? How much confidence do all you guys get out of that, knowing that your games are ready to match with the professionals on the big show?
BRETT COLETTA: Cam is obviously someone that’s a little bit older than us and he’s had a very successful, if you call it year, as well, the Eisenhower, which gave him a start over the last week and stuff like that. But, he’s one that we look up to in that regard, and as a person moving forward as a player, he’s done it real well, I think. He’s timed it well. He’s obviously done well last week but he’s got to find a card soon. It’s all bells and whistles and stuff, but it’s one of those things you’ve got to look forward in the future. This is a long game, you’re going to play this for a while if you’re going to turn.
I’ve got faith in him that he’s going to be right, 100 per cent, he’s a good enough player, good enough kid, deals with the media fine, he’s all good. I’ve got to have a chat to him. I haven’t had a chat to him about it, but what he’s going to plan for next year and his way to get into the PGA Tour, his path.
CURTIS LUCK: I train with Cam, he’s playing in part of our State team and obviously our national squad and Cam’s a really good friend, and he’s such a great golfer too. It’s fantastic to see him make that transition now.
But like Brett said, the difference I think from amateur golf to professional golf is not as much what you do on the golf course, it is what you do off the golf course and I think Cam does a very good job on both sides. I’ve got a lot of faith in him in the next few years. He’s a guy that again, we’ve all beaten at times and he’s beaten us. That gives us the confidence to go in and do what we do best, which is hit the ball in the hole, and hopefully it’s the least shots as possible this week.
MARK: Thanks all for paying attention and asking so many great questions of the guys. We legitimately hope you all are in here later in the week, that would be the ideal for all of us. For the first time and hopefully a lot more to come, thanks for coming into the Australian Open.
CURTIS LUCK: Thanks for having us.