Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Saturday, September 29, 2019 – Matthew Southgate – runner-up
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I’ve done everything I can do. I was impressed with how level-headed I stayed and felt amazingly calm really all day, which is quite a surprise to be honest. I thought I might be a little more excited and kept a great rhythm with my swing. Didn’t miss a shot all day and if anything, hit a couple too good that went past the flag.
It’s been a horrible season for me and this has sorted that right out and gotten us right back to The Race to Dubai and that’s the goal for me, really. I think I’ve proven to the world this week that when I do switch it on, I can mix it with the best and I’ve beaten a hell of a lot of good players this week.
I’m sure when it all comes out in the wash, I’ll be having a beer somewhere with a smile and some good friends and I’ll look back on this week as a huge success and a massive achievement in my career, to shoot four scores like that on the golf courses we played this week.
Q. What has changed to bring that level-headedness to your game?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I have no idea to be honest. I’ve just been working hard on my game and found a lot of trust in myself, and the results in practice have been so solid that it’s a comfort zone. You get on the first tee and you don’t expect to hit many bad shots because there’s no reason to. It’s a nice place to be mentally, yeah.
Q. Unique week, the format, three courses. Are you looking forward to getting back to the normal routine?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: I’m looking forward to having a lie down to be honest.
I enjoy the Pro-Am format. Peter Dawson has become a friend of mine and has been encouraging all the way around. Part of me wanted to win for myself, and a big chunk wanted to win for him, as well.
I’m looking forward to having a bit of time off to be honest, this is a seven on the spin for me, and a couple weeks to recharge, come back, and have a big finish to the season. Hopefully get a win somewhere during the rest of the season.
It’s been a difficult one to swallow, really, just losing by the one shot. But overall, it’s been a fantastic week. I’ve played some great golf, and you can’t help but be pleased. Victor, what a gentleman. I’ve never played with him before, and couldn’t be happier for him. You know, one of us was on the first tee and I was thinking, I hope one of us gets our first win, and golf’s bigger than any individual, you know. It’s a big gentleman’s game, and it was an absolute pleasure to shake his hand on the last green there. He played fantastic all day, and I’m chuffed to bits coming second to such a great bloke, really.
Q. It was a great tussle, wasn’t it?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yeah, we went sort of hammer-and-tongs at each other. He didn’t miss a drive all day. Hit driver almost every tee, and every single one was the same. It was really impressive stuff. Let’s be honest, we stand on the first tee, 20-under through three rounds, we’ve both played pretty impressive stuff to be in that position in the first place. It was always going to come down to something close. I didn’t expect him or myself to hit too many bad shots, and there has to be a winner, and it was always going to be by a fine margin.
Q. Finishing second, something still to be very proud of. How special to be out on the Old Course? I think you used to watch videos of Seve to inspire you. Were you thinking of him going around?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Yeah, absolutely. The history of the place is second to none and there’s always atmosphere about it. It oozes charisma, this place and it’s a very, very special place to me. I think I will go on to win. I kind of said that to my mom this morning, that, look, if I don’t win today, I’ll win at some point. I’m working too hard and blessed with a talent that I’m making the most of. I’ll take it seriously and I’m proud of myself for that. I didn’t leave anything out there. Anyone who has watched golf, it takes a couple of serious deep breaths to hit driver off 16 to try to win the tournament. At that point, I thought, that’s quite impressive. I found some stuff in myself today that I actually didn’t know that I had, really. So moving forward, that’s huge for me.
Q. Gives you confidence going forward?
MATTHEW SOUTHGATE: Absolutely. There’s no need to be scared. I took on some shots at the right time and pulled them off and I hit some great putts coming in, and it was, you know, just one of those things. You just fall a hair short but you dust yourself down and you go again.
I can’t wait to get back to competing again. I’m going to have a week or two off, and then see if I can put a real solid finish to the end of the season.