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July 10, 2014

Rory Sabbatini


MARK STEVENS:  Like to welcome Rory Sabbatini.  Rory, got up to 8‑under to join Zach Johnson.  If you want to kind of talk about the morning round and what went well for you, then we'll have some questions.
RORY SABBATINI:  The conditions this morning were great out there.  The course is very fair, set‑up well.  It's in spectacular condition.  They've done a wonderful job.  The fairways are lush, really good.  The greens are absolutely spectacular and probably the best I've ever seen them, and the rough is penalizing.  So all things considered, you hit the good shots, you're going to get rewarded.  You hit bad shots and you're going to be penalized out there.

Q.  Anything early in the round, a key putt or anything?
RORY SABBATINI:  No, I looked up at the scoreboard and saw Zach's score, and thought, wow, I better pick up the pace.  Nothing really in particular.  I played solid all day.  I drove the ball well, I put myself in good positions on the greens and gave myself a lot of opportunities.  On this golf course it's a pretty set formula, just get the ball to the green.  But once you get to the green, you need to make putts out there.
Nothing out there that's too gimmicky, so you know what's in front of you.  It just comes down to being able to execute.  The putter behaved very well today.  I think it earned a couple hours of sleep this evening.

Q.  What did you learn about coming into this week?
RORY SABBATINI:  I've been feeling really good about my game.  I had a really good stretch Hilton Head through Wells Fargo, but put a good stretch there together.  Things haven't really changed other than I got to Byron Nelson and Colonial and I just fatigued myself.  It was my sixth or seventh week in a row.  You know, I just wore myself out literally.  Took a couple weeks off, came back, and Congressional, never really got anything going.  Then last week I actually played, and it was one of those things, it doesn't matter how well you play out here.  It's ultimately that you score.  So I played well but scored terribly.
So I came here, felt confident, I'm hitting the ball well and did all the right things.  Did a lot of work on getting my short game back to where it was.  I had kind of let that lapse a little bit, so spent a lot of time working on that, and it seems to be paying dividends now.

Q.  Did you get as much out of this round as you could have, or could it have been even more?
RORY SABBATINI:  Okay, that's a bad question, because if you asked any golfer that they're always going to say no.  That's like asking a golfer if he's lucky.  Every golfer is unlucky.  You never knew that one?  Come on, that's a bad question.  No, I played great.

Q.  Are there any shots that you would want over?
RORY SABBATINI:  You can look at it that way or look at the fact that, hey, I went out there.  Made 8 birdies, no bogeys, and I'm content with that.  I put myself in great position.  I've got three more days.  One or two might have slipped away today, but maybe I'll pick up one or two tomorrow that I didn't deserve.  It will balance itself out somehow.

Q.  Rory, looked like a couple guys coming in were really surprised they played as well as they did.  Would you say the same yourself?
RORY SABBATINI:  After watching my four amateur golfers play yesterday I really thought I had no chance to play decently this week, because I had to try to erase those swings from my mind.  But, no, you know.  I got to play with two good guys today, and I thought, wow, this is what a good golf course looks like.  It was fun out there.  It was a good group, and we had a good time.

Q.  Zach Johnson, he's in here, you're in here, and you're 8‑under.  Knowing how well he's played this course, that had to be a great boost of confidence?
RORY SABBATINI:  Oh, for sure.  But I also saw him get taken down last year, and maybe this is my year to take him down.  No, Zach's a great player.  Zach's a good buddy and he's a fantastic guy.  As I said when he was walking out, I tied a good golfer today.  He's a great ball striker.  He's a good player, and, you know, anytime you can be competing against him or Steve Stricker on this golf course, you've accomplished something right there.

Q.  This is a course you have to go real low every day to be in contention.  Do you like that kind of game or do you like the game that challenges you more?
RORY SABBATINI:  I really like the way this golf course is and the way it plays because it's not only fun for the spectators to watch it because there are a lot of fireworks out there, and it's fun for us too.  You know what, we know what we've got to do, and it's out there.  It's capable.  It's just a matter of going out there and doing it.  Most of the time we get in our own way and start overthinking, and you've got to take a step back and go back to the basics.  That's what this golf course requires, the basics.  Put it on the fairway, put it on the greens and make some putts.

Q.  Could the afternoon guys go out there and score better?  Is it still out there for the guys this afternoon?
RORY SABBATINI:  Oh, definitely.  It's always potentially out there.  There are a lot of good players going out this afternoon.  I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple really low scores.  It's going to be out there.
Obviously, the greens this morning were absolutely perfect.  We had smooth greens that were rolling really well.  Obviously in the afternoon they're going to get bumpier.  But from what I've seen so far, they're not getting tracked up too badly out there.  They're maintaining their own.  And the guys will be surprised this afternoon that they're going to get a little better than they thought they were going to get.

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