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July 1, 1995

Rocky Thompson


LES UNGER: Been a little over eight hours since Rocky got here this morning, and started his days labor. I am sure this is not the first time this has happened to you in the world of golf. But how about just reviewing your day real quickly for us.

ROCKY THOMPSON: First time I have ever been in a press room at the U.S. Senior Open, I will tell you that. I started off kind of rough. I don't know, missed a five-footer for birdie on the second hole then bogeyed 3 and 4. That was dumb. But I got cooking on 6; hit 200 -- measure hole 287, 3-iron to the green; 2-putted for birdie. Parred 8, and then birdied -- wait a minute, wait a minute -- parred 7 and birdied 8, 9, 10, and 11. That was cool, and I am on really rockin' there. I killed the drive off 12 and 9-iron in a little wind behind me and a bolt of lightening went off, scared me to death right over my head with the 9-iron in my hand; threw that thing out of my hands as fast as I could. Then they blew the siren, and couple of hours later, I guess we came back.

LES UNGER: How did you occupy your time there?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Just sat around and confessed some total lies. Jeff, would have been perfect in there. Hey, ain't nothing compared to what he says to me. Jeff has got a great sense of humor, but he is named well, Jeff Rude. Anyway, came back and then I had to hit an 8-iron into that green, killed it; thought I made it to the green, but about 12 feet left of the hole; missed that. Missed an eight-footer on the next hole. So my putting momentum had kind of left me there. Really hitting those putts right in the middle of the hole. And what hole was it, 14, I hit a good drive and 5-iron, 3 and a half feet from the hole and made that putt to go 4 for the day. Parred 16 and 17 on the green and then 18.

LES UNGER: You heard we were going to bring you in, so you bogeyed 18.

ROCKY THOMPSON: That bugged me to no end. That hole seemed like it is going to be so long, but I was hitting about 30 yards, 4-iron into the green; obviously it didn't play that long. But I skyed that ball so far to the left, I was closer to the other golf course than the one I was playing. And a USGA man suggested that I hit a provisional, but I didn't have a ball. My caddie was 200 yards down the fairway, so I didn't get to hit a practice shot there so to speak. It would be a practice shot if you found the ball. I managed to chop it out of there; could have made 12 on that hole, but got it out of the fairway 7 yards from the pin, looked like I was 60. So I wouldn't hit it up there; I hit it up about 20 feet short; missed the putt.

LES UNGER: Seems like a whole bunch of people took off and made a bunch of birdies as you guys went out on the course. Were the conditions somewhat easier?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Well, you can tell by all that screaming back there that there were a lot of birdies being made. The advantage thing about it is the greens were holding so good, and the rain made the greens putt smoother, and it actually speeded them up a little, rain will do that. You think it is the opposite, but unless you see standing water, it always speeds them up. In fact, 15-foot putt I had on that 12th hole I hit four feet by the hole; fortunately, I made it coming back. The rain had made that green a lot quicker.

LES UNGER: Questions.

Q. There were a lot of birdies after your -- after the rain resumed, right?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Well, I have no way of knowing that except there was a lot of yelling going on. It seemed like somebody was making birdies or doing something because a whole lot of cheering which hadn't happened up to that point, and that will happen a lot. Sometimes the reverse will happen depending on if there is wind. If there is wind and no standing water on the greens, then the scores can go down and they might. But it is a little tricky playing out of those fairways when they are that wet. You hit them the least bit heavy, you will hit it way short. So you got to be nippin' it when the fairway -- plus your ball hits in the fairway, you got mud on it. That is a little bit of problem. Didn't seem to be that big a problem.

Q. What does mother nature have against you that you stopped your momentum after 4 straight birdies?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Probably because you were sitting in here saying, "look at that Rocky when is he going to blow it," thinking that your mental telepathy would come through it. To answer that unanswerable question by the way, no, I would like to have kept playing, you know, when you have made birdie 5 out of 6 holes and you feel a super drive, you just feel like you can knock that 9-iron right by the hole; you really you want to at least hit the 9-iron -- at least wanted to hit that 9-iron, but I didn't get a chance. I was about -- I had it in my hand about to put the club head behind the ball, my, gosh, right over our head, it seemed like a big clap of thunder came out of there. But a USGA person drove me over here; he asked me if I had played in the Kemper Open. I said, yes, I have played in the Kemper Open. He says, you know where the press room used to be somewhere, I said, hey, I was -- back on the regular Tour, I didn't know where any press rooms were. Jeff is playing the history of my play on the regular Tour.

Q. Beman hit it by you back then.

ROCKY THOMPSON: That is right Deane Beman could outhit me and everybody can out score me, but... Almost.

Q. What were the distances on the 4 birdies in a row, the putts?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Okay, well, 6 -- well, 4 in a row. 6, I birdied, that was prior to that 2 holes -- prior 2-putted, so that putt was 5 inches. And then 7, 8, first I have got to remember 8. As I recall, 8 was about a 12-foot putt. Then 9 was about a 10-foot putt. And 10 was about a 7-foot putt. And 11, the par 5, I actually 2-putted from the front of the green, just short of the green, but I left the first putt 15 feet short. It was about 80 feet, and I made the 15th footer - weird. But the putter was feeling really good in my hand and when I went back it, I don't know, it didn't feel as good. A little uncertain about the wet greens, you know, the speed of the greens, you are atune to it when you are playing long; you got a feel for it; then you come back, you are not sure whether the greens are going to be fast or slower. Then the first putt I hit 6 feet back, I even wondered --.

LES UNGER: You are finished, obviously, and tomorrow you will play a traditional 18 hole round; there is going to be a number of players who might play 5 or 4 or 3, whatever, and have to be out here somewhere around 7:30. Do you think they will has been affected by in any way?

ROCKY THOMPSON: That is a definite disadvantage to come back. It is a pain when you have to come early when you are the leader. Really? Gee, I get up later than the leaders. That is unfortunate, but it is the way it is. It is not the most -- most of those guys don't really sweat it. They wish it wasn't going to happen. Like Weiskopf is leading 8 under, last time I looked, he will accept it. That is the way golf is, assuming he is leading, he will have to -- it is definitely a disadvantage.

LES UNGER: If somebody is going to come back at that time and play for an hour and then perhaps five hours or so before teeing off, if it was you, what would you do with that time?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Well, if I had five hours I'd go back to the hotel. Watch HBO.

Q. How long is this week's driver and what is it's nickname?

ROCKY THOMPSON: I don't have any nicknames for these Killer Bees. It is just the Killer Bee. This one is 52 inches, on the tee with the Killer Bee designed by me taken it deep.

Q. Didn't Mohammed Ali say that once?

ROCKY THOMPSON: (imitating Ali) ain't that good at Ali.

Q. Weren't you using a 48 earlier in the year?

ROCKY THOMPSON: No, I used the 50 and then we actually extended the bead to 52 and even up to 54, 53. Even is just beyond the point of diminishing returns.

Q. Did you ever use the 54 in competition?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Yeah, I have used the 54 in Costa Mesa.

Q. What do you travel with--

ROCKY THOMPSON: Actually have a flat bag that will accommodate a 54 inch club, a woodies (ph) par 5 out of Seattle. They just come that way - weird. People ask me that a lot. What they ask me I must have been asked 80 times this week how long is that driver and I have got all kinds of answers, standard length, 52 inches. Some of them know what standard length is, they don't get the joke, but most people do, or I say standard length for Shaquille O'Neil, that is my favorite answer. That always gets a good response. Or you know, if I am in New York, Patrick Ewing standard, but that is why I only -- on the Killer Bee we have rings so that eventually people won't have to ask me that I am a 9 Ringer, it's got 9, it is yellow gold with black rings, so there is 9 rings -- 9 inches over the old standard 43. Part of the design, so people wouldn't have to ask. Of course, we sell is the 3-woods 1 ring and the 5 rings. In fact, I owe Jeff Rude a 3 Ringer. You don't have a locker in the locker room?

Q. My name is not on a locker?

ROCKY THOMPSON: Apologize for that.

Q. Rocky, behave yourself. We have a stenographer here. This is like a public--

ROCKY THOMPSON: If she find out I gave you a club, she is going to slit my throat.

LES UNGER: Anymore? Thank you. We appreciate your...

ROCKY THOMPSON: Jeff Rude really is one of my favorite sports writers, but, hey, my better two-thirds don't agree with that.

End of FastScripts....

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