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April 22, 2004

Chris Riley


CHRIS REIMER: We have Chris Riley, who shot a 5-under 67 today. 67, pretty satisfying in these conditions this afternoon?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, considering on the first hole I didn't hit a very good drive. It was one of the tougher tee shots I faced all year. I know it was the first hole of the tournament, but it was blowing about 30. You're always a little nervous on the first hole. I would have taken 5-under. I bogeyed 17 and 18 and my caddie said, Let's go get four birdies and get on the leaderboard, and fortunately I made five of them.

Q. Last year the course catered to long hitters and big guns. What kind of player do you think has the advantage out here the way the course is set up this week?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, how hard the fairways are, I don't think you need to be a bomber of the ball. I didn't come here last year, but they said the rough wasn't as bad as it is this year, so you have to be accurate off the tee. I mean, my stats don't say I'm very accurate, but I feel like I drive it pretty straight, and if you can get it going down the fairways it'll just run down there.

You know, I'm a pretty good putter, so that's always a good thing to have in your bag. Anybody who putts well has a chance every week out here.

Q. How bad were the conditions out there? Real windy?

CHRIS RILEY: The front nine, which I started on 10, was pretty tough. The wind was blowing a good 20 to 25. I don't know if it's how you're in the woods over there on the other nine, it really didn't bother me, really didn't blow that hard. You know, I shot even par on the windy side and then the backside didn't blow too bad and I shot 5-under.

All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Q. You bogeyed 17 and 18?


Q. At that point are you thinking, let's hold things together here?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, 17 is a tough hole today. I was lucky not to make double bogey. I hit the ball in the bunker and hit the ball at the green and the wind grabbed it so much it almost came backwards.

18, I was a little disturbed making bogey with a wedge in my hand. It's a long tournament, and I just -- I try not to beat myself with a bad attitude. I figure if I have a great attitude things will work out. I don't really get too high or too low. If you stay kind of normal, even keel out there, I don't think through 72 holes -- the guy who plays the best will win.

Q. How are you playing right now overall?

CHRIS RILEY: I mean, this year I've had a decent year, but the last couple tournaments have been tough. I finished last at the Masters. I made the cut and then finished last. That was an experience. It's a tough golf course over there. But overall, I mean, I'm practicing hard and working hard and I feel good about my game. I feel like I'm playing pretty good.

Q. Yesterday when Hal Sutton was in here, he mentioned that you said something to him about Ryder Cup points and he knows exactly where they are and he had to correct you. Is that something that a good finish this week could really add to that?

CHRIS RILEY: I mean, absolutely, to play for your country would be something. I had the opportunity to play for them on the Walker Cup as an amateur, and to go over to -- we went over to Wales and played Great Britain and Ireland, and we didn't win, but to represent your country and hear your national anthem, I'm getting little goosebumps talking about it, but it's a long ways away. Absolutely it's a goal. I ran into Hal Sutton, and he goes, you're still 9th. I said, I thought some guys passed me. He said, you're still hanging in there. I'll do my best.

To play for Hal would be -- watching Hal playing over the years, it would be great to be able to be on his team. Just if I keep working hard and playing hard, you never know.

Q. Talk about trying to keep the even keel. I'm wondering how much did the way Buick played itself out test you that way? You made a big putt to get in the playoff, then you're in the playoff, you hit a putt that did everything but go in. What was your mentality?

CHRIS RILEY: That was a good experience. Obviously I would have liked to have won, but I pretty much did all I could do, and being in a playoff under that kind of pressure, it was a lot of fun but nerve wracking at the same time. That putt that lipped out, I've had a lot of putts like that that went right in the middle. All I did was worry about my stroke and I stroked it as pure as I could and it didn't go in.

You know, it's my sixth year out here, and each tournament I learn more and more. You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm becoming a better player. I know I've still got a long ways to go. I just hit 30, and I know golfers don't reach their prime until they're 30, 31, 32. I play golf for a living and I'm very fortunate and it's a lot of fun to do that. I don't get too down on myself out there.

End of FastScripts.

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