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November 7, 2003

Chris Riley


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chris Riley, thanks for joining us. Rounds of 69, 68, off to a great start this week. A lot of golf to be played, but just if we could start with some opening comments on your play through two rounds.

CHRIS RILEY: It seems like it's all coming together. Last week was a tough week just to get here. I was paired with K.J. on Saturday and Sunday and we were really just grinding it out in Tampa to make it to here. Really I was not focused last week and I really didn't play that well. It's tough being on the bubble, trying to get in instead of concentrating on your own game. So when I got here, I was able to kind of relax and just play my own game. I made a lot of good saves today. I've really been patient out there. I've hit a couple drives in the rough and just accepted that I hit it in the rough, chipped out and made par from a 100 yards out a couple times. Just really playing well. Making putts and hitting it good. Playing the back nine is when I really started driving it good. And I'm feeling pretty good going into the weekend.

Q. It's hard to get a sense on how hard it's playing for you guys. Retief is going low and Charles Howell, but some guys are not. The greens, the wind, rough, what is it?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, geez, I don't think it's playing that hard. Compared to like Atlanta, that was ridiculous how hard that was playing. Where Tiger won the American Express. I don't think it's playing nearly as hard as that. I don't know what to tell you. All I know is I'm playing pretty well and I'm 5-under. I think I've played tougher courses before. I don't know why they're not shooting lower than they are.

Q. What do you find agreeable about it?

CHRIS RILEY: The hardest thing about the course, really, is the greens. There's a lot of -- I've had a lot of 60, 65-footers. I'm not used to that. 130 to the front and then 195 hole. It's kind of a weird deal. Any time I can get my putter in my hands I feel like I'm one up on some of these guys out here, because I feel like I'm a real good putter out here. So I welcome the big greens and it's actually playing into my strengths with such big greens.

Q. Didn't you have a knee-knocker just to make the cut?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I did. On Friday, yeah, last week I was kind of leaking oil coming down the end. Like I said, it was a weird week. I actually took two weeks, I took Greensboro and Disney off thinking I'm going to be fresh and ready to go in Tampa and I cut it real too close. If I look back, I would have played Disney for sure and at least given myself another shot. Because last week was do or die. Fortunately I came out on top. But it wasn't a typical week for me out here. It was tough playing. I know K.J. was doing the same thing. It was not much fun playing match play against each other. It was ironic that we tied on the weekend. We both shot 71 on Saturday and then we both shot 70 on Sunday and I was like 3,000 bucks ahead of him.

Q. I guess you guys didn't talk much on the weekend.

CHRIS RILEY: No, not really. It was hard. I wish I could say it was fun, but it wasn't very much fun.

Q. What did it mean to you just to get here this week? You said it was big.

CHRIS RILEY: It means a lot. Because last year I finished 23rd on the money list and that was my first trip. It's always a good goal to be able to get back here to The TOUR Championship. And it's kind of funny, nobody really knows who I am, except the golf writers, but the fans don't. And I feel like I deserve to be here. Nobody gave me an invitation here because I was a nice guy. When you make it to The TOUR Championship you belong here. And that's the attitude you have to take. It's kind of fun people asking who are you? Who are you? You got to get there -- keep playing well. Keep playing well. Hopefully they will be getting to know who I am.

Q. Because you're such a babyfaced guy, do you have your share of stories being denied entrance to clubhouses?

CHRIS RILEY: The only story I have is I checked in with Briny on Monday. We both came from the airport together. We get to the registration and we sit down there and Briny goes to the lady, "This is my caddy." So everybody's paying attention to Briny and I'm just sitting there like this. And Briny's all done registering and then we're just all sitting there and I'm like, well, I'm playing too. She had no idea who I was. But it was kind of funny. No, not really. I haven't really been denied any entry or anything. I always carry my little card with me now.

Q. You get the, "Who are you?" after you sign autographs?

CHRIS RILEY: Sure. A lot of people do that. That's fine. That's funny. I'm kind of like an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman in the NFL, nobody really knows their names or anything but I'm out here playing.

Q. You're not built like one.


Q. More like a kicker.

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I'm built like a kicker.

Q. You just got to make sure your next win is one of the wins that's on a major TV network early in the year.

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, exactly. Maybe this week. I don't know.

Q. Do you feel like there's nobody on TOUR better than you with a putter in their hands?

CHRIS RILEY: I wouldn't say that. I would say Brad Faxon, those guys have made clutch putts to win tournaments. I haven't done that yet. I'm definitely not a mediocre putter, because I'm definitely a mediocre ball-striker and if I was a mediocre putter I wouldn't be out here. My short game carries me out here.

Q. When you're standing over those 60-foot putts, do you try to make them?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I try to make them. I feel like I can make them. I made one yesterday from 65 feet. So I'm definitely trying to make it. And if I don't, I'll lag it up there two feet, three feet. That's a good putt.

Q. Did you 3-putt this week?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I 3-putted today. I was kind of pissed, from like 60 feet. But, no, that was my first 3-putt of the week.

Q. What hole was that on?

CHRIS RILEY: Number 7.

Q. You ever play on a course that had greens this big, anything comparable?

CHRIS RILEY: No, I haven't really. These are huge. I've really never seen anything like it. I qualified for the amateur here in '93 but I got sick. I had to withdraw. I had heat stroke. San Diego boy coming here in August and in Houston, that's tough. I didn't drink any water and I passed out in my practice round and wasn't able to tee off. I was like 20 years old, 19 years old. So that was the only other time I had a chance of playing here.

Q. Your first taste of humidity?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah. Basically, yeah. I grew up in San Diego. There's not much humidity on the west coast.

Q. Did they drag you off the course?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah. Actually, the ambulance came out and I sat in the hospital with IVs in me.

Q. You find it even when you went to Vegas, and I live in Vegas. It's a different heat, though?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, it's fine there. I like that. My wife's from Lafayette, Louisiana, and she thinks her skin's going to melt. She thinks it's like so hot in Vegas in the summertime she thinks her skin's going to melt. I don't like sweating too much. In the summertime down here it's pretty hot.

Q. Your dad's health's all right?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, he's fine.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Quickly go through your scorecard and then we'll take one last question.

CHRIS RILEY: I bogeyed number 1. I hit it right off, hit in the right fairway bunker and then rattled one in the tree. It was actually a good bogey. I could have made a triple. But I wasn't very smart playing on that first hole. But I hit it in the trees, chipped it on to about 20 feet and 2-putted.

Then I birdied 3 with a driver, 6-iron.

I birdied 5 with a driver, 4-iron to about 15 feet. 2-putted for birdie.

Then I 3-putted 6. That's the other bogey.

Then 7, I hit it right and got it up-and-down from 20 yards.

8, I hit it about two feet on 8. An 8-iron there.

I hit it about to about four feet there on 9 and made that.

13, I hit driver 3-wood on the green and 2-putted from about 30 feet.

I doubled 14. I hit a driver. I thought it was in the middle. It ran through into the rough and then I had 116 front, 131 hole. Thought I might catch a flier and my caddy talked me out of a wedge. He put a sand wedge in my hand and then I almost hit in the water. Then I had no stance. I was like this. So I kind of played it into the back bunker. Impossible bunker shot. Hit it to that about 15 feet and missed it. Then I was really mad.

I hit driver, 9-iron to about 10 feet on the next hole. Made birdie there.

Then to get over one back, I hit an 8-iron to about 15 feet and made that one.

Q. You were right on it without the double?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I am playing well.

Q. This must be one of the few courses where you can reach.... Why are you laughing?

CHRIS RILEY: Because you're funny.

Q. Where you can reach all the par-5s, can't you?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I'm not used to being able to reach all the par-5s. But I'm not like Darren Clarke, though. On nine yesterday he hit a driver over the trees and hit a 7-iron in. I got to kind of play how the course is meant to be played. I can't overpower a golf course. That's for sure.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chris, thanks a lot. Good luck this weekend.

End of FastScripts.

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