October 4, 2001
JOE CHEMYCZ: 5-under par, 66 for Chris Riley today. Obviously you played well. You played well here last year.
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Talk a little bit about today.
CHRIS RILEY: Today I played really well. I made a good par-putt on 10, my first hole today from like ten feet and then I played pretty solid after that. I made a couple of birdies; then eagled on 16 and I am just -- my game is coming back to the. I took three weeks off right after the Vancouver Open. I was playing maybe the best of my three-career out here. I finished second at The INTERNATIONAL, made the cut at the PGA; then finished probably 12th at Reno; then 8th at Vancouver, so I was playing really well. Then I took three weeks off last week. I shot 6-under for the week but I felt like I hadn't played golf for a long time. It is a lot different playing at home with your buddies then coming out here. That's what I found out. Because I was playing really well with my buddies back home; then when I got between the ropes it was like I was, you know, it's a whole different game.
JOE CHEMYCZ: What is it about this place that brings out the best in you?
CHRIS RILEY: I don't know. I just -- I always play here -- a lot of people call me crazy because next week is Las Vegas coming all the way to the East Coast, then going way back. I like to play the week before Las Vegas. I really like the way the course is set up. You got to hit a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens. I am really putting the ball real well right now. I am looking forward to next three days.
Q. Were you tempted at all? You said you were playing the best golf of your career, three-year career. Were you tempted not to take those three weeks off? Did you have to force yourself?
CHRIS RILEY: No I was going to take the Canadian Open off and Tampa Bay, then what happened to us here, made me take another week off. I could have gone to Pennsylvania but I wasn't comfortable with all that just had happened and flying back east so I decided to stay home another week. Then I went out last week and got real rested. But it is coming back. Boy, it not very much fun when you are not playing very good, like last week in Texas I didn't play the best that I could, but it felt a lot better today.
Q. Did your finish here last year get you over the hump in terms of the 125? You made about one hundred grand?
CHRIS RILEY: I don't think it did. I think I was pretty safe coming into here because I made I think about 60 last year, so --
JOE CHEMYCZ: Here?
CHRIS RILEY: No. I made for the year and I think I made 150,000 the last part of the year. I think I was pretty safe.
Q. What did you hit in the hole at 16?
CHRIS RILEY: Driver, 3-wood to about six feet.
Q. No. 7?
CHRIS RILEY: No. 7, I mean, driver, 3-wood to about 6 or 7 feet. I made it for eagle.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through the birdie at 13 on the par 3.
CHRIS RILEY: I hit 7-iron in there about eight feet, straight up the hill. I made that. Then 18 I hit driver, 8-iron in there about twelve feet, made that. Then on No. 3 I hit driver, 3-wood into the front bunker got it up-and-down.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Any good saves out there?
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, first hole hit it way right off the tee my No. 10 -- my No. 1 but No. 10. I hit it way right, then hit a 5-iron over the green. Then I had an impossible bunker shot, hit it about ten feet, made it. I was fortunate today I -- when I drove the ball in the rough a couple times it was sitting nice so I got a couple of breaks there. Sometimes you don't know what kind of lie you are going to get.
Q. What can that first hole do for you when you are all over the place and make you a ten-foot putt?
CHRIS RILEY: Definitely gives you -- sometimes par putts are bigger than birdie putts. It keeps you going and on that first hole today when I made that 10-footer it just it feels good not to bogey the first hole or the last hole, so really just keeps your mind where it should be, focused.
Q. Does that kind of hole going through it like that, kinds of give you any sign as to what the day is going to be like?
CHRIS RILEY: I look at it like this: My strength is my putter, and when I don't hit the ball exactly how I want to, I feel like I got really a good short game so it doesn't really matter. So I don't put pressure on myself, that's pretty much it.
Q. Even though you have been out here three, four years, you are still very young, mid to late 20s. The field this week just seems so young. Is that just a blip? Is it a trend on Tour?
CHRIS RILEY: I don't know but there are a lot of good young players out here. I have noticed that. I am going to be 28 in about a month and these guys are like 22, 23, 17, 18. I try not to look at it -- they all have great credentials, U.S. Amateur Champions, but I just try to take care of myself. These guys -- the Tour is getting a lot more competitive and hopefully I will just get better. I feel like I am getting better. I am improving every year, so.... Yeah.
Q. Elaborate a little bit on the difference between playing at home with your friends. You said it is a lot different?
CHRIS RILEY: It's kind of weird.
Q. Do you change or does your personality change?
CHRIS RILEY: It's just the whole -- the tournament atmosphere, I play -- yeah, I worked really hard when I was home for those three weeks of the last week. I think I shot 64 at Summerlin where we were going to play next week, I mean, things like you don't even think about -- it's weird, like you walk up to a par 3 with water, you don't think about it when you are playing with your buddies. You just step up -- well, a great example No. 17 at TPC, I mean if you are playing with your buddies there it is a little 9-iron. When you get into the THE PLAYERS Championship, I mean you just start freaking out almost. You try -- it is a perfect example that hole. It's a nothing hole, if you are playing -- if I am playing with you guys just hanging out, but when you put the atmosphere of all the people around, all of a sudden it's this big shot. That's a great analogy right there is that 17th at TPC. I mean, I don't know. Some guys can play -- I don't know, it's a good question, but for me, it's just totally different. I got friends beating me at home. When I go home sometimes you know, I shoot bad or really good and these guys are like: Man, I think I can make the Tour if I am beating you. I am like, go ahead, give it a shot. (Laughs).
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