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July 1, 1995

Larry Ringer



LES UNGER: As he was coming down the stairs, he said he wasn't sure he would ever see this place again, I guess, neither were we. But congratulations on a wonderful comeback - and projection, will we see you tomorrow?

LARRY RINGER: Well, you have got some great guys out there leading the golf tournament, and I am not sure I can catch them. Only thing I can hope for is that I have another decent round of golf and let the chips fall as they may; we will see what happens. Right now, to be honest with you, my goal was to get to even par today and just see what happens.

LES UNGER: On day one when you would have been expected to be nervous, you certainly didn't play that way. Day 2, did it just catch up with you and were nerves a factor yesterday?

LARRY RINGER: I can honestly tell you this: That I was so nervous yesterday I could barely see the golf ball. When I hit it on the first hole, I had tears in my eyes. I played with emotion all day yesterday. What can I tell you? It is tough.

LES UNGER: It is still there, which is okay. Questions.

Q. You must have gotten it back together today. What happened today, what was the key for you to get over the nerves that you suffered from yesterday and make such a great comeback and shoot a 69 today?

LARRY RINGER: Well, I tell you, first of all I got to tell you this: There is a couple of factors. Had a good pairing; I had Denny Lyons who really was very comforting. He understood the dilemma that I had gone through yesterday; talking with him a little bit on the first tee, that helped me a lot. Another thing too is the fact that playing the Senior Series events, I got to be honest, but I had some awful bad rounds there with them, what I thought were bad rounds and just knowing that I could come back and just a little plug for the Senior Series folks. You are missing a hell of a story if you don't start covering them. That, to me, was a beginning point. And getting back to the reality of striking the golf ball, birdie on 2 helped a lot; bogey on 3 hurt; bogey on 5 really kind of just got me down, but then I just said, well, I got nothing to lose and I made birdie on 6; birdie on 8; birdie on 10; birdie on 11. I said, look out, and then you saw what magic happened over there on 14.

Q. Was the pressure off, because the first day you came out here you didn't have anything to lose? You played; you weren't nervous yesterday; you had the pressure of being the leader today; you were just trying to make even par. Was it the fact that the pressure may have been off a little bit more, you settled down; was able to ease back into your game?

LARRY RINGER: Yeah, that is probably a good scenario. Believe me, the pressure is not back on. I am just out making money and having fun right now. I don't know about y'all. The honest truth is that, yeah, I let the media attention; I let the newspapers; the pictures and trust me, I love it, I am basking in the glory and loving every second. But it is extremely difficult to cope with that, and I just absolutely admire the greatest players in the world how they do it. I don't know how, though, the Palmers and Nicklaus' and the Floyds and the Players and all those guys do it. I can't fathom it. But one day, look out.

Q. Larry, could you give us details of 14, the yardage, the club, and how you felt on that shot?

LARRY RINGER: My, I stood on that tee, and I started feeling a little bit dizzy. I looked for my doctor because he was kind of giving me some fluids today because I was losing lots of fluids - as you see me - I am pretty wet. I probably hit the best tee shot all week long; it was on that hole. It went down, stopped about 186, 187 and my caddie Ron Wilson says to me, he says, "Just knock it on the green. Let it happen." And the only thing I carried is a 3-wood, 5-wood, and 3-iron; and it is a 2-iron shot, so I took the 5-wood out; hit it up in the air. My man says, "That could go in the hole." I said,"yeah, right." Next thing I know I am jumping up in the air like a kid with a new toy, so I don't think I can ever recall ever doing that again, especially, I mean, this is -- what can I tell you, this is the greatest tournament in the world for me to ever do it in - lucky - what can I tell you.

LES UNGER: Spell your caddie's name.

LARRY RINGER: Ron Wilson, R-O-N W-I-L-S-O-N, my caddie.

LES UNGER: I should have figured that out but I was thinking of you guys.

LARRY RINGER: Accountant, ex-president, he yells at me.

Q. Could you just retrace everything that happened from the time, I guess, you stepped off the course on Thursday to when you teed up on Friday?

LARRY RINGER: You are brutal. All I can remember there is a gentleman down there just before I went into the tent to sign the score card, and he said you got radio, television, newspaper, whatever, we need to get you back up here, and I said, "Wait a minute." I said, "I didn't sign my card." And I can't remember his name; I am very sorry about that - A USGA gentleman, remember who that is?

LES UNGER: I wouldn't identify him if I did.

LARRY RINGER: He was nice about it, don't get me wrong. I went inside, signed the card. As soon as I came out, I think it was N.B.C. radio gentleman talked to me. Then I had a couple of the local TV stations; then we had a couple interviews, came here had the thrill of being out here with you fellows anD ladies and then, boom, all of a sudden it just -- the flood gates opened up. I had, I don't know, Smokin' Al Koken, and everybody in the world wanted me and believe me, I was flying at that time and Golf Channel, Channel 5, Channel 9, Channel 7, Channel 4 all the stations around. Then the next thing I know I am walking towards the locker room; I am just trying to get my shoes off and I hate to tell you, I am trying to go to the bathroom, WOW, everybody wants my attention. So I love it. And yeah, that is my hat, I am sorry. (placing hat on.) I look like the devil with this. And then when I get home there is all kinds of phone calls; there is all kinds of people wanting my attention and I am not calling it bugging me because let me tell you something, I am loving it, folks, I am absolutely loving this moment. This is two out of three days and most guys don't get the chance one time in their whole lifetime. So when I got up the next morning I started reading the paper, maybe, I don't know, like I said yesterday, some days you can be a dog; and some days you are a fire hydrant.

Q. When did you get to sleep? Did you return messages?

LARRY RINGER: To be honest with you, I didn't really get to sleep. I got phone calls. I'd fall asleep; I'd get another phone call; fall asleep; another phone call; then Judy, my wife, she woke up at 11 o'clock; she said, "let us watch the sports on this." I said, "I am tired, come on." I fell back to sleep. I think I woke up, what, about 7 o'clock the next morning something like that off and on. And she says, "how do you feel?" And I couldn't even talk to her. So again, it is one of those days, I mean, what do you say - I am a rookie.

Q. Did you sleep with the putter?

LARRY RINGER: No -- better not say that. No, I didn't. I really didn't. Judy wouldn't let me have that.

Q. Could we get the clubs and distance on the other birdies today?

LARRY RINGER: Hole number 2 it was 203, to the flag. I hit 3-iron to the front edge to about 2, 3 inches off the green. I think I hit hit 22, 23 footer there because I think the pin was 21 on. Number 6, I made a birdie. I hit a bad tee shot there to the right. Laid it up to the middle of the fairway and I had 117. I hit a pitching wedge left of the flag intentionally. I know it is hard to believe that I hit it where I wanted to. I had it about 20 feet there and made that one. I was kind of glad to make that one because a lot of people were standing around. I looked up at the leaderboard; didn't see my name there; just wanted to get my name back up on there somehow. On 8, hit another really pretty good drive for me; hit it in the center with, what I call my 53 wedge, I had that about 153 yards from the flag; hit it about 5 feet from the whole. That was a straight in putt, made that one. Got it up-and-down on 9 for par. On 10, hit 7-iron there. That was 154 downhill into the wind. That was a hard pin placement thanks to the USGA for that one. I hit it to the fringe there maybe two, three inches off the green; made that from about 21 or 22 feet there. Then 11, driver to the right fringe of the rough which wasn't bad. Laid it up with a 4-iron to 67 yards and I was really disappointed after the third shot because I thought I hit the best shot all day at that point. I hit it up on the crest; made it skip forward and stop; got lucky, a solid hit; skipped forward and came back; made about 20 feet there. And that was with a sand wedge there. Then, I guess, you know all about the one on 14. That is all I did, I am sorry.

Q. 5-wood distance?

LARRY RINGER: 186. -- 235, sir (kiddingly).

Q. Give us putts, three rounds of putts.

LARRY RINGER: Oh, my! Okay, first-round I had 23 putts. Second-round I had 33 putts. Today -- you got a second -- bear with me. Judy, do you got that? I didn't have any four putts just so you guys know. 12 on the front, there he goes again. 11 -- 23 again.

LES UNGER: Lucky number.

LARRY RINGER: Geez, if I could hit a lot of greens I would be all right.

Q. Talk about what happened from Thursday night to Friday morning. What about from yesterday afternoon you walked off the course 'til this morning, did it die down a little? Were you in need of a pep talk or something?

LARRY RINGER: I went to the range yesterday afternoon because I actually felt my swing had failed me and I was very disappointed. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to just to shut everybody out and everything out. I was more disgusted with myself; not my people and my fans and you all, I am not mad at you all in any way. I obligated myself to go with a real close friend Jess Atkinson, Channel 4, sports to do an interview with him. I had a lot of my members keep trying to cheer me up. When I got in the car on the drive home my wife just chewed my ass off pretty good. And she told me point blank "you made the cut. Stop worrying about it. Relax." And it didn't sink in, you know, I am stubborn. I am one way. I never listen to what she says anyhow, right? And maybe as the evening went on we had a chance to kind of reflect, but I actually had the opportunity to get up this morning to come out with a different attitude knowing my face wasn't all over the papers; knowing I didn't have anything to lose and again, I hit the ball terrible on the range. And I hit it bad for the first five or six holes today. I don't know whether or not it is the fact that I am playing in the Senior Series and I can come back and trust a little bit. I don't know what it is. I am trying like the devil to trust myself. That is what I am doing. I don't think I would be as successful out on the Senior PGA Tour at this stage of my life or career, thank God for that Tour, Senior Series Tour.

Q. Prior to yesterday morning on the first tee what is the most nervous you have ever been on the golf course?

LARRY RINGER: What is the most nervous I have ever been on a golf course prior to yesterday?

Q. Yesterday morning on the first tee when you said you could hardly see the ball because you were so misty eyed.

LARRY RINGER: I think maybe the 1974 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. I was paired in front of Mr. Palmer, Lee Trevino and Tony Jacklin that was in 1974. I remember that they were walking up to the tee as I was about to tee off and I was nervous just shaking then and that is probably the last time I was really anywhere close to nervous. I have been nervous in Maryland Opens and mid-line PGAs, things like that. But that is probably as nervous, and believe me, I was nervous, folks.

LES UNGER: How did you hit it?

LARRY RINGER: Yesterday?

LES UNGER: No, that day.

LARRY RINGER: I hit it in the left rough.... Again.

Q. Did you see the ball go in on 14?

LARRY RINGER: No, honestly couldn't. And I saw the ball come down and when I went up there Denny Lyons was fixing my mark. I guess the ball hit 5 feet short of the hole and it bounced in. They said it went "hop, hop, in." I could not see it but when the crowd yelled they saw it hit close and all of a sudden they yelled again, I knew something good had to happen there but I didn't see it. I wish I had. Maybe somebody has got a tape of it. We do? Honestly? Is there a tape?

Q. I don't know.

LARRY RINGER: I will buy it.

LES UNGER: Anyone else?

Q. Of all those people you heard from the phone calls Thursday night, was there anything real extraordinary, somebody that saw you on TV that maybe you hadn't heard from in 15, 20 years or anything like that?

LARRY RINGER: I had a guy call me from SanDiego, California 11:30 at night Admiral Fontaine who I haven't talked to in quite a few years. I tell you what was touching, I got a note from a gentleman from the Richmond Times Dispatch -- is there a reporter here?

LES UNGER: Yes, there is.

LARRY RINGER: He left a card or a note that I am to call Mrs. Amidon and her husband who is since deceased, Dick Amidon, gave me my first 3 golf lessons in 1967. She must live in Richmond, Virginia and, gosh, how she knows what I am or who I was, I didn't call her. I was a little embarrass to call her yesterday. But I will call her today: "What is up, baby."

Q. Just can you talk about the whole week, did you ever imagine something like this happening and I mean --

LARRY RINGER: In reality?

Q. Yeah.

LARRY RINGER: In reality you never think of it happening. You never think of an 80. The 68, and leading the tournament, no, but having a 68 possibly and -- be honest with you I am a very stubborn guy. I am a very hard-headed individual. And nobody can convince me that I couldn't shoot 67 or 65 or 66 today. No matter how nice I may sound, I honestly think I can shoot a score any time I tee it up. I wish I were hitting a little bit better so it would kind of reassure that mentality, but I feel better.

Q. Is there a relief after shooting 80 yesterday even though you have the conviction in yourself that you did shoot the 69 today --

LARRY RINGER: There is more of a relief today. There was a lot of disgust, a lot of upset in my heart and my mind and a lot of, let us say, some unsureness in my own golf game as to what I was able to do and how bad I hit. I mean, just look at the way I came down the stretch today; hit it in the left rough on 17 and 18. That is a swing breaking down. I get too quick or something, so if I can get over the nerves of that, I might shoot 68 again, who knows, or 70, 67.

Q. Army coach, John Means, said to me when he lost to you he had to go face the generals and that was the most pressure he ever felt. When you lost to Army when you were coaching at Navy did you have to go face the admirals and how was that pressure of playing golf?

LARRY RINGER: We never lost to Army. Come on. Wake up. What was the record? I'd like to talk to him about that one. I never had to face the admiral but I tell you what I had to do: I had to go back and just face the members and the mid-shipmen there and let them know why we didn't win and I think the pressure was more on the kids than it was me. I mean, it is the same old story, honest to gosh, I can't prepare here. It is like going to take a test. You can't cram the night before. You can't find it. You got to prepare for it months and months and years and years in advance and everything that I have done up to now has prepared me for this day. And I can't go to the practice range and hope to find a new swing. My golf swing is my golf swing and I have got to be able to trust it. I just have to slow down a little bit. And that is the honest truth. I don't have to face anybody but me everyday. I am the guy. So...

LES UNGER: Any other questions? Well --

LARRY RINGER: Thank you very, very much again. Do me a favor: Please pray I don't shoot 80.

End of FastScripts....

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