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June 7, 2002

Loren Roberts


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Loren Roberts back to the Buick Classic press room after a 3-under 68 today has you at 10-under par for the tournament.

I know you started on the front today with birdies on 3 and 4.

LOREN ROBERTS: Started out and hit it probably about eight feet right underneath the hole at 3 and made that for birdie.

Then I hit it probably -- gosh, I pulled a 7-iron there on No. 4 and I was 40 feet left of the hole there, pin-high and I knocked that one in from 40 feet. I thought it was off to the races again for the day because that was the kind of stuff I was doing yesterday.

I hit two really good shots on 6, and for some reason, I kind of stalled out. I was happy to shoot 3-under today but knocked it right in the fringe there on 5, the par 5 and I 3-putted for par there. Now, for some reason, I just kind of stalled out a little bit. I made some birdies, but I gave some back and made some bogeys.

Basically, I played as good as I did yesterday but I didn't make quite as many putts. That was the whole difference.

I bogeyed the 7th hole. Drove it in the right trees and hit a good shot underneath the trees to get it on the first level of the hole, about 30 feet below the hole and left it probably five feet short coming in the hill and missed that one so I 3-putted there. I had two 3-putts in three holes there. I was a little disappointed there.

Made a good birdie at 9. Hit a sand wedge up there five feet from the hole and knocked that in. Then hit a sand wedge two feet at 10 and made that.

Then just kind of made a bogey at 12, obviously a tough hole, even though it is downwind today. I just hit it in the right fringe up there underneath the tree and couldn't get it up-and-down.

Hit it close on next two but didn't make them.

Hit a good birdie at 15. Hit a low slider over the tree there and hit it in the left side of the fairway, I was just in the left side of the fairway. I had a 2-iron -- gosh, I had 210 to the hole and I hit a good 2-iron in there just trying to get on the green and ended up ten feet left of the hole and knocked that putt in, so I got a shot-and-a-half back there.

TODD BUDNICK: Well, you must be happy. I know you said you're in the house, which is more than you can say for most of your compatriots today. What advantage do you see to the guys who finish tonight.

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I don't know. The weather is really nice now. I think these guys can get nine holes in today with really good weather and they will be in good shape. Tomorrow morning when they come out to finish, it will be a little warmer. If it's windless, as soft as it is, you're going to be able to shoot at the flags.

The golf course played, I felt, a little easier today. The greens are a little softer. You could attack the flags.

Q. How disruptive was it to be knocked off -- wasn't a minor delay, you're talking five hours.

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I got up at 5:30 and came down. Then we had an hour delay and they kept knocking it back an hour every hour. So I'm staying right here so I just went up to the room and kept checking to see when they were going to start.

It was easier for me. I was able to sit down, took a little nap.

Q. Did you set the alarm clock every hour and wake up?

LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah. (Laughs).

Q. Do you compare the way you're feeling and playing this week at all to Milwaukee, your last win? Are there any similarities going on?

LOREN ROBERTS: You know, I'm working on a couple of the same things that I was thinking about that week when I played so well up there. Obviously, I got on a major run with the putter up there. When I have played well, when I've won tournaments, it's been on a real major run with the putter.

I'm usually not going to beat anybody ball-striking. I'm going to do it with the blade. And it feels very good this week.

So it's halfway through. We'll just see what happens.

Q. I don't know who dubbed you the Boss of the Moss, can you explain that story, and do you like the moniker?

LOREN ROBERTS: A guy who used to play out here by the name of David Ogren (ph) gave me that in 1984, but it never caught on until Oakmont on Saturday afternoon after I shot 64 to come from nowhere up into contention for the Open. He was just walking through the locker room and kind of yelled that out at me as I walked by. A couple of reporters were sitting there and they put it in an article and it caught on.

Q. Do you like it?

LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah. It's nice to have a good nickname, you know. Sometimes you get some bad nicknames. (Laughter.)

Q. Can you talk about the disappointment of not getting through the sectional and does this kind of make this week your Open in a sense?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, just on TV a minute ago, kind of said that. I said, "This is going to have to be my Open." To me, this is an Open-style golf course, but nothing will take the place of not being able to play next week. I really had my heart set on playing there.

If I had played a little better last year, I probably would not have had to worry about it, but I had a poor year and dropped out of the rankings. I basically had two chances to do it and I didn't get it done. So, we'll see if we can finish good here this week, in a strong field, get some good ranking points. If I can do well, I'll get back up there and won't have to worry about it for next year.

Q. You had mentioned between the last ten years or so, Pebble and this; was it all about Bethpage?

LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, it was about Bethpage. I didn't play the golf course until last year, but I had looked at a lot of pictures of it, and I'm a Tillinghast fan, and I don't think he's ever done a golf course that wasn't a Top-100, at least in my book. That's one of the reasons I was really excited about getting in and playing.

Q. Putting, guys have tried everything. Now it's like all of these different grips, the belly putter and all that. Have you pretty much stayed with basically the same thing all these years?

LOREN ROBERTS: I do the same things that I did when I was 20 years old. I just work on the same things. I putt with a TaylorMade Rossa putter this year. That's only the fifth putter I've had in my career playing golf, period. I just don't change a lot. I've been very lucky with a very -- I work on my stroke, but I don't know. I think optics have a little bit to do with it, and I'm very lucky that I have good eyesight. I don't need to wear glasses at my age and my depth perception is good. So I think optics play a part in it, too.

Q. Do you agree with like Ben Crenshaw, who stuck with the same putter; all of these other innovations have been like band aids, but if you have a good stroke and a good putter you should basically stick with it?

LOREN ROBERTS: That's always the way I've felt. The putter, everybody talks about the head, and the look of the putter has a little bit to do with it, but every time you change putter, you've got a different shaft, and no two shafts are really the same. I mean, you can get it close but they are not the same.

Once you get used to the shaft, I think that's the whole -- that's the engine of the putter to me. I'm somewhat like Crenshaw. I'm a speed/control putter. Ben was always really good at controlling his speed, and that's kind of the way that I've worked on my putting is just not worry about the line, but just try to roll the ball the right speed.

Q. People used to go to the driving range to watch Sam Snead's swing, or maybe in this generation, Ernie Els, but do people come up to you to watch you putt, trying to learn something about pace or putting strokes?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I don't know that there's guys that could do the same kind of stroke that I do because I'm so long and I'm so slow; that I don't know if a lot of guys can do that. I kind of swing the same way. I don't know if someone who had a quicker-paced golf swing could have a long, slow stroke. You basically putt the same way you swing it.

But I think there are some physical things that I could help guys with, but most guys really don't ask. There's a lot of pride out here. Guys aren't going to ask (laughs).

Q. Were the greens a touch slower today?

LOREN ROBERTS: They were a little bit slower. Obviously, they were a little wetter. I think they were maybe going to track up a little bit more, but it's pretty hard to hurt these greens, poa annua, they are going to butt out.

Q. If the conditions stay perfect tomorrow, the guys who don't finish tonight, some of them will play 15 or 16 holes. When they get their hands on the ball, how much of an advantage?

LOREN ROBERTS: That's a big advantage, to get your hands on the ball right now.

You can get a good lie, you can clean it off, you can catch some mud out there, so you can clean the ball off. It's a big advantage.

Just moving it a club length made all the difference as far as having a little downhill lie versus an uphill lie for a shot, it mattered a lot. I think if there's no wind tomorrow, guys should really go at it.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Loren.

End of FastScripts....

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