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June 20, 1994

Loren Roberts


LES UNGER: Long hard fight day. Tell us your feelings.

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, believe it or not, I am happy to be here. If you would have told me after the first 8 holes on Friday that I would have a chance to get in the playoff of the U.S. Open, I will tell you I am 6 over for the first 8 holes Friday -- I am just happy to be here. My putter got me the last three days, putter got me where I was today, and let me down a little bit today until the last couple of holes, but at least I was able to get a couple in there at the end to force Ernie to make some.

LES UNGER: Did you think there was a fatigue factor for all the players today.

LOREN ROBERTS: Personally, I don't think so. I really don't. I think it is just, you know, the playoff of the Open championship and you are not going to quite drive it as straight as you want and hit your irons quite as good as you want.

LES UNGER: Questions.

Q. What do you think the key was for you on the last hole; that shot in the rough? Did you feel that you had any chance to get up for par?

LOREN ROBERTS: You know, I feel like I can -- as long as I don't hit the ball out of bounds, I feel like I can make it par from about anywhere if I just keep grinding it out. The lie wasn't that bad on 18. I am just sorry I didn't start the drive a little bit more down the left side, but, you know, it just snick in there and I knew I had to get it up on the green. And I just tried to hit everything I could to try get it up on the green; came up a little left. I just feel like any time I am around the green I have a pretty decent chance of getting it up and down and luckily, on the 18th hole I had to do it. I was able to get it close enough to give myself a 10 footer and I got it in there.

Q. If this was a conventional sudden death you would have won; if this was the British Open playoff, and had a four hole playoff, you would have won. Do you still like this format?

LOREN ROBERTS: I still like this format. I think this is the way it ought to be because. It is the truest, fairest way to settle a championship.

Q. You said yesterday's playoff was going to be the true test for you. Do you think that now -- did you succeed in your testing?

LOREN ROBERTS: You know, I am certainly not going to hang my head about the way I played. I mean, last night I thought a lot about the putt I missed on 18. Would have had a chance to win it outright. But, I tell you, I really enjoyed myself today and I am looking forward to being here again.

Q. Do you think that if Ernie Els is going to be, like, one of the next great players on tour?

LOREN ROBERTS: I don't know. There is a lot of guys that have gotten that label and things just haven't quite happened. I will tell you -- but he has got all the game. He hits it long. He putts great. And, usually, that works pretty good for champions.

Q. Can you talk about how hard it is to start off bogey and triple bogey and hold it the together the way he did?

LOREN ROBERTS: I mean, that shows guts. I mean, that is why we play the U.S. Open, and that is why the conditions are tough. They should be tough because you just have to stick in there and grind it out. After making triple bogey, I think Ernie is a true champion because he was able to come back after starting out bogey and triple bogey.

Q. Why, in your opinion, were the scores so high today?

LOREN ROBERTS: Somebody asked me if it was the heat. I don't think so. I just think you are always gearing yourself to play four rounds. You get that adrenaline flowing, then all of a sudden you have to adjust and now you have to play a fifth round and you are going to be a little tight, I think. Unfortunately, I think all three of us were a little bit too tight this morning on the first tee and we just didn't get started good.

Q. Your thoughts about the way you guys collectively played the second hole; what was going through your mind during that hole?

LOREN ROBERTS: I made a pretty good bogey there, I guess. I was listening to Mark Rolfing as I was standing behind the green and he said, "looks like the scores are going to be really high today."

Q. Take us through the two extra playoff holes.

LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, both Ernie and I headed down the middle of the fairway at 10, perfect shape. He hit first and I think he hit an 8-iron, probably about twelve feet short of the hole. And then I hit a 7-iron and it was going at the flag, kind of kicked the roll off the left side of the green there and I had a little chip. I chipped it up there, left it about five or six feet short and he 2-putted and I made my mine to go to the next hole. He hit it in the fairway. I drove it in the rough, and I really didn't have any chance to get it on the green. I just hit it as hard as I could to get it up there. I thought I'd have just as good a chance to get it up and down out of the bunker as I would have to hit it over to the left rough, so, that is what I tried to do. And unfortunately, my ball got up under the lip and I didn't have really good stance at it. I just didn't get it out of the green, but I wanted to make sure I didn't leave that putt short. I probably hit it a little hard to go in. But, you know, caught a lot of the holes, so...

Q. Your putt at 16, the par putts you missed that fell into the hole. Did you misread that?

LOREN ROBERTS: I hit a bad putt. I just really didn't putt good today. I mean, after I had what I thought was a makeable putt at 4, didn't hit that one. I did wiggle one in at 6 and then the 3-putt at 8 -- after I 3-putted 8, I was kind of hanging on with the putter today and I just didn't have enough speed on that putt and just hit it low and left.

Q. Could you talk about the putt at 18 and did you kind of flash back to yesterday?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, to be -- I was flashing back to yesterday Ernie was standing over his putt (when Ernie (I was trying to make a lot of adjustments all day in my putter because I didn't -- just didn't feel good with it. And I made a little adjustment on the 17 and I made it, went in and I did the same thing on 18. That went in too, so I was just happy to be able to make the putt at 18 to force it because I figure, as long as I don't give up, keep trying to get it in the hole, you never know what is going to happen.

Q. Talking about how you didn't really play too well, especially early in the rounds, was there a carry-over from yesterday; do you think?

LOREN ROBERTS: I don't think so because I started -- I warmed up on the putting green pretty good. I just -- for some you I just didn't feel right standing over, I -- like I said, I made a little adjustment on the 17th green. I lowered my left shoulder a little bit, all of a sudden I got the putter back on track again. It is one of those things.

Q. You said you look forward to being here again. Was there ever a point in your career where you felt you never would have this chance?

LOREN ROBERTS: To be honest with you, no. I always thought that I could have a chance to be here. I have a lot of people tell me I hit the ball straight enough. I putt good enough. I certainly never gave up on myself and I am not going to give up on myself.

Q. You players often kind of downplay the us against them, as far as the foreign players. Did you not notice the pro American attitude out there today?

LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, there was a lot of, you know -- I think that is great to cheer for your country. I was surprised that there were a lot of people out there cheering for Ernie and for Colin also.

Q. Do you wish there were more public and media acknowledgment of your talents or do you not mind sitting in the background?

LOREN ROBERTS: You know, I want to earn everything I get. I don't want to be -- you know, I want to be known for being a good player, and being a nice guy, and working hard, and I want to earn everything I get.

Q. On 18, I am not sure if you hit a driver or 3-wood, having it winding up in the rough. Do you have any regrets not hitting an iron?

LOREN ROBERTS: If I hit an iron off the 18th tee I couldn't have gotten it in two.

Q. What did you hit?

LOREN ROBERTS: Driver, just a straighter club in my bag is a 3-wood or 1-iron or 2-iron. So, you know, I like to hit a driver about every place I can. Being tied, you need to make birdie at the last hole to win and, you know, I want to get it down there as far as I can, I want to shoot it really high and be able to get it in that hole to make birdie.

Q. Go over the putts on last 3 holes, 18, 10 and 11 and length and the breaks?

LOREN ROBERTS: The putt on 18 to force the playoff was about ten feet and it was slightly downhill, and I thought it would have more break than it did. But when I looked at it from the other side, it looked a little flatter. I thought it might have turned back left at the hole. I figured it was a left edge putt. I got it started just outside the left edge, and it went in probably just inside the left edge. And then the putt at 10 was -- I have had that putt three times already this week and it was dead straight up the hill from about six feet. Then the last putt at 11, I had broke left and then back right at the hole. It was, you know, 30, 35 foot putt.

Q. Over the first 18 holes, Ernie didn't spend a lot of time on the fairway and yet, he stayed with you through most of that tie. Does that wear on you that he is off the golf course and you are not gaining any ground on him?

LOREN ROBERTS: You have to look at it. Ernie is a big, strong, young guy and he is going to be able to hit the ball out of the rough, you know, probably a little better than I am. And honestly, I didn't think much about it. I really didn't. Even though you hit it out of the fairways it is still -- even though you hit it out in the rough, it is still hard to get the ball on to the green close to the hole. I had my opportunities. I drove the ball in the fairway a lot today. I had my opportunities to get the ball close to the pin and I didn't do it. And consequently, I missed a couple of putts because of that, that is how it happened.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your friendship with Tom Lehman? Did he share any thoughts with you after the round because he came close also in the majors?

LOREN ROBERTS: He was out. I saw him last night briefly, and this morning when I got to the golf course he was there waiting for me and he spectated all 18 holes -- all 19 holes, 20 holes today. I saw him out there, and he is one of my close friends and I really appreciate it.

Q. Did you speak to him after?

LOREN ROBERTS: I haven't seen him since we finished, no.

Q. After finishing yesterday, what did you do last night? Did you practice? Were you able to sleep?

LOREN ROBERTS: I didn't hit any because -- I haven't hit any practice since Thursday except for warming up, and conserve my energy. Last night I just stopped, ate on the way home, went back to the room, and took -- actually, I laid in the bathtub for about an hour, and then I went to bed about 11, fell asleep about 12:30.

Q. Would you go back to the fifth hole for us and talk about what you were trying to do once you get in the rough, and do you have any regrets on your strategy?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, my caddie asked me if I like the 2-iron off that tee today because I have been hitting 3-wood. I said no. I mean, you know, I have hit 3-wood everyday, that is my routine. I am going to go ahead and just knock it on down there because the pin was back left. I certainly didn't want to hit a 2-iron and have to hit a long to iron it. I wanted to get it as far as I could and I just came over to -- over the top of it hit it in the left-hand rough. I didn't have that bad of a lie in there for me to hit it that much to the left, but seems like most of the shots I did headed out on the rough today, went left on me.

Q. When you look back on everything that transpired Sunday and Monday of the U.S. Open, what is the one shot you think that you are going to replay in your mind the most?

LOREN ROBERTS: The 3-putt at 16 today.

Q. Loren, one of our cameras was with Kimberly for several holes today, she was just a pacing nervous person. Any thoughts on the affect that this sort of play has on her?

LOREN ROBERTS: When I play tournaments and we get back from the golf course at night, I always ask her why in the heck are you so tired. She says, I work harder than you do out there. So I think she is just happy to be here. She flew up this morning to walk around today and I was just glad to see her on the first tee.

Q. Why that 3-putt at 16?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I really didn't think it was that hard of a 2-putt to be honest with you and I had that same putt and missed it earlier in the week; I think it was on the first day. I had that -- the pin was approximately in the same spot. I had that same putt.

Q. How far was it?

LOREN ROBERTS: It was probably about four feet, four and a half feet, and I knew exactly how it broke. I new exactly how to hit it and I didn't get it done. And I already had one look at it from there and I should have been able to make it the second time.

Q. Did you feel any extra pressure or adrenaline being the only American in the playoff?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I just wanted to play my best and I wanted to win today. I am sorry I didn't win, but, you know, I have never been on the Ryder Cup team and I am looking forward to hopefully qualify and play it because the experience today, I thought, was really good.

Q. What clubs did you use on 11 in the playoff, and what was your distance to the green after driving in the rough?

LOREN ROBERTS: I had 100, and -- I think 140, 80 yards to the pin. I had 125 to carry the bunker, I think or maybe 142 -- 125 to carry the bunker. I tried to hit a 9-iron out of there and I just -- I would have it had an 8 but I couldn't get an 8 on it and I tried to hit a 9 as hard as I could and couldn't get it out of there.

Q. How far was that first cup at 16 where it rolled slightly off the front of the green?

LOREN ROBERTS: I'd probably say it was about, I don't know, 45, 50 feet. About 45 feet.

Q. Aside from the 18 hole playoff format, would you like to see the USGA change the way it distributes the money in the playoff situation like this?

LOREN ROBERTS: Not really, because the prize for this tournament is that trophy, and what that does for you, does for your career. That is the real prize in this tournament, and the fact to be able to say you are the Open champ, I don't know.

LES UNGER: We thank you, Loren. Congratulations on a good week.

End of FastScripts....

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