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July 11, 2017

Richie Ramsay

Ayrshire, Scotland

CLAIRE BODEL: Richie, you're here after a pretty massive weekend last weekend. Must be feeling pretty good, pretty relaxed?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Obviously buoyed by last week's result. I couldn't ask for much for I think, coming down the stretch, looking at leaderboards. Jon was playing unbelievable golf -- there was a logjam at I think 17. It's one of those ones where like either you sit there and in third gear cruising and hopefully guys drop shots, or you kind of put the foot down.

So I made the decision to try and put the foot down and try and make as many birdies as possible and push on. Managed to get to 18 in a second place finish which made a massive difference for me, really, Race to Dubai in back of my mind.

CLARE BODEL: This week, your home open, a huge event and now part of the Rolex Series. What is it like playing in front of your home fans in a tournament this size?

RICHIE RAMSAY: It's great. Last year got the kind of feeling coming down the stretch playing some really good golf, trying to play to win. Just when you hole putts, there's different kind of cheers. There's more impetus. You kind of realise that it's the Scottish Open, it's a major for us, and I said to a few guys out there, it's one of those ones where it's like career-defining. If you want to pick one, Scottish Open, Dunhill, they are right there. And now we have it in a Rolex Series, so the prize money, strength of field, everything, all those ingredients elevate the tournament even more.

Q. How much was getting into the U.S. Open and that experience out there, how much was that the kick-start for the last few weeks?
RICHIE RAMSAY: I think we spoke out there about benchmarking your game and where it lies. There are probably two things I took out of the U.S. Open were, one, my game is way superior than it was, which I believed in, but until you see it, or until you do it, didn't realise that. I played really well and I wasn't overly concerned about pressure or playing a U.S. Open, and I know I didn't make the cut.

But I think a few things went against me, outside sort of agencies. The draw and the wind and I felt like I did myself justice, which in previous majors I haven't done and I took a lot of pride in that. Although disappointed, which fuelled the fire for sort of good practise and moving into these events. I just felt like I can do it on the big stage, and last week sort of showed that to the an extent when you look at the field strength.

It's just been a sort of frustrating year because of patience I've had to have just to get to where I was last week is way more than I've probably had to use up any other year, because I just felt like I was plateauing out and not going anywhere. Was playing some really good golf.

Like you said, some of the -- what's your highlights, I'm thinking I've played three or four tournaments this year where I felt like I played brilliant and I made the cut by two shots and I'm finishing like 30th or 40th. I'm sure you know, like I'm quite competitive and losing is not a thing that I like to do. I want to be up there in the mix; that's where you get the butterflies, that's where you feel adrenaline.

That's why last week was such a buzz. To describe it, best way to describe it, it's like a drug. It's like an adrenaline rush, and you get it when you don't get in the mix. And last week, I just loved it. Ireland's brilliant. Fantastic golf course. Front nine are probably nine of the best holes you ever play. Huge event, Rolex, great fans, just great mix, and it's just pretty cool to play in. If you said, if you're a little kid, what do you want to do. You'd be like, that's one of those things you want to play in and get in the mix in a big tournament.

Q. I think I'm right in saying you played a few holes with Sandy Scott this morning. Did that take you back to when you were in his shoes and what advice did you have for him?
RICHIE RAMSAY: Just chat about what university he was at and stuff he was playing in and stuff like that.

I remember when I was just starting out and probably played a few holes with Paul, but these guys, I would say they are way better equipped to deal with playing in these events now. I think the standard's higher.

I think we had a really strong spell when I was at Scottish Golf. I think myself, George Murray, Lloyd, Scott, were kind of really for some reason, a really strong grouping of players, and I think we've probably shown that, the things that they have won. Seeing some of the scores, he's one of these guys who wins at different levels, and that's one of the characteristics that you look for moving forward.

I'm fortunate that I managed to do that, as well, 16-under on 18, and when you do that, you get a feeling that these guys who win, they know how to deal with the pressure, and that's what you've got to do out here: Deal with the pressure and deal with it under those conditions on the back nine on Sunday.

Q. Obviously Sunday's performance gave you a massive boost up the World Rankings. What were your feelings on, A, being ranked so low initially, and B, what's the next goal now?
RICHIE RAMSAY: I think being ranked low is just a consequence of not getting the job done. World Rankings, it's a difficult job and they are as fair as they could be. I tried to focus on -- sound like a psychologist. Try to focus on what you can control. That week I did that very well.

I mean, I won't lie, like somebody asked me, what were you thinking down the stretch, and like you do think about the impact. I mean, it's a $7 million dollar event. You think about the impact it can have if you win the event, like life-changing. You can go into like majors or move up The Race to Dubai and you can play wherever you want. All of those things go through your head.

World Rankings come into it, but every time I thought about that, I moved back from what I had to do, which was like focus on the shot and just pick off a yardage, pick the wind and focus on my process, and I did that really well. I definitely drifted in between shots, but the minute I got over it, I was complete and utter focussed on what I was doing, which is why I think I played well under pressure. It's a great thing to have, because I'll take that, sort of put that in the mental bank and then hopefully if I play well this week or next week, just feed off that. And simple thing is if you've done it once, you can do it again. That was the most pleasing thing from the week.

Q. Would you have goals of say, Top-100, Top-50 eventually? Presumably that's the goal to get in those big events automatically by being in the Top-50?
RICHIE RAMSAY: The Top-50 is like the Holy Grail in golf, isn't it. It changes your schedule. I've always wanted to play -- in the Top 50, I've always want to play the Masters again. That's my favourite golf course, my favourite event.

I'm just trying to do my day-to-day stuff good. I think Top-50 starts with a solid foundation, which is a good plan. And then from there you have a team around you, which I feel that I've got, and just trying to execute. And haven't executed that well this year, but I feel that like I say, I've stayed really patient, and I've spoken to a few people that helped me with the mental side with the belief element, and just try and do, like I say, day-to-day stuff.

If I do all that well -- the best example of that was about two months ago, I made the decision that I would play France and even if I missed the cut, I would stay out, because I know that every week if I miss the cut and stay out, it kind of hurts. You feel that pain. Like I didn't go home and see Olivia, which that was a tough weekend, just for me as a dad.

So I grinded it out, did my gym work, and I firmly believe like the reason I played well last week is because I played out and worked for it. Success always comes after hard work, there's no doubt about that. You ask the top players in the world, I think a lot of times, they will say, yeah, I felt good that week. But they said, well, I did something two months ago, or I've got a new regime and I've been quite dedicated to it and I felt like that made a difference. It's small things but it can make a big difference on the golf course.

Q. Knowing your competitive streak, how hard is that for you and have you done anything to develop more patience?
RICHIE RAMSAY: There's a doc out here, Andy Murray, I think he was an ultra distance runner. He's got quite a good mind-set about the way you approach things. He's kind of got me back into more of the process driven mind-set whereby, you know, as long as you do the process well, that's all you can do.

So control your controllables, and try not to worry about the result. And I've kind of -- I've got talent, I am a good player and I've got a good work ethic, and I stick to things I believe in. I tried to add that process into my -- what I call my value system, which is to do with what I do each day, not just on the golf course, but off the golf course and I've tried to sort of do the process and do that, and if things don't go right, just be content with almost making the effort.

This week if I do my gym work, do my stretching, I go and practise, do my sort of due diligence on the course, and if I finish 50th, I walk away and kind of held high. If I finish second, then it's going to be the same result for me almost coming off that. I've got to walk away with my head held high because I did everything I could do. I gave 100 per cent and there were small things that went better --

Q. Has he got you running --
RICHIE RAMSAY: No, no, I don't look like a long-distance runner, do I. Don't look like a runner. He's got a very good work ethic, but he's got a great outlook on life, like he breaks things down and he almost makes you come to the conclusion rather than him telling you the conclusion.

So in your mind, things work better. It's a little bit like, if you ever give someone something for free, they don't appreciate it that much. But if you make them work for it or work to the conclusion or work to the end, then they remember the work and they remember how you got there and you appreciate it more and I think it sort of seeps into your head a little bit more. Golf's so mental these days that you're looking for one percents everywhere. You could argue golf is probably 50 per cent mental. There's a lot of ground there to be made up if you have a good mind-set.

Q. Interested in what you said about the French and inflecting pain on yourself by staying out there. How did you come up with that idea? Is that something you'll continue to do?
RICHIE RAMSAY: Well, when I was younger, when I played Challenge Tour, I would never go back home for a few reasons. It was very hard to get back to Aberdeen; it cost a fortune because the oil price was high.

And I took the viewpoint, especially if it was a good range: If you give me a gym, like Pro V1s on the range. Which when you're 14, if you said I'm going to give you Pro V1s, unlimited amount of balls to hit on the range for the weekend, it's like ideal preparation. You can't ask for more. All you've got to do is apply yourself.

I've always found that going to practise and watching the guys tee off in the tournament, it kind of -- it's basically just like free fuel to drive the boat. You do remember that and it kind of helps you train a bit better. And just through practise, you pick up little things.

How many times you speak to a top player and just think, oh, I found a little something that I think a little better, or a little swing thought. And I always find that I just play better, even though I've never sort of gone on a run of missed cuts, because I stay out there and I practise and grind on it.

Probably the other thing, it probably helps with confidence. If you stand on the tee and said, well, I practiced all weekend, I must play well. I always say to myself, logically, like if I practised and hit all the shots, I can do it on the golf course.

Q. Do you still pick up things from other players?
RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, I still pick up little things. Just random things, like read certain motivational books. I've got videos that I watch. I watched one other day. Just a compilation of motivational videos, but I watched it, and it talks about self-belief. Talks about there's no other person that you can blame but yourself.

A lot of people talk to me like, oh, yeah, I could have done this, I could have got there. I was like, well, did you do -- no. Well, you've only got yourself to blame. I've always been harsh with myself but I've found that to be a positive thing which pushes me. I think a lot of people in this day and age look for short-term things; oh, I want to get there, but they don't see probably Rory getting up in the gym at six in the morning and spending eight hours at the golf course and doing that for three weeks solid. They just maybe think it's just all private jets and going out all the time.

But there's a lot more to getting here than people think, and I just think you've got to do everything you can, while you can, because you never know when it's going to end, really, to be honest.

Q. On the back of Ireland, you're sitting nicely in The Race to Dubai and a bit of money in the bank. How different is that from early in the season when you didn't have a sponsor and when you started out?
RICHIE RAMSAY: Night and day. Well, it's job security. It sounds funny but we're out here playing for our job. It's nice. I'm going to have the opportunity to reward people who have been really loyal to me and showed a lot of faith in me, which talk about my value system, that's two of the big things I value, like faith and loyalty.

Yeah, the landscape changes. Again, your mind does wander and think, oh, I've just made my card, but you've kind of got to focus and set your goals high. Just like I do on the golf course, you've got to pick a small point and focus on that. It narrows everything down, and it's going to be far easier to play the rest of the year.

I think you ask everybody who gets off to a slow start, there's a bit of pressure, but I kept the patience and the belief that a lot of the times, the middle to the end of the year, I always play better, and fortunately for me that's when the big tournaments are. I just kept that belief and I felt to myself that I'm good enough to get here, but you need to, do you need to drill that into you, because you do go in -- you can go into a snowball and disappear.

If you don't have a safety net of people around you and catch you and talk to you and help motivate you, there's definitely like -- there's definitely cliffs you can fall off, there's no doubt about that.

Q. You came here with something, it wasn't expected maybe last week. And this maybe raise your awareness, self-awareness, and self-belief. So you said you don't believe on something before you see it. Working with your mental coach, how can you see the next step in your process, next process, to get something, goal, like winning The Open or whatever. Talk a little of the process, the mind-set.
RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, process, it's just trying to have a clear focus on your mental game. So with regards to process, it's not -- I don't think there's probably another level. It's just doing it to a better percentage.

So if you give me a hundred shots, and if someone asks me and says, how good were you percentage-wise in those hundred shots, and I would say, well, I was 90 per cent. It's very, very hard to get to the hundred per cent and be totally committed to everything. So you're just trying to be, I would say, as high a percentage as possible into the process.

So it's really like ingraining it into your head, reading about it, and making sure that when you go through a little bad spell on the golf course -- because even the guy who wins a tournament this year probably will have that, is that you press that reset button and you fall back into the process.

I'm one of these people that if I stand up on the hole, and I pick the yardage myself, pick the club and I hit it, and I hit it and I hit a bad shot, I can accept it a lot more. Rather than standing over there and thinking, actually, you know, I should be hitting an 8 here but I'm just going to try to squeeze that 9 and you hit it and it comes up short and it spins back down the bank and you make bogey and you think to yourself: I knew that; why didn't I just back off it. We've all done it, stood there and go, I don't want to hit it in that bunker, what's the chance of smash in the bunker; and it's going to plug and you're going to make double.

So it's trying to almost lose yourself in that process and forget about the result. I think that allows you to accept the way you play a lot more and gives you the element to play free, just like you would play maybe with your friends.

How many times you go out with your friends and you thought, oh, that was really easy today. I shot -- well, for some of the guys, you shot like 7- , 8- , 9-under, and you were pin-high on every hole, because you just instinctively said, oh, the wind is off the right, I'll pick this and just kept it simple.

So for me, falling into that process and keeping it simple is an important thing, and that's something that I've learned over ten years now.

Q. You talk about concentrating on process, but if the results aren't coming, do you start to doubt whether you're actually using the right process? And the other side of that, after what happened in Ireland at the weekend, does that convince you that you're doing it right?
RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, well, talk about metaphorically the cliffs you can fall off and have the safety nets, especially if the results don't come.

The biggest example for me was when I won Morocco. I was on the edge of the cliff there, and that was a few years back and that's when you're thinking, am I doing the right things. I went back and spoke to a few people, and took in a few notes, especially what I said to the guys before, what Björn told me about: You're going to have five or six weeks during the year where you're going to play really well. You're going to be in contention, but you're not going to have those weeks if you let the bad weeks affect you and knock you off-kilter and affect your confidence and affect the way you play. It's trying to reaffirm that, and it's having people around you that build that confidence and maintain it.

When you have -- when you have those troughs, and you have someone to go and speak to and get your feelings out, and someone can independent look at them and say, you know what, actually, I look at Richie Ramsay not the way you look at Richie Ramsay. Not to say that you haven't played well, but I don't look at a person who has maybe missed two or three cuts or made enough money in The Race to Dubai; I look at him as a person who won the South African Open, won the Amateur, won Crans and won Morocco. When people speak to you like that, it makes sense -- it's there and it's written down on paper.

I go back to the room I have where I have all my golf stuff and the U.S. Amateur trophy is there and you look at it and you think, you know what, that wasn't a fluke. That's there for a reason. That safety net and people around you helps.

Sorry, what was the second part of your question?

Q. What you did in Ireland at the weekend and changing processes.
RICHIE RAMSAY: You're always trying to improve but I'm definitely in the right direction. I think the work I've done on the short game allowed me to free-flow a little bit more. I think I was No. 1 in greens in regulation, which is something that always helps and gives you lots of chances.

But I think I was allowed to do that because I felt that my short game was better so that I could be a little bit more aggressive to flags and not play so passively to 25, 30 feet. Allowed me to be a bit more direct. With the way my swing is, if I'm confident and, like I say, I have a good process, nothing really goes too wrong in the swing, and I can hit it pretty close and make plenty of birdies.

CLARE BODEL: Thanks, everyone.

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