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May 30, 2019

Bud Cauley

Dublin, Ohio

Q. Great round today. Can you start us off with some comments about it, please?
BUD CAULEY: Yeah, I played really well. I drove the ball well. You have to with how long this rough is. I hit my irons pretty well and made some putts. So all in all it was a nice day.

Q. I know what you went through last year, not knowing if you'd ever play the game again and then being in this situation. Can you talk about the fact that you're right there near the lead?
BUD CAULEY: Yeah. I was obviously thinking about it the couple of weeks leading up to coming up here. It's always one of my favorite events and favorite golf courses to play.

With what happened last year, obviously it's something else I think about, too. But I was really fortunate with what happened last year to be able to come out and still play golf and do what I love to do. So it was a tough thing last year, just happy to be back out playing.

Q. Were there any thoughts about (no microphone)?
BUD CAULEY: No, not at all. I never considered not coming back because of what happened. Like I said, it was something terrible to go through. But it definitely wasn't going to keep me from coming back and playing here.

It's a great event. I love the golf course. I'll always look forward to coming back here.

Q. How has that experience changed you, do you think?
BUD CAULEY: I mean, in short, a bunch of ways. It was the scariest time of my life. I think I learned a lot from it. I've always appreciated playing golf. When you're laying there and you don't know if you're going to be able to do it again, it puts everything in a different perspective.

It definitely changed me. I think it changed me for the better.

Q. What are your recollections of that night? Do you remember what happened?
BUD CAULEY: No, I got knocked out in the wreck. The wreck itself, I don't remember. I remember being in the hospital and everything after that. But the wreck, luckily, I don't remember much. I think it's a good thing.

Q. Can you describe what your recovery was like, how arduous it was, how scary it was thinking you might not be able to come back?
BUD CAULEY: The toughest thing were the ribs. I broke six ribs, and they had to plate four of them. I had to have surgery. It happened on Friday and I had surgery on Sunday. I stayed in the hospital for I think six days, because the ribs punctured my lungs. I had to have the fluid drained out. Golf-wise, I knew my lung would heal. It was more the plates in my ribs, how that would affect me swinging.

For the first month or so the swelling was so bad on my side I couldn't even grip a club, let alone swing one. But luckily the surgery went well and I was able to start hitting balls not too long after that. And so far I've been able to play with no pain at all.

Q. Does it bother you at all when you play?
BUD CAULEY: Not when I play. Sometimes when I wake up, it's sore. Certain things in the gym I've had to kind of modify to not, I guess, strain it, if you will. But for the most part I got really lucky.

Q. Do you remember at what point you asked your doctors, like, am I going to be okay to play or, like, am I going to make a full recovery?
BUD CAULEY: Yeah, it was probably the second question I asked after tell me why I can't breathe. Because I had punctured my lung, I wanted to figure that out first. And then after that I wanted to know how bad my ribs were broken, what they thought they needed to do and how it would affect me going forward.

Q. And what was the answer that they gave you?
BUD CAULEY: He told me that he thought I was going to be okay, but he had never -- it was a pretty new, I guess, surgery to do to plate your ribs when they're broken. Sometimes they'll go back in and put them together, you let them heal on their own.

So I think he was trying to be positive. But he had never performed that surgery on a golfer and really didn't know. He did what he thought was best. I talked to my family and agreed with it and just kind of hoped it went well.

Q. Have you talked to him here this week?
BUD CAULEY: No, I haven't. I mean, if I saw him, I'd probably say thanks. But, no, I haven't seen him.

Q. Justin said he actually has to go by the accident site every day since it's near where he's staying. Have you been anywhere near that?
BUD CAULEY: No. Like I said, I haven't had any bad thoughts or anything as far as what happened last year, but I don't think I'm going to go drive by it to test it.

Q. So there's still no bark on the tree?

Q. It's crazy.
BUD CAULEY: I don't feel like testing myself that much.

Q. What was the procedure that was done?
BUD CAULEY: They're four individual plates that run along my ribs this way. I can't remember the number, what they are. But it's right up here up top.

Q. You said that you don't remember the actual accident?

Q. Have you been told how lucky you are to escape the way you did?
BUD CAULEY: Yeah. A couple weeks after someone from the tournament, I can't remember who it was, they had a video of kind of like where we went through and things we hit. I saw that and -- but apart from that. I know I'm fortunate. Tommy, the guy that was sitting next to me, I think still does therapy twice a week I was told. He was sitting a foot from me. I got really lucky, like I said, with the injuries and stuff.

Q. Why did you watch the video?
BUD CAULEY: I don't know, you know. It was kind of put in front of me and I watched it. It didn't really affect me either way. I guess I was maybe a little curious as far as what was done. Some people told me what they thought we did. But seeing it was sort of, I guess -- validated it, I guess.

Q. What happened?
BUD CAULEY: They said we went off the road, hit a culvert, flew up in the air and spun a little bit and we hit the side of a tree. When we hit the tree, it turned over and we flipped. And I guess we flipped across some other little trees and ended up in some grass.

Q. You seem so normal talking about it. Does it trouble you at all?
BUD CAULEY: It's been a year, so I've had a lot of time to think about it and, I guess, get over it. But there for a while, you talk about coming back here and trying to get over that, there were little things after the accident like getting in a car again. And then driving a car. There were kind of little things. And I never had to pull over on the side of the road. But your mind is funny in how you remember certain things at certain times.

There were little, small things to kind of get over but, like I said, for the most part -- I think I was so worried about golf and getting healthy and being able to play again that took a lot of my attention.

Q. Have you stayed in touch with the other guys in the car, and what's that like?
BUD CAULEY: I've talked with Wis a little bit, but other than that, that's it.

Q. Did Jack say anything to you?
BUD CAULEY: Yeah, I've spoken with him a couple of times this week, and I've seen him at The Bear's Club down at home. He was actually there the first time I hit a shot after the accident. So he saw the first, like, little thin wedge I had afterwards.

Q. How long after was that?
BUD CAULEY: I think it was about maybe three and a half months or so. Yeah, it was funny, like once it kind of started to get better, I was able to hit some shots. And I kind of worked my way through my bag, 20 balls one day, 30 the next, that type of thing. Once it healed, it was okay and the swelling went down. But those first couple weeks with those plates on the ribs, even just sitting around or talking or breathing with the lung was pretty tough.

Q. What was it like for you to post the number you did today with what happened? How special was that? What was going through your mind on your way around?
BUD CAULEY: Nothing -- I didn't think about what happened last year really that much. It wasn't like I was -- I try to go out and play every week. It was nice to have a good score. Obviously playing well and making the cut here is probably better for my health (laughter).

Q. Jack made a point to come see you and take your first practice swings after the accident, or you just happened to be there?
BUD CAULEY: It just kind of worked out that way. One of the doctors I was seeing down south works with Mr. Nicklaus, so it was the day that the doctor thought I should try to hit a couple of balls, and he just happened to be out there with Mr. Nicklaus. It was nice. Mr. Nicklaus and Ms. Barbara both came to visit me in the hospital last year when I was in there. So they've been really nice through the whole thing. It's been great to have their support.

Q. Justin got a little emotional talking about what it was like just seeing you go through that. He said he felt a little guilty, he felt somehow responsible. What role -- how did he help you, if at all, to kind of get back to this level, your friendship?
BUD CAULEY: Yeah, Justin is one of my best friends. And he -- first of all, him feeling guilty at all is a hundred percent wrong. But it was great -- I have a great group of friends down south, too, Justin included. Having those guys around when I first started hitting balls, first started getting back in the gym, we did a lot of those things together. It was nice to not go through that alone and have those guys there just to talk with or bounce things off. Just to have that support was great.

Q. Were you here Monday night when the tornado sirens went off, and are you thinking, oh, my gosh?
BUD CAULEY: I was a little bit, because the last time I heard sirens like that was in Tuscaloosa when a huge tornado came through when I was in school. I woke up a little spooked.

Q. Did you go in the basement?
BUD CAULEY: My girlfriend and I went in the stairwell. I felt bad after because nothing happened. I woke up and heard the sirens and my phone was buzzing off saying take shelter immediately. So we went there for a minute and then finally looked at our phones and realized it was past us. So we ended up going back to bed.

Q. Thinking about a year ago, where you were at, is there anything that goes through your mind about that?
BUD CAULEY: Not really. This season has been a little bit up and down for me. I've had some good events. I've kind of had a mixed bag of everything. I've had some tournaments that I've played well and not gotten a lot out of it. I've been working really hard on my game. I think I've missed five cuts by one shot this year.

I'm really just trying to clean up my rounds and get the most out of them and really have a nice week.

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