April 21, 2000
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Barry Cheesman for coming into the interview room. Great day today. 6-under, 66, with a 30 on the front side and an eagle on 9. 8-under for the tournament. Start with a couple of comments about your round.
BARRY CHEESMAN: It was a pretty solid round. I drove the ball real good. Played really good on the front 9, drove the ball good, hit the ball close and putted very well. Back 9, I kind of struggled a little bit, hit a few balls in the rough, just trying to make pars from there. And so actually I played much better on the back, because I scrambled well. I missed a couple of short putts from about three or four feet, one for birdie, one for par; and other than that it was pretty solid.
Q. How would you describe your professional career thus far?
BARRY CHEESMAN: It's definitely not like Tiger Woods. When I first came out here, my first year was '88, I played '88, '91, '93. The first few years I wasn't ready to play out here. '97, I played the then Nike now the BUY.COM TOUR and played very well. And it seems like from that year forward I've played pretty solid. I can't really pinpoint one thing, maybe it's confidence. I've played better. I had a few years off before then, where I didn't play that much. Maybe that was it. I kind of rested a little bit and got a rejuvenation. I've played pretty solid since.
Q. You say you rested. What else did you do?
BARRY CHEESMAN: I coached a little baseball. I have a baseball background. I have a son who's 18 right now who's going to Florida State next year to play baseball. And I think he was 13 and 14 years old then. I coached a Babe Ruth team and an AAU team during that time. And just kind of did some baseball things for part of the year, and played a little golf, played some tournaments. The end of the year, tried to get ready for Tour school, and went out and missed. I did that for two or three years. Just mini Tour stuff in Florida.
Q. What's your son's name?
BARRY CHEESMAN: Aaron.
Q. Must be pretty good if he's going to Florida State.
BARRY CHEESMAN: I'm going to be a modest father -- he's very good. He's a hard worker, and I guess a scholarship to Florida State kind of speaks for itself.
Q. What position does he play?
BARRY CHEESMAN: A catcher.
Q. Like you?
BARRY CHEESMAN: Yeah. I didn't guide him that way; he just did it.
Q. Did you name him for a baseball player?
BARRY CHEESMAN: No. It's funny, I named him -- it's the first name in the book. It is. It's the first name in the baby book, isn't it? That's it. That was good enough for me. That's the way it happened.
Q. What kind of putter do you think you are? Did you putt better today than normal?
BARRY CHEESMAN: You know, if I was a bad putter, you wouldn't play out here. I wouldn't consider myself a Phil Mickelson or Ben Crenshaw. I would guess I'm more of a streaky putter. My putting has got better and better each year I've played out here. It's kind of ironic, I've putted cross-hand for the first time in a long time this week. Just because I felt like I needed something different. Cross-handed does some things for me that I like. Not that I was putting bad before, because my putting stats are better this year than they've been in the past. I just felt like I needed a change. I came here early. I came here on Sunday, and in the wet conditions here I putted probably for an hour or two hours each day this week. So if there's a difference between this week and any other week, maybe that's it.
Q. You say it does some things for you, for example what?
BARRY CHEESMAN: It squares my shoulders up, widens my stance out, if it gets windy out. I'm a big guy, but the wind blows me around. And I putted with my feet close together. And it leveled my shoulders out and squared them up. And it actually keeps my putter lower through the ball. I have a tendency to come up out of putts the other way, when I putt conventionally. I'm still kind of shaky with it at times, but if I concentrate pretty good it stays there.
Q. Does playing with Fuzzy loosen you up a little bit? What's it like playing with him?
BARRY CHEESMAN: It's fun playing with Fuzzy. I don't know if he talks a lot because he's nervous or what. He just talks a lot. He mumbles to himself quite a bit. You just try to play your own game. You don't try to pay attention to everybody else out there. The nice thing playing with Fuzzy is he brought people to watch us. Usually there's not a lot of people watching my groups. And that was nice. I like to play in front of a crowd. I think it makes you concentrate more. Because you don't want to ever hit a bad shot in front of people.
Q. What was your biggest strength as a catcher?
BARRY CHEESMAN: I had a good arm, but I could also play catch with a centerfielder very well, too.
Q. Any story behind your nickname, other than your last name, "The Big Cheese," is there any history behind that?
BARRY CHEESMAN: Up until last August I weighed 253 pounds, so you can kind of guess and figure that out.
Q. How did you lose the weight?
BARRY CHEESMAN: Diet.
Q. What kind of diet?
BARRY CHEESMAN: I did the Adkins Diet and lost about 45 pounds.
Q. Are you off that now?
BARRY CHEESMAN: Not really. I think it's just a way of eating. I've modified it quite a bit since the beginning. I think if I pay attention -- the big advantage -- I pay attention to what I eat now. Before, I didn't really pay attention, I just shoveled it in. I don't like these tournaments that serve ice cream and cookies and all that stuff, because I like those things. And I have to stay away from them.
Q. The Tour guide lists you at 220. Are you less than that?
BARRY CHEESMAN: I'm probably about 210 right now. Last year was the first time in my career I was ever less than the weight that I said in the book. I always lied before.
Q. How do you feel with the less weight on?
BARRY CHEESMAN: I feel better. I feel like I have a lot of strength. I used to get highs and lows. Sugar highs, while I was on the golf course. I felt like I had to eat between 9s and eat when I'm playing. I don't feel that anymore. My blood sugar stays pretty level out there. And I don't get those sugar highs and sugar lows anymore. If I eat a lot of carbohydrates during the previous day, they kind of creep in a little bit.
Q. You know, there's always been that fine line between baseball, football, and golf as to who the professional athlete is. When you're out there putting or getting ready to tee off, would it help more if people said, "Hey batter, batter, batter; hey batter"?
BARRY CHEESMAN: No. It's kind of funny, when you're playing bad, you hear everything. When you're playing good, you hear nothing. Nobody bothers you; nobody moves on you when you're playing good. Actually, it's easier when there's a lot of people standing around, because you don't see people moving, you don't hear people talking. When there's a few people out there, you always hear that guy out there mumbling and the people moving around on you. But when there's a lot of people out there, you don't pay attention.
Q. What happened on 13?
BARRY CHEESMAN: It slowed my round, it wasn't an easy putt, it was fast going downhill there. And I hit it where I wanted to hit it. But being downhill, being so fast, I think I just hit it too hard. And if I wouldn't have hit it as hard, it would have went in. My first putt I kind of misread. That was the worst putt I've hit in two days; I pulled it a little bit and missed it.
Q. How long was the putt at 13?
BARRY CHEESMAN: It was about three feet.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Go through your round.
BARRY CHEESMAN: No. 2, I hit a driver and a 2-iron on the green and 2-putted from about, I don't know, 30 feet, I guess. 5, a driver and a -- driver and a 9-iron to about 15 feet behind the hole, and made a putt there. 6, I had a 3-iron, pitching wedge to about four feet. 8, I had a 5-iron to about four feet. 9, I hit a driver and a 2-iron to about, I don't know, five feet or so. 12, I hit a 7-iron over the green and chipped in. I was glad the flag got in the way of that one, because there wasn't much to get in the way of that one except the flag.
Q. How far was that one?
BARRY CHEESMAN: Probably about -- I never worry about how far those chips are. I don't know, it was probably about 30 feet. It was behind the flag to the left on the hill there.
Q. How far was the putt on 14?
BARRY CHEESMAN: 14? My first putt was about 25 feet, I guess. It was going down the hill. I thought it was going to break to the right, and actually at the bottom of the hole, it kind of moved to the left. And I missed it for probably about 3 feet.
Q. How close did that putt come into going in at 18?
BARRY CHEESMAN: It was about two or three inches to the right of the hole. Actually, it was one of the best lag putts I hit today. When you're putting up-and-down slopes all the time, and there's a lot of them here, it's really difficult to judge the speed, because the ball can get away from you. I made a good par-putt today on No. 11. I putted it about ten feet past the hole, and made it coming back for par. And sometimes that's a round saver sometimes when you do that, because I judged the speed wrong there.
Q. How was the wind out there, did it bother you at all?
BARRY CHEESMAN: It wasn't too bad. It was a lot like yesterday. I thought the wind yesterday actually was blowing harder. Of course, I don't know what it's going to do this afternoon. I hope it blows really hard, because everybody else does the same thing when I'm out there playing, when they're done. It wasn't too much of a factor, it's blowing from a little different direction. 18 was a little harder driving hole than yesterday. Yesterday it was mostly down; today it's a little bit from the right. That fairway turns to the left, and it's hard for me to hook it in there, because I mostly hit it left-to-right.
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