home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 15, 2006

Sam Saunders


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Sam for joining us for a few minutes in the media center at the Bay Hill Invitational. This is a big week for you, and you're very comfortable here. Why don't you talk about your opportunities here, playing this week and just how you're feeling.

SAM SAUNDERS: I feel good. It's a great opportunity for me to be able to get the opportunity to play out here with these guys, and compare my game and see how I can hold up.

Q. You've played with Dicky (Pride) and some of the other guys, presumably, (Robert) Damron, a pretty good bit, and you play on the same tees as those guys mostly?


Q. Do you feel like you hold your own with those guys?

SAM SAUNDERS: I feel like I certainly do. It was probably a little bit more consistency from them most of the time. I feel like my game is getting to the point now where it's pretty much on that level, and, you know, certainly at this point it's just the experience. And once I get that experience, who knows what will happen this week.

It's great to be able to play with those guys and to learn how to hit certain shots and how to manage myself on the course. That's helped me get to the point where I am now.

Q. Is there more of a comfort zone for you; if you add the 120 guys here, none combined have played this place more than you, you play every day.

SAM SAUNDERS: Yeah, I'm here every day and I know the course as well as anybody. All of these guys can handle it well. Like I said it's just a comfort level for me being out there on the course. I know a lot of people out here and it's not a foreign place for me.

Q. You're the current Club Champion here?


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: By 17 strokes, right?


Q. You kind of walked away with that; talk about that experience.

SAM SAUNDERS: It was good. The course was set up similar, obviously not quite as tough as it is now. Same distance pretty much. Rough was long, it wasn't as long as it is now. The greens were not quite as fast. But it was about as close as you can get in the Men's Club Championship.

Q. When was it?

SAM SAUNDERS: It was a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure of the date specifically.

Q. What did you shoot?

SAM SAUNDERS: I shot 8 under for three days, 68 the first day and a couple of 70s the last two rounds. It was just fun because I didn't play spectacular. I just played really solid golf. I played what I felt was, you know, professional level golf. I hit a lot of fairways, I hit a lot of greens and I just didn't make any stupid mistakes.

The first day I shot 68 with a triple bogey on the 11th hole and it went out of bounds, so not like I hit a bad shot, I just got unlucky. It was fun to play such a solid round of golf and see what kind of numbers I could put up when the course was playing as difficult as it was.

Q. Dicky says he thinks you play golf and if you don't get too distracted you might even be able to make the cut. Do you have an expectation? It's a little different than when you're playing against your peers, but what's your best case scenario?

SAM SAUNDERS: Best case scenario? To win. (Laughter).

Q. I like the way you're thinking.

SAM SAUNDERS: Obviously it's an extremely high goal, but I always feel like any tournament I've ever played in, no matter what it is, you play to win. Obviously it would be crazy to do here, but you've got to shoot high and that's kind of what I'm going for. If you set your goal on that, making the cut would be kind of an afterthought, which hopefully is what will happen. Ultimately I just want to play my game and not get distracted.

Q. Everyone has a grandfather who is special to them. When did you realize your grandfather was special to everybody?

SAM SAUNDERS: I've been asked that question a lot obviously, and it was never like one day I realized, wow, it was just always a part of my life.

You know, when I started playing golf competitively and started getting good at golf, I realized how many great things he accomplished and I appreciated what he had done a lot more. But never at any point in time did it just kind of click and say, you know, he is who he is. He's just Granddad.

Q. A course setup question, your granddad wants to reward guys who hit it straight this week, because you've seen what's been going on with the tour, guys blowing it out there almost with little regard to where it goes, have you in your experience seen the rough any more difficult than it is right now? Is this as tough as the course can play from that standpoint?

SAM SAUNDERS: As far as the rough length, yes, it is. They cut it yesterday, I think they cut off like an inch and a half, and it's still very long out there. It's consistently long on the whole course. But there are certain spots out there that if you hit in it, it's just tough to get out of and they are not going to be cutting it any more I think. So by the time Sunday rolls around, it should be if you hit it in that rough, you basically are laying up.

Q. Do you think that fairly long hitters are getting left behind compared to the boomers at this point; is there room now for the shot maker on these long courses?

SAM SAUNDERS: I think so. Because, you know, you look at Luke Donald who won last week down at Honda, that was a long course, but he's a shot maker. Obviously all of these guys out here, everybody can hit it out here plenty far. But of course the longest hitters hit it a lot further than the shortest hitters.

On a course like this, I hope and I think, that hitting the ball in the fairway is definitely a premium. Yeah, there is a big advantage if you're hitting a ball in from the fairway that's 120 yards out, as opposed to somebody who is hitting the ball in who is 180 or 190 yards out.

This is the type of course that all of the guys hit it long enough and a real shot maker, like Kenny Perry last year, he hits the ball a long way, but he's not considered one of the I don't think he's considered one of the biggest hitters out here and he got it done on this course.

Chad Campbell the year before, he's a ball striker, he's really good. When I caddied for my granddad that year, the first two rounds we played with Chad Campbell and he took the course apart strategically. He didn't bomb it out there in the rough and just whack it up on the green with a wedge and make all the putts. He hit the ball in the fairway, he hit the ball on the green right where he was supposed to. He didn't miss it on the wrong side, he always hit the ball right where you're supposed to on the green, and he played the course the way it's supposed to be played.

Q. When is your graduation date?

SAM SAUNDERS: June 2. I get out of school May 11.

Q. Are you looking at this as primarily a learning experience to dip your toe in the water and get a head start?

SAM SAUNDERS: Yeah, it's a great opportunity for me. Most everyone in my age and my position has not had the opportunity to have, but I'm going to use it to my advantage and see what it's like and definitely try to learn as much as I can.

Q. Are you going to college?

SAM SAUNDERS: Yes, I'm going to Clemson.

Q. As young as you are, knowing that the conditioning of the players, is there anything special in hopes of playing that caliber?

SAM SAUNDERS: You mean as far as working out? I do work out. I've always been I'm fortunate with the way I'm built. I've always been a big guy, I've always been a fairly strong build, you know, obviously from my granddad's side. He's grew up strong and had big arms and he can hit the ball a long way. I'm lucky that I was built that way and I'm able to hit the ball long like I do.

There's more to it, though, than just your natural ability. You have to work out, which I do. I'm not doing it too hard right now, but next year at Clemson, it's a pretty heavy workout regiment. It's part of the college process now. You get workouts everybody morning just like the football team does which I don't think used to be part of golf. But I think Tiger's changed that and that's just part of the school. If you play golf for a college, you're going to work out and you're going to work out hard.

Q. What are you, about 6 2, 185?

SAM SAUNDERS: I'm about six feet, about 200 pounds. I've got a bit of a full back build. If I weren't playing golf, I think I'd go out for the football team. (Laughter).

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Sam.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297