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 9, 2006

Ryuji Imada


DAVE SENKO: Just get us started, talk about your day out there, the conditions were difficult probably.

RYUJI IMADA: Conditions was very difficult. I heard Bob Estes talking about it; it was British Open conditions with PGA TOUR setup. I thought that was kind of true.

But I got off to a real good start. I birdied 10. I had a birdie from the left rough. I hit it to about 30 feet and I wasn't really thinking about making it. I was downwind, downgrain and just trying to lag it up there close. It fell in and that just kind of got me off to a good start. I parred No. 12 11, which is a good par 3. I birdied 11 I mean 12, sorry. I made another 15 footer, and that just kind of got me rolling for the rest of the day. I putted really good.

Last week my putting was really off last week. But I tried to practice a little bit this week. I noticed that my setup was a little bit crooked. It was aimed right, and I fixed that on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it worked today. I putted really good. So that was pretty much the key to a good round today, making a lot of five and 10 foot putts.

DAVE SENKO: Take us through the sequence with the bogey at 14?

RYUJI IMADA: 14, I hit a 3 wood off the tee and the pin was kind of in a tough spot. I had about 220 outside and I was trying to hit a 3 iron and trying to somehow get it on the green but came up a little short right, in the rough. I didn't have a very good lie. I chipped it to about ten feet and missed the putt.

16, the wind was coming left to right. I was trying to hit a little cut with the wind and I pulled it in the hazard. My ball was hittable, so I put on my rain suit and I took my shoes off and went in. Whacked it out, had about 125 to the pin, hit an 8 iron just short of the green and 2 putted for bogey.

17, I hit driver and 7 iron to about eight feet for eagle.

18, driver, 4 iron to about 12 feet.

2, driver, 6 iron about 12 feet.

4, bogey, I hit my 3 wood in the left rough. I tried to hit a little hook to the green but I didn't want to miss it left because the pin was tucked left. Kind of pushed it out to the right and I didn't chip it very close. I had about 12, 13 feet for par and I missed it. My second was 6 iron.

6, I hit a driver. Kind of hit it down the left side and I thought I was in the rough but I got a good kick off the hill to the middle of the fairway. I hit a 4 iron just to the right of the green and I putted up and had about a 6 footer for birdie and I made that.

7, I hit 3 iron off the tee, 9 iron to about six, seven feet.

Q. When you went off and the wind is really blowing hard, the leader is already at minus five, how far away did they seem?

RYUJI IMADA: Well, I wasn't really thinking about, you know, the leaders. I was just trying to more focus on myself. I wanted to shoot at least somewhere around par, and I was able to get off to a good start.

After bogeying 14 and 16, I just told myself to just hang in there. I came back with an eagle on 17 and birdie on 18, which is two great holes. I wasn't really thinking about the lead. It's only Thursday. You know, come Saturday or Saturday afternoon or Sunday, it's a little different story. I mean, I just wanted to shoot somewhere in the red numbers today.

Q. Was there one hole out there more than any other where the wind made it just play kind of crazy or completely different than it normally does, either longer or shorter?

RYUJI IMADA: 17. I couldn't imagine hitting a 7 iron into the green for a second shot. Last year I was hitting a driver, 3 wood and still hitting a full stand wedge in. I mean, there are quite a few holes. Every hole is pretty much different from, say, Tuesday when I played the practice round. Like 18, I hit a driver and a 9 iron. Today I'm hitting driver and a hard 4 iron.

Q. With the wind blowing the way it was and the nature of these greens, when you're teeing off, does it just feel like do you have this feeling at the first tee that it's going to be a battle?

RYUJI IMADA: I'm thinking par is your friend, you know. Par is a good score, try to make smart decisions about where to miss the ball. A day like today, it's all about making putts and getting it up and down and trying to make pars. Anything in red numbers is a good score today. I mean, I just wanted to shoot somewhere in the red numbers. I wasn't really thinking about 5 under is leading or if I shoot 5 over. I just wanted to shoot in the red numbers, that's all.

Q. Can you talk about finally getting on the big tour here, it took a little bit of time, not a lot, but you were out here this year and how hard was it to get here.

RYUJI IMADA: Well, I was on the Nationwide Tour for five years after college, and I've been close a few times. But I wasn't able to make it out here.

You know, last year was my first year. I had a real good summer, but my back went out and I had to take about eight weeks off. You know, when I came back, I wasn't very sharp and I wasn't able to make many cuts. I missed about six straight cuts when I came back, so you know, pretty much half of the season, I didn't make anything.

So, you know, this year, it's almost starting all over again from scratch. Haven't really had a success yet this year on any tournaments, but I'm getting there.

Q. Your back is okay now?

RYUJI IMADA: Yeah, I feel better now.

Q. You played in the Open at Pebble in 2000?

RYUJI IMADA: Yeah, I played at Pebble.

Q. Any other majors you've played in besides that?

RYUJI IMADA: Open last year.

Q. Two things. One, have you changed your swing a whole lot since the back issue, or is it essentially the same?

RYUJI IMADA: I try to. My doctor thought that it would be a great idea for me to change my setup a little bit to take some pressure off. But it's just very hard to change, especially as short as I am, I've got to feel like I'm a little bit more up right. But the doctor wanted it a little bit more on the flatter side.

So it was hard to make the change, but I'm slowly getting there. I mean, I don't know if I'm close or not, but I'm slowly trying to make the change to take a little pressure off the back.

Q. Secondly, going back to what you were alluding to earlier, is it fair to say that 67 today feels a lot better than 67, given the way it was?

RYUJI IMADA: Yeah, I mean, given the condition, I think 67 is a great score, let alone tied for the lead. Any time you're leading a PGA TOUR event, you have shot a great round of golf.

Q. That same idea, have you shot a better round than this on TOUR?

RYUJI IMADA: I've shot better scores, but

Q. Given the conditions.

RYUJI IMADA: That's hard to say. I mean, you know, I've shot 68 last year at the U.S. Open, which felt like to me was the best round of my career. It's hard to compare.

Q. Given the U.S. Open was at Pinehurst, do you like difficult, treacherous, diabolical greens?

RYUJI IMADA: I have no comment. (Laughter). No, the greens are very tough. This course has a similar setup to it. If you're not very sharp with your irons, it could roll off and be 20 yards off the green. So this course is the same kind of setup, but smaller scale I guess. I don't mind tougher golf courses where even par is a great score. I've had more success on tougher courses than 25 under winning.

Q. Can you describe your game, what's your strength, what's the best part of your game? Are you monster long?

RYUJI IMADA: Yeah, I'm monster long. I hit it about 390 off the tee. (Laughter) No, I wish.

My strength I would say is the short game. My driving ability, I need to work on, but short game has always been my strongest part of the game.

Q. Have you ever actually met the Aflac duck?

RYUJI IMADA: No, I have not. I'd like to one day, though.

DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

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