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July 25, 2002

Robert Gamez


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome, Robert Gamez, 6-under, 65. Robert has three Top-10s including a T-3 at last week's B.C. Open last 10 rounds par or better.

ROBERT GAMEZ: I can't complain about that.

TODD BUDNICK: I guess not. What is going on? Tell us about it.

ROBERT GAMEZ: I have been playing really well all year, at least hitting the ball well, and I struggled with the putter. I had a good week at Greensboro with the putter and then I struggled after that for about three or four tournaments. I played in New Orleans the week after and didn't putt very well at all and then I played two BUY.COM tournaments and putted horribly. Went back to Orlando, and I started trying a bellybutton putter. It's just slowly starting to get better and over the last month or two months and a half it's probably been, I mean, really solid even though I missed some putts last week, early in my round on Sunday, that could have got me right there, you know, tied for the lead, but I am making a lot of good ones as well. It's kind of nice.

TODD BUDNICK: How hard is it to make changes like that in this point of your career?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, it was really hard. At first the first couple of weeks, Kemper the first day I didn't putt very well. Putted very well the second day. I was real sporadic the first month of using it, but now I am starting to feel really comfortable with it. I am still making some 3-putts only because I am you know, hitting the ball a little bit usually passed the hole from long distance because I am rolling the ball so well that the ball just keeps rolling out. (Laughs) I am not used to that. So I am hitting it the speed I think I need to hit it but the ball keeps rolling rolling, rolling, it goes by. One of my bogeys today was a 3rd hole and I 3-putted No. 3 today. I hit going up the hill, and hit it six feet by and missed it. But other than that, I made some good ones, good solid putts, and hit a lot of good shots. That's what I have been doing the last month or so.

Q. On that same line with the putter, this was something you tinkered with in the past, or was it a one day you had enough with the regular putter and just drastic switch?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, I have been kind of goofing around with it. I visited Scotty Cameron every December at the end of the year, getting ready for next year, I go to Titleist, and work at Scotty's studio then do some work on the range there to get my irons and woods together, get them right. So when I was there this last December, we took one of my old putters and stuck a shaft in the end. He told me just to try it. My stroke just was really good on camera. But I couldn't get myself to do it, to have one made. We cut the end out of one of my putters, just stuck with one I was putting with it, practicing at home which was making my stroke better which was good. But, you know, I just couldn't take it to the course. After those three bad weeks after greens, I just had enough, I was really putting really bad, but my speed was just a little bit off, the ball didn't stay on line long enough and now the ball is rolling so well that it's staying on line a lot longer. Like some of my 3-putts are coming because I am hitting it a little bit too hard from 35, 40 feet. Sometimes I will run it way by. But overall, it's pretty good.

Q. How much is that becomes mental, once you start having a little success with it, you just --

ROBERT GAMEZ: A lot of it. The whole game is mental, but putting especially, I think, you look at all the good putters, they all feel like they are going to putt well. That's how I feel right now. I feel like I am going to make everything. That's probably why I am 3-putt getting the holes. I am 3-putting because I feel from 30, 35 feet I have got a chance to make it. So I get a little bit aggressive. But it's kind of nice. I don't feel like I am going to miss the short ones anymore. I feel really confident over the putter when I get over it. It's just a matter of picking the right line now. That has always been something I have been able to do and now that I am rolling the ball well every time, it's easier to read putts as well.

Q. Aside from that what was clicking for you today? Not a lot of as many low scores in the later starters --

ROBERT GAMEZ: I have been driving the ball extremely well. I am hitting my irons well. I am doing everything solidly. I hit a couple funky chips out there and just misread the lie that I had. But I made the putts. It's just everything -- everything is good right now in my game. Everything is solid. Nothing is great. Nothing is really bad. But I am just keeping the ball in play a lot, and not making the high numbers, which is what I was struggling with earlier in the year.

Q. Is there a comfort level for you coming back to this area?

ROBERT GAMEZ: There is. I love it here in the Quad Cities. I really love Oakwood. I was over there yesterday, played a little pro-am there yesterday. It was -- it's such a great little golf course and I wish we still played it. But only because you have to drive the ball well, and you have to drive it straight and keep -- hit good iron shots, get the ball close to those pins. I mean this is a good golf course. I like this course a lot. Like I said, I prefer Oakwood, but I like playing here at Deere Run. It's in a lot better shape than it was the first couple of years we played here. It's starting to mature. It is just a shame that they can't get the greens firm. The greens are really soft and you just fly the ball at the hole and that's just, you know, because of the summers here just going to be too hot to firm up the greens. But they are rolling extremely well, I thought. The ball stayed on line a lot and the greens rolled well, I thought.

Q. How were the greens at Oakwood?

ROBERT GAMEZ: They were actually really good yesterday. I know they just redid them. And I think next year they are going to be really good.

Q. Did that help; were they similar?

ROBERT GAMEZ: They were really similar to speed, yeah. That helped a lot. And I think for me -- I took Tuesday off completely, I didn't do anything. I needed a break. I have been playing a lot the last 5 weeks I have been on the road and playing almost every day. Which is a good thing that I have been playing almost every day which means I didn't have the weekend off. But it's been tough. I just got to the point I needed a day off. And after playing the pro-am on Monday, I just said heck with it, I am going to take -- I am going to take -- I am going to take Tuesday off and I did. It's been nice.

Q. When is the last time that you had a run like this, of 5 weeks playing pretty well?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I don't think I have. Even my rookie year I don't think I have had a run stretch like this. The closest I have come, I think, was 94 at the end of the year I played well in Vegas and then I played-- won the Pebble Beach Invitational which used to be the Spalding and, you know, now it's the Callaway thing. Add then I won in Japan. That's the closest -- well, two wins and a second. That's the last time. And before that even my rookie year, I had those wins, but I mean I really didn't have a stretch where I played extremely well like I am now.

Q. I am from the Orlando area. Everyone remembers the shot at Bay Hill the giant slash that you made that year. Have you ever gone through a period of feeling down because your career hasn't continued at that level throughout the '90s? You become a solid professional now, you know how to score and tinker with your game, but did the initial impression you made -- the impact you made on the Tour, have you ever felt that you didn't follow it up the way you wanted to?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Not really. It's all my own fault. I stopped practicing. I stopped working on my game and doing the things I should have done doing. So I can't blame anything or anybody on my poor play all those years right afterwards. But, you know, after my car accident in 98 it has been a struggle to get back to where I should be. I feel like I am -- I feel like I am a top-30 player in the world, and I just -- that's frustrating not being there. But, again, I just haven't played well enough. I haven't got my card back. I am not fully exempt out here. That has been a tough thing going back and forth. I have played a little bit on the BUY.COM, not much. Like I said, I can't blame anybody but myself for my poor play over the years. I have got a new outlook on life and golf. After my accident, I just really started enjoying the game again. Because I started not looking it for a while and then playing poorly and then didn't want to play and things like that. But now I am really starting to enjoy it. I am practicing, working really hard on my game since I moved to Orlando. I am just doing a lot of things that I feel like going to help me to where I should be.

Q. If you do make this come back all the way to your card, get card slash victory, what would that mean to you?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, obviously to not be in the position I am in right now. I am waiting every week to see if I am going to get in tournaments, and that's tough. Even though right now this time of the year I figure I'd get in a few. But it's hard to make a schedule. I mean, that's the most important thing. If I could win, I mean, that's what I am out here shooting for. That's what I have always shot for. But I don't think my game has ever been good enough over the last three, four years to be ability to win. I have some good weeks, but nothing really great. Now I feel right now that my game is pretty good and my confidence has come back, I mean, 100%. I just feel like I am going to play well every time I go out there.

Q. At the point where you can win?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I feel like it. I felt -- I really felt look I could win last week and I just -- I started out on Sunday last week missed a 10-footer on the second hole; missed a 6-footer for birdie on 4 after eagling No. 3. I just never got going, and when I did get going I made par on No. 12, hit it on the back fringe and didn't get up-and-down. Miss about a 6-footer. But I knew if I could shoot eight or nine under last week on Sunday I would have a chance. That's kind of what it would have taken for me.

No. 2 drove it in the right bunker misread the wind and the wind knocked it down to the right. I had to lay up. Didn't hit a great wedge shot but I got it on the green about 20 feet. Made it.

Then I hit 8-iron on the par 3, short, right on the front. Right in between clubs I felt like a 7-iron would get over down the hill and go too far. And I had about a 35-footer and 3-putted six feet, missed it coming back.

No. 4, I hit good tee shot up the right center, just got passed the tree there, and I hit 7-iron in there about ten feet. Made that one.

Then I kind of hit a 3-wood on 5 and I kind of towed it a little bit so it hooked a little] up the left side, hit the hill, came down on the fairway, 8-iron in there about ten feet, made that one.

And I actually missed a putt on 6. Good wedge shot in there had about 12-footer up the hill and missed it. I just didn't read it right.

No. 8, I hit a big drive right down the middle. Little sand wedge from 102] and had about two and a half-footer.

Then I bogeyed 13. Probably the worst thing I have made in over a week, kind of fanned a drive out there, and hit it between the two bunkers, on the right, misjudged the lie - thought it might jump a little bit came out soft and left it short of the green. And I totally misread the chip. I thought it was going to break three feet left and it broke two feet right. I had about a 7-footer because I hit it a about a foot and a half by but I mean the speed was actually not bad but I just totally misread it. Then I missed the putt. So made bogey there.

Q. In the collection area?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, it actually came out and came out really funny. The lie was a weird one, and I thought it might jump but it came out kind of short with overspin and rolled up to the top. So it was actually and easy chip I just misread it. I actually thought I might have a chance to chip it in. It was one of those where I could be aggressive because it is going up the hill. Was still a 40-footer, but I just really thought, when I hit it broke right, I was like oh, well. Then I missed it. But again, I came right back the next hole. I hit 3-wood off the tee because I didn't feel like I could drive it to the green and hit a 3-wood over the bunker on the right, right down there about 60 yards from the hole 62, I think L-wedge in there about -- it landed about ten feet passed the hole spun back. Had about 6-, 7-footer, made that one.

And then next hole 15 I hit a good drive down the middle, and I just killed a 5-iron. 196 into a little breeze, and hit a little low little draw 5-iron in there about ten feet. Made that one.

And then 17 hit a driver good drive, hit a 4-wood on the back left fringe and 2-putted almost made that one, stopped short in the hole. Had maybe it was about a 50-foot putt, I mean, so my long ones are good. It is just some of them are getting away from me.

Last hole, killed a drive up the right center had 170, hit 7-iron in there about five, six feet.


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