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September 25, 2005

Robert Gamez


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Congratulations, Robert, 2005 Valero Texas Open Champion. It's been 15 and a half long, long years.

ROBERT GAMEZ: Long years, yeah.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: How does it feel?

ROBERT GAMEZ: It feels great. You know, it has been a long time coming, I think. I've been close a lot over that stretch of time, and I had that car accident in '98 and was sidelined for a few years, and to come all the way back and be a champion again, I'm just tickled to death.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Olin Browne was in here, and he kind of did the same thing

ROBERT GAMEZ: He was scaring me there for a while.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: He was talking about how proud he was of you and what a relief it is to win.

ROBERT GAMEZ: I found out because we were already in Canada so I didn't know what happened on that Monday, so when I found out on Tuesday morning I called him up and congratulated him. He's a great guy. I'm happy to be right there with him. I told him, I just hope I get there with you.

Q. Robert, what were the exact injuries from the car accident in '98?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I hurt my back, my neck and my right hand. So it took me a long time to get back to where I felt like I could play again, you know, and play the way that I was used to playing beforehand.

Q. Were there any broken bones?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, I didn't break anything, just did muscle damage. It was hard to really hit shots with a hurt right hand.

You know, the last this year has been rough. I started out pretty well early in the year and I went through a stretch well, I have a charity golf tournament in Orlando, and about that time when we were in Florida there, I was struggling a little bit trying to get that going, and I didn't play all that well, and then afterwards I just haven't played that great. I had some good rounds going, and I started and just haven't been able to finish them off.

Now it's just I've been working real hard over the last I had three weeks off and I worked really hard on my short game and it's starting to pay off. It seemed like I rolled it really well all week; my speed was great. I didn't make a whole lot of putts the second and third round, but I made enough today, and just my chipping has been great and my whole game. My ball striking is wonderful, just everything seems to be falling into place.

Q. You hit 16 out of 18 greens today so you were on cruise control there for a while?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I was. My main goal was to try to start off quick and just hit fairways and greens and basically do what I've been doing. That's what I've been doing all week. You know, the second and third round, with all the wind we had, it was tough to hit the ball in the fairway and tough to hit greens, but I was doing a pretty good job of it. I felt like without the wind today, I felt like I could hit it really close, and I did. I hit it close a lot. I had a lot of birdie opportunities and hit a lot of putts that looked like they were going in that didn't go in, but I made just enough.

Q. When you birdied 13, did you think the tournament was yours?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, I didn't know. I mean, I knew that Olin was playing pretty well. I didn't know how many holes he had played already, but I knew he was at least 6 under for 15 under. So being 17, you feel like you can birdie 14, you need to make birdie there, and I felt like if I could make birdie there, it was pretty much over. That's how I felt because I was playing so well. I didn't figure I was going to make a bogey coming in. I had some chances there on 16 and 18.

Q. How important to you was the par putt on 17 knowing you hadn't made a bogey at all?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I really didn't think about it. That was probably the only time that I was close to making a bogey. To be honest, I probably should have chipped it, but I think my nerves were getting me a little bit and I thought the safest play was to putt it, and I didn't hit it hard enough and it kind of bounced off line, but I made the second one. Like I said, I was rolling it all day, all week really, just didn't get a lot of them to go in the second and third round.

Q. A lot of golf fans watch guys on Tour and see them win all the time, and you're one that doesn't win all the time, so winning out here is not as easy as a lot of people make it look, is it?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, it isn't. It's been a long time. This is a tough sport. You get guys that their confidence gets going and you have some things happen at the end, a good break here, a good break there, and that's how you get in the winner's circle. I feel like this is going to jump start me. This is like my second career coming up.

Q. You had a nice gallery, nice following. Did you hear them all day?

ROBERT GAMEZ: That helps a lot. They started from the 1st hole. They kept me charged and energized. It was a hot day out there, and it was a tough day because I saw Olin Browne going up that leaderboard, and I know he's playing well right now with the win in Boston a couple weeks ago, and it was just one of those things I felt like I had to keep going.

I felt bad for Woody, but to be honest, I really wasn't worried about Woody after the 2nd hole. Woody has kind of a bad attitude and he got it going early. I really didn't feel like Woody was my competition. I thought it was going to come from somebody else.

Q. So you watched the leaderboard?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I didn't early, but then when I was getting around the turn there, 8, 9, I saw that Olin was starting to come up that leaderboard. After that I had to pay attention a little bit.

Q. How many family members were in the gallery?

ROBERT GAMEZ: You know, I don't know. I was so focused on what I was doing out there, I don't know how many people showed up. I'm sure it was a lot. I know there were a lot of friends of theirs and friends that I've made over the years, so it was a big group.

Q. I looked at the computer and saw that your first three birdies, you hit them pretty stiff.

ROBERT GAMEZ: I hit them pretty close.

Q. On the back nine you weren't as close, but you were making some nice putts. Is that accurate?

ROBERT GAMEZ: That's about right, but I was still inside 15 feet most of the day. I hit the ball close. I mean, not tight; I made about a 12 or 15 footer on the first hole and then hit it close on 2 and close on 3. Then I had about a 12 footer on 6 that I misread; had one on 7 from about 18 feet. I had it inside 15 or 18 feet all day and finally made a couple of them on the back nine.

Q. Did your wife come in?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, she didn't come in. She decided to stay at home in Orlando and figured it was working that way (laughter). But she figures after this one there will be a lot more. I think once you get that monkey off your back, it comes around.

Q. Kind of like your second win after your first one, your second one came pretty quickly?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Yeah, it's nice. I'm so proud of myself really because I've worked so hard, especially the last two months, just really focused this week on what I was trying to do, each shot, and tried not to get ahead of myself. I caught myself getting a little bit ahead of myself when I had a big lead, and I said, no, try to birdie the last three and go from there, birdie each hole.

Q. Your goal coming in was to try to avoid Q school, and now that you've done that you can move up higher on the Money List?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Now I've got to shoot for that Top 30. I've got four events left, so we'll see what I can do.

Q. Focusing on each shot, was it so important you were able to enjoy the walk up 18?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I did. I knew I had a three shot lead going into 18, so it was. It was nice. After I hit that second shot on the green I had a wedge. I drove the ball great all day, and I was never worried about my swing at all. I hit a great wedge shot in there and was just so happy. I mean, I felt like I could get it done from there.

Q. At what point did the old injuries quit bothering you, or do they still at times linger?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, I've been over them now for four years, really. I had a good year three years ago, and then the last year wasn't bad and then this year has kind of been a struggle, but pretty much about '98, so it took me about two to two and a half years so where I could actually play without pain.

Q. I apologize if somebody already asked this, but you never actually lived in San Antonio?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, my dad did. My dad grew up here and he was in the military.

Q. But you would come back for like holidays?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, we came once in a while when I was a kid, but we didn't come back much. We just couldn't afford it. We couldn't afford to come back.

Q. Did they ever take you to the Texas Open or anything like that?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, it was very rare. I never came as a kid. But in '89 they gave me an exemption here to come play right after I turned pro. I'll be coming back for a long time to come.

Q. So that was the first time you had ever been here, right, in '89?

ROBERT GAMEZ: For the tournament, yes.

Q. Your caddie, when you won your two in 1990 was your

ROBERT GAMEZ: My brother working for me.

Q. So how long has Omar Uresti's

ROBERT GAMEZ: Rusty has been on my bag now for a little bit over a year. He worked for me about three years ago for about six months.

Q. He seems like he really helps you with that pre shot

ROBERT GAMEZ: He's a great caddie, and not only did I win for myself, we've had a tough year together but he's hung in there and stuck it out and he's a great caddie, great family man and works hard and it was nice to win for him, too.

Q. What's your brother doing now?

ROBERT GAMEZ: My brother works for Bank of America in Dallas. He and his wife just had a baby.

Q. Was he here?

ROBERT GAMEZ: No, they didn't come in. I'm a little disappointed in that, but they were only in Dallas. My parents moved to Dallas this year, so they're all living there.

Q. So you didn't have any family or anything like that?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Not immediate, no, just my dad's brother.

Q. And he works at Pro Golf?

ROBERT GAMEZ: My cousin does. He owns Golf Exchange.

Q. Was he here?

ROBERT GAMEZ: Oh, yeah, he and his wife.

Q. When it's 103 degrees outside, how comfortable was it to wear black?

ROBERT GAMEZ: I like black. It's slimming (laughter). I'm not as skinny as I used to be, so I kind of had to try to make myself look a little better.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Congratulations again.

End of FastScripts.

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