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August 12, 2005

Rory Sabbatini


JULIUS MASON: Rory Sabbatini, ladies and gentlemen, at 4 under after the second round of the 87th PGA Championship.

Rory, let's go ahead and begin again with looking at your card, talk about your bogeys, your birdies and we'll go to Q&A.

RORY SABBATINI: Well, obviously today I started off on No. 10. Hit a good drive center of the fairway No. 11, hit a 9 iron to about 12 feet and made that.

13, I hit 3 wood off the tee, hit an 8 iron to about ten feet left of the flag and made the putt.

15, I hit my tee shot in the right fairway bunker. Had to pitch it out to about eight feet and missed the putt.

18, drove it in the left rough, hit a 4 iron just short left of the green, chipped it up to about four feet and made birdie.

No. 5, hit my drive in the fairway, hit a 7 iron into the green. I hit a 3 wood off the tee, hit a 7 iron into the green, hit it right and chipped it to about 15 feet; missed it.

JULIUS MASON: Questions, folks.

Q. Can you talk about the last week and a half, two weeks, with the birth of your daughter, being home, taking some time off and dealing with all of your family responsibilities and coming here and doing so well? Can you take us through the last week and a half?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, it was pretty easy to stay home. I was struggling and it was a good break for me to be able to get my mind off the game of golf and to be around my wife and my son and be there for my daughter's birth. Naturally she was scheduled to be born this week which was the latest she was going to be born. So I wasn't even sure I was going to be flying out here. Wednesday last week, we obviously had our little baby girl and it was Thursday morning, going, you'd better get me a flight and a hotel, because I had not done anything. I had no intention of being here.

For me to be here, it's a fortuitous fact that I am, to be able to play some good golf is definitely beneficial, it's hard to be here, it's almost tough. I'm a little sad. I would rather be at home with my little girl, and to be able to go through such an amazing experience, the baby's birth and not be there pretty soon afterwards. It's going to be tough. I'll play this weekend, focus on my golf and keep my mind on my game.

It's something to look forward to, to get to see her in about ten days.

Q. How much time were you off and were you at all concerned you would be rusty coming back?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, you know, I was obviously very rusty, even when I got here this week, you know, I'm still rusty out there right now. I've kind of found a way to get the ball in play and I've managed to get my way around the golf course two days in a row. You know, there's still shots out there I'm hitting, very symbolic of the fact that I'm very rusty and far below my expectations out there. You know, it's been pretty easy to remain relaxed out there and to just kind of forget about those and go on and focus on the next one.

Q. How long were you off, two weeks?

RORY SABBATINI: Actually it was three weeks.

Q. You're not one of the better known players, like a household name like Vijay Singh or Phil Mickelson, with New York so close by, is that on your mind here, center of corporate America, is there as much pressure or less pressure to be able to just play well here to make sure that your name gets known?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, you know, I would really view it as the fact is that, yes, they are household names, I agree with that but I don't agree that I'm any below their level. My expectation has always been to be in the Top 10 in the world and that's definitely my goal; hopefully to reach No. 1 in the world. I'm pretty determined to do that and I'm pretty tough on myself when it comes to my own expectations.

For me to be in the situation, I'm not viewing it in the fact that there's a bit of a surprise to be there or there's no expectations for me or there's less pressure. The only thing I'm doing is just, you know, trying to focus on being relaxed out there and having some fun and as long as I can do that, I'll feel that, you know, I can take the pressure off my game and be a little more successful.

Q. You have obviously become kind of the poster boy for accelerated play and the one thing everybody always says at these deals is stay patient, try to not get ahead of yourself, don't be distracted. I'm wondering how you've been able to balance those two and basically pace of play has not been too bad. Typically at a major it's a snail's pace.

RORY SABBATINI: When the field is moving at a pace, you kind of get set it's a lot different to when the field is moving at a pace and you fall behind and suddenly you get put on the clock. The toughest part of fast play is trying to make up for it, play faster and you start making mistakes. I don't think it's a situation when the field is moving at a consistent pace and everybody is moving at that pace that it affects me. You know, I kind of just have become accustomed to it out there. It's definitely different than if you get put on the clock as a group.

Q. What is your daughter's name?

RORY SABBATINI: It's Tylee Joe; T.J.

Q. With two rounds under your belt here, can you make comparisons, pluses or minuses on the summer majors, U.S. Open, British Open and Baltusrol, in terms of the way the courses are set up?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, obviously, I think Tom Meeks and the USGA this year did an amazing job on setting up the golf course. The condition of the golf course was superb. They did an absolutely phenomenal job. They maintained it, the course played consistent the whole week.

This week here, it is, there's not a whole lot you need to do to set up this golf course. It's a long golf course and it's a tough golf course. From tee to green, the course is in immaculate condition. The fairways are pristine and the greens are just, you know, I don't think they get too much better than this. They are pretty much like rugs out there, just as smooth as can be. I think it's pretty easy this week, the setup. This year is definitely a great year for majors. We've had four exceptional golf courses.

Q. You ran into a little bit of trouble with balls landing in the rough a few times. Can you talk about keeping yourself together and keeping yourself around 4 under, hitting out of those shots in the rough, and did those first nine holes play tougher for you than yesterday?

RORY SABBATINI: You know, I think any time you started on the back nine on this golf course, you have a slight disadvantage because there's definitely some easier birdie holes on the back nine than on the front nine, and you're still kind of rusty, you're still trying to feel your game out for the day. So in a sense, you kind of take away a few of your good birdie opportunities. Obviously I got off to a fairly good start today and I just kind of hit a little bit of a slump on my last nine, ten holes. I never really got anything going. I put myself in a couple of good positions and unfortunately I wasn't able to capitalize on them. I think that with all things considered, I can't ever complain about even par around this golf course. It's too tough a golf course. If you're complaining about even par or better on this golf course, you should probably get your head checked.

JULIUS MASON: Rory, thanks for coming down and joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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