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July 15, 2005

Rick Rhoden


Q. Rick, 30 points, first place after the first rounds, unusual spot for you?

RICK RHODEN: Yeah, I played good. I got off it a good start. I birdied I think 2,3 and 4 and made nice putts on 2 and 3. Then birdied 7. I had four birdies on the front, bogeyed 9, and then I birdied 13 and 14 and 18. Bogeyed 17.

Q. Bogeys were a result of?

RICK RHODEN: 9, I chunked my tee shot. I barely got it to the corner and hit my next shot like 240 something into the bunker and didn't get it up and down.

And then 17, I just hit, mis hit an iron off the tee and hit it in the bunker didn't get it up and down. So aside from those two shots, most of them were pretty good.

18, I hit a nice drive and had probably just a nice smooth 6 iron to the green and clanked it to the right. Luckily it was in a good spot. I hit a good chip, but to me the hardest thing to do on this poa annua stuff is chip the ball. It has a tendency to hit and pop straight up and not roll out like what we normal play or what I normally play. So I usually go to a lofty club to keep that from happening and, it still happened on 18 and I had about a 15 foot putt and I made it. I had a chip, I should get it close to the hole. They are just hard to gauge for me. I have a hard time chipping the ball here.

So if you hit the green, you don't have to worry about chipping.

Q. Chris Chandler talked earlier about how the field has gotten more competitive, have you seen that?

RICK RHODEN: Yeah, there's a lot more guys that can shoot a good score now. I played with Chris two rounds, last two rounds in Pittsburgh and he played real well. He's playing much better than he used to play. He's a lot more under control. He's one of our longest hitters, anyways. So, you know if he's playing his tee ball, he doesn't need much for those par 5s, he can get to all of those easy. His game has gotten a lot better. I'm not surprised that he's playing this well.

Q. You guys talked about the fact that it's been kind of a two man tournament here in terms of winners, do you feel like they are gunning for you at this point?

RICK RHODEN: Well, I think everybody is trying to win. Guys are competitive. You've got a lot of guys here that are good golfers. So, you know, there's a lot of guys that are capable of shooting a good round and getting a lot of birdies or eagles on this course. I can get to all the par 5s here if I hit a good drive and a lot of these guys hit it 35 yards past me. So they can definitely get to all of them. So if you can get to it, you've got a chance for an eagle. So an eagle can really swing things in this format.

Q. You played in the Big Stakes this year, how was that and how does that compare to playing in an event like this?

RICK RHODEN: Well, they are two completely different animals. One is a team, first of all, and it's all about trying to get, you know, when you're not playing your best, you rely on your partner, you've got to go low. Here, it's just you. You hit a bad shot, there's no partner to back you up.

Q. What did you see with the pressure down there? Did you see guys being affected by how much money was at stake in that?

RICK RHODEN: I don't know if they got affected my the money. I think they get affected, sometimes match play can switch so quick. I know we played a team that was like 7 under on the front nine and we were down two. We were playing well and we finally caught them like on 13, and once we caught them, they never hit a good shot. They were hitting great until we caught them and once we caught them, they got a little tight and they didn't hit a good shot the rest of the way.

So, you know, that's the nature that match play thing, sometimes when things are going your way, it's easy to play. Things are happening good and all of a sudden it doesn't happen good, you try too hard.

Q. How far did you get through that?

RICK RHODEN: We lost in the semifinals.

Q. Can you talk about the mindset of playing Stableford, as opposed to stroke play?

RICK RHODEN: I don't try to change. Only thing in my mind in Stableford is don't get double bogey. If you get in trouble, make sure you get a par I mean, get a bogey, at worst, because a double bogey, par is one point, double bogey is nine us two, so that's three below par. Birdie is only two above a par.

So double bogey hurts you a lot more points wise than a birdie helps you. As long as you can stay away from double bogey, if you get in a really bad spot, don't try some kind of shot you can pull off one out of five times. Hit it out in play and make sure you get the worst you get is a bogey. That's the only difference I see. You play well, you get points. Simple as that.

Q. Are you surprised Danny struggled today?

RICK RHODEN: Well, I really don't know what he shot or anything. I'm sure he'll play well tomorrow. You know, he's a good player. He might get 30 points tomorrow, 32 points, you never know. I think he'll probably be heard from before it's over with.

Golf is a funny thing. I mean, when you're playing well, seems easy, but when you're in the playing well, it's really hard. You know, out here if you're hitting your tee ball good here, you know this, course, you'll get a lot of birdie chances. You're not hitting it good, there's a lot of those big ponderosa pines out there to get in the way. So if they get in the way, it's hard to score. Even if you only have 130 yards in, if you've got big trees in your way, there's not much that you can do.

Q. How is your back? You got hit by a concrete truck?

RICK RHODEN: Yeah, I got hit by a cement truck. I was going to get surgery a week or so after this tournament last year. I mean, I went through like six months where I couldn't even, couldn't sit, couldn't sleep, couldn't ride in a car. I was just playing golf just to get through this tournament. I got some epidural shots through the summer, they didn't seem to help, but the week that I was supposed to get it operated on, it dissipated some. When I went to see the doctor, they did an MRI and it was still messed up with the herniation that got up the nerve, so I didn't get it done.

Q. You didn't?

RICK RHODEN: No. I'm not 100%, but I'm better than last year, that's not for sure.

Q. Did that affect your Q School last year?

RICK RHODEN: Yeah, my swing's been it's pretty much screwed my swing up a lot. I'm just now starting to play pretty good again the last month or so. I just got into some really bad habits, I think favoring it. A lot of swings were belt high instead of getting through the ball. I couldn't get behind the ball good.

CHARLES BARKLEY: When you see certain names on the leaderboard, when you see Jordan, Barkley, does that put pressure on your stick going down the stretch.

RICK RHODEN: Only if they are coming at my direction. (Laughter). Did Webber even show up?

CHARLES BARKLEY: Oh, yeah. He's going to be in it all weekend. I can't shake him. It will come down to the back nine on Sunday. (Laughter).

RICK RHODEN: Come on up here. I've got some wings. (Laughter).

CHARLES BARKLEY: I�m on a diet.

Q. Did you qualify for the Senior PGA?

RICK RHODEN: Senior PGA, I Monday qualified for an event in Naples this year and made enough money to get into the PGA. That's how I got in the Senior PGA was money.

Q. This will be your first appearance?

RICK RHODEN: No. I played in the Senior U.S. Open two years ago, I qualified.

Q. Going back to Q School?

RICK RHODEN: Yeah, I'm going to give it one more try I think. It's a hard thing. I've got to go through both stages, and then the second stage, they take seven guys. You can play well and not get in. Somebody's going to play really good. That's the way it is. There's going to be some good players there.

End of FastScripts.

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