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June 17, 2005

Olin Browne


RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Olin Browne, with a 1 over par round of 72 today, 2 under par, 138 for the championship. Start us off with general comments about the playing conditions this afternoon versus what you saw yesterday morning.

OLIN BROWNE: I don't think I'm qualified to do that, because I didn't play very well today. I was struggling all day long. It was a beautiful day. The grass is green. The greens are quite firm. I'm actually pleased to be done.

RAND JERRIS: Just go over the birdies and bogeys on the card for the record, please.

OLIN BROWNE: I guess I bogeyed early on the back nine. Where did I make a bogey?


OLIN BROWNE: That would be the middle of the back nine. I started my errant driving on 14 today, or I guess 13. And 14 I drew a lie and couldn't chip out. I hit a good shot off the green, it spun off, and I had to make a six or seven footer for bogey, and it was difficult to find a rhythm today. I didn't have control over my swing like I did yesterday. But I managed to make the turn at even par. I made some very nice putts today to keep me in it. And then I birdied 2 and 3. I drew a very nice lie when I missed the fairway on 2. And hit probably the shot of the day for me with a 5 iron and up about 15 feet or so and made the putt.

3, I made a good shot into the green, but didn't judge the way the wind was swirling there at that time. I hit it about 25 or 30 feet past the hole, but I managed to make the putt. And then doubled No. 6. I hit it in the bunker, sent it over the green into the back of another bunker, chipped it over the green from there, made a rather weak chip from for my 4th shot and tapped in about a 20 footer. I got away with murder on that hole. And then parred in. It was a very indifferent round of golf, but managed to sneak in with a reasonable score.

Q. Can you talk about your mindset, having the bad round today after the good round yesterday, still in contention, very much so, and then for tomorrow, brand new day?

OLIN BROWNE: This game is all about balance, certainly life is all about balance, and I hit the ball as I'm as well as I'm capable yesterday, and it was the absolute opposite today. Hopefully I've gotten that out of the way and I can return to normal tomorrow. This tournament, that's what it's all about, when you're not playing your best, you have to figure out a way somehow. And the challenge for me today was to not implode, and I managed to do that. I've gotten this behind me and hopefully tomorrow I can get it squared away.

Q. Two part question: How did you manage to keep it together? Was there any specific thoughts that you were thinking, and, two, did you have any birdie chances on your last three holes?

OLIN BROWNE: The first answer to that is, you know, this golf course is so well designed that it offers you places that you can miss shots, so when you're not playing your best, to just find a way to get it to that point and from that point you can continue to play. The hole where I made double I was unable to do that. I got it into a hole in the bunker and then I got it where it was at that point it was just trying not to make a big number. And 5 is a big number, but under the circumstances it wasn't.

The second question again, please?

Q. Any birdie chances on the last three holes?

OLIN BROWNE: That depends on your point of view. (Laughter.) I hit it about 50 feet on 7 and no, that's not true, I hit it 30 feet on 7. I hit it 50 feet on 8, 45 feet on 8, and then hit the left fringe on 9. Anytime you've got the club in your hand and you swing, anything good can happen. Not really is the right answer, I guess.

Q. When you had the double, were you on the verge of Open embarrassment, the cameras had found you and were right on you and then you pulled it out and didn't, or is there such a thing?

OLIN BROWNE: Well, I mean I'm more worried about executing my next shot than wearing I'm not the prettiest person in the world, so I'm not exactly worried about what people are going to say about it.

This is a really demanding golf course. This is a really demanding tournament. Everybody is going to have and I think I mentioned it yesterday, I think everybody is going to confront a catastrophe out here somewhere, and it just happened to be my turn there. And the truth of the matter is that the course giveth and the course taketh back, and it took back there.

Q. Two questions: What putter did you use?

OLIN BROWNE: Same one I used yesterday.

Q. You didn't go back to the 59?


Q. Where would you have been without the putter today?

OLIN BROWNE: Not in a good place. My putter really I made a lot of putts that you would like to make, certainly the one I made for double bogey was a putt you wouldn't necessarily expect to make, but I made some let's say 8 to 10 footers for par, you know, when I was struggling to keep the ball in the golf course, and that really made a difference in my mindset for the whole day. What you don't want to do is start going backwards, right? I want to keep hanging in as long as I can. I have no fingernails left, I was hanging in all day long. Certainly those putts helped.

Q. What are you more proud of, your 67 you shot yesterday when you were playing well or the 71 you shot today when you're not playing well?

OLIN BROWNE: Well, that's an interesting question. The 67 I shot yesterday was easy. Today I shot a really hard 71. So I guess in terms of being proud of my performance, you know, yesterday I was proud of getting off to a good start. Today I was proud for hanging in the way I did. Probably more so today than yesterday.

Q. Is there a way to compare the pressure of being a leader overnight in an Open championship as compared to the pressure of playing within the round of U.S. Open championship from a mental standpoint?

OLIN BROWNE: I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that question. I mean, yesterday was the first time I've ever been in a lead at The Open. And I don't know where I stand right now, but I would say if you get caught up in the big picture here, there's going to be a problem. And I think it's much more important to really narrow down what needs to be done. And to me when I leave here I'm going to the driving range to find my tee shot, because I left it somewhere between yesterday and this morning. I'm going to go find that and then I'm going to worry about that first shot tomorrow.

Q. You appear to be tied for the lead and in better position than you were yesterday relative to the other Top 10 or 15. Does that surprise you at all? Everybody has fallen down the board?

OLIN BROWNE: This course will kick your butt, plain and simple. Every single shot, you know, when you have a hole where you have a wedge in your hands, you know, there's almost more pressure on those shots, because you expect yourself to hit a good shot. And I have been very disciplined aiming away from trouble. I've given myself plenty of 15 or 20 footers, I have not tried to hole anything, you know what I mean? And I think this golf course in particular requires that, it really requires patience. That's an overused term, but it requires a lot of patience and a lot of discipline, two things I lack, by the way.

Q. Has the patience been one of the keys to your successful putting, is there a lot of guys there's a lot of guys hitting a lot of bogeys today?

OLIN BROWNE: It goes back to really the qualifier, because it's as close as you can get to a fluke that I'm here, you know. So I'm just enjoying it, I'm really enjoying being here. And I love playing The Open. I've always loved playing The Open, it's our National Championship, and I think that some of the players, some of us struggle sometimes with how The Open is set up, from an equity standpoint, but it's our Open Championship. And so I'm just glad to be here.

Q. A lot has been said about it being a test of golfing and a test of great golfing. I wonder if you hear the fans, if you think the majority of fans get that, in their disappointments sometimes and things rolling off the greens, that they're expecting great shots being made and things don't happen the way they expect it to?

OLIN BROWNE: I think it's very difficult to appreciate the severity of a course like this when you're 20 or 30 yards away from the actual shot, you know what I mean? But the fans are terrific here. They're very respectful. They are I think they're pulling to see great shots. And by and large I think they really understand how challenging this course is and they appreciate the nefarious nature of this golf course, because it's wicked. I think a lot of people played it or have played it.

It's a resort course, people actually come here to play golf, it's a destination. And I think there are a number of people that have been here and said "I had that exact same shot, and he made a 5, I made a 7." Or "I had that exact same shot and he made 5 and I made 3." So I think part of the beauty of playing here at a course like this, is that a lot of the fans have actually had a chance to actually experience it, as opposed to a Shinnecock or Oakmont or something like that.

Q. As much as people talk about it requires patience at a U.S. Open, can you give us an example what happens when someone doesn't have patience?

OLIN BROWNE: 5, 6, 7, 8 on the score card. You can get into signature trouble. You get a Friday and hit a bunker, and try to bite off too much of a bunker. Once you get in trouble you have to find a way to get out of it and minimize the damage. For example, they put a pin near a bunker, near one of those knobs, and if you take a line that's tighter than say 20 feet to the right of that particular flag location, you are playing with the possibility of making a 6 or a 7. If you miss your shot short or miss your shot to the right, now you've got somewhere to play that next shot, you might chip it in, you might make par, you might even make bogey, but you are giving yourself the best opportunity to minimize a big number, or to lessen the opportunity of having a big number.

So the patience is really in how you play this golf course. You have to play away from pins. The first shot that I had today into a green was on No. 10, and you get up there, I had a perfect number, but two paces behind the flag it sloped away and went to a pretty steep collection area, and you know what, I might have taken it right at that flag and I might have hit a great shot but I might have carried it one pace farther than I needed to and been struggling to make a par out of the box. I took it 15 feet to the left of the pin and had a nice putt, I didn't make the putt, but it was such an easy par that it was easy to go to the next tee and feel good about getting the day started. And that happens all during the day out here. It's such a demanding course. You have to have the courage to execute your shots, you have to have the discipline to aim away from the temptations that this course offers you.

Q. A lot of people contact you yesterday after this round, notes in your locker, St. Alban's schoolmates trying to get tickets, and what are those things on your wrist, what do they represent?

OLIN BROWNE: I've had quite a number of phone calls, which have been very supporting and encouraging, and I appreciate all those phone calls greatly.

Those are like those copper bands that you put on for whatever it is that they wear I don't know what they do. But they don't hurt (laughter.)

Q. You talked yesterday and today about this national championship, how much it means to you, how much it means to play in this. Set aside the two days so far, how many times have you envisioned yourself or thought about being U.S. Open champion?

OLIN BROWNE: Lots. Lots and lots. And when I was a kid well, when I was in college on the driving range, my wife would bring her books out there and she'd be doing her homework, she wasn't my wife at the time but she was going to be. And we'd talk about, hey, 18th hole at the U.S. Open, got to stripe it. And then I'd hook it and say, hey, give me another chance (laughter.) It's been a long time. I've always thought about it and it's one of those things that there isn't going to be any it's not going to sneak up on anybody when it happens. But I think Jack Nicklaus said it really well one time, is "The Open chooses you, you don't necessarily choose it."

So it's a thrilling experience for me, it's great talking to you guys, and I hope it turns into a great weekend for me.

Q. You talked about trying to minimize the damage and have patience. In terms of that, do you think you can suddenly look on the 6th hole as a positive, as being able to salvage a double bogey out of that, instead of looking at it as this double bogey that's on your card?

OLIN BROWNE: Well, what's positive about it is I made a putt so I had one less shot on the hole than I could have or two or whatever. I don't look at it like that at all. I look at it as my job on that hole was to make the best shot that I could after I hit it in the bunker the first time, after I hit it in the bunker the second time, after I chipped it across the green and after I hit a crummy chip. So even though I had my little U.S. Open moment there, I was entirely comfortable with trying to hit a good shot the next time I had a chance to try to hit a shot. I don't think of it as rescuing or saving anything, it's one less shot on my score card.

Q. I think you said a minute ago that you usually lack patience and discipline. What's the change this week?

OLIN BROWNE: Beats me. I don't know. Maybe I'm just content being here. Maybe shooting a great score qualifying set me straight on something, I don't know. But I don't have any delusions at this point about what's happening. I know that there's plenty of golf left, and this course is going to be nasty and brutal come the weekend and I just don't have time to be worried about other stuff other than put one foot in front of the other at this moment. And I think that that the U.S. Open has a tendency to synthesize all the distractions. If you get distracted you get to your pack your bags and bolt a couple of days earlier than you want.

RAND JERRIS: Congratulations on your continued fine playing.

End of FastScripts.

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