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August 24, 2006

Oliver Fisher


PETE KOWALSKI: Thank you all for joining us. Congratulations on your 1 up victory over Jim Renner. There must be something about Minnesota, you played very well at the Scratch Players a week ago, and now you've advanced another round in the U.S. Amateur. Tell us about that.

OLIVER FISHER: I mean, golf in the States is quite a bit different to golf back home. And obviously back home the courses aren't quite as good and obviously the weather isn't quite as good either. But, I mean, I like it over here. I like playing on the manicured courses, and out there it's set up like a U.S. Open would be, and I really enjoy it and I like coming to America. It's good.

PETE KOWALSKI: Did you see some success in your future at this event as you've been playing this summer?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, sure, we had the English Amateur back home which is the same kind of format, but just straight match play all the way. So I ended up getting to the final and losing 5 & 4 to Ross Magowan. Yeah, I enjoy match play, and it's good fun, the competitiveness and one on one matches and that sort, I enjoy it.

PETE KOWALSKI: Since you played in the Walker Cup and you know the international competition level, did you mark the U.S. Amateur on your calendar as something had a might be a little more special for you?

OLIVER FISHER: Definitely, obviously because we're exempt from qualifying for the qualifier. So definitely, it was obviously like chance of a lifetime to come over and play Hazeltine and compete in the U.S. Amateur, which is lucky enough that there was five of us guys that wanted to do it. We've had a really good time and the guys we've stayed with in the housing and that, it's just been brilliant so far. And I mean, to win tomorrow and to keep on trucking on and winning my games is what I want to do, so hopefully by the end of the week we'll be there on Sunday I think it is and having a chance to win. That's the main goal this week.

PETE KOWALSKI: How far ahead were you in the match when the delay came?

OLIVER FISHER: I think we were on five, I was 3 up through four. We were both on the green in three, both 15 feet away. We came back from the delay and both missed our putts.

6, I birdied 6 to go to 4 up and so I'm quite away ahead, playing nicely sort of golf, and then 7, he's hit on to 25 feet and I've hit inside him for two, so that's a good shot I hit in there under the circumstances. He missed and my putt hit a nice putt and just literally missed. And same again on 8, hit a nice shot into 8, ten feet away and just stayed out.

So I had some really good chances. I could have been quite easy six, if the putts just dropped in. Saying that was 4 up, which is quite a positive stage in the game for me.

He made a good birdie on 9 which put us back to three, which obviously 3 up with 9 to play isn't quite so comfortable as being four, it's quite a bit different under the circumstances.

Q. How difficult was the putt on the last hole, a little nervous after being 4 up, 3 up, you had a six footer to win the match and the last couple holes were starting to slide away from you a little bit?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, I had a 6 footer on 17 to win the match as well, didn't I. Yeah, I could hit that was the place to leave it after my first putt on 18. It was pretty flat, pretty straight backup the hill so, it wasn't a difficult putt, but I hit a good putt under the circumstances and went in the middle.

So, yeah, it was nice under the pressure to hole that, which is a good, nice confidence builder and obviously that's put my mind at rest after I missed the putt on 14, but that's the way it goes. To hole that was nice.

Q. I was standing off to the side when you made that putt on 18 and saw you in profile, it looked like your chest heaved when it dropped in.

OLIVER FISHER: Definitely. Did not want to go to 19. Did not want to go to 19. Yeah, hopefully I'm playing, is it Hodge tomorrow, and then we'll go and have the same game plan for tomorrow. We are playing tomorrow, it's not this afternoon, is it? So go out, stick to the game plan and play, see how we do.

Q. Do you know anything about Hodge?


Q. Do you care about who you're playing?

OLIVER FISHER: Not really. No, it's not going to change the way I'm going to play.

So yeah, go out, play my own game and that should be good enough, you know, make some putts and be put me through to the next round.

Q. You're comfortable in this sort of weather, cloudy, spitting rain, windy, even though it's about 20 agree degrees warmer?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, yeah, I am quite comfortable in the rain. (Smiling.) Thanks for asking. (Laughter).

Yeah, similar weather to back home, isn't it, with the rain and wind. The thing about here, with so many trees around, it's so hard to get where the wind is coming from because it kind of switches during the day. So we come in after the rain delay, come back out and the wind had switched a little bit. And then kind of coming up the par 5, 15, it switched a bit up there, kind of went slightly more down 16.

So it's quite hard to keep knowing where the wind is from around there. But that's the sort of thing you've got to deal with and control as much as you can.

Q. How many times have you come to the States to play?

OLIVER FISHER: This is my sixth or seventh time.

Q. How do you like the food?

OLIVER FISHER: The food? Too many peanuts in it. I'm allergic to peanuts. There's peanuts in everything. But no, the food's good. The food's very good. Big portions. My dad likes big portions, he says.

Q. Who are you working with back home these days?

OLIVER FISHER: My coach? Chris Jenkins, I've been with Chris since I've been nine. We have a good relationship. Chris is really good, we get on really well and got a good relationship.

Q. Can you talk a little about you have a relationship with Nick Faldo and how he's helped and you how you met?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, well, back home there's a tournament called the Faldo Junior or the Faldo Series which is another 21 thing. You have different age groups and I entered that when I was 12 or 13 and basically you have regional qualifiers and you qualify for your regionals through to the finals. And after that, Nick hands picks a select few players into Team Faldo, which is eight or nine players from the whole series which he kind of helps along and gets to see him a few times throughout the year and ask for his advice if we need. That's massive, you know, getting advice from Nick. I mean, he's been there, won six majors, and you know, he has all the experience and he's just brilliant.

I got a text from him the other day saying good luck and that. It's really, really nice to have someone as good and as famous as he is, you know, to be friends with.

Q. Are you from anywhere near the same area he is?

OLIVER FISHER: He was brought up in Hertfordshire. I think he's got a house in Surrey. He's got a house in, where is it, just off the coast of Florida, is it.

Q. How many houses do you have?

OLIVER FISHER: One. I don't have one, actually. My dad does. My mom and dad do. (Smiling)

Q. So has this been a couple times a year ever since you were 12 or 13?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, since I was about 14 actually. I got selected when I was 13, 14, and yeah, he gives clinics to us and helps us out.

I mean, the biggest thing is the short game. That's where you find that they really do have a lot more about how the game reacts and how different grasses do, what they do to the ball when you are playing out of it. I mean, that's probably where I've learned the most from him. I mean, the emphasis he puts on shaping the shots, we all know Nick, he's a perfectionist in what he does. And when he used to play, he used to hit draws and fades everywhere which is what I've been trying to do this year.

So I mean, last year, I kind of played pretty much one dimensional with the draw, but now trying to hit draws and fades and just hold it against the wind, hold it against the wind that way. Yeah, the emphasis he putts on shaping the ball is huge and it really does help a lot.

Q. Can anybody play that way that he did now just because of the technology?

OLIVER FISHER: I think so. I think if you watched Tiger Woods at the Open, there's your answer there. He's controlled the ball like no other at Hoylake.

But obviously the driving is a bit of a factor, with the drivers designed to make it spin less, just keeping it straighter. Yeah, you can still maneuver it around, especially your irons. You have to. To where they put the pins out where they put them on sides of the greens, you can't just aim straight at them and expect to hit them straight there.

You've got to cut it in there or draw it in there. I mean, it takes that's probably the biggest thing I've learned form Nick this year is shaping it, like really, seriously, it's been huge for me this year. Especially when you play around like firm links courses and especially this in the qualifying, because it's changed last couple of days where it's rained. But when the greens were firm out there, I mean, that kind of that helped me because I could move it left to right and stop it a tad quicker and hit it in there with a bit of a draw and that.

Q. How do you like this kind of golf compared to, say, I guess you've played St. Andrews some, the links golf?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, I enjoy this. I enjoy this golf. This isn't too similar to golf back home. You've got the tree lines, obviously you don't get the tree lines around links courses but you still get the tight fairways and you have to kind of shape it through and get the right bounces and stuff. But Somerby last week that was similar to home, where it's wide open, nice wide fairways, undulating greens. We don't get courses like that at home. This is quite similar and I really like it. I like the way you have to think about every shot and really be in control of what you're doing and thinking. Match play, that's what it's all about in match play.

Q. Did you like it better when it got a little windy and started raining?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, either or for me really. Quite easy, whatever conditions yeah, I don't have a favourite kind. I'm pretty comfortable playing in wet and wind and obviously Dad's on the bag. He's pretty good, we've learned a lot this year as well about each other in different circumstances.

So he knows what to do when the rain comes and I'll be prepared as much as I can for keeping the clubs dry and just getting on with hitting the shots myself. Dad will sort all that out. So, yeah, pretty comfortable in whatever weather we play in.

Q. What's his name?


Q. How long has he caddied for you?

OLIVER FISHER: He's caddied for me during like any time he can the time off work but this year he's been able to get as much time off as he likes so he's caddied for me every tournament this year.

Q. What does he do?

OLIVER FISHER: He's employed by a guy who can let him have as much time off as he likes. He's actually a property manager. Yeah, so that's nice to have dad there all the time for me, and especially to come out, if I was going out on my own with the guys, just feel a bit lost. I know I'm 17, but still, quite young to be going away for several weeks and being away from your mom and dad and stuff. No, I enjoy being around my dad. We get on really well and we're good friends.

Q. Is he a golfer?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, well, plays a six, he's a fairly good golfer. He's a good golfer.

Q. How old were you when you started?

OLIVER FISHER: I started playing when I was kind of knee high. Dad used to practice, he used to be a fruit and veg wholesaler. He used to get up early mornings, go back, sleep at home for an hour or so in the afternoon and then grab a golf club kind of 1 iron, and he would hit balls and I'd stand there and watch him and fiddle about with the little club and that.

So I've always been around it to be honest. I joined the club when I was eight years old. That's when I got my first handicap and stuff. Yeah, just going on from there really.

Q. Do you remember what your first handicap was?

OLIVER FISHER: 28 when I was eight.

Q. When you were growing up, any British players, professionals that captured your imagination?

OLIVER FISHER: Yeah, obviously Nick Faldo, being able to meet him as well and speak to him. But yeah, guys like Luke Donald. I played a bit with Paul Casey a few times, a few practice rounds and stuff. So I've been able to chat to him about things and obviously he's playing well, he's on the Ryder Cup Team, going to be, and it's nice to see how a guy like that plays the game and is competing nowadays.

End of FastScripts.

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