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August 25, 2006

Richie Ramsay


PETE KOWALSKI: We'd like to thank Richie Ramsay, our fourth semifinalist, not in that order. Congratulations on your victory. There were some things out there that I guess were a little out of the usual. Let's go to the winning hole first and tell us what happened there and how you won your match.

RICHIE RAMSAY: You know, I had a good drive down on the 12th, and I basically had the same yardage that I had playing in regulation. So I'm just thinking, same shot, you know, just stay on that left side and hit a wee sort of fade into that pin. It's a tough pin, it's not easy. I had hit a good shot here and made birdie. I knew the yardage was spot on, so I just had to hit the shot. I practiced that shot plenty of times, that little cut and I had a good shot there, pin high, so about a 15 footer for birdie.

Rickie had a putt about ten feet short, and I was like, well, he could miss that, but he's been putting well all day. So I'm thinking, that's probably going to go in. So I'm just thinking, just roll it in. Just focused on my putt and hit it bang online and it just dropped in perfect. And then that was it.

PETE KOWALSKI: That was the good thing. The bad thing that happened at 17. Walk us through that situation there as well as you can describe it.

RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, it was tough. I hit it on to the green 8 iron walking up to the green, just looking at lines and thinks. I was looking and I think Thomas touched the ground and gave the line to me. After I hit my putt, Rickie said he touched the line, and, well, I don't know, so the referees come over and asked if he's touched the line, then it's loss of hole. I said, well, he didn't touch the actual line I was putting over because I was going wider than that, but you've got to ask him if he touched the line, touched the ground and he said yeah. He was honest. And it was loss of hole.

So it was over in a flash, but at the end of the day I'm still all square going into the last. It was a tough one to take but, you know, he wasn't feeling good. Everybody makes mistakes and it would have been hard for me to say anything bad to him there and I was still right in the game. I knew I could play well and I managed to take it to extra holes. So, it worked out and, you know, he'll learn from that. He won't do that again.

Q. What did you say to him?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I just said: "Don't worry about it, it's all right." I mean, he's touched the line. He's made a mistake. I've made mistakes. You've just got to think he's going to learn from it.

It's tough but I know he's feeling bad. If I turn around and say something to him, he's going to feel even worse. So you've just got to say, don't worry about it, I'm still in here, still in the game and if I concentrate on what happened on the hole before, I'm not focused on my objective, which is to win the match and hit some good shots. I managed to do that on 18.

Q. You made a 12 footer that really needed your focus.

RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, that was I've hit a couple of putts in my time that have gone in at crucial times, but that kept me in the game, because Rickie had been putting well all day long.

It's a tough putt, you know, 5 foot putt he's got to make under a lot of pressure, but he's holed them all day and he did it again. So I basically knew I pretty much had to hole that to stay in it and keep alive. There's no better feeling under pressure, you've got to do something, you hit the shot and you do it heck check. That's what you spend all your time practicing for and that's what your preparation's for. And luckily, it just worked out for me.

Q. I'll take you down one more on 10. Did you think you had just about lost it when your 15 footer lipped out and he is staring at a 6 footer to win?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, just like I said, you know, he's putted well all day, and I thought he was going to I'll be honest, I thought he was going to hole it. Until the ball goes until the hole, the whole game is not over and luckily for me, he missed it. And we took it down the par 5, and I left one short, he made an easy 5 as well.

You know, it was going to take one of us to hit a good shot and make birdie because I don't think anybody was making bogey. We were playing some good golf. And fortunately, I just stepped up to the plate and made that putt on 12. And worked out all right.

Q. I don't know if you noticed, but he had his back to you all day, didn't see a shot you hit. Were you watching when he had that little 3 or 4 footer on 10?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, I was watching when he hit that 3 footer. Yeah, he was watching.

One of the guys said that to me, he had his back turned, but, you know, he can do what he wants, as long as it doesn't affect me. I've just got to focus on what I'm doing, and if I can focus on that and hit some good shots, then you know, he can turn his back as much as he wants but I'm going to put the pressure on.

Q. Did you notice that?

RICHIE RAMSAY: No, I didn't, no. All I was focused on was that ball rolling into the hole.

I worked with a few guys back home, a guy called Richard Cox who is a sports psychologist and I saw him this year for the first time. He was really good to me. We talked, we just sat down and talked about a few things. And he said, what you've got to do is pick out details, small details and you just focus in on that and forget everything outside that.

And, you know, all I focused on was that ball rolling in the middle of the hole. So I didn't see anybody out in the corner of my eye. I didn't see any spectators, just saw the ball going in the hole. It's good when those things come off, when you visualize it and it happens and it proves that you know all work like you do, even the mental training that we do, it paid off and it all came to fruition in the end.

Q. When you're in the heat of the moment like that, how do you have the presence of mind or the calm not to just have everything well up inside you when he touches the ground and the hole is lost?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I don't know, it's so hard to take that on 17, what's happened. But at the end of the day, if it affects me on 18, then that's bad and it's going to put me off my kind of game plan.

Out there, it was brilliant, I was loving it. The guys walking down the fairway, there's TV crews, you can't beat that. I could be out there all day playing. It's just so much fun out there.

Like I said before, that's what you spend all the hours practicing, that's what you go to the gym for, you train for, you come out here and you go out to perform under pressure. Those things can get in the way, but I managed to put it out of my mind and get back to my game plan. It paid off in the end.

Q. Do you think your work with Richard Cox benefitted with that situation on 17, working with a sports psychologist to get your focus like that?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Before I saw him I had been quite focused. Some people, when I hit a bad shot I kind of talk to myself and some people quite rightly think that I'm nuts. That's fair enough.

But my opinion is the most important opinion to me, it's what counts and some people I trust, they say if that works for you, that's fine. If that focuses you back in on hitting a good shot, that's fine.

I said to the guys before, I had to putt in Ireland for about 25 foot to win a match, against England in the final of the European Under 21s (Burhill) and I managed to hole that. And I just thought, if I can hole that, and stand up to the plate in all this; like I said before, it's just visualizing the ball going in the hole and managed to pay off at that time. It may not have happened before but at least I was focusing in on what I was doing. So if you miss the putt, you can't say that it was anything else. You did everything you could. I'm just fortunate that I managed to hole the pull put.

Q. When was that event in Ireland?

RICHIE RAMSAY: It would have been 2004 I think. We beat England in the final and I was the last match coming down and I was 1 up. I managed to hole the putt to basically win the match. And obviously, Scotland, England, there's a bit of rivalry there, so it was even better in the final.

You know, I've played a lot of golf with the guys on the team there, guys like Scott Jamison, we had a fantastic team that year and it was great to be in a team situation to win something big. There's no better feeling than that and there's no better feeling holing a putt to win a match under intense pressure. You know, basically you don't get bigger than the U.S. Amateur.

Q. Can you give your estimation of the length of the putts like on 18 and then 10?

RICHIE RAMSAY: 18 I think that would have been about 15 feet. 10, I wasn't really that far away. I would say no more than 12 feet on 10.

Q. You think 12?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, I really thought I had it. It was in the center of the hole and just broke away, a big lipout. I had the same putt in regulation and it broke it didn't break as much. So when it was going in the middle of the hole, I thought it was going to hold its line. It just tailed a bit left and lipped out.

There's a lot of things you think about, but the end of the day, a win is a win and you can't change that. So I'm just happy that I managed to win.

Q. Do you have two more wins in you?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, I do. Yeah. Without being big headed, there's guys out there that are brilliant golfers, but if I go out and play my game that I know I can and play the shots that are in my bag that I've got, then you know, there's no reason why I can't win. Without being big headed, if you're in the last four, you've got to think you can win. But in order to do that, I've got to hit one shot at a time, one hole at a time, one match at a time, in order to win each one. So it's all the small holes that builds up.

Q. Who do you think is happier tonight, you or your caddie?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Thomas probably, I would say. Thomas, yeah.

I mean, getting to the quarterfinals would have been brilliant and a good result and I would have been content with that. Once you get to this stage, there's only eight guys left and you think, you know, one for me, it's pretty good odds. And if you can just play well at the right time, then you can push forward and do something big.

Like to get to this stage is brilliant, but you just want to win. I'm a natural born competitor and second is kind of not an option. You stand on that tee and you think, well, I want to win. Without being big headed, you can't go out with any other thought other than going out is and winning your match.

Q. Who is your caddie and how did he come to be on your bag?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Thomas is the son of Mike and Jim Brewer (ph) who I'm staying with this week who are our host family. I get on good with Thomas. And he was out there and basically he does the bag, and I do the yardages and pick the clubs because I know how far I hit my clubs and I know what the wind is doing. I just asked him about a couple of things if I need him, so he's there to ask if I need to. But I did kind of most of the work.

He's done a good job this week. He made a mistake and to punish him for that would have been really harsh or to say something to him. I knew he was feeling bad. You could see it in his eyes; he was gutted himself. So you've just got to put it out of your mind and get over it.

Q. Has he caddied before?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I don't think he has caddied. He plays golf in high school.

Q. He's on high school team?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I think so, yeah. So he knows the kind of ins and outs of golf, but he definitely knows not to touch it again. (Laughter).

Q. Did you ever think of playing college golf here in the United States?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I actually went to junior college for a year in Waco Texas, I played called McLennan Community College, which there was various reasons it didn't suit me to advance both academically and on my golf as well. So I went there for a year.

It was good fun, enjoyed it, but I came back to Stirling and started off at Stirling. My coach is just down the road. I enjoy living in Stirling. I have a good time. It's good fun. And obviously that helps benefit my golf because if you're content having a good time enjoying yourself, then I think it reflects on your golf.

And I've got a really good team right now which is basically the result of the really good support we get from the Scottish Golf Union. The Union helps me out and my coach is employed by the Scottish Golf Union, he's the national golf coach, a guy called Ian Rae. It's kind of all there; you have a whole team behind you. They just say, we'll do this for you or we'll do that for you. All you've got to do is go out and play golf. It's not tough. You've just got to go out there, and if you work hard at it and with what they give you, you can make a big difference, and obviously I think that's showed this week.

So it's as much of the hard work I put in and the hard work that they have put in that it's a consequence that I got this far in the tournament.

Q. When was that one year?

RICHIE RAMSAY: It would have been 2001.

Q. So the fall of 2001 you started?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I would have started, yeah, it would have been August 2001 I think I would have started. I was just there for a year.

Q. What were you planning to do for a caddie before you arrived here?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I was just going to get one of the local caddies. I mean, obviously it is a benefit someone carrying your bag, but as far as I'm concerned, I know kind of how far I hit the ball. I like pacing off my own yardages, reading my own putts. If someone is there to ask assistance, then I'll use them, but if I see a line, I think I'm confident that line is right, I go with it.

I think this week I worked on my yardages, obviously it's a bit warmer over here, the ball flies a bit further, it's a different kind of turf, the ball sits quicker and you have to adapt to that. Nobody knows how far nobody better knows than me how far I hit the ball and how I can control it. So I just do all that and basically they just carry the bag and help me out with little things.

Q. When Thomas reached down, was he pointing out a putt to you or a line?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I think he was putting out a line. I didn't see him actually touch it. I was looking I don't know what I was looking at, but I didn't see him actually ground his hands. But he turned around and said, yeah, and when he said that, I looked at the referee and it was plain to me that it was a loss of hole.

Q. Did Rickie call it?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Rickie said something to the referee, I don't know whether someone said something to him, but it ended up he called the referee over and he spoke to me and I said, "Well, you know, I couldn't tell you if he touched the line or not, you'll have to ask him."

Thomas was like, "I touched the line." It was loss of hole and that's it.

Q. Did either of you have an advantage at that point of where you were on the green?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Well, I was I don't think I was more than two or three feet away. Maybe just outside gimmie range. And he had about 20 foot putt I think coming up the hill. So, you know, to say he would have holed that is, you know, giving him a lot. But at the end of the day, you know, it happened and you can't look at anything else and you just have to pick up your marker and move on to the next.

Q. So your approach shot was to two or three feet?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I rolled my putt down and I just had a small putt for a par and Rickie had to putt up the hill for birdie. So, you know, it happened.

Q. The longer putt was where he indicated your line and touched? How far was that putt?

RICHIE RAMSAY: It would have been about 20 feet probably, no more than 20 feet. We were about the same. It was nip and tuck.

Q. When that winning putt finally dropped, did the golf gods kind of hand out some justice there?

RICHIE RAMSAY: I think, you know, sometimes when you're playing golf, if you get a bad break, you think, you know, oh, no, I got a bad break, but you think you'll get a good one.

The whole day, I had hit some good putts and they hadn't gone in. I was speaking to the guys before, and they were saying, you know, spoke to Paul Lawrie about a few things, and he's from Aberdeen as well I caddied for him once. I remember he hit three great putts and he missed them, and I said, "What are you thinking after that?"

And he just said to me "that I'm putting well, one of them is going to drop, it's going to drop sooner or later. If I keep doing this, I'm owed some putts." So on the last few holes, I was thinking, I haven't holed anything today. I'm owed a few putts. So I was stroking the ball good and I just managed to hole that putt on 12. And in a way, I think it evened itself out. But, you know, it could have gone either way at the end.

Q. Will he be on your bag tomorrow?

RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, he will be, definitely.

Q. Do you think he'll touch anything?

RICHIE RAMSAY: No, he won't touch anything. (Laughter)

End of FastScripts.

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