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August 17, 2006

Chris Riley


KELLY ELBIN: Chris Riley, ladies and gentlemen, tied for the first round lead at the 88th PGA Championship with a 6 under par 66.

Chris, 23 putts today, looked like a pretty special first round out there.

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I played pretty good. I holed a first chip on the first hole and that got me going. After that, played pretty solid. Drove it well. Just played good.

KELLY ELBIN: Would you go through your birdies and bogeys, please.

CHRIS RILEY: Sure. I started on 10. I chipped in on 10.

13, I hit it left and didn't get it up and down.

14, I hit a lob wedge from 85 yards to about two feet.

16, I hit an 8 iron to about ten feet.

17, I hit a 7 iron to about five feet.

No. 5, I hit a driver, 3 wood and then chipped it to about six feet and made that.

No. 7, I hit a driver, 3 wood to about 20 feet and 2 putted.

Then No. 8, I hit a 5 iron to about two feet. So what's.

Q. So, what's the difference between today and the rest of the season? I mean, you were talking about not being able to put it all together at the same time. This is obviously more than you can probably imagine putting it together at the same time right now.

CHRIS RILEY: Actually the last three or four tournaments on Tour, I've been playing really well, just not getting anything out of it.

Prior to that, the last year, I really haven't given myself a legitimate shot to play well because I really haven't played enough golf out here.

For me, I need to play five out of six weeks at a time, six out of eight weeks at a time, seven out of nine weeks, and I really haven't had a pattern.

We have two little kids and I really haven't wanted to travel much. You know, I'm just kind of going through the motions the last year.

My back's up against the wall now and it's time to play golf, and I'm fine with that. My attitude's a lot better. I mean, I'm just like I was in 2004 right now the last couple of months. Nothing bothers me and I know I hit the ball well enough so if I make a bogey, I'm going to have a lot of birdie chances.

Q. To follow that up, the PGAs have been by far your best major. What is it about these golf courses, these setups, that are conducive to your play?

CHRIS RILEY: I really don't know that. I know the U.S. Open is just so hard that I really don't even enjoy playing in those. I really think that this PGA sets the courses up the best out of all the majors. I think they are the fairest. I think, you know I played Shinnecock in 2004 on Sunday and it was absolutely it wasn't even any fun. I mean, they lost control of the golf course. All of the PGAs that I've played in, I've played in the last five of them, Oak Hill, they are all just great golf courses, and they never get away from them. It's fair.

The Masters is also a great golf course. I've played there three times and I've made the cut there every year, and that's a great golf course.

But the British Open, I think I played okay there. But here, I really just personally, I think that they set the majors up the fairest, and I just know that there's not going to be any funny things going on out there.

KELLY ELBIN: For your information, Chris was third in 2002 at the PGA Championship and tied for fourth in 2004.

Q. You're the co leader of a pack of about 60 guys under par right now. You talk about the setup; does this feel like a major championship to you right now with those kind of numbers?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, absolutely. I think it feels like a major championship with all of the people out there. It's different from any Tour event I play in. Except when Tiger shows up, there's always people around. But just the feeling of this tournament and it definitely feels like a major.

I really thought that there was going to be there still might be I thought there was going to be a better round than 6 under because there's a lot of birdies out there. The greens are pretty soft, and I'm happy to be where I'm at.

Q. You talked about sort of a new purpose that you have, back to the way you were in 2004. What was it that got you to that new purpose, and not to bring up a bad memory, but some of us that were at the Ryder Cup last time saw you and saw the look on your face and you looked very disconsolate. What impact did that have on you and your career?

CHRIS RILEY: When I played in the Ryder Cup in 2004, it's like I made it to my ultimate goal.

Since then, I had a kid two weeks before the Ryder Cup, and then I've had another kid since then. I don't like to make excuses, but golf is not my No. 1 priority anymore. Up until about age 30, when you're in your 20s out here and you're not married, life's great. You get in the courtesy car, you get a nice check and you head off to the next week. Now I've got a family. It's just I look at it different.

My experience in the 2004 Ryder Cup experience was by far the best experience I've ever had in golf. And what Hal Sutton said, or what was said by the media, it really didn't it didn't bother me at all. I mean, me and Tiger had a pretty good chemistry out there, but I've never played alternate shot and I would have been willing to play.

But like I said, I had a baby the week before that, and as y'all know, with a baby, you don't get much sleep. So all I said was I'll go and but I'm a little tired, and that was pretty much all that was said. That was pretty much it.

I've got no regrets in anything that's gone on.

Q. Just following up a little bit about the juggle of Tour life with two little babies, can you delve into what the hardest part of that has been?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, yeah, it's been my wife, first of all, is great. She has a better attitude than I do about the whole situation. It's just hard when you I don't know where to start.

But the minute you go to the airport, you've got a three hour wait to get on an airplane, and we've got bottles, we've got diapers, we've got you know, you name it, we've got it. Then a three hour flight we live on the West Coast to wherever we're going, by the end of the day it's eight or nine hours. And after a while I was asking myself, was this really worth bringing them everywhere you go. And then you miss them if they don't go.

I wish somebody would do an article or something and show what it's like to have kids out here on Tour. I know I should get a nanny to help out, but I'm just not there yet. (Laughter).

You know, it would be a lot easier to do the private jet thing, and it's really expensive to do that, but it is I've tried that a couple times. But before I get to the tournament, I'm $25,000 out of my pocket and I'm like, geez, this is unbelievable. I had a really negative attitude going on, and it was so easy to be negative.

You know, the day care on the PGA TOUR is great. That's wonderful. But you know, it hits different people different ways. I'm one of those guys that I just can't shut out my family and be a selfish player and just stay out here and play golf and not think about my family. I'm the other way around. I think about my kids and, you know, when you have a 1 year old and she's screaming in the hotel room, you wonder if this is your fault that you're bringing them out here.

Like I said, my wife has been great. It's been me that has been having the negative attitude. You know, I'm starting to learn to deal with it a little bit better. It's getting better.

So I've got about ten tournaments to play my best and keep my card. I'm still about 100,000 away. I'm so thankful for what I've done in this game, can't really get me down.

Q. Excluding the major venues, what tour stops this year have you played where you felt the setup was more difficult than the setup you faced today?

CHRIS RILEY: I mean, I don't know if there's any more difficult, but I know there were some just as challenging. I know San Diego where they are going to play the U.S. Open in 2008, that's a very challenging golf course.

I'm trying to think. I didn't play any of the majors, and I'd have to say San Diego. I mean, if I had to choose one, it's just as hard.

Q. So much attention was given to the glamour threesome of Tiger and Phil and Mr. Ogilvy, but can you talk about how the names on the top of the leaderboard are yours and Mr. Glover instead?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, I really I looked over and I saw two people following me. They probably had 200,000 people following them. It's a little less pressure on me.

I'm striving to play in those groups. It is a lot more challenging. I know I was talking to someone earlier, and Geoff Ogilvy, whenever Phil and Tiger would putt out, they would run. It's kind of a tough pairing for Geoff. I think I've got my dad following me and a friend, and that's pretty much everybody following me.

So I'm hoping to get into those big groups, though, come this weekend.

Q. Just getting back to the life on Tour a little bit, you seem like you're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. You have to play a lot or consecutively but yet you miss your family and your time with your kids. What's the solution?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, the solution right now I think is that I play three weeks and they come out in the middle week, so I only go a week without not seeing them. I might have to suck it up and put some money out on a private plane, which is hard to do, but I'll just have my wife do it and I won't know how much it costs. (Laughter) that's an option.

Because the airports, it is really challenging to get through. I mean, travel days are just not fun. But we've done the private jet thing a couple times and it's like so much easier. Kind of hard for me to spend 6,000 or 7,000 an hour on an airplane. I grew up in Claremont. Todd knows where that's at. That lasts a year where I live. An hour is a pretty short time for 6,000 or 7,000.

We rented houses a couple of times. That definitely helps. Yeah, that's pretty much it. I've pretty much got to open up my wallet and let it fly out of there if I want to do what the big boys do.

Q. So I guess when you leave them at home, you feel kind of guilty?

CHRIS RILEY: Guilty is not really the word. Maybe miss them. I've talked to Kenny Perry and he's told me it's been tough. He has I think three daughters. He said it was tough growing up, he didn't really get to spend as much time as he'd like to. I've got a 2 year old and I love her to death and she wakes up and everything is like exciting, Hi, Daddy, and all that. You guys who have kids know what I'm talking about. Sometimes when you're out here and you play golf and you're back in your hotel room watching TV, you're like, is this really worth it? Is this really worth it?

But this is all I know. If I can just go a week without seeing them like I said, I did three weeks this summer, it was brutal. If I could just go one week at a time, I think I can do a little bit better.

It's been a struggle the last year juggling this, but like I said, I have no regrets.

Q. How big of a thrill is it to do what you did today, given where you've been?

CHRIS RILEY: Man, it's a great thrill, just to see your name up there with Lucas Glover. He's going to be a Top 15 player in the world in my opinion. You know, when I wake up in the morning and see that I beat Tiger and Phil, it's got to put a smile on your face a little bit. But I know there's a lot of golf left.

Just to be there though on the first day, I can't ask for much more.

Q. How has it been since you've shot a round this good that felt this good?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I think this is my best round of the year, I really do. I took care of the par 5s and I haven't done that in a while. It feels pretty good. I mean, I'm really happy with 66 and I'm just going to strive to beat par tomorrow. Par or better is my goal tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.

KELLY ELBIN: Chris Riley, co leader, first round of the PGA Championship, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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