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May 2, 2006

Arron Oberholser


LAURY LIVSEY: We'd like to welcome Arron Oberholser into the media center today. You've had a mixed bag here; you missed the cut your first year, lost in a playoff the second year and then WD'd last year. Talk about your experience here at Quail Hollow.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Like you said, it's been a mixed bag at this venue for me over the last three years. It's a great golf course. It's a great venue. It's quickly becoming a premier event on the PGA TOUR. The last four years it's grown leaps and bounds. The first year was fantastic I thought and the second year was better and last year was great, even though I didn't play a whole tournament. I'm sure this year will be just as good as the last three.

They do a great job here. The whole staff, Kym and his entire staff, they do a fantastic job. The members here are very gracious, such a great venue to play at. I wish we played more like this to be honest. I think a lot of guys feel the same way, that we don't play enough great old style golf courses like this where your game is tested in all facets, driving, iron play and short game.

Q. Have you played yet?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Yeah, just got done.

Q. Have they done anything to 8? I haven't been out there yet.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Versus what they did to it last year?

Q. Yeah. That's the hole they seem to like to tweak out here for some reason.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Well, it was a real benign hole my first two years here, and then I think or maybe the first year here, and they tweaked it in '04, and then they haven't done anything to it. It is the way it has been for the last two years, I guess. They haven't it's a pretty good short hole.

I'm glad they put the green over there to the right. It kind of gives you a little bit of you've got to think a little bit, but the green definitely is tough with that big false front, and you really have to watch your shots. You can get too much spin when they put the pin up front.

Q. How do you think the dynamic will change next year in terms of this event preceding THE PLAYERS Championship? Will it hurt this event or help this event?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Oh, I think that I don't think it'll hurt this event at all. I think that I haven't studied next year's schedule so much. I've looked at it, glanced over it and kind of plotted what I'm going to do. I mean, they didn't touch the West Coast, so I'm cool. So far it's great (laughing).

But after the West Coast it's kind of jumbled up a little bit, as I think everybody has noticed. I don't think it'll hurt this event at all leading up to the Players Championship because if I remember correctly, THE PLAYERS Championship is at the end of a pretty good stretch of golf or purses, so I would think that I think whose going to get hurt is the BellSouth because I believe the BellSouth is after THE PLAYERS Championship.

If I remember correctly, there's a few good tournaments, this one, Players Championship, and then I don't know if it's the Nelson or something else preceding this one going I think a lot of boys are going to play the Nelson, this one, THE PLAYERS Championship, and then unfortunately I think BellSouth is probably going to get hurt.

Q. Which course do you like better, Quail Hollow or TPC?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Quail Hollow. I mean, I love the BellSouth

Q. I'm talking about Sawgrass.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Oh, Sawgrass? I like 16 holes at Sawgrass (laughter). I love 1 through 16. 1 through 16 are great. 17 and 18, I think that they can start over. If we could just fill in that water all around 17 and fill in the water left of 18, that would be great.

Q. They were doing some work on 17 but I think they're putting the water back in.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: They're probably backing up the tee. It's too short. Back it up to a 6 iron (laughing).

Q. 5 for you.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: For me, exactly, the short guy.

Q. I didn't look when I came in. What is your status on the illustrious World Ranking right now?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Well, my dad reminds me every week; "Doing well this week, didn't even play and you moved up a spot." I think I'm 38. I finished top 15 last year in the U.S. Open, so I was fine for that no matter what.

The one I'm just kind of still waiting on is the British. I think the cutoff is May 27th. So if I can stay inside the top 50 by May 27th, which is basically at the end of this next run that I'm playing, then I'll be playing my first British Open and I'll play which is something I'm real proud of. This will be my first year playing all four majors and hopefully all the World Golf Championships, as well. I know I'm in the Bridgestone because of my win, but I don't think I'm in the American Express quite yet.

Q. The way you played here, the way you played Pebble, the way you played the Masters, do you think your game transfers very well to major championship type courses, venues?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Yeah, I think so. I think that I've played in four major championships now, two PGAs, a U.S. Open and a Masters, and I haven't finished outside the top 25, or I think maybe the PGA last year I might have finished 28th or something like that.

I think my game for some reason, ever since high school I've always been able to go to a tough golf course and really when I know par is a good number, I really seem to play my best when par is a good number. This week par is a good number; U.S. Opens, par is a great number; The Masters in some cases, par is a good number, especially the way they've redesigned some of that golf course.

So if I know par is a good number, I tend to be more patient. I get impatient, and you won't see me play Bob Hopes, you won't see me play golf courses like Flint I get too impatient at those golf courses where I know you have to shoot 6 under to make the cut and 20 something to win. For some reason, I don't like that style of golf. I like grinding it out.

Q. Going into last year at Pinehurst, did you have a preconceived notion about what a U.S. Open should be or is supposed to be and how did it compare to reality?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I had preconceived notions for sure. You watch it for so many years on television, and you play U.S. Open style golf courses or you're playing with guys that say these roughs are U.S. Open style or these greens are U.S. Open speed and firmness, so guys will compare certain golf courses to a U.S. Open setup throughout the year, so certainly I had preconceived notions. However, I think Pinehurst is a very special case of a golf course that is not a typical, quote unquote, U.S. Open golf course with the shaved greens. You know, the fairways I thought were if those are U.S. Open fairways, those were generous in certain spots I thought, 25, 30, 35 yards wide in some spots. You had plenty of room to drive the ball.

I don't think we're going to see that at Winged Foot this year. I've played that golf course once, not since college, but we're going to see 25 yard fairways to 30 , no more than that, firm fairways, long rough. They mow some chipping areas for fun in certain areas, but I think you're going to see guys play the traditional U.S. Open shot around the greens, take the lob wedge and open it up and play it like a sand shot. I thought Pinehurst was fantastic because you'd get to a ball and say what do I do with this. I could do this, this, this or this. You had about four different options.

Q. What was the occasion at Winged Foot?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I played in a they invited the first and second team all Americans for like a college Am thing. You play with some leaders of business in New York City, and then they have a day for us where though host us out at Winged Foot. I don't think they do this anymore, but I went out there and it was fun. I remember playing, it was I forgot who I think I played with Garrett Willis and Heath Slocum, and I can't remember our fourth, but we had a good time.

Q. What they're going to do with the rough apparently for the Open is have I think it's about six yards six feet that's going to be

ARRON OBERHOLSER: They're going to taper it?

Q. Taper it, so usually the guys that bomb it way over near the ropes it's stamped down.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Someone is listening to Fred Funk, I love it.

Q. How do you think that will affect things because the guys that are just missing fairways

ARRON OBERHOLSER: You know, it's funny, there's a lot of variables that still come into play. I think that some of these longer hitters can get so wild that if they're still going to hit it where the galleries are standing and walking, they're still going to have a perfect lie. I think if you hit it 10, 15 yards off line, you're probably going to have a pretty bad lie.

But three inches, if they're going to start the taper at three inches and taper it up to four and five in the deeper areas, three inches still at a U.S. Open if they've been fertilizing and doing the things they usually do, if it goes to the bottom, the guys who are a little weaker are still going to have a hard time getting the ball on the green. The ball might sit up a little bit more if the grass is pretty healthy. We'll see, I don't know. I'm looking forward to seeing what their idea of tapering looks like.

Q. When are you going over there, beforehand, or will you wait for that week?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think I might go over there I think I'm going to get into New York the Sunday before Westchester, the Barclays, and then I might play Monday out at Winged Foot and then that's about the only look I'll have at it probably. I'm not planning on going out there any time before that.

Q. I talked to you a little bit at Sawgrass about it, but what are your memories about that one round at Winged Foot? What did you come away with?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I'll tell you what, I've heard that they've added about 200 yards to the golf course since when I played it. It's like 7,300 yards now. It used to play like 7,100, just over 7,000. I was playing a wound ball back then with a steel headed driver, and I think the golf course is going to play a lot different now.

I remember having to work your golf ball off the tees out there and being able to do that with the old equipment. With the newer equipment it's kind of stand up and aim and bomb it.

I remember the greens being I remember it being a good test of golf, short par 4s, long par 4s, flat lies, uneven lies, short par 3s. 10 is that really good par 3. You don't get to start on a par 3 a lot, and it's kind of cool actually, I think.

My memories of the place with one round I think Brad Elder and I were actually low. We shot 69, and we played it as a U.S. Open golf course, like they were going to do for the PGA in '97. We were there in the summer of '96, and so we decided, oh, let's just play it as a par 70. The pro told us which holes were going to be par 4s and we went out there and played it as a par 70.

I think Brad Elder and I were the low that day with 69s, but we didn't go out to the China Club the night before, either. A lot of guys went to the China Club, and they were a little incapacitated. I remember one guy threw up in the van on the way to the golf course. That was fun.

Q. Was that Garrett?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I will not name names.

Q. You'd take four 69s right now, wouldn't you?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Four 69s and I think you're lifting a trophy at the end of the day, unless the conditions get soft. There's always a chance for afternoon thundershowers in New York in June, I would think. If the conditions get soft I think it's still I didn't play the black course at Bethpage, so I don't know how it compares to that. But when Bethpage got wet from the thunderstorms, it seemed the shots got easier as you would think they would, and guys were able to be a little bit more aggressive, especially Tiger.

I think if that happens, the longer hitters, again, are going to have an advantage. If the course is running and playing fast, then it brings a lot more people into the mix.

Q. You seemed to suggest that maybe new technology can be a detriment because you can't shape the ball around some of those fairways.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think on certain holes in certain situations I think new technology can be a detriment. You're always guessing, well, if I make the swing that I want to make, is the ball going to hook enough, is the ball going to fade enough, or is the ball just going to kind of fly straight. So it's not a question of getting the ball to do what you want, it's getting the ball to do what you want enough because the balls all kind of you don't produce as much spin as you used to. Obviously anybody who understands the golf swing in physics, you've got to produce spin to make the ball curve. If you don't produce, you're not going to make it curve.

Q. I want to ask you how your attitude has changed when you come to tournaments since winning Pebble, different from before winning. Why are you laughing?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: You just make me laugh, Doug. I just think you're great, man.

Q. Glad I can entertain. Now answer the question.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: (Laughing) my attitude is I think honestly you're able to free wheel it a little bit more. You're able to fire at pins that you maybe would play away from a little bit, even though I try not to play any differently than I normally would. But you're definitely looser.

Winners' tee times are great. You get to sleep in a little bit more in the morning, and you're playing with guys who have won before, and you get to play with a lot of the guys who are Top 10 players in the world who you can learn a lot from.

My attitude is I'll tell you what, I appreciate winning a lot more. You know, winning came easy at every other level to me. I shouldn't say easy, but it came easier.

At every level when I was at that level I won the first year I got to that level. Canadian Tour, I won twice the first year; Nationwide Tour I won twice the only year I played and lost in a playoff. It's taken me three years to win a golf tournament on the PGA TOUR. It just goes to show you my opinion how tough everybody is out here and how deep the competition goes.

I appreciate it a lot more for sure. But my attitude is I think that because I knew what it took to win at Pebble Beach, I think that I try to replicate those feelings every week as best I can to try and get into that same state of mind.

Q. Which is what?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Which is one of patience and calm.

Q. Peace?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Peace, exactly. You don't spend as much energy, you walk off the golf course feeling fresh, except when you're fighting yourself and you're not feeling too happy with what's going on maybe in your golf game or your personal life or whatever it might be. You tend to fight yourself on the golf course a lot, and I think that when you can when you get all the issues cleared up with your golf game, you tend to I think when you tend to try to approach it in a more peaceful manner, you're able to save a lot of energy and in turn by Sunday afternoon you're in good shape. You know, you've got a lot of energy coming down the stretch, you feel good, and you're not wasting a lot on reacting to shots that you shouldn't probably react to.

Q. Two years ago here when you had that great run and ended up in a playoff here, how much did you grow up just that final round and the playoff and the moment that you had with Joey and everything that you had like that? What does that mean to you?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think I grew up a lot in the months preceding what happened here. You know, I had kind of, for lack of a better term, a meltdown in Houston and just kind of lost perspective, what I was doing out here and what was going on, and I just behaved basically like a five year old and was not proud of it, and I was playing with Joey at the time, and I took a couple of I think I took a couple of I didn't play New Orleans, so I took a week off, came here, I believe, and then really that week off I talked to a few people at home and have just been trying to figure out why I would have such a meltdown.

You know, after talking to one of my good friends about it, I realized that it's not really it really wasn't a big deal as far as not my behavior, but golf in general, I was making a bigger deal out of it than it really was, and I wasn't really focused on what I needed to be focused on.

But when I got here that week, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and calm and no expectations, and I think that's what happens. When you have expectations I think you're riding down a slippery slope when you start having high expectations, and you start living not up to those expectations and pretty soon you're on a downward spiral.

I think that week was the beginning for me, that year, for sure.

Then leading into this tournament that year, I felt good. I still felt bad about and I hadn't had a chance to apologize to Joey. It was just kind of a I don't know why I did it. It was just him and I out there, there was nobody else around us, it was kind of an odd situation to do it in a playoff, but I think that's how quickly I gained perspective. Whatever happened that day, I was happy with the way I performed that week, and we were both deserving winners that day.

Q. How weird was it, though?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think Joey thought it was weirder than I did.

Q. How weird is it you were in a playoff together?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: That was weird, too.

Q. You had so many things going through your mind

ARRON OBERHOLSER: When I saw that he was on the board and I got done and made that putt on 18 to get into a playoff and I realized I was in a playoff with Joey, I was like, oh, man, and I didn't really know how to react.

When I got to the tee I didn't know if I should apologize to him on the 18th tee or it felt kind of weird, and then I was like, okay, you've got a job to do, you have a chance to win a golf tournament, so get that out of your head.

I still kind of felt bad about the incident in Houston going into the playoff, which is really not a good state of mind to be in.

Walking down 16 I put my ball in the front bunker and he put it, I think, like 12 feet from the hole, and I knew that that was a difficult bunker shot, what I had left. I had a feeling it wasn't looking good for me, so I decided, well, he's sitting up there 12 feet, not like he's got to grind over a chip shot or something. It was just kind of totally improvised. I went up to him and apologized and he was gracious and understood.

He's a guy that I look up to out here as far as a player and as a role model for perspective and attitude. He's really got his stuff together, there's no doubt.

Q. Was part of that Houston thing partly due to your impatience about not having won?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think so. I think I let a lot of people put unnecessary I let a lot of put unnecessary pressure on me and I fed into it that I should be winning by now because I played so well on the Nationwide Tour a couple years prior and now I should be it's your second year, you've seen the golf courses once and you should be winning.

What I realized was that you win in your own time. It's going to happen. There's so many good players out here, and everybody has got a chance so many people have a chance to win every week that it's just not going to happen every week. You're not going to play you're not going to have a chance to win every week. I mean, there's only one guy that I've seen that can have that kind of year, where he has a chance every week.

Q. I'm just curious if there's a postscript to your grandfather's time at Augusta.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Good question, Doug. You come up with the good stuff. You know, no. But there wasn't a postscript. He was just very happy. I was glad that I could give him a good show, and I hope he's able to come back next year to Augusta because I'd love to have him back there again.

He loves that place. He loved it from the first time he saw it on television and whenever he first started watching it on TV when it was first televised. He had a blast back there. He can't walk around; he's got two knee replacements, so he scatters from he goes from 9 to 18 and just in between and watches everybody come in.

Q. Kind of like the press.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Exactly, like the press (laughter). That's right, you guys don't walk the golf course, do you?

And so my dad was there, too. My dad is actually going to go with me to the British this year. I'm going to fly him over, and that's going to be fun. It'll just be a boys' trip.

Q. Have you ever tried to qualify for the British?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Yeah, I did one year at Congressional a couple years ago, and I just didn't I did not finish. I was dead beat. I was on like a three or four tournament in a row deal, and I played 27 and I wasn't even close to it, so I said I think I'll catch an earlier flight.

Q. Not to drag up a sore subject here, but were you one of the ones that WD'd early?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Yeah, that everybody was bitching about? Yeah, that was me. I was one of them, yeah. I just needed to basically my body was telling me I needed to rest. I had nine holes to go, I didn't have a shot to make it, so I said I'm going to catch an earlier flight back to Phoenix. I'm all the way in Maryland.

Q. You didn't have to come back to finish the nine the next day?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: No, I stopped in the middle of 18. I was going to be able to finish, and my body wasn't having any of it, to be honest with you. I was tired and sore and hurt.

Q. I was just going to clarify, was it a lot of guys didn't show up at all at Congressional?

ARRON OBERHOLSER: Some guys didn't I think that they were more miffed about that than guys who were dropping out, for sure.

Q. Peter Dawson never mentioned your name once, I swear.

ARRON OBERHOLSER: That's good. I don't want to be mentioned if I'm on his bad list. There were some guys who didn't even bother calling and withdrawing or anything like that, and that's poor form in my opinion.

LAURY LIVSEY: Arron, thanks for coming in.

End of FastScripts.

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