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July 17, 2006

Kenneth Ferrie


BRIAN CREIGHTON: We have Kenny Ferrie here. Ken, you had that wonderful run at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago. What did that mean to you, and how has your game been since?

KENNETH FERRIE: It was a great week, obviously. And at the time I was a little bit disappointed when I finished on Sunday, kind of felt it could have been a little bit better and could have been something pretty special. But looking back five, six weeks later, I've had a little bit of time to reflect, and obviously I've taken a lot of positives and it was a great week.

It means a lot to me to be able to show people what I am capable of doing on a bigger level rather than just the European Tour, kind of on an International stage, and obviously getting to go back to the U.S. Open and The Masters next year is a great thrill for me. It's one of the tournaments as a kid that you always dream of playing, with a select field, and hardest to get into.

As far as my game goes, my game is actually in very good shape, still. It turned round at a pretty good time at the U.S. Open, and it's kind of been pretty good since. I played pretty solid last weekend at Loch Lomond, and other than the last round it was pretty steady, not holing many putts, and the last round I holed a couple and ended up with a 65 and finished 12th, which was a nice round to bring into this week to give me a little bit more confidence.

BRIAN CREIGHTON: Have you had to make any changes from Winged Foot to playing back in Europe.

KENNETH FERRIE: No. Obviously it's a different style of golf course, this is a completely different style than Winged Foot, and different than Loch Lomond last week. Loch Lomond is always known for being pretty soft and kind of whenever you pitch it, it stops. And from what I've heard this week and from what I've seen so far, I think wherever you pitch it will be nowhere near where it stops this week.

Like I say, I'm playing well, I'm swinging well and I'm driving the ball well. Doesn't matter if it's U.S. Open or anywhere else, if you drive the ball well on any golf course, it's a huge head start and that's what I'm hoping I can bring to this week again.

Q. A result like that at the U.S. Open when obviously your game really clicked, do you suddenly feel you've jumped a level and then you come here and you think now I'm comfortable up here, and this is where I should be?

KENNETH FERRIE: Yeah, I said when I was at Winged Foot doing my interviews out there, you're trying to push that bar slightly higher. You get to a level, and our game is about peaks and troughs; you always have three or four good weeks and then a couple of bad ones. You're trying to push that bar just a little bit higher.

And I felt after what I did last year at K Club, and obviously the dunhill, I pushed the bar up pretty high for myself. And Winged Foot at the U.S. Open, that was the next step up to push that bar slightly higher. It was a great feeling just coming back to Europe and playing after competing in the U.S. Open. It's amazing the confidence it gives you that you can actually play it.

And the top 10 the week after Gleneagles and France and the K Club, were all a little bit disappointing, I was hoping for better. Still a decent place. I actually was feeling disappointed where it could have been so much better, where at the start of the year I was playing I didn't have huge confidence. I was kind of being happy with mid table, which isn't where I should be and isn't where I am. And like I said, that bit of confidence at the end of the U.S. Open has held us in good stead since.

Q. You wear your heart on your sleeve. When you are actually out there and in the heat of battle competing, are you enjoying it or is it too tough to enjoy at the time?

KENNETH FERRIE: What? In general or

Q. Yeah, just in general, are you on a high, is it a buzz to be out there?

KENNETH FERRIE: Yeah, I'm sure if you ask most of the guys, that's where the excitement is. The excitement isn't making a couple of shots and finishing 14th. That's your bread and butter tournaments, that's where you're making your steady money and creeping up the Order of Merit. But the real buzz and the real excitement comes from contending and having a chance of winning a golf tournament. That's where the fun of what we do is.

It's what people have always said, if you're happy kind of finishing 30th and 40th, you're probably you might be in the wrong job. If you haven't got that desire and fire that you want to get up there and win golf tournaments and do well, there's not something wrong with you, but your goals might be slightly wrong.

BRIAN CREIGHTON: Were you at all upset with your final round at Winged Foot?

KENNETH FERRIE: I wouldn't say upset. I was a little bit disappointed. I think the one thing I'm so happy about is that so many people came up to me, and obviously since I came back, obviously I've seen all the European guys, but there are a few of the guys from America obviously over this week, and so many of the guys have come up and said well done, you played really well and you totally outplayed everybody.

And I think anybody that saw the highlights or even watched the golf, I think most people would agree that for the majority of the day, although I shot 76 and finished 6th, I think for most of the day I was, without blowing my trumpet, I was the most steady away golfer on the course. Out of all the players I hit the most fairways, the most greens.

The last day I had 37 putts. 37 putts on any golf course on any day is not good, but on a certain day of the year at the U.S. Open it's good, because you can't hit all 18 greens at the U.S. Open. I wasn't annoyed with my last round. I was a little disappointed, because I felt like I played better than my score actually showed.

It's human nature, people are going to look and say 71, 70, 71, 76, last group with Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Open, people are going to put two and two together and come up with five. And anybody that actually saw the coverage, and was actually there and saw it, I think I equipped myself very well. It just wasn't meant to be my day.

I've seen a little bit of the highlights; Geoff got a couple of breaks near the end of the round. It was his week, and he grabbed it with both hands. Fair play. On another day on a different golf course, it could have been my day. It's just one of those days.

Q. I saw the interview with you in The Independent this morning, and in it you said that Padraig Harrington said well done.

KENNETH FERRIE: It meant a lot to me. I bumped into Padraig, I think Padraig was either the group in front or two groups in front, and to be fair at the time, I mentioned about Padraig, and I didn't actually realize what he had actually done. I didn't realize he made three bogeys, not to lose, but three bogeys to finish 3rd or 4th.

It showed the class of the guy. I think realizing what he had done himself to actually have the well, whatever it was, decency, whether it just shows you the class of the guy. The guy is a true gent, and he's a really, really good guy. And it meant a lot for like I say, I've had a lot of people coming up and saying unlucky, hard lines, which is fair enough, because that's how it was kind of portrayed.

It's the whole 50/50, is the glass half full or half empty. I was leading and I finished 6th. Is that a bad thing or is 6th a good thing? Padraig took the positives out of the week. And for somebody to take the time out after he must have been so disappointed himself, to actually take the time out and come and say something to me, I held him very highly to start with, but he just I couldn't speak highly enough of the guy.

Q. Was there a sense at the U.S. Open that you performed on their ground, but they're going to have to come over here and perform on your ground?

KENNETH FERRIE: Yes and no. It's purely week to week. Obviously the top guys are the top guys and they're going to play well every week. But every major, every tournament you always get kind of the lower rank guys, the lesser ranked guys playing well. It's just one of those things.

I'd like to think we're going to come out here and as I mentioned a lot after the last round at Winged Foot, that people were saying beforehand I was going to get a hard time from the crowd and they were going to be pro Phil and anti everybody else. And the crowds were absolutely superb at Winged Foot. The New York type with their favorite on a Sunday, I was half fearing the worst, and by far it was the best crowd I've ever played in front of. They were appreciative of every shot I hit. When things weren't going my way, and I was getting frustrated and down, they were cheering me on. And the split was kind of the split to me was kind of a 60/40 to Phil. I was kind of expecting like a 90/10 split. So I was pretty pleased.

Coming back to England and playing, I suppose this is probably as local as I get now, it's two and a half hours from my castle, so I'm hoping that if I'm with Phil on Sunday in the last group, I hope it will a 60/40 split toward me. I can hope anyway.

Q. It's going to be hard for the Americans to perform under those conditions?

KENNETH FERRIE: I haven't been out there yet, but I've talked to a few guys that played this morning. And from what I've heard, it's as pure links as you get. It's faster running, dropping the ball 20, 30 feet short of the greens and running it up. It will be imagination. And I imagine the last St. Andrews is obviously St. Andrews, but this looks to be as links as I've I've played St. Georges, Troon and St. Andrews, and this looks

Q. St. Georges is about the worst?

KENNETH FERRIE: Pretty much. I always find St. Georges such a lottery at times. You can hit very good shots and get punished. We played the English Amateur in '98, and I got through the semifinals. I've got fond memories of the place. And I haven't heard anybody else say how fair links it is. It is a fair links course.

I think it looks like a good test of that. I think it's going to set up well for the Europeans and especially the homegrown players, as well, which would be great.

Q. You've got your belt on. Will you be wearing it all week?

KENNETH FERRIE: It will be on all week. It's my trademark now. I think if I got rid of it, I'd get booed by the crowds.

Q. It's a diamond one, isn't it?


Q. Has it become your lucky charm?

KENNETH FERRIE: I started wearing it last year. A couple of the guys on Tour, as people have been doing the last year, getting into the fashion and getting into that sort of thing, it was just something a few of us did. And I got it and wore it for a little bit. And I think it was two or three weeks later I wore it at the K Club.

So you know how us golfers are, we kind of grab onto superstitious charms. It's a belt buckle, but I've played well wearing it, so why not? It's one of like I say, it's a stupid little superstition we grab onto, but why not. I know I'll play badly one day and throw it away.

Q. What do you do away from the course? Do you get any opportunities to relax away from the game of golf?

KENNETH FERRIE: Yeah, obviously I haven't since the U.S. Open; I've played every week. This is my sixth week in a row. I'll play next week in Germany, and that's seven weeks in a row. I've been pretty busy. The events are worth so much money, and they're big tournaments, the qualifying ones, like the big money points to get you into the Ryder Cup, so it's hard to have weeks off.

I'm not a huge practicer. I'm not a huge practicer at tournaments, I'm not a huge practicer away from golf, either. I like to do the normal things, catch up with friends, spend time with family and just do kind of the usual things.

Q. Are you the first big man golfer?

KENNETH FERRIE: Yeah, I'm the first and well I'd like to say the last. But it's one of those Ashington is I've done a few interviews about this, and it is such a strange thing, nobody can understand why. Around the area there's so many little towns exactly the same as Ashington. But they produced two World Cup football players, Jackie Millburn, Steve Harmison, in the cricket setup now, huge influence in Ashington last year. And then me from the golf. That's five not just good sports, but it's five getting on for internationally renowned sportsmen. It's a strange thing. We get brought up with the Charltons. Jackie Millburn and the two Charlton brothers. I've kind of taken it away from football and cricket to golf.

I get a lot of local supporters, a lot of people there last week, at Loch Lomond. I used to get great support playing close to home, I was kind of a known name. It's a shame we don't play that tournament. And it was a shame with the Seve Trophy, that I just missed out on that. Like I say, Phil playing with his New York fans at the U.S. Open, I would love to have that same opportunity to play a major European event or whatever event in the castle or nearby, so I can have my fan support.

BRIAN CREIGHTON: What's the population of Ashington?

KENNETH FERRIE: I have no idea.

Q. 20,000 if you're lucky.


Q. Are you left alone when you walk down the streets?


Q. Nobody approaches anybody in the streets there.

KENNETH FERRIE: Not when you look like me. Yeah, it's nice. I'm starting to get noticed a little bit more, and obviously for a young guy who's just starting out it's brilliant. It's nice when you do get noticed in the street and people want to stop you in the street and say well done, can I have an autograph. It means you're doing something right.

Like coming here and doing this thing with you guys, for me as a new guy on Tour or new guy in the limelight, to have to come in here means I'm doing something good. And it's kind of I'm sure you ask, is it 15 or 20 years' time, somebody write it down and ask me this question in 15 years' time, I'll say I wish you would leave us alone. But for starting out, it's great for people to want to know what I'm doing and they want to know what I think. And to be wanting to write about it it's great, it means I'm doing something right.

Q. Your time at college in the States, how daunting was that, to go from Ashington to the States?

KENNETH FERRIE: I wouldn't say daunting; it was another good, a good chapter. It was a chapter I really looked forward to at my life. At the time I'd lived at home with my parents up to then. It was something I needed to do for myself to grow up and to get out and to have to look after myself. I was away from home for a couple of years, and it made us grow up a lot. And I think it was a great experience and very valuable experience.

And I've been away from home for that long with what we do now. I think in the last six weeks I've been home for about three days. So it's good at a young age to get out and experience the traveling side of it and look after yourself. It makes turning pro and coming on Tour not as daunting as somebody who had never done it before.

Q. What football team do you support? I know the answer.

KENNETH FERRIE: Anybody else? What was that? Manchester United.

Q. You didn't explain that in the interview.

KENNETH FERRIE: I can't tell you for sure why or how or what or when. But when I was at first school, the first school I went to, Sissy Charlton, Jackie and Bobby's mother, lives or used to live 500 yards from where my parents still live. And Sissy used to take she used to do football. And the only reason I can give you and at the time Bobby Charlton was the big name, Manchester United, and heavily involved there. And that's the only reason I can give you.

End of FastScripts.

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