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June 22, 2006

Jeff Gove


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Jeff Gove for coming in after a career best 8 under 63 in the first round of the Booz Allen Classic. Congratulations on that. Just one bogey and nine birdies today.

JEFF GOVE: Thanks.

TODD BUDNICK: What went well for you today?

JEFF GOVE: A couple things. I had a week off last week and I needed it. I had been playing decent but missing cuts last month so it's been frustrating. So I went home and got revived. You know, you go home and your friends tell you how good you've played, and, okay, you pat yourself on the back. So I came out with a better attitude probably.

But, you know, found a little swing thing last week for some more stability and that helped. Putted better today. But overall, I mean, I hit almost every fairway; I hit almost every green. Only green I missed, I hit it over the green on 10 right over the pin. So my ball striking was definitely on today.

TODD BUDNICK: You had a good period there, end of February to middle of April and then you've struggled since, or what was the difference between those two streaks, five cuts made, five cuts missed?

JEFF GOVE: A little bit of the putter, a little bit of the swing, missing a few shots here and there. But overall, normally I have a pretty good attitude. So I felt like I was close, so it doesn't surprise me that I played well today. I knew I was going to in the next month; I didn't know it would be today. So I'm very excited.

Q. What did you think about the condition of the course? It seemed like it set up pretty well for you today. What were the things that you used to your advantage?

JEFF GOVE: Starting the week, I kept telling the superintendent how great it was and he was pretty humble: "Yeah, it's pretty good." These are the best greens personally I think I've played almost all year as far as the speed and the conditions and everything. They are getting firm now so if it doesn't rain, they are going to be pretty tough.

I played well here in 2000 and that was one of my best finishes that year. So I have good memories and it's kind of similar to some of the golf I grew up on, the grass, being from the northwest, being back in the north and the grass that I like. And you know, I think that the course sets up well for me, because you have to work your ball on every hole, so I don't fall asleep. I get up on the tee and I see the shot.

So I'm going to continue to hopefully do that the next three days.

Q. At the Honda, you were at 68 71 69, where were you going into the final round, were you leading after nine?

JEFF GOVE: On Sunday. I was a shot or two back going into the final day, and that was the best I had done on this tour. I've had success on the Nationwide, but I haven't stepped up to this level. But at the Honda, I was ready for it, mentally, everything and played well.

So you know, I'm looking forward to the challenge next three days and continue to work on my little swing key and keep the feel of the greens. And if I can keep getting the ball close, you know, I'll have enough close birdies chances to make them.

But today, my caddie and I had a good strategy and I was able to putt the ball a little below the hole a lot of the times, so I had a straight putt. I wasn't put in a bad spot. That makes a big difference.

Q. Without getting too technical, what was the swing key?

JEFF GOVE: Just learning what my hip does. For years, I've tried to restrict my hip, and a coach and people don't know what you're doing. Actually, hockey player back home who is getting into golf kind of said, well, this is kind of what I see. And I said, okay, I tried it and talked to my coach about it and he said that's perfect. It's amazing how when somebody tells you something in a different way, it clicks.

Q. Who is the hockey player?

JEFF GOVE: Adam Oates.

Q. And where was this?

JEFF GOVE: He lives out in La Quinta, California.

Q. What did he tell you about the hip?

JEFF GOVE: Just biomechanic stuff and how it works and whatnot and just kind of clicked, just kind of understood it. He's always been into fitness and that's why he's had such a long career. I tried to pick his brain, work out with him a little bit, try to get the most out of what I do. He's working on a golf game, too, so he's real observant.

TODD BUDNICK: Anything similar with the hockey swing or no?

JEFF GOVE: No, just golf stuff that he learned from Mike Wilson, who he worked with. It's just interesting how he said something and how I went to my coach and told him. "Yeah, that's what I've been telling you." It's just amazing how it all worked out.

Q. Any chance trying to learn hockey?

JEFF GOVE: No, don't worry.

Q. When you see a field like this that might not have some of the names that might intimidate guys a little bit that haven't had a ton of success, do you come in thinking, okay, this is my chance, it's an opportunity to get a high finish and make a little noise that you wouldn't at, say, the Memorial, or an event that you know that the Tigers and Ernies are going to be right at the top of lurking?

JEFF GOVE: Yeah, there's definitely a progression and your comfort level changes, and you get more comfortable as you go.

Yeah, this is a pretty good field still. It's still the best players in the world and anybody who is playing well is going to be hard to beat.

But this year, I've been paired with Ernie Els on Saturday and I played with some high name guys under a lot of pressure. It's just a growing process. One of the reporters told me, this was Fred Couples' first win. So those kind of thoughts kind of inspire you and think, well, maybe this is one of those weeks. Who knows, there's a long way to go.

But I enter every tournament trying to put myself into position to win and that's what I did on the Nationwide and knocked a few out. The more times you put yourself there, you know, one of the doors will open.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's get your birdies, Jeff, starting with No. 2 the par 5.

JEFF GOVE: The par 5, yeah, I hit it right on the front edge and hit a chip about a foot. So that was a nice start.

4, hit it about 15 feet right behind the hole. Hit a 3 wood and an 8 iron and played real nice there.

5, I hit a 3 wood in the middle of the fairway and a sand wedge to about four feet.

6, the par 5, I hit a good drive and a 3 iron to the middle of the green and 2 putted. Almost made eagle, really close. The putt was about 40 feet, but it just barely missed. Haven't had an eagle in a while.

No. 8, hit a great drive and a pitching wedge about six feet.

Then on 9, I hit an 8 iron about three feet right down the hole.

So all of a sudden, I even looked at my caddie, and I played pretty similar to this the last few weeks, but I finally shot under par, like quite a ways. So it was nice.

10, the only bogey, I hit a perfect 3 wood and had a little pitching wedge and I just hit it about four yards too far over the green. Wasn't very aggressive with a chip and knocked it by about 20 feet. I could have tried to get cute with it. But I knew I was playing well, and almost made the putt.

14, I hit driver and tried to drive the green and I hit it pin high to the left, but short sided and hit a great little flop shot to about seven feet.

15, really good drive and a wedge to about six feet.

16, I hit a long drive and only had I had 90 yards, knocked it down the hill and hit a lob wedge to about seven, eight feet. So just kept the ball a little closer today. I hit a couple that went pretty far.

Q. 15, 16, people don't usually hit wedges.

JEFF GOVE: Well, I'm not restricting myself anymore and I'm hitting better shots. 16 surprised me, it really ran. So that was fun.

Q. How long was the putt at 18?

JEFF GOVE: Probably 20, 22 feet is my guess.

Q. And 17?

JEFF GOVE: 17 was a long putt, maybe 40 feet.

Q. 45

JEFF GOVE: Okay, 45.

Q. ShotLink.

JEFF GOVE: Okay. (Laughter.) I wasn't lagging for par, trying to make it, shoot a good round. I was trying to make the putt. I didn't even hesitate hitting driver off the tee. I've been driving it good and just stayed with my game plan. But the 18th green was starting to firm up there. That wedge hit and released a little more than I thought it would. You could see the kind of blue spots that happen. So if we don't get any rain, it's going to be a lot different. It won't be as easy scoring as it was today.

Q. Given that, and how well you played today, are you excited you get to go right back out early in the morning when things are going to be a little easier?

JEFF GOVE: Yeah, definitely, and I've got some momentum from tonight, too. So I may go hit a few putts just to kind of confirm when I was working on and I'm just going to go rest. It was a long day, tiring, in the heat. We were out there 5 1/2 plus hours. It was a long day. And it was hot. So it definitely takes a toll.

TODD BUDNICK: Thanks, Jeff.

JEFF GOVE: No problem. Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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