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June 17, 2006

Kenneth Ferrie


RAND JERRIS: We now welcome Kenneth Ferrie to the interview area, Kenneth with a round of 1 over par 71 this afternoon, total of 212, plus 2 for the Championship. Kenneth, you're tied for the lead in the U.S. Open after three rounds. Can you tell us about how that feels?

KENNETH FERRIE: It feels really good. I just heard Phil saying there that it's kind of the biggest test there is in golf of every part of your game, and so far I've well, I wouldn't say passed yet, but I'm kind of well on my way to getting a decent grade.

RAND JERRIS: Could you walk us through the birdies and bogeys on your card?

KENNETH FERRIE: Birdie at the 3rd was 3 iron to about eight foot, holed that.

4th, made bogey, pulled my tee shot ever so slightly, just a couple of yards into the thick stuff, had to lay up basically, didn't get up and down.

Driver, 4 iron at the 5th to six, eight inches. It was a kick in.

Bogeyed 9, missed the fairway again, had to just hack it down there and ended up making quite a good 5. Made a mess of my pitch into the green.

Bogeyed 13, left 4 iron hanging out right into the wind and just into the bunker, splashed out about eight foot, hit a good putt that just bounced and bobbled a little bit.

Bogeyed the last, good drive into the fairway, then had an in between yardage to that front flag. Obviously not going to be short, so I hit it a hair long and three putted. If anybody saw that flag today, I'm kind of thinking anybody long on that flag is going to do well with two, but kind of one of those things.

Q. How difficult was that pin on 18? Is that one of the toughest you guys have seen this week? And there was a lot that happened, bogeys, doubles, even triples out there. Is 5 almost a good score?

KENNETH FERRIE: I wouldn't say it's a good score, but it's by no means a bad score. Where that flag is, unless you're in Geoff Ogilvy hit a good shot in there well, it didn't look great, but he hit it about 20 foot right of the flag and he left himself a straightforward putt. I hit a little 9 iron, just pulled it a hair and it went a bit long. 5 is not a horrendous score on that hole. I can imagine there was a lot worse than that during the day.

Q. You've never slept on the lead after 54 holes in a major. I mean, your playing partner tomorrow has. How will you keep your food down and your feelings in check tonight?

KENNETH FERRIE: Has Phil had a major before, has he? Really (laughter)? I'm going to do what I'm going to do. I'm going to try and play the way I have the last few days. Obviously Phil is going to be the huge favorite. Nobody is really going to give me a chance of winning this tournament with Phil moving his way up through the field.

If I can go out there and do what I've done for the last few days and get a few breaks to go my way, there's no reason I can't be up there. I'm just going to go out there and try and do my best. We're only three rounds through a tournament so far. There's still a long, long way to go.

Q. What's the significance of the Superman belt buckle?

KENNETH FERRIE: Nothing in particular. Don't tell Phil that. I don't carry Kryptonite around.

Q. A lot has been made about Phil's multiple trips here to prepare. Can you talk about how you prepared, how many gurus you had with you and all the mapping out and strategy that you put together?

KENNETH FERRIE: Obviously I'm in a slightly different boat to Phil. I've been playing pretty much nonstop in Europe the last couple of months. My extensive plan started on Monday and I had my trusty caddie with me. That was about it.

Obviously Phil I've heard a few things during the week from players that have played with Phil, and he's been hitting drivers off certain tees that other players wouldn't even consider. He looks like he's got the course mapped out pretty good in his own brain.

It sets up only one way for me; driver off nearly every tee. And obviously the major key to the greens is keeping it underneath all the flags, so that's kind of my game plan.

Q. Over here we're not as familiar with you because you play the European Tour. Given the Europeans in the field, folks back home who do follow the European Tour, what are they thinking looking at you at the lead as opposed to some of the other more familiar Europeans?

KENNETH FERRIE: I'm sure a lot of you guys are very surprised and I'm sure there's a lot of people in Europe that are very surprised, as well. I'm a capable player; I've won twice in Europe. Like I say, I'm not coming here as a local guy in England who happened to get lucky and qualify. I qualified on merit, finishing 11th in the European Order of Merit last year, which when you look at the guys ahead of me, there are some pretty decent players in front of me and a lot of decent players behind. A lot of people are shocked, but everybody has to start somewhere.

I was asked yesterday if it was a big surprise that I was up there. Yeah, maybe it is, but at the end of the day, Tiger and Phil and Jim and all the great Vijay, all the great players had to have a first tournament to do well in. They didn't come out and they weren't given ten majors before the start. Everybody has to start somewhere, and hopefully this is my start and I'm off to bigger and better things in the future.

Q. You joked yesterday that you can have a bit of a temper on the golf course. Can you give us a classic blowup for Kenneth on the golf course?

KENNETH FERRIE: You wouldn't believe it if I told you.

Q. Try us.

KENNETH FERRIE: It's one of those things; I wear my heart on my sleeve and that's how I play golf. That's just it. I'm sure you've got guys in America who are no different to me whatsoever. Most people have a temper, just some people choose to show it and other people don't, and I do, unfortunately.

Q. It's been a long time since a European won a U.S. Open. Why are so many of you having so much success this week?

KENNETH FERRIE: The million dollar question, I guess. I think if you look at the World Rankings and you look at world golf in general, I think over the last few years, the European players, Padraig, maybe not so much now, but Colin, your up and coming Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Nick Dougherty, you've got some great, great players coming up; David Howell is ranked ninth in the world. A few years ago maybe it was a surprise to see a European up there, but more and more people are playing in the events, which is a big thing. If you have a half and half field, we have half and half a chance obviously, other than Tiger and Phil, of course. We're actually getting better players, as well.

Q. You talked about your emotions. You had that incident a few months ago over in Europe where you had some choice words about Paul McGinley after the round that you maybe regretted. I'm just wondering what you learned from that. And in terms of your emotions and your temper, is that something that over the years you've tried to keep in check, or do you feel like that's something you feed off of and that's why you play well?

KENNETH FERRIE: That's part of me, and with hindsight maybe if I wasn't that way I might be a better player, and if I wasn't that way I might be a worse player. I am how I am, and that's how I am. I keep it in check 90 percent of the time. I'm not perfect; nobody is. It's one of those things.

Q. I just wanted to know, the irons you're using I understand are the Taylor Made irons that are the game improvement irons?


Q. And they're billed as being clubs that are not for the better player. Is that true?

KENNETH FERRIE: I guess so, yeah.

Q. Why did you pick those versus a forged iron or something like that?

KENNETH FERRIE: Again, I find the game quite hard to start with (laughter). I think most people do. If I'm going to be standing there with 230 over the water on the 18th hole to win a golf tournament, I want the biggest head possible (laughter). No other reason.

Kind of one of those things, when I turned pro I was with Callaway, and Callaway made cavity clubs. I've always been that way, and that's the way I am. You can turn things around and say the R5 driver I use is a game improvement driver, but I'm pretty happy with that, too.

Q. Obviously a lot of people talk about Phil spending all that prep time out here working on this and that, and you pretty much flew over on Monday and had to hit the ground running. Your first U.S. Open, he's played in dozens of these things. I'm wondering whether being a babe in the woods might be an advantage, no scar tissue, no real expectation?

KENNETH FERRIE: I was interviewed starting the week by the media from home and they asked me about any expectations for the week, and I had none. I had no experiences to draw on from a U.S. Open, and I've sat and watched it on TV for years and years, seen all the hardness, I suppose, and the troubles that these courses can cause. I had nothing to gauge that off of. I chose not to try and qualify last year at Pinehurst because I thought my game wasn't in good enough shape at the time.

Coming into this year, although I'm sure you guys have looked, my results haven't been brilliant, but it's not always the results that are a true reflection of how you're playing. My game has been pretty good for a while, and coming in here, I had no real major goals other than to come here and try and play well and enjoy myself and to try and learn a lot and take a lot from the week.

Q. Will it possibly help your temper can't possibly come into play tomorrow; you're not going to snap six clubs in the last round of a U.S. Open, so you already know you'll be under control because you almost have to be?

KENNETH FERRIE: You say that (laughter).

Q. I may not know you well enough.

KENNETH FERRIE: You obviously don't (laughter). Like I said, it's just one of those things. I'm sure I'm no different to somebody like Woody Austin. People have tempers, that's just human. Wouldn't this be a really boring place to be, really boring for you guys if everybody acted exactly the same and everybody read off cue cards every week?

I said in my last interview outside, I think that a lot of people can associate with me because I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I'm playing well, you can see it, and if I'm struggling you can see it, as well. I think people can associate with that.

It would be a great attitude to have, I've just made two double bogeys, and that isn't that bad. Some people can do that; that's not me.

Q. You obviously heard Phil answer this, and I'll ask you the same thing. Are you enjoying this? And what's fun about this?

KENNETH FERRIE: No. Nothing. (Laughter)

No, for me this is my first test of this, so for me it's all a new experience. I think any time you play a golf course of this caliber and this setup, you get tested every part of your game gets tested. If you drive the ball well, you're halfway there. If you hit your irons well, you're a third of the way there. It tests every part of your game, and I think that's kind of the I don't know if pleasure is the right word, but if you do well and you play well this week, you have so much satisfaction, you go away and you must be a decent player. Your game coming into this event must be in good shape or something has happened during the week. If you're kind of free wheeling around, you'll get found out soon on a golf course like this.

Q. What did you take away from two years in Texas?

KENNETH FERRIE: It was a great growing experience for me. When I left to go to college I was still living at home with my parents, and two years away living by myself, having to look after myself. If something went wrong, I had to make kind of make the solution for myself, and I grew up a lot. I really enjoyed my time at Midland, I made some great friends. It made me a lot better golfer, as well.

Q. When is the last time you've thrown a club or broken a club?

KENNETH FERRIE: Guys, I'm tied for the lead in the U.S. Open. I'll answer the odd question along those lines, but what the relevance of me being in the last round of a major, leading with Phil, that has no relevance about anything. Your colleague asked before what I learned from the experience with Paul a few weeks ago, and the thing I learned is that, in the nicest possible respect, you guys can make a story out of nothing. Like I said, how I used to be on the golf course has no bearing on what I'm doing this week.

Q. I just wanted to get the length of the putts on 18.

KENNETH FERRIE: First one was probably about 30 foot probably. Ten yards, so 30 foot. Second one would have been about five foot, six foot.

RAND JERRIS: Kenneth, thanks for your time. We wish you lots of luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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