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October 4, 2007

Robert Gamez


JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Thank you, Robert, for joining us for a few minutes here in the Media Center at the Valero Texas Open.
Nice solid round, 5 birdies, no bogies and you've been in this position after the first round a couple of times here.
JOAN vt ALEXANDER: 2002, 2005 and maybe 2007.
ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, you never know. You know, I played well today. I missed a couple, left a few shots out there. Started well, I birdied the first hole, hit a good shot in there about four, five feet, made that.
Then I hit it about 2, 2 1/2 feet on No. 3 and missed it. So, I was a little disappointed about that upon.
Kind of probably let it get to me off the tee on 4. I kind of hit a bad tee shot left and had to lay it up and got up and down for a par there which was good. It kept my round kind of going. Almost chipped in.
So, that kind of gives you a little pump up right there, you know, especially after missing a short one for birdie to make a par like that.
Then I hit it close on 6 again to about 5 feet, 5 1/2, six feet, something like that and missed it. I was a little not quite sure of myself and birdied the 7th and kind of got back on track.
Made some good pars and got going again. Birdied 11. Where else I did birdie?
JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Birdied 14.
ROBERT GAMEZ: I made a good up and down on 14. I still had about 10, 12 feet for the next par. That's another one.
There are certain shots and holes around a golf course that keeps a round going and the one on 4 was good for me and 1 there was good for me after I was able to par after that a poor tee shot. Hit a bad tee shot on 14. Laid it up, hit a wedge in there, 10, 12 feet, made that.
I birdied 16. Hit a wedge, little sand wedge in there in there about 10, 12 feet from the hole and made that. I played well with the exception of a couple shots and a couple putts but, overall, my score was good, my whole golf game was good.
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JOAN vt ALEXANDER: 7:57 tee time. I was out there this morning. Does it make a difference?
ROBERT GAMEZ: It was nice. The first couple holes the ball won't travel. It warmed up pretty quickly. The first hole -- it was kind of a little cool on the range, the sun comes out and starts heating up. I love it.
JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Questions, please.

Q. Is it out here is it the course or the friendly faces that means -- or that helps you?
ROBERT GAMEZ: It's everything. I love the golf course. You know, I don't like walking it so much but I love playing it. I think it's -- I know it's wide open and you know the greens are big but you have to hit good golf shots. You can't go around and bomb it everywhere, just hit greens because these greens are tricky.
You get in the wrong place and you can get downgrain, crossgrain, downhill, sometimes even uphill but downgrain. Just kind of have to know where you're going.
In order to do that, you have to be in the fairway and I think that's why I love the golf course so much and they've narrowed up some of the fairways out there and, you know, it's great.
I'm just a little disappointed the golf course is so soft, you know, with all the rain you guys have had here, they couldn't firm it up anymore.
If there's wind, looks like it's going to pick up this afternoon and if it can dry things out a little bit it will be a lot more fun the rest of the week.

Q. Robert, was there any indication that you would have a good round coming into this week? Have you started playing better lately to get to where you want to be?
ROBERT GAMEZ: I've been playing well all year. I haven't been scoring well. I've been struggling with my short game most of the year, mainly my chipping, not quite getting up and down enough from easy chips where most guys are chipping in and knocking it a foot, tapping in, I'm struggling, I was struggling getting the ball on the green.
In my break, my forced break that I had for a month I went out and saw Stan Utley and worked on my short game. My chipping is a lot better. We worked a little bit on putting. That's coming around.
I had two good putting rounds up in Syracuse and last week was just a little disappointing because, you know, the golf course was so wet and we were playing the ball down and we had mud on my ball almost every hole.
When you have that much mud on your ball it's hard to control where it's going. I hit a lot of good shots, made a lot of good swings and hit a lot of shots that started out well. The ball would go all over the place.
It's hard to control it and, you know, missed the cut but, you know, I really wasn't worried about my game coming in here because I did that two years ago, missed the cut at the 84 Lumber and, you know, came in here feeling pretty good.

Q. No. 7, you talk about your iron play. No. 7 today, great shot in on that hole, tough angle as well.
Is it just a familiarity, do you know where to aim on this course? Is there something that --
ROBERT GAMEZ: I think it is. It's like the first hole. Playing with Nick Watney and -- who else was I playing with? J.J Henry. Couldn't remember.
So get up on the first hole and the pin is kind of tucked on the right there and, you know, I hit a shot up the left side as far up there as I could get it, had about 80 yards and they both laid up a little further back but to the right.
I was maybe just in the first cut of the rough but I had a better angle. I think that's kind of what you have to do around here.
Just because it's wide open and you can kind of hit it anywhere, you have to think and you have to know where to hit the ball and where to miss it and I missed the ball in couple wrong spots today and luckily I was able to get up and down when I did.
You know, I missed a couple putts where I couldn't be real aggressive and, you know -- but that happens out here.
You can get the ball in the position sometimes on these greens where you're defensive and I was a couple times. I didn't have any 3-putts but I couldn't have the aggressive stroke that I really wanted and missing a couple short ones early didn't help that.
But once I got in the groove a little bit, made a couple good putts, I freed up and was able to putt a little bit better and I did keep the ball in the proper spot on these greens, on the back-9 there.

Q. After winning here in '05, you weren't really able to carry it through in '06. Was there an injury? I can't remember.
ROBERT GAMEZ: No. I was trying a little bit too hard, I think. I had such a good end of the year and, you know, I got off a little bit -- my putting kind of left me last year a little bit.
You know, I got out to Kapalua with the whipped blowing so hard over there, I hadn't been there in a few years and playing the Mercedes and get out there, I hit the ball great, I couldn't get it in the hole.
I struggled with that most of the year last year and, you know, at the end last year I went to see Mike Shannon and he -- I was missing all my putts to the right and we looked at it and I was just lining everything up right. I thought I was square and I was lining everything up to the right.
You know, actually felt like I putted better this year, my stats aren't great, but they're not bad. I haven't been able to chip it and that's why I went to see Stan.

Q. What did you do on your forced break? Did you visit with Stan?
ROBERT GAMEZ: I played a bunch of Pro-Ams. I went up to Boston and played the two Pro-Ams there. It's weird. I didn't have much time. I had four weeks off and couldn't find anytime to do anything.
I went and played the Pro-Am in Chicago for the BMW and then I flew out to see Stan that week and when I got to Phoenix I said that morning I said, "Stan, just teach me like a beginner, like I've never chipped before."
I've been working so hard on it because I knew it was something that was hurting me. I've been working with a bunch of different people and everybody is telling me something a little bit different so I had all these thoughts going through my head. I said, "Just teach me like I've never chipped before." I started from scratch.
It's kind of easy for me because my tendency was -- his theory is to bring it back inside and kind of trap it a little bit and get the ball releasing out.
My tendency is to bring it back inside with a chip-in but I was always try to get it more outside. It was easy for me to pick up.
I'm still -- you know, I'm a lot better than I was and I feel more comfortable with it. I actually had a chip on 17 today I thought I was going to make. I just haven't had that, which is nice.
It's a nice feeling to have a certain shot you know you're going -- you have that feeling you're going to make it.

Q. How long did it take you working with him?
ROBERT GAMEZ: We worked for three days -- three hours and then I've just been working on it since. For me it's easy.
It's an easy theory that he teaches and what we worked on, it's easy for me to do so I really haven't had to work that hard. It's more just getting a feel for it each week, getting the different grasses you're playing on and the different greens and trying to just get a feel for speed once the ball lands on the green to see what it's going to do. Other than that, the technique has been pretty easy for me to pick up.

Q. You beat Vijay last week, holing everything.
ROBERT GAMEZ: That's it. These guys, the top players, that's what they do. Tiger has got one of the best short games in golf and, you know, he doesn't hit the ball as well as some of the guys out here but he's never out of a hole.
That's what -- you know, he'll make more birdies chipping in and he'll make birdies hitting it up around the green on a par 5 that where I was struggling with. I get it a around the green on a par 5 and walk off with 5 and sometimes 6.
That's the difference in the game, and I knew I had to work on it and you know, it's better.

Q. You talk about the course not being quite as firm as you like it. Now, it's been a little hot the last few days, the wind is going to blow.
Is that encouraging to you?
ROBERT GAMEZ: It is. Hopefully they don't water these greens at all, they keep them -- they dry out. They're still a little bit soft and the fairways are starting to firm up some. The ball is rolling a little better.
What's nice when this golf course gets firm, the way the fairways slope, you have to think off the tee because the ball can roll into the rough and with firm greens you can't stop it close to the hole.
That's where this golf course gets fun and actually every golf course on Tour would play better that way. It seems like, you know, the Tour wants golf course golfs to play long and let the long ball hitters be able to bomb it anywhere with soft greens and make birdie from out of the rough but golf courses playing a lot better on Tour and, you know, if they were firm.

Q. Does it bother you the fact -- the TPC that's opening up, probably has TPC is usually kind of fits the other dynamic.
ROBERT GAMEZ: If it plays firm, though, the shorter hitters have a chance. We keep the ball in the fairway a little more often, you know. You just look at it. I'm in the Top-30 in driving accuracy I think this year and that's -- normally that's a good thing, you know, or at least it was when I first started on the Tour but, you know, lately it's just hit it as far as you can and we play with a lot less rough than we used to. Greens are a lot softer than they used to be.

Q. Are you planning to play out with your number where it is right now? Obviously if you win this week a lot of things change. What's your schedule look like?
ROBERT GAMEZ: I'm signed up for everything so, you know, we'll see what happens. This is the first round and I feel pretty good about my game and, you know, I've just got to get in position.
I had to fill out my Q-School application the other day. This is no big deal. If I have to go, I have to go. I'm going to give it my best shot. I'm playing well enough to do what I have to do and I love this place.
Next week -- I've had some good weeks in the past and you know, it's Grey Hawk, a new golf course for everybody, new tournament. Nice purse there. Get going. Port St. Lucie, is a new event. Disney, I've had some good weeks there, too.
I finished 3rd there one year when I had to play well to get my card. So, you know, I don't like being in this position but I've been here and gotten through it many times.

Q. I was about to ask, besides your initial trip to Q-School, have you been back since?
ROBERT GAMEZ: After I lost my card in '98 because my card -- I've had to go back a few years and '01 was the last time I've been back because '02 I got my card back through playing well. I was able to play well again.

Q. Maybe if you look back on those, the forced vacation might have been the best thing for you.
ROBERT GAMEZ: It was. I was disappointed I didn't get in the first events. I have a lot of thoughts about that, too.
But, yeah, I was disappointed I didn't get in but it helped me to -- I did have some time off. It just didn't seem like I got anything done in that except the stuff I had to do like work with Stan.
The first couple weeks I tried to figure out what was going on with my game and I look back at my stats and rounds this year and to figure out what my problem was and I called Stan up because that was the problem.

Q. Just kind of trying to be half full kind of look?
ROBERT GAMEZ: I thought about that, too. Right. I had a month off but I did get some stuff done that I had to for this run at the end.
JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Thank you Robert.
ROBERT GAMEZ: Thank you.

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