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July 3, 2008

Ross Fisher


SCOTT CROCKETT: Many thanks, as always, for coming in to join us, and many congratulations on a truly spectacular round of golf. A lot of people have expressed doubt it was possible but you showed it is. What was the key today?
ROSS FISHER: I think to be honest I think I drove the ball really nicely today. Thought I was going to find it a lot trickier than I did today because it was the first time I had seen the golf course and decided not to come up Tuesday for a practise round because I was still feeling a bit tired from obviously the busy run before qualifying for the U.S. Open. Obviously did that, and Germany, Paris and Sunningdale on Monday.
So took Tuesday off and was going to come Wednesday morning for the shotgun practise but I just felt too tired. So I thought, I'll just go up late, do a bit of practise, the books are good enough, Adam is going to walk the course. He walked it and didn't feel great, and so he walked it again Wednesday and told me basically where to hit it, where the run-outs where and basically gave me pretty much spot-on clubs.
Yeah, it was a little bit surreal. Obviously got off to a very good start, birdieing the first two, and then really the fourth hole, my 13th, just missed the green and had a really bad chip and holed a 20-, 25-footer for a four and the other boys missed closer and that sort of kept me going.
And the front nine, seeing the hole as big as a bucket.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Your first actual look at the golf course; can you remember the run of birdies to finish with?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I'm just trying to remember. I think 4 is the -- well it seemed quite short. I hit's very good drive there and hit a pitch with a sand wedge from maybe 85 yards and holed about an 8-footer for a birdie there.
The par 5, hit a pretty good drive in the left semi and tried to cut a 4-iron in just to the middle of the green, probably about 30, 35 feet and putted up to three feet and made that.
Then 6, I hit a really good drive there and hit it about 350 down there, just had a flick with a lob-wedge, just came up a little bit short. Fortunately I saw Cambo's chip run down the green and holed probably about a 20-footer.
Then the par 3 was a bonus. Was first on the tee. Wasn't sure whether it was a 6 or a 7, and decided to hit a 6 and pitched just over the green and went over the trap and fancied it. Have been doing a lot of work with Mark Roe, saw him yesterday, did a bit more and feel like it's been coming on nicely. Just stepped in there and I really fancied it; this is one I was practising and it just came out perfect. And as soon as it came out, it was tracking, tracking to the hole, so it was a massive bonus obviously.
The par 5, hit a really good drive down there. I think I had about 218 to the flag. It was straight downwind and played downhill, and was in between 7 and 8. Just wanted to pitch it short of the green and I was thinking 7, and I just think 7 is going to pitch on against the back and I think 8-iron even if it pitches 20 yards short is going to get on. And unfortunately 8-iron pitched in the fringe just short, about 18, 20 feet and slightly misread and holed a 3-footer for a birdie.
The last, quite a relief. Not having played the course, wasn't sure where I was going, if I hit it left of where I was trying to hit it, and was saying to Adam, "I think it's probably just over the trap in the rough. I don't think it's in the thick stuff."
Just walking up there, having a chat with Ben and Adam and get to the top of the hill, miles down there and he's like, "That's not your ball, is it?"
And I was just like, "No, please tell me that's not my ball." And sort of got closer and realised it was, and thought, geez, yeah, almost thought, I hope I didn't get close to the guys in front as they were walking to the green.
I think the hole is 448 and I had 20 yards plus 15 to the flag, so it was quite long. (Laughter) Yeah, I think the hole is either 428 or 448, something like that. It was quite long. And obviously hit a really good pitch to three or four feet, so signed off with a birdie for 63, very pleasing.
SCOTT CROCKETT: The gentleman on the tee said, "It's sick when somebody it's it that far." Do you agree with that?
ROSS FISHER: Probably.

Q. Since you've been on Tour, is this the first time you've ever played the course blind in the first round?
ROSS FISHER: I actually played HSBC without playing, because played Valderrama and then decided not to fly straight on. I flew on and then flew through Dubai to get there, so I didn't get there until Tuesday. Didn't get a chance to play it.
But I walked the front nine. Adam actually walked 18 like two days and I just hit balls and practised. Obviously it seemed to work that week, so I thought, why not, we'll give it a try and see how we go.

Q. What did you shoot in that first round?
ROSS FISHER: 68; I had three 68s in a row.

Q. Is that the longest drive you think you've ever hit?
ROSS FISHER: Probably up there. Probably as a pro on The European Tour, got to be one of the biggest I've hit, yeah. Shame it wasn't measured.

Q. Was the wind assisting?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think it was helping off the right. So you can probably take a little bit off that. But yeah, still quite big.

Q. What's your caddies's name?
ROSS FISHER: Adam Marrow.

Q. Have you ever had a run like that before, the seven birdies?
ROSS FISHER: No, I don't think I have. No, I'm not sure what my best is, probably three, maybe four. I've had six in a row. It's nice to get six in a row. But to sign off, being sort of 3-under par making the turn, playing nicely, thinking you might pick up a couple, maybe, five, six; but I haven't seen the course later and see what happens. But six birdies later, 9-under, seems quite easy.

Q. ?
ROSS FISHER: I just felt quite calm and quite relaxed. You know, it's been quite a grueling sort of schedule for me ever since sort of making the three cuts, Ireland, Wentworth, Wales, going to the U.S. Open. So it's been quite a tough schedule. That's why I wanted to have a couple of days off just because I needed to have a rest and just a break away from golf and try and come in yesterday afternoon quite fresh.
Obviously it showed today that I felt quite fresh, really calmed and relaxed and game feels really, really good.

Q. Not to go back on negative things, but you sort of chipped over the green at HSBC into water and your short game let you down. So what work have you been doing with Mark Roe as a consequence?
ROSS FISHER: No, it wasn't really a consequence of that. My short game's improved, but I still think it's got room for improvement. I think it was actually Adam that said to me, "I heard from Mark Roe, and if you wanted a session he'd love to work with you."
When you have one of your peers saying that that's been around the game for quite a number of years, that him in my mind, him and Brett Rumford are two of the greatest short-game people that I've been privileged to witness.
So gave him a buzz and had probably about a six-hour session with him at Wentworth first day, and then it took immediate effect after that really. Saw him again for about maybe four hours a month later to go over the same sort of things to make sure it was fine and ticking over and saw him again and did sort of expand on to sort of pitching.
So, you know, he's really helped my short game massively and obviously I said to him, "Are you going to be here this week? I would like to have a little touch-up really to make sure I'm doing the right things."
He said, "Yeah, I'll be there all day." So fortunately went and saw Roe for probably an hour or so and refreshed my mind that we were doing the right things and got a good sort of short game session with him and saw my coach in the afternoon, Christian, and did probably an hour's work on the range. To hear both the sort of people you're working with saying, it's really, really good, only a couple of things to look at --

Q. Was it something new --
ROSS FISHER: Just a totally different mind-set on the short game really.

Q. More technique or mental side --
ROSS FISHER: A bit of both, the way to play it. I was playing well but he just showed me a different way that was going to be more consistent. And yeah, I think a lot mentally; knowing that you have got the confidence that you are going to strike it consistently well, just gives you a tremendous amount of confidence when you've got a tricky shot; knowing that you can hit it hard enough that you're going to be able to create the amount of spin that you can to stop it near the flag.

Q. How do those little shots look different to how you've played them before, and also, was a side of you feeling guilty at not having a practise round?
ROSS FISHER: What was the first part?

Q. Anybody watching your shot, what would they see you doing differently with your little shots around the green?
ROSS FISHER: Well, I don't know if I can give that away. He just basically said to me -- he's always played the ball towards the back of his stance, and he just feels that creates a better and a consistent strike on the golf ball basically, and it's more arms, as opposed to hands. So that was basically the key that I took away.
And then the bunker play was just, maybe my upper body was just a little too far forward and he was getting me into the bunker and getting my feet shuffled when I'm just about to hit the shot and almost feeling like I was back on it to get my centre of gravity, more centered; whereas before it was ahead. He said, "You've got that corrected. You don't need to shift your weight anymore."
SCOTT CROCKETT: Did you feel guilty about not having a practise round?

Q. Sorry to ask you this. How did your U.S. Open go?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously was bitterly disappointed that I didn't make the cut. I felt like I played really well, sort of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday; I had good practise, good preparation. Obviously played well the week before, so I had huge confidence going into it and played pretty steady going into it.
Unfortunately had a bad finish. Was 2-over and was kicking myself thinking, I should have shot under par, having made two birdies and an eagle and was right there, and probably stuck with me in my mind. So it was probably a bad mental error on my part and kind of stuck with me on the golf course on the Friday and just didn't play anywhere near as good as what I have been, and unfortunately shot 7-over. It was one of those courses where if you were slightly off your game, you were going to struggle because the rough was that penal, the greens were rock hard and it was really, really fast.
It was a great shame, but now that I've tasted it, I'd like to go over there and play in some more majors.

Q. Where would you rank this round in the great rounds you've played?
ROSS FISHER: Probably the best score I've ever done. Obviously was disappointing to have a bogey on the card, which is never good. But still, that's not to take away, you've had, what, ten birdies and one bogey, so it's pretty good to be fair.
But yeah it would rank up there very highly, obviously, I would say my mind in Holland before the bogeys on 16, 17 was one of the best rounds I've ever played. Being in contention and winning a golf tournament, that's what we strive to achieve and that's what we turn up every week to do is to contend and win golf tournaments. I'm no different, and obviously Holland was a great taste for me and stuck with me and I've got good memories of that.
Score-wise, it's the best score I've ever shot as a pro so far, and it's probably the best, most solid round of golf I've played, yeah.

Q. (What did you think of the course)?
ROSS FISHER: I really enjoyed it. It sets up for me really good. I think there was only possibly one hole where I didn't hit driver, which was the 10th hole, which was a 2-iron. I said to Adam walking to the see, I said -- on the range he said.
"Right, just before you start your warmup, the first hole, it's going to be a long iron."
"Oh, really? I heard people were hitting drivers over the hole."
"You're hitting 2-iron."
"Okay, you're the boss."
Apart from that, when you're driving the ball well and hitting fairways; and to be fair, when I was missing fairways, I was only just missing them. So as long as you keep it out of the thick stuff, you've always got a chance. Unfortunately I don't know how many I had, but I can imagine the putts were pretty good today which is always nice.

Q. Does it feel strange putting yourself so much in someone else's hands?
ROSS FISHER: I suppose a little bit but to be fair, you know, that's what the caddies get paid for. They have to try to get you around the golf course in as few of shots as possible. Obviously today Adam has done a tremendous job. Yesterday he said: "Really sorry, Fish, I've got to go out there again, I felt dreadful and didn't take any of the course in." He literally left me to it on the range and walked the front and back nine got a few extra run-outs and lines off tees and just gave him more confidence that he can actually say, right, this is what we're doing here, this is your line, that's where you're hitting, go ahead.
So to hear, "that tree there, you can hit it there, that's fine, that's not going to run through," it just gives you a tremendous amount of confidence knowing that obviously Adam has done his work, and obviously today it has paid off massively.

Q. How long have you had this caddie and why does he inspire so much confidence? It must be going on for some time that you have this belief in him.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think Adam worked for me for the first time in '05 I think at the co-sanctioned event in Tenerife when I was on the Challenge Tour. Basically heard from him and basically said, "I'm looking for a job; do you know anyone?"
I said, "I'm playing in the tournament, would you fancy caddying for me?" Started caddying for me for two days, didn't make the cut and worked for another guy on the weekend and a few others. And I said, "Look I'm going to Q-School, do you fancy working for me."
And said, "I would love to." And obviously after Q-School, and said, "Would you fancy going to the Volvo China Open my first event on The European Tour?"
And said he yeah, and haven't really looked back.

Q. Are you sponsored by Wentworth now?

Q. In the middle of that run on six birdies, what was your mind-set like after 3-, 4-under; were you still looking to attack?
ROSS FISHER: I don't know, a bit weird. Like I said, almost a bit surreal. Didn't feel like I had done it. I suppose it just felt like it came quite easy so, it almost felt like I was parring, whereas I wasn't; I was birdieing. Obviously marking your scorecard and always putting birdies, and then the par 5 and the one, you're thinking, yeah, this is all right.
Obviously hit in the bunker, let's try and not drop a shot now and then to hole it, holing another at the par 5, that I can get up in two, who knows; and get to the last, thinking, right, come on, let's have another one.
Just felt a tremendous amount of calmness and just felt belief that just want to continue the run. I wasn't really thinking about it. I was just taking one shot at a time and obviously looked at the score; hold on, six birdies in a row to finish with, that's always nice.

Q. Can I just ask how you felt Tuesday, after Monday and what you did?
ROSS FISHER: Pretty tired. Fortunately the guys at IMG said to myself and Jo, we could go to Wimbledon so took the day off and went up to Wimbledon to the IMG hospitality place and met Mr. Kinnings here and had a couple of centre court tickets. So went and watched a couple of the ladies games in the sunshine.
And after playing so much golf, doing the America thing, Germany thing, Paris, 36 holes at Sunningdale, I was pretty tired, pretty beat up. And just thought, I needed a day off and we were planning to do it a while ago, and thought I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it. I don't know if I'm going to get a chance to play the practise round. But I thought with the golf, I just need to have a break and just need to have my mind off things. And spending some time with your wife is great, because obviously we're away so much. It was very nice because it was her birthday, as well, so to spend it at Wimbledon with her was very, very nice.

Q. And you didn't consider pulling out at any stage yesterday?
ROSS FISHER: I spoke to my manager, I think it was after I qualified maybe on Tuesday, or maybe late Monday and he said, what are your plans sort of thing.
I said, well to be honest I'm feeling pretty tired, but how do you pull out of an event when you only live 40 minutes away? Pretty difficult to sit at home and watch it on TV and watch it be the European Open in your home country. It's pretty difficult to sit at home knowing that you're playing well.
So I sort of had a thought about it. I thought, you know, I'm probably going to play and obviously thinking heading to Loch Lomond; I can't pull out of that, it's such a great golf course, and I've done well around there. And it's good preparation to play a few events and big events to get you ready for obviously, now I'm in The Open.
So I thought, no, let's see how we go, have a few days off and if I feel fine, I'll play. Obviously got a text from Adam saying, you know, we just had quite a busy run, playing in two majors, playing in one, playing in another, just have a think about it.
I said no, I'm going to carry on, I'm playing well, why not capitalise it. So fingers crossed, try and stay as fresh as I can and hopefully put in three more good days here.

ROSS FISHER: Possibly. Last year I qualified for The Open. I pulled out of the one in Ireland just because I felt pretty tired. Obviously again I thought, do I really fancy going and I thought, no, best thing is to have a few days off and practise.
Whereas this year, I felt like I'm playing well and I just think if you're playing well, just keep playing, and hopefully I don't get to the stage where I'm feeling absolutely shattered come Sunday at Loch Lomond. A few guys have said if you turn up to a major, the adrenaline will kick in, because it's The Open. If you're tired, you'll get through it, because it's the biggest stage in the world. So I'm hoping they are right?

Q. Thoughts of not playing a practise round at The Open?
ROSS FISHER: Probably, yeah -- no, I think I'll be playing probably a practise round or two for that. I don't know, if I feel tired I might think, you know, it worked at London Club, so why not.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Before we go, with the gentlemen from Genworth, as a brand ambassador for Genworth, you have them off to a great start; if you can just explain the initiative to the lads.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, obviously it was a pretty new thing to me. I knew that the guys at IMG were working on it, and obviously when I found out that it was going to happen, it was obviously a tremendous achievement for myself to obviously get recognition by a company like Genworth who put a tremendous amount of work into The European Tour Statistics; and to be an ambassador, I'm very privileged, and I hope that I can represent them in the right way.
I said to, Mark, my manager and the guys sitting over there, I really want to get involved obviously in charity work because I had obviously a massive help getting into Wentworth. So if I can give back what has been given to me, I would like to do so. So I'm just thoroughly looking forward to working closely with the guys for Genworth the next few years.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks very much.

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