July 31, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOHN COOK: I didn't like the way it finished last week at all. Second is not good.
This week, had a nice practice round, and once I decided that this
week has started now and it's a different week, different tournament,
another major championship, you know, I can put that last week behind
me until I get home next week.
So had a great practice round day with Greg and Mark O'Meara and they
were nothing but supportive, and Greg and I kind of -- I mean, his was
the Open Championship, mine was the Senior Open Championship, but
still, when you have it in your grasp like that, you have something a
little bit in common.
So it was a nice walk on Tuesday with these guys, and I got up and
struck the ball nicely. I said, okay, new week, let's just go at
Q. Did you talk about it?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, we talked a little about it. We talked about his finish and my finish, and it was hard golf courses under hard conditions. You can't protect and you have to keep playing golf. I hit some quality shots on Sunday, I did, and I didn't get a lot out of it. I hit two bad shots, and other than that, I played pretty well. I kept telling myself that, and I didn't really miss shots. The same good things didn't happen.
And Greg was kind of the same way. It just was a hard golf
course that he played the week before and I played last week. So
like we both said, you've got to move on. It was a great
experience, great week, would loved to have capped it off, but we can
cap it off this week.
Q. Is that one of the attributes of being a professional golfer,
that you have to have a short memory span and that you have to come
back and start fresh?
JOHN COOK: Definitely, and being I guess we're -- I don't know
what kind of veterans we are, crafty, crusty, whatever could be --
JOHN COOK: Yeah, both. Yeah, it still hurts. There's no doubt, it has to. That's what we are out here to do; we are out here to win.
When you have championships within your grasp, and they kind of slip
through, it hurts a little bit. You try to figure out what the
heck happened, and so the next time you're better prepared for it.
You know, I've played all year, but I haven't played a lot of
tournament golf since 2002, and I certainly have not had a 54-hole
lead in a long, long time. So I was a little anxious out there
playing, but I played very well. It wasn't like I was giving it
away. It's just I had a chance to win, and I think that goes
along with what you said; that we've been at this for a long, long
time, and when you have majors back-to-back, you've got to have a real
Q. Have the fans been supportive? Have you heard from
JOHN COOK: Yeah, fans have been great. Yeah, they understand. Golf fans are a different than a lot of other fans. They can sympathize because they play the game. They know we are trying our heart out. It wasn't like we were giving up. It wasn't like I was trying to give it away. And they all know that.
think that they understand that this is such an individual game, and
you're so exposed out there that there's nothing to hide from;
especially over in Scotland when there's no trees, there's certainly
nowhere to hide, except in that gorse stuff.
Q. How tough has it been this years are threatening to win so
JOHN COOK: I've only played maybe two or three tournaments where I had a chance to really win. I've had a lot of Top-10, and I'm proud of that. That's kind of been my career. I've had a lot of Top-10s in my career. There's only been a couple of times, Austin was one, where I thought down the stretch I really had a chance to win; and Valencia, earlier in the year, I had a good chance to win; and last week, where I really felt like if I did the right things the last six or seven holes. I could have won all three of those tournaments, and that part is frustrating. But those are the only three that I've really had a chance to win.
So I appreciate the opportunity to just be out playing again. I
haven't played a full schedule since 2002, and it's just nice getting
back into having a schedule and knowing where I'm going to be and know
I've got weeks off and keep working at it. The window's not very
big on this tour, so you've got to take advantage of all your
opportunities, and then you look for Gil Morgan and Hale Irwin for
inspiration; that we know maybe we can play this game into our 60s.
Q. As you were approaching 50, were you looking ahead in great
anticipation of joining the Champions Tour?
JOHN COOK: Yes. Emphatically, yes.
only relate it to the last TOUR event I played in. I played good
in '06 and I almost made the Top 125, and I only played 18
events. I know that I can still play a little bit. I was
sick and I was hurt last year, and it was just a disaster health-wise.
just basically shut it down but the last event I played, I think was
at Turning Stone, and I shot 3-under par on a 7,500-yard golf
course. I missed the cut and I played with two guys, two kids,
that my son played junior golf and college golf against.
said, you know what, it's time to move on. It just is
time. This is a sign right here. So I've looked forward to
it last year like it was -- it was a little depressing, how hard I
worked and I just couldn't do it anymore. My shoulder went out
and my health got bad and it just was a wreck.
Then you have your friends counting down how many months, weeks, days,
hours, until you turn 50, so I never heard the end of it. But my
friends were great and they got me ready. They are all really
good players, and I just played a lot of golf to get ready.
Q. How good was your ball-striking today?
JOHN COOK: I played very well. A USGA Championship, there's no mystery to what you have to do and that's put the ball in play, and I don't think I missed a fairway. I struck the ball nicely. I only missed one iron shot. Didn't take advantage of No. 9, kind of a quirky little hole. A couple awkward things happened.
But I'm pretty happy with that. I made a couple very nice par
putts, which you have to do. And I put the ball in play. I
kept it underneath the hole for the most part. I had decent
speed on the greens and I drove the ball in the fairway, which allowed
me to hit a lot of greens. So 66 is very satisfying.
Q. Greg was saying he thought the course was a little
inconsistent on the greens?
JOHN COOK: Could have been. I didn't really notice that. </ p>
You know, the greens are a little bit different, across the street and
down below, they are different. But that's an adjustment you
have to make. If you hit quality shots and you're happy with the
way you strike the ball, you know, there's not much else you can do;
go hit it again until it's in the hole.
Q. How has it been with club selections?
JOHN COOK: Thank God I could add and subtract as a kid. I couldn't read, but I was pretty good at math. I enjoyed all the math stuff, I actually should have been a math major in college, but it doesn't bother me. I adjust to it and I have a good feel for the conditions. I've played here before.
Q. A lot of people were talking about the course plays
differently in the morning and the afternoon. You've played
practice rounds and a real round today; did you see some of that?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, the way the altitude works is in the morning, the ball travels not like sea level, but it not quite, you know, what you're figuring.
So you can go ahead and -- once it warms up and the sun comes out, and
you actually put the ball in the air, the ball will go. It goes
a long way. So you have to kind of adjust through the day.
And once the sun comes up and it warms up, you know, that ball starts
to compress and it can go a long way.
But that's an adjustment that you have to make. That's part of
what makes, what, made the international and what makes this a
challenge, is not only do you have to strike good golf shots but you
have to adjust to the changing conditions daily.
You know, the wind is variable. It's not really coming out of a
discretion and you can't really anticipate what the next hole is going
to do because you don't know until you get there.
So they throw that little question mark in your mind as you go along.
Q. Do you expect to get a phone call or text from your buddy,
JOHN COOK: Yeah, probably. We had a good chat the other
day, so he was very supportive.
Q. Did you have a pep talk?
JOHN COOK: Pretty much, yeah.
Q. When was that?
JOHN COOK: Monday.
Q. Can you go through the birdies and bogeys on your card?
JOHN COOK: I started on No. 10, hit a drive and a 6-iron six inches, nice way to start the week.
Routine pars, I made about -- I birdied 13 I guess. I hit a
drive and a 6-iron again about 25 feet and made that.
made a good par at 15. I hit a nice 3-wood and I hit an 8-iron
that hit up on the green and came back all the way down the hill and
pitched up about eight feet and made that.
bogeyed 17. I hit a nice drive and pulled a 5-iron in the
3, hit a nice drive and laid up and hit a nice little sand wedge in
there about 12 feet down the hill and made that.
Made a nice 2-putt at No. 4. Made about a 6-footer for my second
putt. I had it short; putting up the hill, it was unbelievably
Then I had a nice little run. I birdied 6. I hit a drive
and a gap wedge that hit the flag, and hit the flag and bounced after
the green and I pitched in from -- it was a short pitch. It was
probably 18-foot pitch. So I got a little redemption there.
was just in the first cut.
I hit a nice drive and pitching wedge to five feet.
And I hit a nice little putt, down the hill breaker.
Then I hit a 3-wood short, bounced in the bunker, really awkward lie
and almost pulled it off and it just hit up on top and kind of came
back down and I made a nice up-and-down. Made about a 2-footer
for a par.
So a couple nice par saves and a couple nice birdies, maybe left a
couple chances out, but overall, very happy.
End of FastScripts