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July 31, 2008

Tom Kite



Q. 3-under is obviously a good spot to be, especially the afternoon.

TOM KITE: Yeah, the golf course really played tough, there's no question about it. You know, it's drying out so, I hate to use the word inconsistently, but they are trying to get the golf course dried out and certain places dry out faster than others out there. So choosing, you have to hit some pretty good shots and you have to get a little lucky with the bounce and hopefully get a good result with the bounce.

In some ways, just because it's drying out like that, the humidity is so low, you know, it's kind of playing a little bit like a Scottish golf course or a links golf course in that you get some inconsistent bounces out there. So there's a little bit of luck out there, for sure.

Q. Starting with the birdie on 1, how important is it for you to come out of the gate?

TOM KITE: That was nice, it really was. I hit a nice shot in there and made a straight downhill putt. I played 9-iron on the second shot and had it going right at the pin, and ended up just going a little bit past and I was just putting right down the fault line, and just played it dead straight and it went dead straight and you know, that's always a good thing. Made bogey on the next hole but then came back with a nice birdie on 3.

You know, I was under par, just about the whole day, and I played a real steady round.

Q. When you get to the back nine, there's a stretch there, at least ranking-wise, that are really hard, and you didn't give anything back.

TOM KITE: Well, I was fortunate, I actually birdied 13 and 15 which are both really tough holes. I was able to keep the ball in the fairway on both of those and able to hit a good iron shot into the green, and it turned out well.

Q. Just generally, I know you've got one of the other ones, the U.S. Opens, is there a Senior Open in there still for you?

TOM KITE: I'm hoping. So this has been a strange year for me in that I've always prided myself on being very consistent with my golf, and this year has been a little up-and-down. At times, I've played very well, and at other times I've looked like a pretty average 15-handicapper.

But you know, I've been working on it hard and my teacher, Chuck Cook, has really been helping me an awful lot. So, we're getting there, and today's quite encouraging.

Q. There's a guy behind you, Fred Funk.

TOM KITE: Playing great, too.

I got off to a good start today and he got off to a lot better start than I did. I guess he birdied either 1 or 2, and then we heard a big roar on 3, chipped in or something. You know, you get off to that kind of start where you're 4-under through four, obviously you're just trying to play some nice golf.

Freddie is playing well right now. He's going to be tough to beat, but you know, John Cook had a great round. He's obviously playing well; had a great week last week. Probably should have won. He probably played better than anybody else in the tournament but wasn't able to get to the house.

But a lot of guys playing well right now, so I'm just glad to be one of them.

Q. Could you just walk through 13 and 15?

TOM KITE: Yeah, 13, I hit a 3-wood and I was just right on the edge of the semi-rough with a good lie, and played an 8-iron out of there that landed just right at the front of the green and bounced up probably 12 feet behind the hole. It was one of those, when you hit the shot, you are really proud of it, and then all of a sudden you get up there and you have a 12-footer that you have to play 3 1/2, four feet of break on, and it's not the easiest putt and I curled it in on the topside and just barely snuck in on the high side.

15 was playing straight downwind, I bottomed a tee ball and had a sand wedge on my second shot. Really had a long one there and hit it in close about six feet.

Q. I don't know if someone already asked you this, but how many times did you look at the Will Rogers shrine, and did it help you at all today?

TOM KITE: Well, you're looking at that hill. You're trying to orient yourself and try to figure exactly, you know, it comes off of that shrine and it's a pretty good rule of thumb and you see it going down here and you see the valley is down here on the other side. So you have a really good feeling for what you're doing, but it's just nice to pay attention to that. And yeah, you looked at it on every hole, no question. I think everybody does.

Q. At any point in the round, did you say, that really helped me out?

TOM KITE: Well, you have to be aware of it. We played practice rounds, and I felt sorry for Sam Torrance today, Jay Haas and I played him, and he only got in here Tuesday night and only had one practice round on these greens, and that is not enough. There is no question about it. There's a lot of local knowledge here. These are very difficult greens. These would be difficult greens if they were at sea level, but you put the, what, 6,500 feet of elevation and set it right up against this hillside, you know, these greens are very treacherous.

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