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August 8, 2008

J.B. Holmes


KELLY ELBIN: J.B. Holmes the clubhouse leader midway through the second round of the 90th PGA Championship joining us at Oakland Hills Country Club. J.B. joins us with a total of 139, 1-under par. Nice playing, general thoughts on your round today, please.
J.B. HOLMES: Thanks, and you know, I played great. I hit the ball well. I left a few putts out there, but overall, it was a very good ball-striking round is probably the best way to describe it.
KELLY ELBIN: Can you go through your birdies and bogeys, please?
J.B. HOLMES: 2, I hit a good drive off the tee. I hit a wedge in there to about 12 feet and left it on the edge. I hit a good putt and just ran right over the edge and tapped in for birdie.
5, I actually hit down the middle. Hit a great shot and I 3-putted from about 15 feet, 15, 20 feet. Just didn't hit a very good first putt and left it short and missed the second one.
Next hole, I hit a good drive, hit it on the green on 6 off the tee. Had about 40 feet and 2-putted for birdie.
And then 12, hit a good drive, kicked it a little left into the first cut of rough. I hit an 8-iron up there just to the right of the green. Chipped it up there about four feet and made that for birdie.
13, hit a 5-iron just a little left of the flag and rolled past a little bit and made an 8-footer for birdie.
14, I hit a really good wedge shot but hit a little short and stopped on the fringe and probably made a 25-foot putt there for birdie.
15, I hit it a little heavy off the tee and left myself a back a little further than I wanted to and didn't hit a very good chip and made bogey.
17, I made it to the green but had it on the wrong tier and hit a pretty good putt but just tough to 2-putt from where I was.
KELLY ELBIN: For the day, J.B. hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation.

Q. Can you talk about No. 6, after coming off the 3-putt on 5. I know only a couple of guys have hit that green in two, playing into the wind like it was. How big was that to hit it on the green and have two putts at birdie, especially coming off 5?
J.B. HOLMES: I didn't know the tee was up until after that hole, so that was nice. I knew if I hit a real good drive I would get on the green, and if not, I would at least have a chance. I felt comfortable up there and hit a good shot. It's always nice to bounce back and make a birdie after you make a bogey.

Q. First of all, do you know what you hit in on the par 5?
J.B. HOLMES: 12, I hit 8-iron in.

Q. Do you know what the distance was?
J.B. HOLMES: I think it was like 217 hole or something like that.

Q. Is that about the best ball-striking round you've had this year?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, probably the best ball-striking I've had this year.
Actually I hit it pretty good last week, too. Not quite that good, but I putted terrible last week.

Q. Is it true that you almost drove the first green?
J.B. HOLMES: I mean, not really. I was, I don't know, 65, 70 yards from it. Depends on what you count as almost.

Q. Rick Smith was saying you were putting on a clinic with the driver.
J.B. HOLMES: Well, I hit a couple out there that might have got close to 400 today.

Q. What was yardage in on 2?
J.B. HOLMES: 2, I think I had 148 hole or something. That one's close to 400 probably.

Q. And secondly, on 6, whereabouts were you on the green for starters?
J.B. HOLMES: I was pin-high left about, I don't know, 30, 40 feet.

Q. None of the mounds really in your way?
J.B. HOLMES: It broke six or seven feet. I was kind in between and had to play off that big mound on the left.

Q. From what you saw at Torrey on No. 14 and even 17 at Scottsdale, if you will, what did you think of that as a short par 4? Did you get a sense that they were really trying to make you think off that tee, or did you get a sense they were kind of cutting you a break today?
J.B. HOLMES: You know, you could go either way with that. I mean, you've got to hit a good shot up there. You could think about it, too. I thought about -- I wasn't going to do it, but it popped in my head to lay it down in the fairway and hit a shot down there. If the pin was easier you might have saw a bit more of that, but where they put the pin, it's pretty much impossible.
So you have to get a hit at it and try to get up where you can chip on, and hard to get it close, so birdie is a good score, but make sure you get your par.

Q. You just couldn't miss it right.
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, you couldn't miss it right and make birdie. You could miss it right and chipped it over there and 2-putted. But missing right would have been a very difficult up-and-down.

Q. I'm wondering, with the driver today, this would be 14 holes you had the opportunity to use it; how many times did you not use it?
J.B. HOLMES: Probably four. I think I hit it about ten times today.

Q. And has this been kind of the game plan all along, or was it because you were hitting it better today? Clearly that's an edge that you've got, but everybody keeps talking about how you're going to have to put it in the fairway or you're going to go down in flames around here. That's pretty aggressive.
J.B. HOLMES: That's aggressive but that's the most I'll hit. I was hitting good and a few holes where I had been hitting 3-wood, the wind was good enough today that I could go ahead and get over all the bunkers, and I thought, "Why not?"

Q. After 14, after the bomb drive, how important was it to make the putt, because the chip shot checked up there. How important was it for your momentum and mindset to make that birdie putt there?
J.B. HOLMES: I took a 2-putt from there. It was a tough putt. But that was just kind of -- it was nice to make it really. That was a quick downhill putt. You're just trying to roll it up there and it went in.
I kind of felt like I should have been closer. I hit a great drive and hit a really great wedge shot in there. If it went a foot further it would have rolled down close to the hole. I felt unfortunate that it wasn't close but the putter makes up for that every now and then.

Q. After yesterday's round, Allenby particularly and Westwood were very critical; "It sucked the fun out of the golf course" was one of the quotes I saw. You're under par and playing pretty well, do you look at the game as if it should be fun, or just you know a major is going to be a tough tournament and you sort of steel yourself and get ready for it?
J.B. HOLMES: You have to have that approach. There are a lot of holes out here that are almost unplayable. They are a little ridiculous. I could definitely see where they are coming from and I've been playing well.
So you know, like 17 is one of those holes, they have got a pin today, you could hit a perfect shot and it's not going to be on the green. So, I mean, I really don't -- I don't think that's real fair when you hit good shots and in some cases you get penalized for them.

Q. I think DiMarco said you guys might have chatted just a little bit about The Ryder Cup while you were out there; I thought you might have asked him a question about it since he had been on a couple teams. I was wondering if that was the case and how much that is sort of dangling out there in the distance for you; obviously we are all pretty aware of what you need to do this week?
J.B. HOLMES: We were just talking. He had been on a few Ryder Cups and I was just asking him, Presidents Cups and stuff, asking him, you know, he made that putt to win The Presidents Cup, and I asked him, "Was that the best moment in your career?" And he said, "Yeah, that was really fun."
So I had not quite that big a stage, but on the Walker Cup when we won, that's been the highlight of my career. That's the goal at the beginning of the year was to make The Ryder Cup team. I've put myself in a situation where I have a chance. It would be a dream come true to be able to play in my home state. I don't think a whole lot of people even have the opportunity to do that. You can play for your country, and to much less do it in your home state, that would be a dream come true.
Like I said, I put myself in a situation where I have a chance.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, currently J.B. is 16th on The Ryder Cup points list.

Q. What kind of momentum do you feel you take into the weekend right now, as tough as it is out there?
J.B. HOLMES: I'm hitting the ball real well. If I get the putter, make a few more putts -- if I can hit it like I did today, I really felt like I almost shot the highest score I could have shot today; I hit the ball that well.
So, you know, just continue to hit the ball well. I hit the ball -- I hit the ball well yesterday, but it didn't really show it. I didn't hit very many greens. I had a lot of shots that were really good and just trickled over and I would have 20 feet from the hole but I was chipping all day.
I'm hitting the ball good. I feel pretty good going into the weekend.

Q. Not really a follow-up, but completely different track here, just curious, I know these two kind of go hand in hand but I would like you to distinguish, on what drives you more, the disgust of failure or the desire to win?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, they kind of go both hand in hand.

Q. Yeah, but you're supposed to pick one. (Laughter).
J.B. HOLMES: I don't want to pick one. (Laughter).
You want to win. Failure, it's golf. You fail often in golf. So, you know, to be able to strive to win and pull it off, that's a huge high and you strive for that more.

Q. To go back to some of the guys saying some of the holes were unfair, some of the placements in your words, ridiculous; but shouldn't that be the case in majors, that some placements leave players screaming?
J.B. HOLMES: I think there should be some tough holes but I don't think it should be, I hit a perfect shot here and I make double-bogey. You hit two good shots and your ball is right next to the hole and rolls over and goes into the bunker and you have no shot from there, no, it shouldn't be like that.

Q. But isn't that part of the mental test that's part of winning a major in that you have some frustrating holes like that, though?
J.B. HOLMES: Well, you've got long rough and everything, is the frustrating part. But when it's completely unfair on some holes, no, a major shouldn't be like that.

Q. You talked about your aggressive approach with the driver. Over four days on a golf course set up like that, is that an invitation for disaster or formula for success?
J.B. HOLMES: Depends on how you hit it. I'm not that aggressive if I'm not hitting my driver good. If I'm hitting bad shots with it, you don't hit it as much. Every time you hit it, you hit it right where you've looked, whale away.

Q. How early in a round do you make that judgment call?
J.B. HOLMES: Well, I don't think I missed a fairway with my driver, so I never really had to make the call. (Laughter) If you're hitting where you're aiming it every time, you're hitting good.
KELLY ELBIN: J.B. hit 9 of 14 fairways off the tee today.

Q. When did you -- see if you can follow this question. When did you first know you were long?
J.B. HOLMES: Well, what do you mean, when did I first know that I was really, really long or first know I could hit it pretty good?

Q. Take your pick. I'm just trying to get a sense, was there ever a moment as a kid?
J.B. HOLMES: When I was 13, 14, I was -- in my age division, I was hitting it around 300 yards. I knew it was pretty long. I didn't watch the -- I watched the pros, probably my senior year of high school, I went out and watched Tiger. And a lot of the players they said hit the ball really long, and they did and I was like, that's not much farther than me, if at all.
So that was probably my senior year of high school, I realized the pros don't hit it any further than I do.

Q. When is the first time you saw Tiger?
J.B. HOLMES: It was the '98 Masters.

Q. You were there?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, I was there.
KELLY ELBIN: J.B. Holmes, leader midway through the second round of the PGA Championship. Thank you.

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