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November 6, 2008

Robert Gamez


MARK STEVENS: We want to thank Robert Gamez for joining us. You were 7-under par today. I think you were the second-to-the-last guy to get in the field, so must feel good to go out there and put up a solid score today.
ROBERT GAMEZ: Yeah. It was nice getting the call. I was a little disappointed I didn't get the exemption I was shooting for, especially after finishing third last year and living right down the street in Celebration.
But I got in the tournament. I'm going to try to do the best I can. I need a win to keep my card for next year. Second place only gets me through to the Final Stage of the Q School. So I've got nothing to lose.
MARK STEVENS: Questions for Robert, guys.

Q. We were just talking about that with Rich Beem who was in here. He's 139 or something, and he's saying if he doesn't get in 125, he can live with the 125 to 150 without going to Q School. You don't think you can?
ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, I'm in that category this year. I'm in 126 to 150 this year. I'm fourth in that category. I think this is my 25th tournament of the year.
Yeah, you can make a living out of it. It's not easy because a lot of times you find out at the last minute you're in a tournament. I didn't get a practice round in, mainly -- I found out yesterday. I could have played yesterday, but I've been so sick the last two days. I came out here, registered and putted for about 30 minutes and couldn't take it anymore, so I went home and laid on the couch and tried to get some sleep.
But it is a little bit tougher not knowing where you're going to play and pick a schedule. But Rich has won a PGA and won some tournaments, and he's got a name, so he'll get some exemptions. He'll probably play 25 to 30 tournaments, if he wants them.
And that's kind of what happened to me this year. I got a few exemptions early in the year, and for me, being past champion at Bay Hill, I'm in Bay Hill and I'm going to get in Valero, which is now in the FedExCup, so I'll get some starts early no matter what happens the rest of this week and through the Q School, if I have to go.

Q. Then why in the world would you want to go to Q School?
ROBERT GAMEZ: Like I said, right now I'm 190th on the Money List, and I've got Past Champion Status, and in that category right now, like I said, I'm fourth in the 126 to 150 category, and I've played 25 tournaments. In the Past Champions Category I've played 15 probably. So that's why I go to Q School, try to better myself, if I have to, but a win this week takes care of everything.

Q. Robert, what time yesterday did you find out you were in, and when did you realize today that you were getting on a roll?
ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, from the first hole, today. But yesterday I got a call from the Tour office at like 9:00 in the morning or 10:00 in the morning.
I was getting ready to come out here anyway, because I had heard through the grapevine Tuesday night. B.J. Gregory was supposed to follow Rocco this week, and he called me about 8:00 Tuesday night and said Rocco wasn't going to play.
So unofficially I knew I was kind of in the tournament. And then I had heard what happened to Justin Leonard. I heard that on Tuesday morning, with his toe, and figured he wasn't going to play.
I didn't know about Jonathan Byrd, though. That was kind of one I wasn't planning on. Out of this position I've kind of watched injuries and things like that all year.
But unofficially, I kind of had an idea I was in on Tuesday night. But officially, I got the call from the Tour office Wednesday morning -- yesterday morning.

Q. So you'd already sent your check in for Q School?
ROBERT GAMEZ: It's been there. It's been there, and I'm scheduled to play next week, Second Stage, somewhere Southern Hills, somewhere here in Florida. I don't even know where it is. I mean and that starts Wednesday. So I mean I've got no idea where I'm going, so hopefully I don't have to go.

Q. Down in Tampa.
ROBERT GAMEZ: You know, it doesn't matter. I'm playing so well right now, and I have been for two and a half, three months. I just haven't made any putts, which is probably the story of my whole career, with the exception of about five years where I've actually putted well.
The last two years have been a real big struggle with the putter, and you know, I've had my chances this year. I missed 11 cuts in a row this year, a lot by one shot, just by not making putts. And you know, the last few weeks, I've played so solidly, it's unbelievable.
I missed two fairways today. I missed the first fairway, hit in the bunker and missed the last one, I hit a little right, but got a good break. It bounced off a tree and ended up in that first cut.
But I hit 18 greens today. I had 18 putts at birdie, and disappointed with a three-putt on the last, but I did hit two good putts, so I'm happy about that.
I'm disappointed about the three-putt, but happy that I actually made two good solid putts, where a lot of my three-putts this year have been putting it up about three feet and missing a three-footer or making a really bad stroke, two bad strokes and three-putting.
So I don't know what it is. I've been working really hard on it, just haven't really taken advantage of my good shots, and today I did.

Q. Does this whole grind of chasing the card get easier as you get older? Does it get harder or is it any different?
ROBERT GAMEZ: You know, it's no different. I haven't really worried about it. Like I said, I haven't even looked at where Q School is, so I figure I'll wait till the week I have to go and then go.
But this is my 19th season out here, and if I don't get through, you know, last year I got injured at the Final Stage of the Q School, so I couldn't finish. And I was a little disappointed with my position, but I got a lot of tournaments.
And I've made a lot of friends with tournament directors over my career, and I've played Monday Pro-Ams and Wednesday Pro-Ams off site when I didn't have to. And I just have played a lot.
I mean every year I play in anywhere from 30 to 35 tournaments a year, so I support the tournaments, and it's shown with the support I've gotten from the tournament directors and getting me in tournaments.
So you know, I feel like no matter what happens, I'll play 15 to 20 times next year, and it should be enough if I play halfway decent, if I play like I know how, like I did today, and just make a few putts, you could shoot some good scores.

Q. What was your injury at Q School last year and what position were you in?
ROBERT GAMEZ: I was on the first hole of the third round, and I don't remember which course, but I couldn't carry the cross bunker out there on one of the courses that we were playing, and tried to hit a shot in the bunker and tried to hit it out and hit the lip and hurt my right wrist, and I kept trying to play and I couldn't do it. I played ten holes and had to withdraw. I tried to gut it out, but I couldn't make it.
So I rested it and came out, and didn't hit the ball that well starting the year, but it was funny because I was actually getting up and down and making a few putts here and there and making some cuts.
Then I started hitting the ball better and started putting horribly, and you can't do that in this game. You have to make putts out here. That's the key to it.

Q. Did you rehab or have any surgery?
ROBERT GAMEZ: No. I didn't have anything surgery wise. The physical therapists were there, and he said just rest, and I rested. I didn't touch a club until two weeks before the Hawaii, and I got in Hawaii from finishing top 10 here last year.
MARK STEVENS: Anything else, guys? Any key shots today?
ROBERT GAMEZ: Well, probably the eagle on 10. I hit a good drive, hit this great-looking 3-wood from 250 up there about 10 feet and made it for eagle, maybe 12 feet.
Those are the putts that I just haven't been making, and really haven't been making much of anything.
Last week on Sunday, I was playing so well, had it 1-under going into number four, which I don't know if anybody was there last week. That was a tough golf course, really long. And hit a great shot in there about two and a half feet and missed it. Then I three-putted the next hole and bogeyed the next hole.
I go from 1-under, probably going to 2-under, and I had missed two putts inside of six feet on the Back 9, my first nine. Otherwise I'd have had it really good, and I ended up shooting 1-under, but it still wasn't anything.
Today, all the putts I made, like I said, I started on the first hole, I hit it in the bunker and hit it up to about 30 feet from the hole maybe, 25-footer and made it, and that stuff hasn't been happening at all. So it's nice to see a few go in.
Every putt -- almost every putt I should have made I did make today, except the one on the last, the second putt, but that was just a little bit firm.
I didn't want to be -- I've been real tentative on putts like that. I had a downhiller right-to-left down grain, and I've been real tentative with them all year because I've been putting so poorly, but made a great stroke, just hit it a little bit firm and lipped out the right side.
Other than that, I made all the ones you make to shoot 7-under.
MARK STEVENS: Great. Thank you.
ROBERT GAMEZ: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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