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April 25, 2009

John Cook

Joey Sindelar


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Well, John, if you want to get us started, you know the routine. Just recap your day, and then we'll get some questions.
JOHN COOK: Unlike yesterday, we got off to a good start. Yesterday we floundered for about an hour at the same time and kind of got caught back up. Today we started out well and then had a bit of a lull from three to six, but after that we played pretty well.
We've been covering each other. We've both made a lot of birdies, doubled up a few times. But we both have made birdie putts when the other had just missed. So it's a good team, you know.
We keep the ball in play, and both decent iron players, so we've got ourselves a lot of looks and that's all you can do out here. You get two looks a hole, you just gotta take what you can get. Somebody gets hot, next thing you know, you're making putts and everybody's all happy. And that's all you can do is have two chances each hole.
JOEY SINDELAR: Particularly fun team from my perspective because although I think we've been pretty even in terms of how we've helped each other, we do it in entirely different ways. You know, we're different kinds of golfers, and there's nothing more fun and freeing for me than to have John hitting first and just piping that driver, you know -- I don't know what the numbers are, but it's 85 or 90 percent right down the pipe and not making mistakes.
So you know, there's a couple of pinch holes out there, even like the tee shot on the par-5, No. 5 and then 6 can be like that and even on 7 there's a few like that, and when your partner's sitting pretty, it just changes everything. So we've had a good time. We've been stuck on this 9-under. I think it's 560 -- we're trying to decide. I'm pretty sure it's five 9-unders in a row on fives for us, because we know we shot 27 last year, and we didn't have a 10 or an 11.
JOHN COOK: It had to be 9.
JOEY SINDELAR: It had to be 9s. Of course, last year that was nowhere near good enough. We just got stung by two or three teams last year. And it's a little different this year, but it's fun. It's good golf. You just see cool shots out there. Guys are on offense. It's fun to watch and it's a great golf course for this type of format.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Maybe take us quickly through that stretch. You had five in a row from 7 to 11. Do you remember who made the birdies there?
JOHN COOK: Yeah. Today No. 7, it was one of those holes where we just kind of had opportunities at 3, 4, 5 and 6, but 7 I hit it in there a foot with a pitching wedge, maybe even less.
8 was a pretty good turning point where I buried it in the bunker, and Joey hit a nice shot on the green, but not real close, and then I had made bogey and he made a putt.
That 15-footer down the hill, I think, was a great opportunity for us, and Joey birdied 9. We both had good looks. I missed mine. Joey made his, about a 12-footer, 10- footer. I birdied 10 after Joey missed the putt. I made about a 12-footer. Joey knocked it on the green on the par-5 and two-putted. He made a beautiful birdie at the next par-5, 13. After I had missed about a 12-footer, he made about a nice six-footer, beautiful putt.
JOEY SINDELAR: He says he missed a 12-footer, but the part you didn't see was his sand wedge just nailed the flag and it would've been a gimme, and of course, it hits the flag and zinged off the collar. So we kept it away from the flag stick for the rest of the day after that.
JOHN COOK: A little bit of a stall. We didn't birdie 14. I had a good look at it, missed about a six-footer. Next hole we didn't really have much -- we didn't really have too close at the par-3.
And then I hooped one at 16. I was a little disgusted with myself hitting the flag, made about a 30-footer, hit wedge in there and that's just unacceptable to me, but made the putt anyway. And then par, par.
So you know, there's not going to be many birdies at 17 and 18, but we had good looks at it. So we just keep giving ourselves good looks, and tomorrow if we get two good looks each hole, you're going to make some. You might make a lot, but you're going to make some. So that's kind of our game plan.

Q. You guys seem to be pretty, I guess, comfortable with your round today and finishing par, par, not too many birdies to be had out there, but how important is it to reverse that tomorrow? The guys that were just in here finished birdie, birdie.
JOHN COOK: It really depends on the wind and the hole locations and stuff, but 17 is not easy. It's a decent 200-yard par-3. There's not going to be a lot of birdies. I know they made birdie. We had a good look.
And 18 is just a tough hole. I didn't hit a very good second shot, unfortunately, after Joey had not hit a very good drive but hit a great second shot.
I think I kind of pressed myself. I was trying to hit it too close and just didn't make a very good swing, but you gotta go out tomorrow and just relax and just kind of take what it gives you.
JOEY SINDELAR: It's too easy out here to become disappointed by not getting some birdies, you know. And you can fall into that trap quickly and then all of a sudden you're going to ruin a few holes by getting your chin down.
So you know what, you gotta just hit good shots and give good tries and say, hey, look, the greens are really nice, but no one makes them all. I looked at the board earlier today and Lehman and Langer were only 1-under through five or six. So you get that. You gotta just say okay.
I killed our momentum today on five. I hit a great drive, hit a 3-iron, hit it in the bunker and didn't make birdie and then John didn't make birdie. After a good start, 2-under and almost 3-under after three, it kind of -- and then you missed that one and then for half an hour, 45 minutes, we didn't -- you know you're going to get that, so you gotta just keep banging through it and say it's going to happen to everybody, except for Watson and North last year. They didn't have that.

Q. You guys birdie 7 through 11. One birdie, great, two birdies, this is cool. By the time you get to five in a row, is there pressure to, man, we gotta keep this streak going? Does it get harder, I guess, or do you feel more comfortable?
JOEY SINDELAR: You guys gotta hate our answer because sameness. We have to do sameness. If something becomes important or big, it gets harder.
If you talk to any of the sports psychologists, if you're doing anything other than this shot is no different than that one. That putt you made on No. 1 is no different than the putt on 18.
Now, that's my answer. The fact of the matter is you can get caught up in that, and our next birdie hole was the good hole No. 12. I mean that's a tough one to birdie. So it was a logical ending point. It would have been nice to keep on going, but it was a pretty good train stop right there because that's a pretty hard. They're understandable.
But the guys on the Tour that try to win all the time, that, oh, my gosh, that's four, can we do five. That's five, can we do six. That likes to creep in there, but our job is to dampen that down and do sameness.

Q. (Inaudible question). Birdie, birdie, birdie. On the Back 9 you look at 10-under, can't hurt it?
JOHN COOK: Yeah. You never really have that number in mind. You start at No. 1, and you don't project ahead on what you can do because you got par-5s. You gotta play each hole as it gives you. Each hole is its own challenge, and that's why the best players are what they are because they're never anticipating ahead. They're not projecting a score. Well, you know, I've made three birdies, now I got two par-5s. That doesn't ever come into your mind, and once it comes into your mind, you're done.
And that's the difference between what we do and what good amateurs do. They didn't expect, well, there's an easy par-5 coming up. Those easy par-5s all it takes is one not-so-good shot or missed putt and they're not so easy anymore.
Like Joey said, it's the sameness. Each shot has the same importance as the next shot, until you get down to 18, and if you need to really hit a good shot and you have a chance to win, that's when you do change your game plan a little bit.
JOEY SINDELAR: And this, as you know, is not a great adrenaline sport. It's in there, but when we're measuring yardages and you have clubs to do specific things, if your adrenaline is all over the lot, that can be hard. And it happens, there's no doubt about it, but this isn't football where the most adrenaline is better because all of a sudden your wedge is going a club and a half longer, that's a bogey.
So I think the best answer to your question that I ever heard, because I've asked that same question, how come every time I needed to shoot 32 on the Back 9 to make the cut, other tour, how come I came close to doing that when nothing was happening. That question has always bothered me. How do you think of the right now when you know you've gotta do something.
The best thing I've heard is you've got two computer platters spinning in your brain and the big one is the right now, this is my shot right now, but there's a little one spinning up there that says, okay, we're trying to reach this little global place over here, but the main disk is operating in exactly what's going on right now. And that's where you need to function. Sorry if that's wacko.

Q. I'll sort that out later?
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, I mean most of your energy is on the right now. That's all. You know, but there's that little bit that you draw from, but you can't make that the big one. You know, you've gotta stick doing what you do right now because it's all you can do. Sorry it's a lousy answer, butt it's the one we do.

Q. Is there a number tomorrow that you think people will be shooting for to win this tournament based on the conditions over the first two days?
JOHN COOK: We thought, going in, 30 would be a great number to end on, and you gotta do some going to get to 30 now. Even the leaders, I think that still would be great. I think we'd be happy with 30, win, lose or draw.
I think to shoot 12-under tomorrow would be very good. So for some reason, the course is not yielding the scores that it did last year, so I know we'll have to shoot better than 9-under. So that would be a starting point, and anything better than that would be having a better chance to win.
JOEY SINDELAR: And that's assuming similar weather, of course, and all that stuff.

Q. And then, Joey, you said something a few minutes ago about you guys are not similar in terms of style of play. Can you expand on that, exactly what you mean by that?
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, John's always been known as an incredibly straight hitter, tee to green, super unbelievable short game, not an over-powerer. I've always been known more for the distance side.
I would hit it farther off the tee and farther with the irons. I would say from 50 yards to, you know, to 12 feet, you know, John -- he would be my idol in that category. He's one of the best we've ever had at putting the ball in the hole. And I would consider myself a good putter, the closer the better for me. I've never been a great get-the-drains all day kind of putter, but pretty dependable short stuff. So I'm kind of a power hitter, and I'm kind of a really straight hitter, although he's got a new driver that's knocking my socks off. He's really hitting it great and quite a bit longer, but again, that's what I come back to.
I begged when we were talking about playing this thing, well, who should hit and what do you want. I'm sitting there thinking, please tell me you'll hit first.
JOHN COOK: That way you can have your power guy freed up and just make free swings, and Joey drives the ball -- for a long hitter he drives it pretty straight. So it's a good team.
When I'm playing decently, I'm not going to make a lot of bogeys, so it's not like he's going to have to -- he can always just go play his game. I'm going to make pars.
JOEY SINDELAR: My stock answer is I have 67 for a partner. And he doesn't even make bogey. It's not 67 with five bogeys. It's 67. That's a pretty nice card to have as your partner.

Q. I just want to make sure I took down your answer properly. Did you say it's too easy to get down when you're not making birdies out there?
JOEY SINDELAR: Yeah. You go out there trying to be on offense, but you can't get too -- you want to be on offense, but if you miss a couple, it's very easy in this format to think everybody blew by you where pars feel like bogeys. That's all I'm trying to say. You gotta watch out for that because you go through little lulls out there.
JOHN COOK: Joey said something outside that makes a lot of sense, there's always going to be an hour off somewhere. Not everybody's making birdies every hole.
If you look up, there's always a little bit of a lull, every team has just a little space in there where they both take about the same 45 minutes to an hour off and you get three or four pars in a row, but that's where you can't get down on that.

Q. Y'all take a lunch hour?
JOHN COOK: Lunch hour. If we don't take lunch at the same time tomorrow, we'll be all right.

Q. You see a lot of guys in team format line each other's putts up. You also got the extra set of eyes with the caddie. How much of a difference does that make?
JOHN COOK: I've been helping Joe with his lines. I always take a quick look and if he wants to call me in, I certainly will have already looked at it so we're not grinding so hard over it. I called Joe in a couple times, but it's just kind of a feel thing for us.
JOEY SINDELAR: You can get over the top on that. All of a sudden you got eight people measuring one shot and it's like, wow. Especially for a guy, I'm an intuitive kind of player. But there are times, hey, John, are you seeing this a little uphill? Or like on 18, you know, I confirmed the wind. You got this dead across or hurting a little bit? You know, or even better. After one partner plays and saw the shot through the conditions and then say, hey, that wind backed my ball down a little more than I thought. You know, those little helps are good, but I think too much is not good.

Q. Any reason why you think the scores aren't quite what they were last year?
JOHN COOK: I just don't really have a theory.
JOEY SINDELAR: Small samples. The course is perfect. The wind conditions are perfect. The golf's just not as good. (Laughs).
JOHN COOK: I think maybe for some reason a couple of the holes are playing a bit different. Like I know that I was able to knock it on the green on four every day the par-5.
JOEY SINDELAR: Four is playing longer.
JOHN COOK: Four is playing longer. A couple other holes are just -- it's just -- I don't think there's a real reason, other than maybe the course is a little softer than it was last year. Last year the greens got fairly firm. They're not that firm this year, and seems to me the fairways are running maybe a little slower this year, yeah, for sure.
JOEY SINDELAR: They might be playing a bit longer, yeah, although maybe -- I haven't looked at it, but maybe with the exception of two or three teams, they're not different, the scores. I don't know. Because we shot three 9s for 27 and finished fourth and we're right on par for 27, and we're third.
JOHN COOK: So maybe last year there was one team that was way away.
JOEY SINDELAR: Yeah. And they smoked it.
JOHN COOK: Everybody else was grouped up.
JOEY SINDELAR: And when we did our 27 last year, even the next week, looking back, it was like that was pretty good. We left a few, but we didn't leave six shots out there.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay. Thanks, guys.

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