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May 22, 2009

Ross Drummond


KELLY ELBIN: Ross Drummond, ladies and gentlemen, of Scotland, in with a 4-under par 66 in the second round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club. Two day total of 136. 4-under par. Tying the low competitive score here at Canterbury. Congratulations on the round and general comments on the way things went today, please.
ROSS DRUMMOND: Thank you. Well, I'm obviously delighted with the outcome. I was happy with shooting 70 yesterday. I thought that was quite an achievement.
My round today was a little bit up-and-down to start with. I had two birdies and two bogeys -- actually a bogey followed the birdie each time on the front nine. So I wasn't really making any headway. But obviously happy staying around par. And then the back nine I just made three birdies in the first four holes and 10, 11, and 13. And so that just kind of kick started things and I managed to just hold on.
KELLY ELBIN: 4-under, 32 on the back. Can you just do a quick recap of the birdie putts, the length of the six birdies, please.
ROSS DRUMMOND: Okay. If can I remember them. Third hole it was about 20 feet.
6, I was really lucky at 6. I hit it past the pin and as you know, if you hit it past the pin on these greens, it's very, very quick. And I over hit my putt and it just went far too fast and if it missed the hole, God knows where it would have finished, maybe down the slope. So that was lucky, really.

Q. How far was that?
ROSS DRUMMOND: It was probably about 20 feet again. Six paces or so.
Number 10, holed from about eight feet.
No. 11, an 8-iron in to around six feet. I actually missed from three feet at No. 12 for birdie.
And I holed a 40-footer at 13. It's funny how it goes at times. You miss a 3-footer and then you hole a 40-footer on the next.
Then I just played nicely coming in. No real problems, although I did miss the last two greens and I got it up-and-down nicely.
I birdied 16. So I forgot about that one. I holed the ball from about 12, 15 feet at 16 to go 4-under.
KELLY ELBIN: Ross needed just 24 putts on the round for the record. Open it up for questions, please.
ROSS DRUMMOND: Seriously, was it 24 putts? My goodness. That should give me confidence for tomorrow then.

Q. Were you at all surprised or even shocked to be leading this tournament right now?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I would say so. Yes. I qualified through the European Order of Merit. I think it's an honor to get the opportunity to play a course here. I was very excited at the prospect. I played last year at Oak Hill. But I didn't play very well at Oak Hill. But I think the golf course was a lot tougher there. The rough seemed to be a lot more severe. It was a lot thicker. I really struggled last year.
So I was looking forward to coming back and playing again this year and obviously trying to make the cut, because I feel that my game is good enough to make the cut. But I didn't expect to be in or near the lead.
KELLY ELBIN: Talk a little bit about your story, which I know has been documented in terms of a book written about you. Give an American audience if you will a little bit of background, please.
ROSS DRUMMOND: Well, as you probably know, a journalist called Lawrence Donegan who caddied for me in 1996 on the European Tour. I had met Lawrence the year previously, I think that he caddied for me at the French Open, to do a similar piece about caddying for The Guardian newspaper. And he just hatched this plan that he wanted to caddie for somebody full-time and write a book about just a behind the scenes look at golf and caddies in particular.
And I said, well that was really it. I knew Lawrence, as I said, from a previous encounter. So I said to him, yeah, let's just do it. It will be an interesting project to be involved with.
But I must admit, I did, I actually got off to a fairly poor start to that season. And I must admit I was close to sacking him, because I found it made me have maybe just a little bit too much pressure on me knowing that my year was going to be chronicled in this book.
But fortunately things turned around for me, and I actually, I did end up having a very successful season. So it's really good to be able to look back on that season through the write things in his book.

Q. Two-part question. One is, when is the last time you played in a tournament; and secondly, how would you classify your career? How would you characterize your career?
ROSS DRUMMOND: Well, I'm very proud of the fact that I went 20 years on the European Tour without losing my card. I hung about for another four years after that, in actual fact.
Unfortunately, I followed up my best season on the European Tour, which was 1996, which was when Lawrence caddied for me, I followed that up with my worst ever season and I lost my card for the year.
I went back to the TOUR school four times after that the. I won the TOUR school one year. I think that was 1998. But I didn't manage to reestablish myself on TOUR. So I decided after four attempts at a TOUR school, I would just stop playing. And concentrate on my local TOUR, which was in Scotland.
So I just played in the PGA pro-am circuit for five years leading up to turning 50 and joining the European Seniors Tour.
So I've never done anything else. I managed to make a living with very little support as far as sponsorship goes. So I'm really proud of the fact that I've done that.

Q. When was the last time you played?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I played three tournaments on the European Seniors Tour this year. They're all fairly spaced out. But my last tournament was the first week in May in Mallorca, it was in the Mallorca Senior Open. And I finished 16th.
KELLY ELBIN: Ross's best finish on the European Seniors Tour is a tie for 7th at in Barbados.
KELLY ELBIN: This year.
ROSS DRUMMOND: Yes, this year.

Q. Is it additional pressure because people know about you from the book? I mean, is it enjoyable that people know your name and recognize you on the European Tour or is there also, is it difficult because of this?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I don't think it's the slightest bit difficult. I think it's nice when people come up and tell me that they read the book and that they enjoyed the book. Obviously, I had nothing to do with writing the book, it was Lawrence's craft that went into that. But I don't have a problem with it. I mean it's been a long time since the book was released, I guess. It's 10 years now.

Q. Were there things in the book that weren't necessarily commendable or necessarily good?
ROSS DRUMMOND: Well, probably at this stage I have to be honest with you, I haven't read it from start to finish. I proof read it before it went to print and I suggested that a few things should be changed. But I really just read it very, very quickly and things that pertained to comments that I had made.
And I made the comment that I wouldn't have said that, I wouldn't have said it that way. So a few things have been changed. But I haven't sat down and read it because I figured that not that it would be too painful, but it chronicled my, one of my most successful years on the European Tour and I really thought that I would wait until I retired before I actually read it.

Q. Everybody who plays golf at this level is obviously an outstanding player. And a lot of people go a whole career and don't win. And maybe people say, well, he -- have you won a professional event on the European Tour?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I've never won a professional event on the European Tour.

Q. Have you won on the Scottish Tour?
ROSS DRUMMOND: My claim to fame I suppose was I won the Scottish Professional Championship four times. I won it four times in five years. So I think that was a pretty neat achievement.

Q. What would have been the time frame on that?
ROSS DRUMMOND: That would have been '86, '87, '89, excuse me, '86, '87, '89, and '90.

Q. So you get to the -- I mean literally the halfway point of this tournament -- but you're in great shape. What kind of mental muscle memory can you draw on to say, this is what I, this is what I do?
ROSS DRUMMOND: Well, I think that tomorrow's going to be very difficult. There's no question about that. Because if you're playing in the last group in a Major Championship with a lot of high profile successful players, it is going to be very difficult.
But I would add that that is why we play the game. So that is basically why I play the game. So I will be reminding myself of that tomorrow and although I know it is going to be difficult and I'm going to be nervous, but I think then you just got to draw from that that you don't come, you don't come to these tournaments just to be down at the bottom end of the field, you really come here to try and to try to be successful.
So I think that that is what I'll be reminding myself of tomorrow and hopefully I can go out in a positive frame of mind and just, I don't know, just enjoy the process.

Q. So much emphasis is put on winning that, for somebody who did not win on the European Tour, I mean have you been able to live comfortably with sponsorships and by making what you've done in purses?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I would say that I've just squeaked by. I've never been supported by sponsors. And I admit in the mid 1980's I had a sponsorship for a couple years, but really it wasn't a lot of money, it was just, it was good to have and as I said, it helped me out.
But I've never had any endorsements as such that paid big money. And I basically funded it myself. Probably from, I would say from maybe 1986 I funded it purely by myself.

Q. Do you have a family?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I've got a wife and daughter. Daughter's 10.

Q. We're only halfway through, but what would a victory here this week mean to you and your career?
ROSS DRUMMOND: Well, to be honest, I don't think I even want to contemplate that. It would be a dream come true, obviously. It would be an unbelievable achievement. And something to be very proud of. But I don't think I can even contemplate that.
I think I just need to try and get through tomorrow and see how things pan out. And if I'm in a similar position come Sunday, and then play well tomorrow would give me confidence for the round on Sunday. I just got to take it bit by bit.

Q. Do you have a local caddie or did you bring your own?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I brought a good friend of mine to caddie for me.

Q. Not Mr. Donegan?
ROSS DRUMMOND: No, no, that would have been good if I had, obviously. Yeah, he would have liked that.

Q. What's his name?
ROSS DRUMMOND: His name is Duncan Kerr.

Q. Are you surprised that you never won on the European Tour? I mean obviously you played a lot of events and I bet you were near the top of the board a few times.
ROSS DRUMMOND: I'm not sure if I was surprised. I've certainly had a couple of chances, but to be honest I never really got myself in a winning position on a regular basis. I think that -- I think to win tournaments you have either got to get your self in a winning position on a regular basis and get comfortable playing in the last group and being in contention and I really didn't do that much.
I came from behind in a few occasions to come close, but I don't think I necessarily am surprised. I would like to have won, but I really didn't get myself in a winning position enough to actually step on to the winner's podium.

Q. Have you played in an Open Championship?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I've played, yeah I played in many, I think I played in 13 British Opens. I played one Senior British Open, which was last year.

Q. And what's your best finish in those 13 British Opens?
ROSS DRUMMOND: It was 30th.

Q. What year was that?
ROSS DRUMMOND: It was actually at, two 30th finishes at St. Andrews. I can only -- I'm not great at remembering dates. I think one of them might be 1985. Maybe when John Daly won, possibly. And the other one might have been around about the '80s. I don't have a great recall for what happens.

Q. How did you find the golf course? What did you, how did you see it and what's your impressions of it?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I really like the golf course. I think that it's a good test of golf. I think it's a course that if you play well and you're in control of your ball then you can certainly make some birdies.
Whereas last year when I played at Oak Hill I found that very, very difficult. I really, I struggled at Oak Hill. I think it was longer, it was longer and the rough was a lot thicker. If you missed the fairway you just had to chop it on to the fairway. If you missed the green it was very difficult to get up-and-down because the rough was so thick.
So we're not used to playing golf courses like that or I'm not used to playing golf courses like that. This year I think the greens are very difficult. I find them tough because they are so quick. I've coped with them quite well so far, other than a few disasters that -- I was bad to start with yesterday and on the first three holes, I 3-putted my 10th and I took 4-putts from the fringe of 12. So I started very shaky on the greens. But fortunately I managed to contain things.
The front nine, you have to play for position more so you don't have to hit drivers quite as much. But the back nine you can hit drivers on pretty much every par-4. So it's a tale of two nines. First nine's trickier, but you got a lot more birdie opportunities I would imagine.
It was just funny today that I made, I think I made four birdies on the back nine. But that's probably not the nine you would expect to make birdies. I think you would expect to make your score on the front nine.

Q. Do you think that your friends and fans back home, what's their reaction going to be when they pick up the paper and see you're leading this tournament?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I think that they're just going to be very happy for me. That's it. Wish me well over the last two days.

Q. A lot of players who are as talented as the guys out here, the ones who play professionally, if they don't win for a certain amount of time, especially if they believe they should, they lose interest in the game. They, and if they're financially set -- do you still love the game or is this something that you are doing, don't take this the wrong way, because it is your job and you need the money?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I just don't want to do anything else. I think that you are only, you're only in this world once. So you might as well do what you want to do. And I've always been a golf professional. I started, I was an assistant golf professional at Turnberry in Scotland, that's where I did my apprenticeship. I spent four years there. And as soon as I qualified for the European Tour, got a players card, and I played full-time golf since 1978.
So I've never done anything else. I don't want to do anything else. I don't want to -- if I'm involved in golf, then I want to play the game for a living. I think it's a wonderful way to make a living. You go out and play golf and somebody gives you a check at the end of it. Sometimes you would like it be a bigger check, but I think that we're so lucky to have the opportunity.
And so that's the way I look at it. I don't want to do anything else. And hopefully I can keep doing this for the next eight years or so and then I can retire happy.

Q. What's your home club? Do you have one?
ROSS DRUMMOND: I, I'm not a member of a club, but I play at the Dundonald Links, which is at Ayrshire and it's actually owned by Loch Lomond. And it's the second course for Loch Lomond.

Q. And I know that you've already said you're not going to get ahead of yourself, you're just going to worry about tomorrow, but on the whatever chance there is that Sunday comes and a certain Scotsman's name might still be on the top of the board would a pint or two be raised perhaps at your club?
ROSS DRUMMOND: Yes, I would say so.

Q. One or two?
ROSS DRUMMOND: There's no question about it, no. I think it will be one or two.

Q. That would be at Loch Lomond?
ROSS DRUMMOND: No, not Loch Lomond. Because I play at the Dundonald Links, which is close to my home in Prestwick at the Dundonald Links. It's owned by Loch Lomond.

Q. So that's the club, so I mean, allowing for the difference of time.
ROSS DRUMMOND: Not many people know me at Loch Lomond, but a few people do.

Q. But at the Dundonald Links they do?

Q. And one or two pints perhaps?
ROSS DRUMMOND: Yeah. I think I'll have a few myself.
KELLY ELBIN: For clarification, Ross's best finish in the Open Championship was a tie for 31st in both 1984 and 1995.
ROSS DRUMMOND: I was making it out as if I did better than did I actually.

Q. It's been 62 years since a European has won this tournament. Just thoughts about that. I know you don't want to think about winning, but why do you think that is and just talk about it.
ROSS DRUMMOND: Well, I think it's very difficult for Europeans to come over and compete in this arena. And on this type of golf course. Because as I said, we don't play golf courses like this.
I think that the greens are a lot faster than we're used to. It's quite hard to get it up-and-down. You need to manage your game so well and try and leave yourself in the right spots.
We tend to play golf courses that the rough isn't quite as bad and the greens are a lot flatter. So I don't know, maybe it's just that the golf course, the guys that are playing the Champions Tour play golf courses like this on a regular basis.
Plus, it's their home country, they probably feel a lot more relaxed. We, I don't know, not that you feel intimidated, but you come in here and it's a great field. There's a fantastic field assembled here and you just know that it's going to be difficult to compete.

Q. What was the first time you came to America?
ROSS DRUMMOND: First time I came to America was in 1977. And I worked at Bay Hill in Florida. That was just for a contact that my boss at Turnberry had with Mark McCormack and Arnold Palmer. And they gave me a winter job at Bay Hill, I spent three or four months and I worked on the golf course. The golf course maintenance. And I got to play as much golf as I wanted after I worked and on the weekends.
So since then I've been coming to the states quite regularly and I'm a very good friend, Gregor Jamieson is a golf director at Lake Nona. And we have been great pals since childhood. We played against each other in Scottish Boy's Championship, and we worked together at Turnberry under his father Bob Jamieson.
So we have been friends for many many years. So I visit Gregor, I don't know, once, twice a year. I stay with him at Lake Nona, play and practice and just hang out.
KELLY ELBIN: Ross Drummond, the leader in the clubhouse after two rounds at the Senior PGA Championship. Thank you, Ross.

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