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May 24, 2009

Rory Sabbatini


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome the 2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship winner Rory Sabbatini to the interview room. Wonderful final round, 6-under 64, clearly got the job done. With the win you move inside the Top 10 in FedExCup points, to No. 7 specifically, and your 64 today was the second lowest score by any winner, so you've got to feel obviously good for a lot of reasons. Just a few comments on where we are now.
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, you know, obviously I knew I just needed to get off to a good start today, just hit a couple good shots, give myself a couple good looks at birdies and try and just let the round develop. You know, I managed to get off to a good start, putting the ball in the fairway, putting it on the greens and giving myself some looks at it, and then obviously things developed pretty well. It was evident again today that my putter was still on form and my short game was still performing well.
You know, I was absolutely ecstatic to get things rolling. Obviously I saw some low scores out there, and I knew I was going to have to go out there and play well in order to maintain my position.

Q. Was this a good day for you to be in the lead, given the aggression that you were able to play with? You were still firing at the pins on 17. Can you talk about that hole in particular?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, obviously it's always nice to go out there when you're in the lead or co-lead going into the final round and go out there and play well, you know, continue to put on a good performance. That's obviously key. You know, obviously this golf course, as we all know, tends to be one of the last on 17, so you can't take anything for granted.
When we got up to that hole today, you know, the numbers just set up perfectly for me to hit a cut 8-iron. You know, it's too easy to try and get a little cautious, then play safe and make a mistake. I decided to pick the shot I wanted just left of the hole and cut it back to the hole and just be aggressive. I knew that I had the perfect club so just go ahead and hit it, and it worked out perfectly for me. And then obviously making the putt was an added bonus because it gave me that extra little cushion coming up the last hole.

Q. Obviously a lot of emotion for you today, first win in two years, Byron's tournament, wearing the pink for Phil. Talk about the emotions for you today.
RORY SABBATINI: Obviously this tournament is very special. I've had reasonably good success here in the past, and it's one that I wish I had have been able to win it and look up and see Byron sitting there at the 18th green. It would have meant a lot. But Peggy being here today was special, and obviously his name and his legend lives on with this tournament and with the Salesmanship Club and just in north Texas here.
You know, what a wonderful name to be associated with now. Obviously absolutely amazing man, one of the greatest names in the history of the sport, and just really, there's no words to express how much honor there is to be associated with him.

Q. Just kind of adding to that question about playing at home, is there something to that, just sleeping in your own bed, just kind of being comfortable and maybe coming out this weekend? You seemed pretty relaxed even Wednesday at the pro-am.
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, definitely. Obviously last night I had the ability to go home and battle with my children and other stuff, so my focus wasn't ever thinking about golf. From the time I left the golf course yesterday until the time I arrived here this morning, there was no thought about golf. You know, obviously I knew I didn't hit the ball well yesterday, but I just said, you know what, it's time to just go relax, enjoy myself, recover, and I came out here this morning feeling very fresh and very relaxed and just went out there with the intent of just going out and having some fun and just remembering, it's just golf.

Q. Who won the battle with the kids?
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, come on, you should know better than that. The kids always win.

Q. Talk about the last couple weeks you've missed the cut, the last couple tournaments. What did you do in preparation for this tournament to get to where you are today?
RORY SABBATINI: Actually not a whole lot. I played a couple times last week but nothing in particular. Obviously I just -- as I said earlier on this week, I got sick at Wachovia and tried to play when I was really weak, and I think I just let a few bad habits creep in my swing trying to develop some power to carry it over to the next week. It was a little bit of a bad choice, but you know what, I managed to recover and bounce back from it.
That's one of the things I've always been struggling with in my career is to try and maintain a consistency. It's nice to see that that consistency is starting to develop. Obviously I had two bad weeks but I was able to flush those out and come back and play well.

Q. Speaking of those kids, two years ago when you won it obviously they weren't quite old enough. Did they understand what you had done when you were talking to them there at 18?
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, yes. Are you kidding me? My son is more of an avid golfer than anybody in this room. He wears me out. When I leave my job and go home, it's all about him and his golf. Really, every day I come home, like yesterday I come home, and he goes, "Good job, dad. You made lots of birdies." He knows what's going on. The beauty about it is just seeing the innocent joy in their eyes. It really helps things settle in.

Q. You might be aware you had a few fans watching you today. I'm wondering what it's like to put together a streak like you did of pretty flawless golf until 18 with all those people sort of yelling and family and friends. Does that help move you along?
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, I'll tell you what, the people out there watching, the spectators, friends, family that were out there supporting me, just they were fabulous. Obviously in the DFW area here we have some pretty fanatic sports fans, and it's a lot of fun to play in front of them, and it's fun to play well in front of them. Typically if you play bad in front of them they'll let you know you're playing badly. It's fun to go out there and play well. They were wonderful this week. It was an amazing atmosphere out there, and it was just very excitable.

Q. How about specifically the rowdies in the black shirts?
RORY SABBATINI: Well, there were quite a few of those out there today. You know, it was just a lot of fun to have that much support out there. It means a lot, and obviously I've taken my fair share of beating from the public in the past, but it's nice to be out there and hear positive comments, it really is.

Q. Talk about what it's like having one of your best friends fighting for his life with cancer right now and how that's also on your mind.
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, definitely. One of my best friends actually came up to the Masters this year, and this is a guy that's 6'2", 205, and showed up at Augusta, and he looks about 85 years old and pretty much just skin and bones. It really puts everything else that we do out here into perspective. It's tough. You know, it's tough to see someone going through that. You know, that's why when you think about Phil and Amy Mickelson going through what they're going through, it's something I haven't had to deal with, and I'm glad I haven't, in relationship being a direct member of my family. I just really hope and pray at that my buddy in Atlanta pulls through.
DOUG MILNE: If you don't mind real quickly before we wrap up run through your birdies. You had quite a few of them today. Give us some clubs and yardages the best you can remember.
RORY SABBATINI: No. 4, I hit driver off the tee, had like 121 to the hole, hit a pitching wedge to about 12 feet, made the putt there.
No. 5, I hit a 7-iron to about three feet, made birdie there, obviously.
6, I hit driver off the tee into the right rough, hit a 9-iron from about 160, came up just short of the green, chipped it to about ten feet, missed the putt.
7, hit driver off the tee into the left fairway bunker, hit an 8-iron center of the fairway, I think 116 we were to the hole. Hit a pitching wedge to about 10 feet and made that.
11, hit 7-iron off the fee, center of the fairway. Had 136 hole, hit a pitching wedge to about 10 feet, made that.
13, hit 8-iron to about six feet.
15, driver off the tee, right center of the fairway. Hit a 7-iron from 178 to about eight feet, made that.
16, hit driver into the first cut of the right rough. Hit 3-iron on the front edge of the green, putted it from about 20 feet, left that about six inches from the hole.
17, hit 8-iron about nine, ten feet behind the hole and made the putt there.
18, hit 3-iron off the tee into the fairway, hit a 7-iron from -- I think we were 171 hole, just over the back of the green. Chipped it to about four feet and missed the putt.

Q. Would you tell us what your friend's name is?
RORY SABBATINI: It's Bill Huseby.

Q. Is he a childhood friend, a college friend?
RORY SABBATINI: Actually I got to know him very well from all my years playing down at the BellSouth and actually was staying at his house when I had my first date with my wife.

Q. What kind of cancer does he have?
RORY SABBATINI: He's got Hodgkins lymphoma.
DOUG MILNE: Rory, congratulations, and best of luck as you head to Fort Worth where you won just two years ago.
RORY SABBATINI: Thank you. Appreciate it.

End of FastScripts

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