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May 27, 2009

Ross Fisher


RODDY WILLIAMS: Ross, thanks very much for coming in and joining us, and welcome back as defending champion. Obviously terrific win last year, and no doubt the final round at Wentworth has given you a certain spring in your step coming in, as well.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, really nice to be back. Got great memories of this place last year. Just looking forward to obviously getting out there and playing and obviously it's second time I'll have experienced defending a title.
So obviously thoroughly looking forward to that, and like you say, coming off a really good week last week at the BMW PGA. So game is in good shape and looking forward to this week coming on.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Any memories that stand out here?
ROSS FISHER: Obviously opening with 62 was a bit special. You know, finishing with six birdies; holing a bunker shot on the 7th to get my fourth in a row; just keeping the lead Friday and Saturday and obviously playing in those brutal conditions Sunday and shooting a really solid 6 and obviously finishing the way I did.
So it's quite a few good memories from last year.

Q. You knew you had to do something pretty special on Sunday to have a chance and you managed to do it. Is that difficult mentally to do?
ROSS FISHER: Last week or last year?

Q. Sunday.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, it was always going to be very difficult. I mean, I was five shots behind Paul at the start of the day, so he obviously was playing some great golf. I witnessed it Thursday, Friday.
I was a little bit surprised that he finished up 8-under on Friday. I thought after holing his second shot on 13 to get to 10-under, I figured, well, he's probably going to finish I would say 12, and then to slip back, and then I shot 73 to be I think five behind. So he kind of let a lot of players back into the tournament. He could have really opened the gap.
I knew I had to shoot a good round Saturday and I did that and put myself into position, and obviously Sunday, it was always going to be difficult. It was a big deficit to catch up, but you know, I felt confident and my game was in good shape.
I just tried to chase as much as I could and, you know, had a dream front nine, really. Going out in 4-under was as good as it really could have been. I had some really good, key par saves on the first and the third, and then kind of started a birdie run and just wanted to try and give myself an opportunity on the back nine and obviously started with a birdie on 10.
I think possibly if I had holed the putt on 15, maybe I might have had a real good chance. I had good chances on 13, 15 and 16, and obviously to see the putt slide by on 18 was disappointing.
But I can't really complain too much, going out and shooting a 64 in the final round with that pressure on with my home crowd, home course, two years prior shooting 20 shoots more, having the lead; it was a lot fonder memories finishing Sunday this year than it was two years ago, that's for sure.

Q. Looking at the intensity you have as you played that back nine on Sunday under so much pressure, does that tell you that you can do it at any level under any pressure, or does it give you a hint that you might be able to do it in a major?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think so. That's what we want to go out and try to do all the time. You want to put yourself under that pressure in that situation week-in, week-out, and I'm no different.
Obviously for me, I took a tremendous amount of satisfaction and confidence that I could actually step up to the plate and go out and shoot such a great score like I did on Sunday.
So you know, it was in one of our biggest events, and that made it extra special. And from a personal standpoint, it's my home club in front of my home fans, walking up 18 hearing that reception was just one that I'll never forget.
You know, it definitely gives yourself confidence knowing that you can do it, and fingers crossed, I've got three more majors, so if I can do that in a major and put myself into contention, that would be doubly special.

Q. You sort of said, sit down on Sunday evening, yeah, I really can do this.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think so. I think Sunday proved it.
Obviously I have to try and put myself into the position again and again to actually give myself an opportunity to do that. But I feel like if I play to my capabilities, then yeah, I have a chance to put myself into contention come Sunday, and who knows, could go out there and shoot lights-out again.

Q. On a tangent, were you surprised to see a young guy doing exactly the same thing, and, in fact, going on to win at Baltray in his first tournament? How did that strike you as a performance?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, obviously don't really know a lot about Shane, but it was just an unbelievable performance.
First two days, I think he was on the same side of the draw as myself. I think we got slightly worse conditions on the Thursday morning, but obviously Friday afternoon, we had it perfect. But you know, hats off to him. He took full advantage of that, and he shot 62.
I actually witnessed 61 from G-Mac, 61 or 60, so it was out there. But to go and do it -- it's one thing for it to be out there, but to go and do it, is incredible. I witnessed G-Mac; but for Shane to do it as an amateur in front of your home crowd, as well, that was a tremendous effort.
He just went on from there Saturday and Sunday, and fortunately I was at the airport, I was watching the fitness and saw him and Rocky battling. I know Rocky quite well and he's knocked on the door a few times. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't cheering for Rocky, because I really wanted him to win. But it wasn't meant to be for him.
But it's a heck of an achievement for -- what's that, the second time an amateur has won on The European Tour. It just shows there's so much strength and depth on our tour. Anyone can go out and win at any given stage. Obviously delighted for Shane. He's obviously now enjoying the pro ranks, and I think this week is his first week, so it will be interesting to see how he fares this week.

Q. And of course you're stablemates.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, we are. He's getting looked after by a decent fellow there just sitting at the back.
Yeah, it would be nice to meet him at some point this week. I've heard good things from Conor and from G-Mac, lovely lad, so happy to have him on board. It's always great to have winners under the same management company, Graeme and myself and now Shane. I think the standpoint from Horizon looks very, very strong.

Q. You got it to 5-, or 6-under at the first round of the Masters, and then you stalled a bit, had a not-so-good second round. If you got into that position in the U.S. Open, are you more confident that you would go on now, having been through it?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think so. Obviously the Masters was a great experience for me. My first Masters, I couldn't have expected much more from what I did. I got my name on the leaderboard after 16 holes, 5-under. Unfortunately slipped up with two bogeys, but you know, I took a lot from that week.
It was a tough week and it was my first experience, and it's a week that I'll remember for a very long time, and it's one that I look forward to going back many, many times again, because not only myself, but like Adam, we feel it's a course that suits my game and it's one that we feel that I have a good chance of winning at least one, or many, many majors around that course, because it does fit my eye really well. I think it's a course that I'll get to know more and more over the years that I play it. But obviously looking forward to going back many more years.
But as for obviously getting myself into position for the U.S. Open, you know, just the more times you get yourself in position, the more comfortable you get, really.
You know, I've been fortunate, this is only my fourth year, I've experienced it quite a lot now. I'm getting used to it now and I'm handling the situation better, and I'm getting used to the pressure situation, and obviously last week proved that. I got myself into position, 4-, 5-, 6-under, and I didn't stall and pressed on and actually finished 8-under. So if I can get myself into those positions and go and shoot those scores in majors, I'll be delighted.

Q. You sound as though you believe that you have the ability to win majors.
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, definitely, I don't see why not. I've experienced a few majors now, and that's where I'm sure all of the other guys playing on The European Tour and playing golf, that's where we all want to be. We want to be in the biggest and the best tournaments in the world. We want to be playing against the best players in the world, because you know, what better stage to test yourself against the best on the best stage and on the biggest stage.
So, yeah, I relish the challenge of the big worldwide golf tournaments, majors, WGCs, obviously last week is our biggest event bar the majors. I just really look forward to competing against the best players. I know what I'm capable of doing. I've won twice and if I can just keep doing the things that I'm doing, you know who, knows if I can put myself into those positions more frequently. I know that there's definitely more wins in me.

Q. And who is the first Englishman to win a major after Faldo?
ROSS FISHER: Who will be?

Q. Who will be.
ROSS FISHER: Difficult. Obviously Paul is playing tremendously well. I'd like to think that I've got a chance. Justin Rose, as well, Luke Donald; there's a lot of talent out there.
But you know, if I would be the first one to do it, then great. If I wasn't, then I wouldn't be too disappointed. But you know, there's a lot of talent out there and hopefully I can give myself a chance in the three remaining majors this year.

Q. On Sunday we had this remarkable stat, three players in the top six that have come through local foundation schemes, and Paul talked about how his parents couldn't have afforded to send him to Foxhills and he didn't think he would be sitting there on Sunday night without it. Does that mirror your own circumstances?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I think so. It's definitely for me to say whether I would or I wouldn't be, but if it wasn't for the situation that I got with with Wentworth, then maybe it wouldn't have happened.
It's a difficult question to answer but I do know that they have helped me a tremendous amount. I was lucky enough to get in there when I was 13 and just absolutely loved the place from the minute I got there. I enjoyed my junior golf and went on to play amateur golf, represented Wentworth, played club matches, played for the county, got into the English team.
I owe them a great deal of thanks and gratitude. They gave me my big break at 13, and they have supported me throughout my career, and obviously turning professional, I was representing Wentworth and still have Wentworth attached to my name.
So it's a great place to be associated with, and you know, like I say, I owe them a great deal. That was the first club that I was a member of and it's the first and only club I've been a member of from a very young age, and that's where I grew up. That's where I learned everything I know now about golf. Yeah, it's a truly special place, and I owe them a great deal.

Q. Do you pay attention to the foundation scheme, what's going on there now?
ROSS FISHER: A little bit. Obviously being on Tour, it's very, very difficult, just when you do get time off, you quite enjoy having time to yourself.
I obviously go out to Wentworth a fair bit and practice and see all of the juniors out there practicing and obviously striving to achieve what I'm doing. So it's great to see the scholarship scheme still going on strong.
Last week I was fortunate enough to meet one of the newest scholars there who actually had a hole-in-one in his first round on Wentworth. So they have got a great setup there. They have got a great scheme and obviously from a personal point of view, they have produced players like myself and Sam Osborne that's not on Tour yet, but I think he still will be.
And hopefully they will continue to breed success, and like I say, hopefully the guys that are coming behind me, fingers crossed, they will be out on Tour just like myself one day.

Q. Did you ever doubt that you would reach the level that you've reached and to be able to sit here and say that you can challenge in the majors and expect to win some? Was there ever a doubt in your mind?
ROSS FISHER: Without meaning to sound big-headed, no. I just had total belief in myself. This is what I have always wanted to do. I've been playing golf since I was 3. So ever since I picked up a club, I was hooked on the game. You know, getting into Wentworth, playing amateur golf, getting on to the national team, turning professional, getting out here was just something I always dreamed of doing.
I love playing golf and I love going out there and competing and challenging for tournaments, seeing your name up in lights, obviously talking to you guys, knowing you're doing something right. Hopefully that can continue, and yeah, I just have a very positive outlook on life and on my golf and I know what I'm capable of doing. But at the same time, you know, I don't want to come across as being big-headed. I'm quite laid back, quite chilled, but at the same time, I'm very confident in my own ability.

Q. What about The Open and links golf, does that fit the eye?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, I really enjoyed links golf, as an amateur, we played nothing but links golf. So I've grown up playing quite a fair bit of links golf. Obviously the Lytham Trophy, you play that every year, and St. Andrews Links, obviously playing four rounds at the Dunhill. I've experienced two opens to date.
So, yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I actually went to Turnberry to do a golf day last year before the Dunhill, so got a glimpse of the course. It is going to be very difficult and it is going to be challenging. Hopefully if the game stays in good shape, you know, fingers crossed, I'll be playing that week because my wife is expecting on the Tuesday.
So whether I'll be there playing or not is another matter, but you know, if I may, then I'll be ready and really looking forward to the challenge.

Q. Will you go to play the course again before that?
ROSS FISHER: Probably not, no. I'll play the U.S. Open, Germany, take a week off and then play Loch Lomond and then The Open.
I've played there obviously last year before the Dunhill, and you know, I think as much as it would be good to go and see it, I'd probably rather wait until it's in condition for what it's going to be like for The Open. I'll make sure I'm up there obviously on the Sunday, possibly on the Monday, maybe play the course a couple of times, get some good practice in and come Thursday make sure I'm ready to go.

Q. And what's your baby strategy? If you actually get there and tee off, do you have it completely open or if something happens back home, will you leave?
ROSS FISHER: Put it this way: I think the phone will be on constantly all week and assuming something happens, no matter what's going on, I think I'll be straight out of there.
It's something that I've dreamt about for a long, long time and it's something that I certainly don't want to miss out on that. I'm sure you guys have got kids yourself, and there's plenty more opens for me to play in. I'm only 28, so I've got a long -- hopefully a long and prosperous career for me.
You know, the birth of your first child, I'm sure that's something you guys didn't want to miss and I'm certainly no different. When the time does come, I'll be trying to get out there so I'm there in time.

Q. Six-shot lead and a round to play?
ROSS FISHER: Six-shot lead and a round to play, I'll still be on a plane getting out of there. Politically correct. (Laughter).

Q. The way you were playing last year, would you have won on any course, or does this course suit you? It has not changed much since last year.
ROSS FISHER: It's changed a bit. I was fortunate, I came back and played on my dad's 60th. He just wanted to come and play here with myself and one of my good friends and one of his friends, so we came and played.
It's changed a little bit. They have got I think four or five new tees and they have re-shaped the eighth green. But I think this week it all depends on weather. Last year, I'd say we got lucky, we had the right wind for the course last year; whereas when I played last month, the wind was totally the opposite, and holes like 8, you couldn't get anywhere near in two. The third, the par 3, was a 4-iron, as opposed to an 8-, or 9-iron.
It's very much weather-dependent. Today is obviously not going to be the best, but I hear the forecast for the week is supposed to be quite sunny. You know, if it's windy like last year, you know, great. Hopefully it's the same direction, and hopefully I can try and pull out some of the golf that I produced last year.
You know, it was probably one of the most flawless weeks of golf I've ever played. To go out and shoot 63 without seeing the course was just a dream start, and it just went on from there.
So if I can try and recapture some of the golf I played last year, you know, that would be great. It's going to be very difficult this year, it's a very strong field, and happy to be here and playing well.
So, I'm looking forward to the challenge.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Ross, thanks very much and good luck.

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