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July 21, 2009

Bruce Vaughan


RODDY WILLIAMS: Bruce, thanks very much for coming in and joining us and welcome to the Senior Open Championship Presented by MasterCard as, the defending champion. Give us your thoughts on being here at Sunningdale defending your title.
BRUCE VAUGHN: Feels great. Every week when we are playing at home, they announce, "The Senior Open Champion." It kind of gives you a little pump up on the first tee every week and stuff. It was pretty nice.
And the golf course, everybody has told me how good it was and stuff, and it is. It's a pleasure. It's a beautiful place.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Is this the first time you've been here to Sunningdale?
RODDY WILLIAMS: What stands out for you in particular?
BRUCE VAUGHN: I tell you what stands out the most is the trees. I wasn't expecting all the trees. You come over here and think it's going to be just like last week. But it's a beautiful place. I mean, rolling fairways and stuff. The greens are phenomenal.
I'm looking forward to it. Everybody I've talked to, I haven't heard one person say anything bad about this place. It's very nice.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Give us a sense of what your victory last year at Royal Troon meant to you and how exciting a victory that was for you.
BRUCE VAUGHN: I think it took me a while to figure out exactly what it meant to me. It was nice to win and stuff like that. I didn't really get the full magnitude of exactly what I did or didn't do and how big the tournament really was and stuff.
You know, it's helped me a lot. It's got me a lot of notoriety and stuff like that. It's nice for that, and plus from the players, get a little more respect and stuff like that. But it's taken a while to figure out exactly what I did do a little bit, but it's very nice.

Q. Coming back this year, The Open has taken on more significance on the English and U.K. side here after what Tom did last weekend. This is a fantastic field. It's going to be hard to defend, isn't it?
BRUCE VAUGHN: Yeah, I think any week it's hard to defend. But you know, it's defending champion, but it's just defending of the title. It's not the same golf course.
So like a lot of tournaments at home, you're defending on that course where you got good feelings of how you played this hole and how you played and stuff like that. So being in a different golf course, it's a little different because you don't know the course that well. You can't remember from where you know, where you hit it before and stuff like that.
As far as that, it's a little different.

Q. I meant, also, with the quality of the oppositions.
BRUCE VAUGHN: Yeah, they are all good players. You know, there was a lot of good players last year, too. You had almost the same scenario. You had Norman, he almost won The Open the week before and he was right there Sunday, too.
You know, I know winning here is just -- I know that if I play good, I know I've got a good chance to win. Not saying I'm going to win but I know when I play good, I can. And that's been a disappointment this year is I haven't played well. I haven't played well and stuff, and just I need to play good to do what I did last year and stuff.
I've been working on some things. Seems like the same old stuff: A guy wins a big tournament the guy makes some changes in his swing. Nobody's ever accused golfers of being smart. (Laughter).
But it's taken a little bit, and last week was probably the lowest point of my career, last week.

Q. What happened last week?
BRUCE VAUGHN: I hit it so bad. I mean, I had no clue where it was going. I just kept hitting toe-hooks right off the toe. I mean, it was bad. I finally just had enough of it after last week.
I'm doing something different; I don't care what I do, I'm doing something different. So I stayed there on Saturday and Sunday and I pounded balls till I got tired of hitting it the other way, and come down here yesterday and I played with Gene Jones a full round yesterday, commented that my swing's a lot better. It feels like what I was trying to get to before but I just couldn't figure out how to get there. And finally Saturday and Sunday, it kind of clicked a little bit, and actually went from the lowest point to excited to play again. So just have to see what happens.

Q. I think you live somewhere in Kansas; anywhere near Tom? Do you have any relationship with him based on where you live?
BRUCE VAUGHN: No. We are in the same state and that's about it. He's where civilisation is and I'm out in God's country. I say God's country because he's the only one that could love it. (Laughs) My wife's from South Africa and I told her, I said, "I'm taking you from the best climate in the world to the worst." (Laughing).
RODDY WILLIAMS: You're from the same state, but admiring Tom, I read a quote from you when you won last year, following up on what Tom had done three times before, meant an awful lot to you.
BRUCE VAUGHN: Last year when we were getting ready to go on the plane, he came up and congratulated me and said, "Way to go. Way to keep it in Kansas." It was pretty nice. He's like a four-hour drive from where I live.
RODDY WILLIAMS: What did you think of his achievement last week?
BRUCE VAUGHN: I seen him today. I guess yesterday he played right in front of us and I didn't see him, but today when I was playing, I think it was 14, he was on 2 or something and kind of right there, I motioned to his caddie, and he looked over my way and applauded him. It was phenomenal. I think he just got a little bit gooned on 18.
I mean, if that ball rolls a few inches farther, then he's chipping it back up -- instead of having it right against that cut. I think it makes a big difference, I really do. Or that ball could just easily have stopped and not go down that hill. What I seen on TV didn't look like it was going that hard. It could just have easily have stopped and he had have a pretty easy 2-putt. Where he was, looked to me like we have all been in that same situation that he's got to putt it out of that collar, and you can't really chip it because you're afraid if you don't hit it far enough, it will come right back down to you. So he's putting and he's putting a lot of topspin to it and just ran a little too far.
I mean, he can't be ashamed of what he did not finishing second, but the guy played great. I watched him a little bit on TV. He drove it good. He putted good. He's steady. I've said that from the get-go out here, I told my caddie once, I said, "Well, there's the man." He's always right there.
I got a chance to play with him earlier this year at Newport Beach and I tell you, I played with him and Joey Sindelar and I started off birdie, par, birdie, birdie and we get to the fifth tee and I'm still hitting last. (Laughter) He birdies the first four holes right out of the box. The guy is great. You know, for what he did, just proves that even though you're 50 years old, you can still play.
I did say one thing, that it had been a while since I'd been out to a regular TOUR event and stuff, and I mentioned, man, that ball leaves the driving range a lot faster than what I'm used to seeing. Those guys hit it forever versus the Champions Tour where it's not quite going out quite as fast. It was phenomenal.

Q. Obviously it's a parkland course this week and traditionally The Senior Open is on a links setup. Does it still have the same feeling?
BRUCE VAUGHN: This course? Not so much because of the trees, and you know there's no water. You don't see the ocean and stuff.
But as far as the other parts is, if you took away the trees, because it's the rolly hills and the pot bunkers and stuff like that and deep bunkers and stuff. But with the trees here, it kind of takes away from it a little bit.

Q. But for the players who are just coming for the first time, you come with sort of the tradition of links golf and everything that surrounds that, and you play your debut Senior Open at an inland course, for example. Does that make a difference to anyone, or is it still a big, big tournament?
BRUCE VAUGHN: I tell you, to put my name on that trophy again, I would be just as happy. No, if you had never come over here before it would be different than what we see at home on TV. But it's still the British Open, Senior British Open, I don't care. You can't take that title away.

Q. You had a lot of injuries before you won last year, are they behind you now?
BRUCE VAUGHN: No, they will never be behind me. It still hurts and stuff like that. I played last week and I had not walked, and playing this week and I've got to walk and I'm going to go back to the Senior U.S. Open next week and South Africa to walk again. The walking gets to me and stuff like that. It's just something I have to deal with.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Bruce, welcome and good luck in defending the title. Thank you.

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