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July 26, 2009

Loren Roberts


STEVE TODD: Loren, congratulations, Senior Open Champions 2009. How does that feel?
LOREN ROBERTS: It feels great. When I won back in '06, it was probably the biggest thrill of my life, just because you know, it was at Turnberry and we all know what happened last week at Turnberry and the history there.
Then to come here, at a golf course that I had never seen before, and absolutely fell in love with this golf course. I've never seen a golf course this beautiful as far as parkland setting and the bunkering and the heather, and it is just a fabulous golf course. To be able to struggle a little bit today and pull it out on the back nine and go onto win the playoff, a huge culmination of a lot of hard work for the last few months.
STEVE TODD: You join an illustrious group of players to have won the Senior Open Championship twice: Gary Player, Tom Watson, Bob Charles, and with a lot of the greats in the field this week, it must give you great satisfaction to have done that.
LOREN ROBERTS: It really does, a lot of great satisfaction. A very, very strong field, and just the fact that you would say my name along with those guys, that's pretty special for me.
STEVE TODD: How nervous was the playoff? You were pretty consistent in there.
LOREN ROBERTS: You know, I felt really -- in the playoff, I really felt good. Probably the best I felt all day. I think knowing I had to make at least one birdie to get in coming down the last two holes, and to hit just two really great shots, and make that 8-footer for birdie at 17 to get to 12 was huge. I got a little rambunctious in regulation on 18.
But I made the 4-footer coming back. After that, I just really felt good. I just hammered it up the 18th fairway every time, and unfortunately, Mark had struggled the third playoff hole, but I ended up prevailing in the end. I really wanted to make that putt on the second playoff hole, but as it turned out, par was good enough.

Q. Do you think maybe you might have lost it when you didn't make that putt the second time?
LOREN ROBERTS: Well, you know, Mark had a 4-footer coming back to save par, and that tricky little pin position with a lot of break around it; but I thought, well, that was a really good chance I let get away.
I got a bit too involved with the line and forgot about the speed there and just hit it short low of the hole. I thought, that's a good chance I let slip by. Especially after knocking it in the first time around, and Mark topped me.
But I ended up, the third playoff hole, I probably hit the best drive of the day up there. I was a little conservative on the way I played my wedge because I wanted to keep it underneath the hole. Obviously I was a little conservative with the approximate put, and 4 was good enough to win.

Q. I think you've won four of these in 19 attempts, 19 senior majors. What's the secret?
LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I don't think there's any secret. I think today, I didn't lose my head, which was good. I struggled a little bit early. I bogeyed the second hole after making a good birdie at the first, and then I bladed a wedge, a little chip shot wedge and made a bogey at 4. Missed a wedge at 9 and ended up making a good up-and-down for par. I struggled early.
But then I hit a couple of good shots, at 11 and 12, made two birdies there, probably the birdie at 12, that was a tough hole, that was key. Greg knocked it in for birdie there, and I made it on top of him to both get back to 10, and I knew that Fred was at 12. Then a good 2-putt at 13, and then making a good up-and-down birdie there at 14 to get to 11 was key.
Greg actually played really well from tee-to-green today and just didn't make any putts whatsoever. And then obviously he had his poor drive at 17 which kind of cost him the tournament.
To me, I got up there and I just really hit two perfect shots on that hole. Hit a 7-iron 167 and left it short right of the hole for a putt up the hole, eight, nine feet and knocked that in to get in the playoff. That was the tournament for me. I needed to have a birdie there, I thought, and it happened.

Q. You're obviously aware of Mark posting the score at that point.
LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, my caddie told me coming off, I think we were standing in the fairway there at 17 when he told me that he posted it. The board had him through 17 holes when we were on 16, and he said, well, he's just posted it.
So I knew I had to have something coming in.

Q. What was the putt you made, the crucial birdie, 12?
LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, I had probably about another 8- or 9-footer there, and I knocked that right in. Really, that got me some daylight. That got me back to double figures again. Once I got there, I thought, well, there are some birdie holes coming into the house.

Q. Fred got to 12-under pretty quickly today. Was there ever a point where you felt you needed to change your game plan and try to become a bit more aggressive to try to catch up?
LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, I did play a little more aggressively off the tee at 11. I didn't off of 10. But I did play aggressively off of 11 and the rest of the way in. And I hit a 3-wood, I've been hitting a little rescue club down there, and today I hit a 3-wood and knocked it down there for just a little chip short of the green there, get it up-and-down and make birdie.
And I think that turned my attitude quite a bit, because I really had struggled there for about four or five holes in the middle of the front nine, and that turned my attitude there, and hit really a good second shot in there on 12 and made that one, and that propelled me.

Q. What were you hitting off the 18th?
LOREN ROBERTS: I hit driver, driver every time.

Q. This gets you in St. Andrews next year.

Q. We just had a 59-year-old almost win The Open Championship last week. St. Andrews is a course for great putters, you're known as a great putter; your feelings about going to St. Andrews?
LOREN ROBERTS: Obviously we all know it as the home of golf, and it would be an honour to play there, it really will. I'm looking forward it.

Q. But there's been a lot of talk, Norman said it earlier, a 50-something-year-old to win a major championship. Do you feel that way as well?
LOREN ROBERTS: I will tell you that last week on Sunday, I shed some tiers. My wife and I both did. In my mind, I thought he won the championship. I thought he hit two great shots at 18 and it just -- I don't know what happened. Just a fade or it took one of those links bounces or something.
But of all the guys that I think that could do that, he would probably be the one because he hits the ball so good, and understands links golf better than I think than anybody that comes from the U.S., and he's so positive about the way he plays. That's what I've always admired about Tom, about how he sees the shot, decides what he's going to play, picks the club, hits it. He doesn't fiddle-faddle around. He's always positive that way.

Q. U.S. Senior Open next, you go into that now as the Senior Open Champion.
LOREN ROBERTS: That will be nice but I don't think I will get any respect from the other guys when I get there. (Laughter).

Q. Is that an unlikely double, given the distance and the difference?
LOREN ROBERTS: It would be nice. Hopefully I can ride a little wave of momentum here.
I've done my homework. I went up to Crooked Stick where it is this year and spent many days up there practising about three weeks ago. So I have done my homework already. So I should be a little bit more prepared than just showing up with a day to practise.

Q. Did you play there in '91 when Daly won?
LOREN ROBERTS: I played in '91, yes. Made the cut, finished, I don't remember how far back.

Q. What did you learn from your practise?
LOREN ROBERTS: Pete has put some new bunkers in. I don't think John will be hitting 9-irons to the par 5s anymore.

Q. So celebrate a momentous victory, you showed great composure at the end when Mark McNulty was in trouble with the delay and the shot into the 18th.
LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, I wasn't really thinking about what Mark was doing. I wanted to try to make birdie on the last hole. I hit my second -- once I hit my second shot, I did play a little more conservative after he hit his tee shot.
You know, I didn't want to be racing that thing by the hole. I wanted it keep it below the hole just a little short and just kind of put up the hill at it. It's tough to get in a playoff like that, and then he made birdie the first hole of the playoff and didn't win it; and then my main focus was try to hit a really good tee shot up there every time. The third time, I hit the best tee shot of all. I hit it down there, only had 106 yards to the front.
STEVE TODD: Congratulations.

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