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August 26, 2009

Alastair Forsyth


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Alastair, welcome to the Johnnie Walker Championship for 2009, you might want to tell us what it's like out there, what the players are going to find over the next few days when it's so wet.
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: It's going to play long, that's for sure. Certainly it's obviously a course I know quite well and I certainly hit some clubs into some holes today I'm not used to.
GORDON SIMPSON: Like what, for example?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: The 7th hole, the guys are driving a rescue and a 5-wood into that hole which normally you get down there and you're hitting a 7-iron. And it's basically heavy, the ball is not flying, and there's no run in the fairways, so it's playing very long, and that's even flat calm, well not flat calm. There was hardly a breath of wind, so it's not as if there were any holes straight into howling wind or anything like that.
So it's going to be long. And again, the greens are quite soft, so there are obviously footprints up here later on in the day.
GORDON SIMPSON: You've been a bit critical of your own game at the moment. Is it any better today?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: Just working on a couple of different things, so it wasn't actually too bad. I'm kind of working through a few changes at the moment so I'm looking a wee bit more at the bigger picture rather than just tomorrow. Obviously I want to do the best I can. I want to even just start making a few cuts and shooting a couple of half-decent scores to try to get a wee bit further up the Order of Merit. Obviously Dubai still has to be my kind of goal for the rest of the season. I'm about 85th I think in the Order of Merit, roundabout there. Obviously I've got to get to 60 I think. I'm 100,000 Euros behind 60th place, so if I can get my form back, that's not impossible. I've still got probably maybe ten events to do that, so plenty of money to play for, so if I can just get playing better, that's my target for the year.

Q. You said that your plan was just to simply play better, sounds like you were hitting the ball better today, does that give you confidence back, which is something you've spoke about the last couple of weeks?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: Not really, no. That will come with the results and if I can do better in practise. The first week has not been too bad. As I said, I'm working on a couple of different things. Today was okay. It wasn't brilliant, but I hit most of the fairways and most of the greens and that's what I've been struggling with. So it's quite important that I can get that part of my game better. I've been missing too many fairways and you know, not just by a couple of yards. But today I felt as if I never hit any waves. I felt like I missed the fairway only by a couple of yards. It's obviously a golf course you can't hit it wide because the rough is very thick. You're hacking out, if you're hitting off-line off the tee, you're not going to get around here. So the driving is going to be obviously important, so it was nice to drive it a wee bit better today.

Q. You say you know the course well. There's another change out there, I think is it 12?

Q. What do you think of that, and do you think the greens have come on to last year, as well?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: I think the greens have come on, yeah. They are still soft, and obviously I was out early this morning, so there wasn't an awful lot of traffic in front of them. I think in the greens are soft; there's nothing you can do about footprints. They are going to appear. That's just going to happen. There's nothing you can do about that.
I'm lucky enough, I'm half seven tomorrow, so I'll have no excuses on the greens because they are good and they are holding up. The pace is holding up very well, as well, and actually they are quite quick for the amount of rain we've had. So I the only issue is they will be a wee bit soft and obviously the afternoon guys will have it tricky.
12 is okay. It's a good hole, it's a good par 4. I have to be honest I liked it as a good par 5. It was a par 5 where unless you're in a strong wind you could get up in two but it was by no means a giveaway. I thought it would have been a good hole; if you're looking ahead to Ryder Cups, I thought it would be a good Ryder Cup hole, fourballs, and guys having a go at the greens, you might see the odd eagle. And for whatever reason, something to do with the grandstands or something like that, is that the reason why it's been moved?
No, it's a good par 4. Obviously it's playing long today and I hit a decent drive and a 5-wood today. Third guy, hit an iron or something like that. That's an example of how it was playing today but no, it is a good hole, yeah.

Q. When your form is not what you'd hoped it would be, is playing at home where there's a greater expectation a benefit in terms of inspiring you, or is it a hindrance almost?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: It's a bit -- I think even if your form is good, it can be a bit of both, because you don't want -- you don't want your partner turning up and you're playing terrible. But obviously you want to play well for them as well.
It's always nice to see people here, even some people that I don't know still come to watch. You all get a few people coming to see the Scottish players which is always nice.
The best I always find for me is Loch Lomond. I always get a serious ticket rush going for Loch Lomond, but it's not quite so hectic here. It's just a wee bit further up the road from where I come from, so it's not quite as busy.

Q. You've maybe got a couple of people watching you, are you conscious in your own mind that of a couple of thousand of them maybe 12 of them are almost family and friends; can you almost separate them in a sense?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: You can always spot familiar faces and generally I'm more -- people who are coming and what days they are coming and that sort, and obviously people turn up that I wasn't expecting or members from the golf course will come up and watch me for a few holes. It's basically if I'm doing okay.
No, you just get on with it. It's something you just get used to. People come to the golf tournaments to watch, and it's all part and parcel if you're playing well; and you get there and done well in the past and you get on a Sunday and it's really busy and it's great, that's what it's all about. You want to get out there and there's people shuffling about and trying to get a few of what's going on, you want to be there in the mix where people are actually wanting to come and see you.

Q. Regarding state of Scottish golf, there have been comments about Scots not performing?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: As usual, there's an awful lot getting said about how not performing and should be doing better. I suppose that's a fair point because we do have a lot of good players who are maybe not performing the way they can. I think there's too much getting said about it to be fair and I can really only speak about myself.
As I said, my form has not been good of late, but I know if I get form back and a bit of consistency and playing the way that I can play, then I can get in contention for that next year. Then. Obviously it's a goal but it's a long-term goal. It's not -- if I'm playing next week, I'm not going to turn up and say, well, this is the start of The Ryder Cup points, I'm there to do well. I think it really only start to come interesting toward the end of the year of the qualifying process.

Q. What do you think you need to do to get into the Ryder Cup team?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: I think for somebody like myself and for the rest of the Scots it's the same; if you're not playing, exempt for the majors and not playing in the world golf events, then you're going to have to win like a Wentworth, a PGA at Wentworth or a Scottish Open or something like that. I think Ollie Wilson was the only guy last time that was on the team that had not won, but he had obviously had a lot of seconds and big results in the big tournaments where the big points are and where the big money is. For somebody outside who is not playing regularly in the majors and the world golf events, you're going to have to probably win one of the big ones.

Q. It was interesting what you said there, you think too much gets made of it, and I think in fairness to you that perhaps we are at least partially responsible for that I suppose. Do you think there's an element of the expectation exceeds the realism in terms of you've got a couple hundred golfers in Europe competing at a high level, for us to expect Scots to be in contention and winning regularly?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: I think it boils down to two things. I think we haven't replaced, maybe like Monty is not the player that he was that dominated European golf for so long. He was an exceptional talent and he was Scotland's No. 1, Britain's No. 1, Europe's No. 1 for a long time and he was arguably world No. 1; I don't know if he ever actually was in the rankings, but he was practically the best player in the world. So we haven't replaced him. We haven't really replaced Sandy or Sam, who were regular winners on Tour.
But the other side of the coin is it was a hell of a lot easier to win on Tour back then. And that's not taking anything away from some of the -- Sandy was world No. 1 and he was the best player for a long time, and Sam's won fantastic events, even Ryder Cup player a couple of times and tournament winner. I think combining those two things, we don't quite have the styles that we had. We have a lot of good players, I don't need to name them, who have won on Tour. And if you can win on Tour, you can play, that's for sure.
I think just a lot of guys, myself included, are not consistent enough. Some of the guys obviously have played quite a lot with the guys in practise and I've spent time on the range, and they can really, really play, that's for sure. And why the results are not as good, I don't know, but I think it's just a consistency thing and also it's not easy to win. It's hard; the standard is very, very good and it's getting better all the time. And you look at the young players coming on Tour every year, guys that you never heard of are going and performing brilliantly to win tournaments, guys that I've never heard of, I heard a guy won, something like--
GORDON SIMPSON: Yes, Jeppe Huldahl.
GORDON SIMPSON: So of a 156 field, who can generally win then?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: Everybody, just about everybody. I think you've to always got a few invites and the odd person that turns up that maybe doesn't have a chance, but of a field of 156, 120 I would say could win the tournament. There's another guy that won in the Czech Republic.
GORDON SIMPSON: Oskar Henningsson.
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: Yeah, guys that have maybe just come from Tour School and things and they are winning tournaments, so the standard, I've said it so many times but the standard is better and better and better every single year.

Q. Why do you think so many of the Amateurs, young amateurs are coming through and winning and playing very well very quickly? This never used to be the case.
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: I think it's like a lack of fear. There was an aura about a tour player, if you like, I think whereas now they don't really have that fear. They realise quickly that their game is at that level. I think the amateur game is obviously -- the standard is better and better in that as well. I would assume going by the standard coming on Tour, but it's not an easy transition. If you can get over the kind of initial, you're playing for a living, you're now a I professional, you're playing with and against different players; I think if you can get over that -- over that quickly, you'll realise your game is good enough and a lot of these guys obviously do now because they are coming out of the box and winning right away and doing fairly well.
Again I think it's a standard thing but there's also a wee bit of they don't have the same fear of big names that maybe they used to.

Q. How would you advise someone like Callum Maccaulay who is already on Tour, coming from the amateur world, how would you advise them to get over this gap?
ALASTAIR FORSYTH: I think trust your own ability. I think these guys that won the Eisenhower Trophy last year, which was a good one for Scotland, Callum showed what he was capable of, second place in Madeira and a couple of other good results and he's very close to keeping his card, so hopefully he'll get through that.
For him that will be his first year under his belt and he will have learned a hell of a lot in that year. And he'll now realise that he can go and finish second at Madeira, his game is good enough. And for the other guys, they have had a little taste of it. I think they have maybe had invites to some of the Scottish events, I think Loch Lomond, things like that, they will have maybe one or two Challenge Tour events. They will go there and see that there's nothing to be scared of; that they are good enough and just trust your game, play your own game, because any day, that's the only one you've got. It's your own game that went and won the Eisenhower and won the other things, the other amateur tournaments they have won. So trust your ability and don't try and do anything different. Do your own thing, and if you're good enough, then you'll be fine.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

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