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September 10, 2009

Rory Sabbatini


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Rory Sabbatini into the interview room after a 5-under par 66. Rory, a little bit of a shaky start for you, but then solid golf the rest of the way. If we can just get your comments on your round.
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, you know, all in all, I felt like I hit the ball really well today. I drove it obviously very well out there, and on this golf course that's key because just since the redesign they've made it a lot more of a chess game around the greens. You have to put it in the right quadrant on the green and be in the fairway, so you have to have a lot more ability to do that.
I hit the ball great out there, and obviously if you give yourself opportunities and the putts drop, it takes a little bit of the pressure off and things start to happen. Today was one of those days.
JOHN BUSH: This is your seventh start at the BMW, back here at Cog Hill. Just comment on the week and how important it is for you. Currently 35th in the FedExCup standings, so obviously need some good play.
RORY SABBATINI: Well, obviously didn't play very well my last two weeks, but it's been a frustrating couple weeks, even maybe for a couple months. Just been hitting the ball well and just haven't been able to score, and ultimately in golf it's not how you hit it, it's how you score.
So I was just trying to think backwards, and just kind of was taking a little bit of wear on me. The situation is such; these things tend to break out of their cycles, and it was nice to get out there today and actually have a nice fun, relaxing round of golf.

Q. You alluded to this a little bit, but it's been kind of a tale of two seasons for you; up until you won, then since you won. Can you talk a little bit about what you've been through the last couple of months, what the problem has been?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, obviously the beauty about winning is you have the luxury of having that two-year period if there's something you want to work on in your game to be able to work on it. Obviously winning, I've just started to work on my swing a little bit and I've really been trying to work on shortening it up and making it a little more compact. It's been paying off, but obviously like anything else, when you start tweaking it takes time to adjust.
It took a little bit of time, but the funny thing is now, the past couple weeks I've felt like I've been really striking the ball well and just haven't been capitalizing on anything. It's a fickle game. You can go out there and hit good putts all day long, but if they're all burning the edge, it does you no good. The situation being, I just haven't been getting the ball in the hole, and today was a refreshing day.

Q. Since the Playoffs began, have you at any point looked at the points and thought about what you had to do to accomplish whatever goal you were trying to accomplish or do you not think about it or worry about it?
RORY SABBATINI: Well, the beauty of the Playoffs is real simple; if you win each week then you're fine. But unfortunately -- luckily for me I was in a position that I was able to miss the last two cuts and still be here this week. But the situation being is I've got to go out there for the next three days and do what I did today. I can't go out there and worry about where I've got to finish this weekend or anything like that.
If you're not paying attention to what you're doing on this golf course, this golf course will catch up to you. Ultimately I've just got to go out there and try to hit as good a shot as I can on every one, and hopefully at the end of the week the results will be good enough.

Q. Sorry if you've been asked this, but your necklace, just sort of curious about that.
RORY SABBATINI: I just change them up from time to time. I got this one in China last year, end of last year at the World Cup. They don't have no significant meaning or anything like that to me.

Q. What is it on there?
RORY SABBATINI: It's a dragon, and the Chinese symbol is the dragon.

Q. Two-part question: What are your thoughts on golf becoming an Olympic sport? And if Chicago wins for 2016, which might be the first time this happens, what's the best course you think Chicago has available, this one or maybe Medinah?
RORY SABBATINI: I'll give you a three-part answer. I think golf is fantastic that it finally got added into the Olympics. I think it's a great sport, a very competitive sport, and I think it'll add a new dimension for people to enjoy. Obviously with the advent of Tiger, it's become a worldwide sport, and it's something that I think has been lacking for the last couple of Olympics, so I think it's fantastic to see it added in there.
Secondly, I know what you want me to say.
And thirdly, yes, I would probably say Cog Hill. It's a fantastic course. They've done a good job with the redesign. They kept a lot of the look and the tradition of the course the same. I wouldn't say it's a redesign as much as I would say it's a facelift. They've really done a fantastic job. They've made it a little longer.
I'd say the biggest difference I've noticed has been the bunkers. They've made the bunkers a pretty severe penalty out there, and they've definitely given it a good, fresh look.

Q. Speaking of three parts, I'm wondering, did Greg give you a call over the last couple days and kind of tell you which way he was going to go with the captain's picks? And I'm wondering just what your thoughts are on Adam Scott and Ishikawa, since you were 11th in points and seemingly a guy who was on that consideration list.
RORY SABBATINI: Well, unfortunately there was no Freddie Couples and Greg Norman, but the situation is such. Obviously I've struggled over the past couple weeks, couple months, and if I'd been playing well, I'd have something to complain about, but the situation being is the International Team has got a lot of very qualified players on it. We all know any player is as good as their last performance.
Hopefully they'll go in there and have a good week and hopefully come back with the Cup. I think the U.S. has had their hands on it a little too long.

Q. Did he call you?

Q. Based on the course changes, what's the biggest adjustment you had to make in playing the golf course?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, that's why I say when they did what I call the facelift, they really didn't change a lot of the golf course. They kept the feel of the golf course the same. You know, they've definitely made it a lot more of a thinking golf course. You have to be a little bit more precarious out there. It's not as much of a free-wheeling course as it used to be. The penalties are a lot more severe.
Luckily for me I didn't have to make too many advantages because I hit it short enough now that I can't reach most of the bunkers. It was fantastic for me.
If I'm correct, please correct me, I heard Luke Donald was partially involved in some of the stuff they redesigned. Is that correct? That's just something I've heard. I don't know if that's true or not. If he was, then thanks to him, because he placed the bunkers just far enough out.

Q. Just to follow up on The Presidents Cup, were you surprised he picked Adam, given Adam's recent form?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, I think anyone in this room will admit that on any given stage Adam is definitely one of the top five players in the world. He does have a wealth of experience. He's a fantastic player. You know, the good news is he will be fresh and ready to go. And you know what, Adam, really, he's a fantastic player, and I wouldn't want to play him in match play because he's a tough player. I'm sure he'll go out there and put his best foot forward and try and help the team as much as he can.
I have no problems with any decisions made. But the situation is I hope they go out there and play well.

Q. After missing the last two cuts, were you resigned not to getting a pick or were you still hopeful?
RORY SABBATINI: Obviously there's always that hope. It's a little different if it was a year long thing as opposed to maybe a month or two. But the situation is such, as I said, if I'd been playing well over the past couple weeks and didn't get picked, I might have something to complain about. But you know what, the situation is such. I'm here this week; I'm going to focus on this.

Q. Just to follow up on that, did you have any conversations with Greg? Did he call you and explain --
RORY SABBATINI: There was not a single conversation or a single phone call, period.

Q. He didn't call you at all?
RORY SABBATINI: Not a single conversation, single phone call, period, from anybody.

Q. So were you a bit surprised about that?
RORY SABBATINI: You could say I was a little disappointed.

Q. A little bit about 5-under today and what it feels like to be the clubhouse leader at this point.
RORY SABBATINI: It's fantastic. I obviously haven't seen the inside of a tent in a while, so it's always fun. No, as I said, I drove the ball spectacularly today. I think Taylor Made has definitely made a product that I love, and I've had very few days where I can say I went out on the golf course and felt as comfortable as I did driving the golf ball. You know, it was almost like if I had the option of hitting a 4-iron off the tee or hitting driver, I could take the driver because I was hitting it so good. It was a relaxing day.
In golfing terms, that doesn't happen very often. You know, I was able to go out there and actually have a good time. Obviously Anthony played well, and we were -- it was just the two of us, so we had quite a bit of time to have conversations out there and relax, and it was definitely a very good day.

Q. Do you see places where this golf course can become very different with all the places there are to build yardage and move tees up and back, replace pins, et cetera?
RORY SABBATINI: They can make this golf course play four different ways four consecutive days. They can toughen it up and make it easier if they want, so the situation being you can't be too complacent out there. You have to go out there and you have to be focused on every shot because we all know golf is a strange game, and there's a lot of trouble lurking around this golf course. So you have to make sure you're definitely paying attention.
JOHN BUSH: Let's go through the card real quick. Bogey on No. 1.
RORY SABBATINI: Drove it in the fairway, had 172 left to the hole, hit an 8-iron just past the hole in the back fringe, chipped it up about four feet and missed it.
No. 3, drove it in the middle of the fairway, hit a 7-iron left of the green, chipped it in.

Q. How far was that chip-in?
RORY SABBATINI: 35, 40 feet. You're really testing my brain power now.
No. 4, driver off the tee, center of the fairway, hit a pitching wedge to about 30 feet, made that.
Bogey on 5, driver center of the fairway, hit 3-iron into the left bunker, hit it to about 12 feet, missed the putt.
No. 7, hit driver center of the fairway, hit a sand wedge from about -- I think we were 82 yards to the hole. Hit a sand wedge to about three feet, made the putt.
No. 8, hit driver off the tee, had about -- I think we were like 73 yards to the hole, hit a 60-degree sand wedge to about three feet.
13, driver, center of the fairway, hit a 7-iron to about six feet and made that.
15, driver, fairway -- pretty monotonous, I know. 3-iron to probably about 60 feet and two-putted it, putted it up to about a foot.
Next hole, driver, fairway, 8-iron from 176 to about six, seven feet. Actually, you know what, it was five feet, six inches. I read the board.

Q. On No. 7 where the pond is on the right, you flew it over the pond or went to the left of that? What was the strategy on that one?
RORY SABBATINI: Just went right over the middle of the pond.

Q. Did you have a debate about what to do on your tee or you were driving it so well you just --
RORY SABBATINI: No, I've actually hit three pretty good drives on that hole the past three days. It's an interesting change to the course. The bunkering on that hole is a little more enticing for people getting a little more aggressive and having a tendency to make a few more mistakes, especially to the right over there.
But you know, it's a good hole. They definitely made it a good risk-reward hole.
JOHN BUSH: Rory, great playing today. Keep it going the rest of the week.

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