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October 2, 2009

Richie Ramsay


SCOTT CROCKETT: Richie, many thanks for coming in and joining us, and congratulations on another very good day here at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. Give us your thoughts on where you are today in particular and at the halfway stage.
RICHIE RAMSAY: Obviously St. Andrews is a special place and you want to do your best here. Carnoustie was tough. You kind of feel St. Andrews is a bit more of a scorable course, and especially a day there wasn't too much wind. So if you're playing good, you could really sort of take it low out there.
Started off really solid and again just played to my game plan, plenty of fairways, smart play, could go at pins when I could see the shot and when I didn't, played smart, especially on 17.
And then I got a nice run going on the back nine, made a few birdies on the spin there. Played solid. A little hiccup on 8 with a 3-putt but overall very happy with the day. I still feel there are some shots out there that I can improve on, especially maybe some short irons, but I hit two really close to four and five feet. And one on 7 -- sorry, one on 6 and one on 7, and you know that, kept the momentum going.
So overall, a really good day and fantastic to shoot a good score around St. Andrews. You watch it all the time as a boy, guys shooting scores to win tournaments here, and it's nice to sort of just have that score under our belt on a fantastic course and obviously a massive tournament.
SCOTT CROCKETT: I know you've done a lot of work on your putting recently, and it's a course where you need to putt well here, and it looks like you did.
RICHIE RAMSAY: I did. I shaved a few hedges, had a couple of lipouts but holed some nice putts. Very steady. I've worked really, really hard on my putting. I've travelled to the States to work on my putting in the winter, and just because you realize when you're out here, these guys are so good, and if you can't get the short game going, then you're going to struggle to compete.
So I spent time in Atlanta working out there, because the greens are fantastic at the Golf Club in Georgia, and I'm going to come back here, obviously with a chance to work at Royal Aberdeen. So I've just worked really hard and I spoke to Phil Kenyon (ph) know who is with the S Partners (ph) on Tuesday morning and we had a little bit of a look and also consulted with Matt Blackie (ph) on Tuesday morning from TaylorMade and we changed up the lie on the putter a bit just to change around the hands, the hand position. We felt it was a little bit too high and the heal of the putter was coming up.
It seems to being working because my stroke is great and I'm hitting on some fantastic lines, and when I get the read going, I'm really confident that I can hole some putts. But you've still got to hit the shots, and off the tee I was as solid as ever. And my iron play was good and I'm just finishing off the chances. It's just holing some putts.
It's funny you just feel like you've played this well the whole year but you're not at the top all the time.

Q. Is that your lowest score on the Old Course?
RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, I'm pretty sure it is. I played it a few times in some university matches when we played the R&A, but that's off the forward tee, so that's a little bit like cheating. Off the back tees, yeah, it's the low scores.

Q. What about the St. Andrews Links, did you play much in that?
RICHIE RAMSAY: I played a couple of times but as you know, typical amateur conditions prevailed and there was a bit of wind and a bit of rain whenever you got the score going.
I think after playing on courses on Tour, you start to get the feeling of playing harder courses and maybe longer courses. So when you come to the Old Course, your perception of it that you can score a bit more because in Scotland we tend to play shorter courses.
So when you play short links courses and you come to the Old Course, you perceive it as being more of a challenge, and I think that's the difference in the confidence, because I know that I played that length course a lot of time and I can go out and compete on it. And when I stand on the first tee, you feel that you can shoot a low score.

Q. Which St. Andrews Opens do you remember watching as a boy?
RICHIE RAMSAY: I remember Faldo. I remember Faldo, I remember Jack Nicklaus and seeing the highlights. I remember Tiger obviously when he didn't hit it in the bunker. The most memories I actually have is I used to come down here and watch the Alfred Dunhill Cup every year, and I remember watching Coltart and Monty and I think it was Gordon Brown, junior, and I remember the year Canada won, as well, when they had like Dave Gibson or something, three names that I couldn't -- Dave Barr, all those guys. I remember watching them and that was great.
I remember watching Olazábal and Garcia when he was young, and all of these guys, and that was a great format. It's fantastic to now be inside the ropes and producing the scores. And I'm sure there's kids out there hopefully that are watching it in six, seven years time who will be in my position.

Q. You had the best round of the day at Carnoustie, but you were three behind, so how did you sort of approach it? You didn't mentally take yourself as the leader in this and go out?
RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, you have to think -- obviously it's not a sprint. Different scores mean different things on different courses.
I just treated it as a really good start, fantastic start, and something that I can build on. Obviously Thomas's 8-under at Kingsbarns was a great score, as well, but you kind of feel sometimes you can get Carnoustie out of the way, you can maybe score on the other two. Like I say, it was just a great start and you want to have a good score today and keep at the top of the leaderboard and keep that buzz going.

Q. Obviously the forecast for tomorrow is strong winds. I'm sure you'll be glad you're not going to be at Carnoustie tomorrow, if that's the case.
RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, if I had the pick of three courses, I think the last one would be Carnoustie I would pick.
The other two have got a bit more space off the tee for you. But you know, you've got to kind of say that it's three courses, it's the same for every entry like that, but I think I have maybe a slight advantage playing Kingsbarns.

Q. Someone said the other day that they thought Kingsbarns on a windy day, the greens were very, very difficult.
RICHIE RAMSAY: Yeah, that is one part of it. They are very slopey greens, and you're going to have to be able to miss it on the correct side and leave yourself good leaves. But being a links player myself, I'm used to that. Obviously you can be 30 yards short but you'd rather be 30 yards short than three yards through the green and have a downwind, downhill chip.
So I'll know where to position myself and I know the greens there, and I still think there could be a score to be had out at Kingsbarns. But it's going to be tough for everybody, but the standard of golf is so high here that you know that the guys are going to produce some good scores even though the conditions are, well, probably going to be pretty tough.

Q. All week you've had this refreshing free-wheeling attitude, and now you're top of the leaderboard, is it harder to try to maintain that more laid-back stance?
RICHIE RAMSAY: It probably is, but I was going down the back nine -- well, the front nine, my back nine today, and there was a few scoreboards out there, and you could obviously see that I was doing well.
To be honest, I just kept on playing and kept that perspective. You've got to almost treat it like, well, nothing has changed, so why change the perspective.
I'm at the top of the leaderboard and I'm playing great, just swing it the same and keep the attitude the same and keep it going. I still think the best way to put the score together is not concentrate on numbers. If I can stand at the end of the tournament and say I played some really good golf out there, committed 100 per cent, that's the best I can possibly do, and if my score puts me out of the top, you've just got to sort of deal with that.

Q. Did you say The Country Club of Georgia?
RICHIE RAMSAY: The Golf Club of Georgia.

Q. Seems a long way to go for putting practice, point No. 1. Secondly, is there someone there with whom you work, and thirdly, if so, what's his name, or if indeed he isn't there, is he somewhere else -- and a fifthly, yeah.
RICHIE RAMSAY: Well, if you have ever been there or you are ever fortunate enough to go there and play, it's not far to travel when you see the courses, because they are in unbelievable condition. I'm very fortunate to be a life member there through my U.S. Amateur, and the greens are really, really good.
So I go out there, and I work with my coach, Ian Rae, but I've worked with Phil and Matt on my putting and I just take the things that we are looking to work on out there and I'm allowed some good time in good weather on good greens to go and practice. There's a guy there, the director of golf, Jeff Paton, that I do some chipping with, and he spends some time with me just on the short game.
I just love going out there. It's a fantastic place, and I'm very fortunate to be a member there and the members are great to me, and obviously when the weather sets in the winter here, being in America is a fantastic place. I've always enjoyed being there, and I think that was one of the reasons why I did well at the U.S. Amateur. Does that answer all the questions?
SCOTT CROCKETT: You got all five there, Richie. Well done.

Q. Before you came into this event, are you starting to perhaps think about winning?
RICHIE RAMSAY: I think when I teed it up, you want to win the event probably. You have to go in with that attitude. You may not do it, but you've got to believe in yourself; that if you play well enough, and you can finish off your chances, then you can do well in the tournament. Maybe not win it, but you can definitely finish high up there.
I think I've got to just take the same attitude that I've had the first two rounds and just think to myself, playing great, don't change anything, just go out there, believe in yourself, swing at it really good and just trust myself.
It sounds hard, you've just got to go out there and hit your target and pick the shot and be confident. And I've struggled a little bit with that, but I realise -- one of the things I realized watching that program the other week, if you hit a bad shot, it doesn't really mean that much. Whereas before, I kind of preyed on it a bit. But if you stand up there and commit to hitting a great shot, then brilliant but if you don't just go up there and get up-and-down and make it as a challenge. Because I did a little bit of work with Bob Rotella and he was just saying, you know, Padraig goes out there and if he is not playing well, he just thinks, I could shoot 2-under today and just chip-and-putt and just show everybody how good my putting is. And if you miss a green, I'm going to get up-and-down here, I'm going to hit it close.
That's the kind of attitude you have to have. You have to be positive all the time, and I think sometimes Scottish skepticism can creep in occasionally, and I think it's that sort of positive mentality that you've got to keep.

Q. The last time you were in this position at halfway, you had some issues to deal with which led to a sleepless night; those issues aside, what can you take from that experience that you can benefit from the next two days?
RICHIE RAMSAY: I think being -- just generally being in the lead of a big competition. Obviously there's cameras and people walking around with you, but I felt quite comfortable in it and I played really well, and I feel that Wales was a tournament that got away from me, that I really felt I could have done better. I felt I could have won it.
And when I looked the week after, I thought to myself, I've just gone out there and played and I played great the first two rounds, and could have been leading by more than that, four or five, and I didn't play to my best and I still finished high up, not too far off the leaderboard. It started making me believe that I had played well the weekend, I could have won that tournament. And self-belief is a big thing, and obviously when you look at that, it gave me a bit more belief in my game and a bit more heart from the fact that, okay, I finished ninth or 10th, but it was a tournament that I could have won.
And until you come out here, you don't get perspective where the level of competition is. And that was one that kind of made me really believe that I could win a tournament out here.

Q. How prevalent is that Scottish skepticism that you talked about, and is it a difficult thing to fight?
RICHIE RAMSAY: It is a difficult thing to fight. I think again, I mentioned going to America, and the positive attitude they have out there is unbelievable. I played with -- there's a gentleman who has helped me out over the last few years, Dick Gilbert, and I played with him. We go out there and we play our match and we have a great laugh and he comes in and he said, "Right, go away, play well your next tournament and go out and win it." And you kind of think to yourself, what's he telling me that for? Why should I go out and win it.
And he's like, well, "Why can't you win it?" And that's not an answer to that. He said, "You can go out and do well." I think they are a lot more positive out there. You see a lot the American golfers -- I think in Europe we are technically really good, but I think in America there's a lot of guys who just know how to score and who know how to play, and a lot of that is mental. They just believe in themselves a lot more.

Q. The other side of that coin, could you give an example of how it is in your estimation in Scotland?
RICHIE RAMSAY: I just think we have always had a natural kind of -- if you go out there and play well, then great. But you know, sort of -- it's almost like sometimes people can be waiting for you to trip up, and I think there's been a lot written about Scottish golf, and we have got to be a lot more positive. If there's a problem with being skeptical about it and being harsh on people to look to solve their problems -- I think we have got some fantastic golfers and I think we need to sort of go out there and write more about how well we have done. Looking at the Eisenhower Trophy, we won that. We won the European Championships this year in amateur golf. Not long ago we won the World Cup.
Okay, we are waiting for someone big to come along and win a big tournament, but I think we are naturally just a little bit skeptical of guys and we can be a bit too negative too quick. Whereas, I think you need to go out there and tell people that we are proud of what we have achieved and really kind of believe that we are a strong golfing nation and we are going with the plans that the SGU and the R&A have helped with the past few years, and not sit back and moan about it, but actually be positive and do something about it.
I think the guys, Dave and Al, just qualified for it (World Cup), that isn't easy to go through the qualifying process. And they didn't have to go to Estonia, but they chose to play in the tournament and they went there and they qualified for it, and Dave and Al are two really good players. I'm sure they will do well there. We have got a good record, so there's no reason why they can't go out and shoot a good number and see them at the top of the board.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Okay, Richie, thanks very much.

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