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October 22, 2009

Ricky Barnes


DOUG MILNE: Ricky Barnes, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. Six birdies, two bogeys, 4-under par, 66. Good playing today. I know that you're kind of on home turf here. Just a few comments about the state of your game, how you're feeling it come around as you try and recapture some of that U.S. Open performance.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I had a nice solid day today. Game has been feeling good, just haven't been improving anything. Kind of felt like I -- you know, recently, up to the US Open, I hadn't played all that great, or scored all that great.
But I've been playing well. Even last week in Turning Stone I played really good golf and missed the cut by one and two respectively. So coming here, you know, obviously played a lot of rounds out here at Grayhawk since moving up here from Tucson, going to college.
So good, solid round today. Wasn't how I wanted to start it. I bogeyed my first hole. But kind of hopped on the train real quick and birdied 11, 12, 15, and 18 to finish off the front side, which is the back side.
Just good, solid golf. Want to say I only missed two or three -- I only missed three greens today. One was a really easy up-and-down. Obviously I bogeyed the other two just by putting myself in a difficult position off the tee.
DOUG MILNE: Questions.

Q. You said you've been playing well but not scoring well. Looking at the stats, the putting kind of jumps out at you. Has that been kind of the issue over the last several weeks?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. I would be lying if I said it wasn't. That's been keeping me from getting a round going. For example, last week, you know, I go out and make a birdie. You know, have four good looks on the next three holes, meaning within let's say 20 feet and don't make any of them. Bogey the fifth hole and I'm even par. You feel like there's two bogeys in there instead of just one bogey.
So it's been frustrating. I mean, if you probably went on look at ShotLink today, it still really wasn't that great of a putting round today and I had six birdies.
So I like the way I'm hitting it. I even hit some good putts out there. It's starting to turn around. My coach came out the past two weeks and we've been working on it. Just gotta get a few to fall to make the cup look bigger.

Q. Who's your coach?
RICKY BARNES: Dean Reinmuth.

Q. Is it an advantage for you to be at home this week playing this golf course, or do you mostly play at TPC?
RICKY BARNES: No. When actually, I first moved here I practiced here a lot. I used to work with Peter Costas three and four years ago, something like that. He taught out of here, so I played here quite a bit.
I play in the Desert Marlin every year for the past four or five years, which is the pro scratch here in January. So I'm very familiar with it. You know, obviously it's not always set up like the PGA Tour event pin-wise, but definitely know what I like to hit off the tee, where I want to be, where I want to be to which pins are out here. So comfortable. Definitely familiar here.
Played probably the most here in Arizona, here and Whisper Rock.

Q. Looking back what was the U.S. Open experience like for you, that entire week?
RICKY BARNES: What? (Laughter) No, it was exciting. You know, like I said, I felt like I was playing well throughout the year. I was finishing middle of the pack and back of the pack after I made cuts. Just really good golf.
It's kind of fun to have my brother on the bag again. You know, almost capturing two USGA titles within four or five years with him would have been pretty cool. But, you know, I know that I'm close. I'm kind of coming out here and obviously go out and hopefully play well here the rest of the week starting with tomorrow.
I know I'm close. I know I have it in me to get out here and compete. Obviously I did it on the one of the biggest stages this year.

Q. D.A. Points was in here, and he was referring to when he played well at the Byron Nelson. He said, when you haven't been in that experience, like you finished second at the Open, there was almost a bit of a letdown after that. Did you experience that? I mean, you missed several cuts in a row. Was there a letdown after the Open or was it more just mechanical stuff?
RICKY BARNES: Or short game. I just wasn't making anything. You know, I wasn't scoring well. To say it was a letdown, not really. I actually played pretty well the few weeks following. Just didn't really get anything going there with Hartford and Tiger's tournament, the AT&T.
So I actually played pretty good golf after that. You know, and then I took a couple weeks off. But I'm close. I'm hitting the ball well. Just gotta go out there and hit fairways and hit greens. Like I said, this course you can get it going on. Even last week, you know -- we've been playing courses you can get 'em going on, and I'm just not getting 'em going.

Q. Are these conditions ideal for scoring out there?
RICKY BARNES: Perfect. Yeah, I mean. I probably haven't seen this course this good since I moved here, from the greens to the fairways to the weather.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if someone goes, 7-, 8-under this afternoon. Ball is flying good, so you're having short irons in if you're hitting the fairways. The greens are rolling really good. And a perfect pace to get things going. It's not like they're rolling 12 or 13. They're probably perfect at 10.5.11.
DOUG MILNE: After the U.S. Amateur, people predicted such great things for you instantly. It's been kind of a long, hard process for you. Has it been hard to be patient that things didn't come maybe as quickly as you thought they would come, or did you not buy into what everybody else was saying at that time.
RICKY BARNES: No one had higher expectations of myself than myself. So for it not to come right away, yeah, I mean, I was heated, mad, pissed off, what am I doing, all those things.
Then kind of settled in. Has a few good years out on the Nationwide Tour. Missed it by one year. Came back and had a really good year, progressed through there.
I think that's why you see guys adapt so quickly here out on this tour. Obviously been a few guys this year that have done pretty good being their first time getting out here. Mulder second time, but Leishman. Just a lot of guys that adapt really well, because the Nationwide Tour is so competitive week in and week out.
You play some good golf courses to come out here and you actually get ten more spots on the cut than the Nationwide Tour. So it's a great tour to develop on. I think it's obviously helped me mature throughout the years as well to be ready for when I did come out here.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, mature. I wanted them. I thought they are gonna come right away. Obviously you gotta believe that you're good enough, and I did. When results weren't coming my way, there's always gonna be doubt.
So there's probably a solid here year in there where I didn't have a good year. I think it was my second or third as a pro. I had a horrible year and got nothing going. Didn't have full status anywhere. When you don't have full status, then you start to -- a lot of things creeping in your mind.

Q. What's the biggest thing you learned from Bethpage and moving forward to next year and the year after, especially for the majors?
RICKY BARNES: I think right away it hasn't been much. I think I'll definitely learn from it when I get into that experience again. Obviously definitely confidence, you know, is the biggest thing, to know I can compete week in and week out with these guys. Too, when I get back in that spot I'll know what my tendencies are and I'll be able to walk slower and talk slower.
I knew where my misses were, what they were caused from in the Open. Obviously we've been working on that since then.

Q. Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday, were your emotions excited about the way you played or disappointed you didn't win it? Mixture of the two?
RICKY BARNES: Um, you know, Monday night I was still happy, you know, because we finished on the Monday. Tuesday, still a little bit. But if you were to give me second at the U.S. Open, I think everyone but one person in this world would probably take it. So it is what it is.
You know, I was a qualifier. I didn't have my spot going into that week. I wasn't getting into that many tournaments because I was the Q-School Nationwide category, and a lot of guys get in right after the Open.
So I was in a -- it was a good thing for me, you know. I'll grow from it.

Q. You mentioned some of the frustration with your putting. Have you felt like you've been rolling the ball well and they're just not dropping? Is it reading the greens? Pace? What exactly is it?
RICKY BARNES: It's been a lot. It's a little bit everything. Mainly probably stroke-wise. I have a tendency to come up out of it and kind of slide the putter to the left and get out of my putt.
So my big thing is keeping my head still. That tends to get the ball rolling end over end better, as opposed to when I come up. I tend to leave a few putts just short or breaking off just the edge, so...
Once you miss that, and if you actually do hit a good roll and you lip out, then it's kind of -- you know, you get even more heated because, Oh, I hit a good putt and that didn't go in, and so on and so on.
DOUG MILNE: Just run us through your birdies and give us some clubs and yardages as best you remember.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. We started out on the back nine.
11, driver, 5-wood just short of the pin. Hit it up to about six feet and made the putt. That was kind of probably a good turning point for me, because it was early in the morning and I had just bogeyed a hole with a wedge in my hand.
Then 12, bombed a drive, 9-iron to about three feet.
15, driver right almost to the front edge. Hit it up there to about two feet, so kind of another good one.
Then 18, obviously a really good hole being a par-4 this week. Another good drive. Hit a 7-iron it about 12 feet under the pin 15 feet. A great hole to birdie. You always feel like you're stealing one if you birdie there.
Move on to No. 3. Driver, 8-iron, eight feet. Good roll downhill.
No. 4, actually hit it in two. Hit a driver, 5-wood to about 30 feet and two-putted for birdie. So, you know, good, solid golf. Look forward to -- I'll take six birdies each day the rest of this week.

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