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April 9, 2010

Ricky Barnes


Q. We spoke at the end of the day yesterday, you were the last group off the course, you turned and, conditions significantly different today. Tell me about the conditions. How were they?
RICKY BARNES: Greens were still kind of soft. Fairways softened up a little bit. But still scoring conditions. Except for the wind direction. The wind direction was almost a 180 from yesterday. We had some of the longer holes downwind yesterday and today obviously some of them played -- it was driver 8-iron into 18 or 9-iron last night and we had 5-irons in today.
So still played well. I told you last night I wanted to come out and hit solid shots, hit fairways and greens, and that's what I did. I think I missed, I want to say only two or three greens today and played solid golf.

Q. So regardless of what the final numbers are with the other competitors today you're in the hunt going into the weekend, what is your strategy and your experience in the last year to 18 months, has it steeled you to be in the hunt at the Masters?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I think that my last Major that I played in got me ready. The last Major I played in was the U.S. Open. It didn't get me in the British or the PGA last year. So I was looking forward to coming here and playing well. Every tournament that I go and play in I want to play well in and I want to compete. I put myself in a good spot after the first two rounds and hopefully I can make some more noise on the weekend.

Q. I know on the inside you're very serious about your game, but you seem like one of the guys that's out there that really enjoys the game, is that the case?
RICKY BARNES: I'm fiery, don't get me wrong, but I've been working really hard on that the last two years. It's gotten me into trouble a few times, but I know my game's good enough that if I do have a bad hole or two that I can bounce back and do it. I bogeyed 13, which was stupid today, come back and hit some great shots coming in, and finally get a birdie on 18 to finish.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: A few Ricky Bobby's which is nice too.

Q. You hit the ball well. What do you think about your game? How did your round go today?
RICKY BARNES: I played good. I had a lot of stress-free stuff going on yesterday and last night and fortunately I continued that on to today.
I hit two good shots and an okay drive on No. 1, but hit a good second shot, made four on 1. Four's always a good score.
I hit 2 in two and 2-putted. And it kind of just freed things up from there. I hit a lot of greens from 1 on in. I was just saying, I think I missed three greens today. All in the right spot, except for 13 was a stupid bogey. I just didn't hit a great layup shot.
But I bounced back. I hit a lot of really good shots after that, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 and finally got one on 18 to go in.

Q. Conditions a lot different today?
RICKY BARNES: Just the wind direction.

Q. Not stronger, just the way it's blowing?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I think it's wind direction. I think the greens are just as soft as last night. Obviously the fairways are a little softer so you're not running out as much.
But I would say it's the wind direction. You're playing certain holes that were downwind yesterday that played a little easier and some of the hard holes today are cornering into you, 11, 12, sorry, 11, 18. 12's bouncing around off the trees.
And then 13's and 15 are tougher to get home in two. You saw a lot of guys getting home yesterday with mid to long irons on 15 and 13 yesterday. And I know my group and other groups were probably laying up.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: I was putting the ball in good spots. You can hit a lot of greens out here and hit them in the wrong spots, but when I'm hitting them in the right spots, when I'm doing it and my distance control is good, I like my chances. At worst I had a lot of tap-ins for pars. And that's a huge thing out here. If you can take the most stress off of you for tapping in for par as opposed to grinding over 5-, 10-, 15-footers for par you're going to, it's going to make your life a lot easier.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: It's great. I was telling someone last night that I never really wanted to come back here unless I was playing as a pro. It's one thing to get invited by a member or something, and I would never turn it down, but I always wanted to come back here and play as a pro. And I'm here and I want to take it a step further and compete come Saturday and Sunday.

Q. Does that mean you haven't been back at all?
RICKY BARNES: No. No. I came back three weeks ago. I came to do some practice and some good work.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: It's calming. I know I've been in this position and I know I'm good enough to compete. I can hit the golf shots and get something done. I finished second last year and that was my last major that I played in. I didn't get into the British or the PGA. So I'm looking forward to this weekend. I'm going to get some good rest and maybe get a few reps in and look forward to the weekend.

Q. Why do you think you played well here Bethpage and here?
RICKY BARNES: I'm hitting it good. It just seems like a few times I've been telling people that I'm playing well and that kind of stuff and until you actually prove it they don't believe you. I felt like I was playing really good coming into here. Had a good ball striking week last week in Houston, didn't really get anything going.
But out here making a lot of pars is a good score and if you can take advantage of some good opportunities, that's what I've done. I think I had two bogeys through two rounds.

Q. Besides just playing well is there something about you and maybe a test like a U.S. Open or a Masters you need that to bring out the best golf in you?
RICKY BARNES: Well I wish that was the case. I definitely like golf courses that par's a good score. Sometimes grinding out a great par is better than some birdies out on this golf course and Major Championships, like a U.S. Open and here. And I've been fortunate enough to do that in the past Bethpage and here.
Also making, hitting it, hitting a lot of fairways and greens like I've been doing is stress-free. I had a lot of tap-ins for pars and I want to continue that this weekend. And keep putting the ball under the hole too. I've had a lot of good looks from 20, 25 feet uphill. Like we have always said, those are better than 12 and 13 foot downhill putts here.

Q. If you think back to 2003 what's your one enduring memory?
RICKY BARNES: Well, I mean there's nothing but good memories. I know I played in the -- everything was good. As an amateur I had nothing to lose, I was in the second to last group on Saturday, I might be in the same position tomorrow, you never know. I was a whisper away from getting back next year as a pro. Getting invited back.
So there's two more days left, I think we all know that nothing really happens until Saturday and Sunday anyway, but I feel like I'm playing well.

Q. Specifically though you played with Tiger those first two rounds how about memories of those two days. We made a big deal out of it.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, it was great. Just to know that I can compete in that kind of situation too. That was he was probably the No. 1 player in the world, who knows what the history will rewrite, but my first Masters played with Tiger Woods, I'm playing well. What more could you want?

Q. Do you need Andy on the bag to kick your butt a little bit to play like this or does it have nothing to do with it?
RICKY BARNES: It's good together. I've actually been playing pretty good golf this year, I know it hasn't shown it in a few of my finishes, but playing good golf. I think I've, I want to say I've played 10 tournaments, I made nine cuts and the only cuts I missed was by one.
So I'm playing good golf, so I don't think it's, it's not too surprising to me that I'm in the position that I'm in.

Q. What does he mean to you as a caddie?
RICKY BARNES: Oh, family, brother, it's always good to have him around. On the bag it's great because if there's anyone in the world that knows my golf game better than I do, it's him. So, but it's always nice to have him not only with me, staying with me, on the bag and we always have a good time.

Q. Is this the first time he's been on the bag since Bethpage?
RICKY BARNES: No, he caddied twice last year after.

Q. Is that the first time this year?
RICKY BARNES: Then he had to go back to school. First time this year. He came out of retirement.

Q. This is a big family thing, you got a lot of family off the course with your uncle and aunt?
RICKY BARNES: I got aunt, uncle, aunt, sister-in-law, I mean, yeah I got quite a few here. Some people from, sponsors from Oakley that I'm staying with. So we got a good crew out here and we're having a good time.

Q. At the risk of being blunt, why did it take so long for you to get back and what is better about your game now than it was three, four, five years ago?
RICKY BARNES: I know my game a little bit better. I'm definitely more mature. I know that I didn't have to mash it all over the place. Back then I was definitely longer. And this is a fickle game. It's a very humbling game as well. So why it has taken this long? Who knows. But you got to appreciate it when you're here.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: No one had higher expectations on me than myself. Maybe I put too much on it or whatever it was. But it was a good learning process. I went through the Nationwide Tour and I spent three or four years out there and once I got out here you kind of know the level that you have to, to keep your game week in and week out to compete.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: No, I wish I was.

Q. You're near Arizona, right?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, Phoenix.

Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: Big time Chargers. He's a Raiders fan, my brother is.

End of FastScripts

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