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April 17, 2010

Ricky Barnes


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Ricky Barnes into the interview after a 5-under par 66, currently at 9-under par through 54 holes.
Ricky, just a continuation of your good play last week. Tied for 10th at the Masters and you're still going strong. Comment on the day, if you can.
RICKY BARNES: A lot of birdies today. There was some accessible pins today, I think that's what led to a lot of the good play out there, and then some of the easier holes -- some of the tougher holes were playing kind of downwind, so we were able to get to home on some of those par-5s early on.
But I played well. It was kind of an up-and-down day until the 11th hole, and then I really swung well on the way in. I think I birdied four of my last seven to have a good finish.
JOHN BUSH: This is your 10th made cut of the year. I think last year it was in October when you made your 10th of the season. Just comment on how much confidence you have right now.
RICKY BARNES: A lot. I've played really well. I think I've made, like you said, 10 cuts. The only cut I think I missed was by a shot at Pebble. And I actually played pretty good golf, which I was a little disappointed. I feel good. I kind of had a two-week break after Phoenix, which was home for me. Kind of rejuvenated the batteries and I wanted to be tournament tested before Augusta and stuff like that.
So this is my fifth tournament in a row. Made all the cuts. I feel like I'm playing well. I'm swinging well. My distance control has been good. That's led to a lot of the birdies, not only this week, but even last week.

Q. How many times have you played here?
RICKY BARNES: This is my first time, actually. I went into Thursday's round playing the front nine blind. That's how tired I was after Augusta. I went over Monday after The Masters, came in Tuesday, was completely out of it. And then I actually played the back nine before the Pro Am on Wednesday. So I actually hadn't played nine holes until Wednesday.

Q. With that, how difficult is it to transition from Augusta to here, having never seen this course before, it's so different?
RICKY BARNES: I think what helps you is the tree line here. It helps zone you in on your targets. It's pretty tree lined, you're pretty focused on your targets. You better hit it straight. If you're driving it well and you're decently aggressive off the tee and get it rolling, you shouldn't have too long of shots. Like I said, I've been able to manage the wind and the trees pretty well so far this week, and that's led to good distance control with irons, and I've put myself in the right spots on the greens.

Q. Did you see any of the leaderboards out there? Everybody bunched up with the same number, did you think anything about that?
RICKY BARNES: I saw good rounds early. Actually I didn't see a leaderboard until I really got it going myself, because I was 1-under through 12 holes or something, and then I got to 5-under. I know guys were going low early. I saw 7, 6, a couple of 5's, something like that.
You knew if they were going low, and my big thing was I knew in the afternoon it was going to play a little tougher with the wind, if I could hang around, you know, just a little bit, whether it was in three or four shots in the lead, you know, anything can happen on Sunday out here, because we are so bunched.

Q. How much more comfortable have you gotten each day as you played the course a little bit more? And is that kind of why you played a little bit better?
RICKY BARNES: I think so. I definitely think Thursday my second nine, I started on the back. I had to trust my caddie a lot. I'm telling you, I didn't really walk it. I think I saw two holes on the front nine, 1 and 9. Other than that I just kind of trusted my caddie. It definitely helps to get around there, because you can miss the greens, they're small, in a few good shots here, and be able to have a pretty easy or aggressive chip. And I think it's in any other golf course, too, the more you play it, the more familiar you are and know how the ball is bouncing on the greens, as well.

Q. I think you played five tournaments in a row, are you more wired to keep the momentum going and not take a week off? Because a lot of golfers take a week off after The Masters, for instance. You want to keep going? Maybe it's a football mentality?
RICKY BARNES: I committed to five in a row. And I was kind of set on that. I think even if I would have won last week, I would have still played here. I had commitments. I had commitments to Monday after Masters with Hootie and the Blowfish. I woke up early Monday morning and drove from Augusta to there, and from there to here Monday night.
But I feel like I'm playing well. But after that week, you know, not so much physically, I think I can handle a lot of that because I can take a day or two off. But mentally, I feel like I'm getting in the zones. I've been playing this week and actually just kind of shutting it down right after. And because of that I feel like I'm swinging well. I don't want to find anything on the range or anything that I want to work on. I'm going to look forward to going out tomorrow and ending a great five-week stretch.

Q. Golfers talk about, I guess it depends on the individual, whether they just want to keep it going, others like to take breaks a little bit more regularly, more often?
RICKY BARNES: I think a lot has to do with how you're playing it, too. A lot of guys play the same golf courses every year, and certain golf courses fit their eye, whatever it may be. Coming out of my category last year, you played everything you got into, so you had to go 4, 5, 6 in a row, because you didn't know the next one you were going to get into.
This year I've been able to set up my schedule a little bit easier. I've been in a couple of the Majors, which has helped taking a week off before or after.
For me I like to play a lot. If I'm getting ready for a tournament, I like to play a couple of weeks before. But five in a row is enough for me.

Q. Unless somebody runs away later this afternoon looks like it could be really, really compacted at the top. Does that change the way you go out tomorrow, knowing there's 15 guys a shot or two apart?
RICKY BARNES: No. If you hang around and stay patient, there are birdie holes out there. I figure if I go out and drive it like I have been this week, zone in on some irons, get past a few of the holes that par is a good score, that guys are, I'm sure tomorrow, if the wind is down early, are going to have some good rounds and post a score. But if you stay patient there's going to be enough guys around there that you can move up, too.
JOHN BUSH: Let's go through just a few of the birdies. You bogeyed No. 1 the first two rounds, but got it today.
RICKY BARNES: Finally got it back, I've been three-putting that hole. Great solid drive, good second shot, gosh, about ten feet right behind the hole. Great way to start the day, kind of. I've been hitting that tree every day.
JOHN BUSH: 15 has been giving you a tough time this week, and you birdied that one today.
RICKY BARNES: The first day -- I've hit the fairway every day, I think, you know. Yesterday laid up to an awkward yardage and I three-putted it. And that's kind of been the thing. I was really looking forward to getting that one back. Hit a great drive, hit a great 2-iron right at the punch bunker, just missed the green right and chipped it up to about two feet, just mark it and tap it in.
JOHN BUSH: The one on 18.
RICKY BARNES: That was a great way to finish. Bombed a 3-wood up there. I had a great soft 9-iron yardage to skip it all the way back there, landed in the front and everything runs to the back, and I think again I had about ten feet there. Made a good solid three in a row.
JOHN BUSH: Good luck tomorrow.

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