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May 19, 2010

Rory Sabbatini


THE MODERATOR: I would like to welcome our defending champion, Rory Sabbatini. Last year Rory shot a final round 64 to win his fifth PGA TOUR tournament here at the Byron Nelson Championship. He has four top-25s here in his career, and this will be his 12th start here in Irving. If you would talk about last year, your memories and your thoughts coming in to defend this year.
RORY SABBATINI: Well, you know, last year was a wonderful week. Everything just went better than expected and it was a fantastic week, and it's been a fun year, just being associated with the tournament, with the Salesmanship Club, just getting the experience of what they do behind the scenes with the school and everything they do is just -- it's just been a fantastic year.

Q. So now you've been out there, how does it set up for you, as favorably as last year, the conditions? We talked about it being a more mature course.
RORY SABBATINI: The course is in fantastic shape, they've set it up fairly. It was -- definitely played longer today than yesterday, considering the wind but, you know, it's in fantastic condition, the greens are firm and getting faster as the week goes on, and obviously we'll see what the weather has in store for us there, but, no, they've really not made too many additions to the golf course, added a few yards here and there but nothing significant.
I like the changes they've made to the course. I think when they redesigned it they did a great job, and D. A. Weibring in the staff did a great job with it. So I think it's turning into what could be an exciting week.

Q. Rory, how big of a deal is it to you that the World Cup is in your homeland? And even though you're removed from it, how closely will you be following it?
RORY SABBATINI: It's been a long time since I've been involved in watching, especially the soccer scene, and it's going to be obviously very exciting and a wonderful experience for South Africa to host that. I know any nation that ever gets a World Cup is always one that enjoys it very much.
I think it could be a great time for South Africa, and I think there will be a lot of excitement obviously in the weeks coming up but my regards, I'll pay attention to what's going on, but I'm going to be remaining focused on what I'm doing. It's kind of selfish, but at the same time I've got to do my job and not get too distracted.

Q. When you play at a place where you've won, can that carry over? How much confidence do you have coming into this event?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, I would say that it definitely varies from course to course. When I won at Colonial and I went back the next year, you know, it becomes a situation on certain courses where you have to have a little bit of luck to win. You have to have things click in the right way. The one thing that I love about the redesign of the TPC course here is when they redesigned it they gave you the option of playing all the different types of shots.
But at the same time, it's one that they've kind of eliminated luck a little bit, because it comes down to -- if you're hitting the ball well, you're going to get rewarded for it. If you put the ball in the right spots, you're going to have great opportunities. If you put the ball in the right areas on the greens, you're going to have makable birdie putts, and if you don't, you're going to get penalized for it, and I believe that's the way traditional golf courses have always been designed.
I think D. A. Weibring did a fantastic job in bringing that back to this golf course. It's a golf course you go out there, and if you hit the shots, you'll shoot good scores.

Q. Is that why you said a couple months ago that it was more fun to play? Is that why? You can hit a lot of different shots?
RORY SABBATINI: Well, you know, when they did the redesign of the course they gave you a lot of different views off every tee box, so for a person like myself where I enjoy moving the ball both directions, you know, it's a course that when I stand up on each tee, I can very well visualize the shot that I want to hit.
There is a good starting point, there is always good targets to pick at, and there is a good finishing target, so for me that makes it a lot more simplified in the sense of being able to step up there and know exactly what I want to do and being able to do that and visualize it. You know, as I said earlier on, it's a course that I've played enough times, I think this is the only tournament other than Sony I've played every year since I've been on the TOUR, and I think the tournament being associated with Byron Nelson, I think Peggy Nelson representing Byron and the essence that he brought to the game out here is fantastic.
And you have the Salesmanship Club, they are the greatest group of guys to work with. They do a fantastic job with helping us be out here, be comfortable, enjoy ourselves during the week they make it easy on us. Ultimately they serve a cause that is really something that is so important to the D.F.W. area, so it's my honor to be here and representing the tournament.

Q. Rory, does the creativity of being -- of working the ball both ways make it more difficult to be a consistent golfer rather than a TOUR player that works the ball one way or the other?
RORY SABBATINI: It depends. Depends on how you look at it. You know, I've grown up my whole life doing that. I'm not a technical player; I'm very much a field player, so in that sense I'm actually just simplifying what I like to do by being able to visualize it every time.
The toughest part for me is when I get up on a golf course and I stand up on a hole and I can't quite pick out a shot. This course seems to fit my eye very well. But, yes, if you're a technical player and you start trying to move the ball both ways, it will make it tough on you.

Q. Given what you said about all the things to do here, the course being better, are you surprised that more guys aren't here? I know there is more than having World Top-10s and stuff like that, but you've got a lot of guys who have won here who aren't even here. Does that surprise you at all?
RORY SABBATINI: I am a little surprised. Personally a little disappointed. I think what makes this tournament such a great tournament obviously is it's held in a great venue in a great city, and it has one of the greatest names ever associated with the name of golf behind it. With Peggy being here and representing it, I see it in the sense as being a little disrespectful to Byron Nelson's name.
My opinion is if you won this event, it should be an honor to come back here, and, still, old past champions have the title of winning this tournament and it has Byron Nelson attached to it. So I think it would be great to see all those players here representing his name and their accomplishment in this tournament.
In regards to other players that haven't won it, I think maybe it's a tournament they should look at because I think it is a great venue, I think the golf course is a fair, well-designed golf course. I think it's played in front of spectators that appreciate the game, and they're very enthusiastic about their support, and it's a great venue to play.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Rory. Good luck this weekend.

End of FastScripts

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