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June 5, 2010

Ricky Barnes


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Ricky Barnes to the interview room. Ricky shot a 10-under, 62 today. Ricky, if you'd talk about your round, and we'll go ahead and take some questions.
RICKY BARNES: Good ball striking round. Obviously, irons were probably the main key to the round. I got off to a great start. I think I made about a 35-footer on the 1st hole. Probably would have ran eight, nine feet by, and hit dead center and went in.
Got off to a good start. Got away with a few bad drives. Had them on the right holes. I think it was a par 5. And 18, I just kind of got into the bunker where I only had 8 iron in.
Other than that, I hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and took advantage of my good looks -- not those good looks. My good putting.

Q. You consider yourself a mudder? You did pretty good at Bethpage last year.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, you know, I hit kind of a lower ball. So taking off a lot of spin. I've been working a lot on hitting those 80 percent, 85 percent shots where, you know, we use it when you hit a 9 iron and it lands it's ripping back.
Not a lot of my shots did that today. My distance control is really good. I did that at Bethpage well. Obviously, I did it here.
So if I happen to play well in wet conditions, let it be.

Q. Do you recall, had you played with Tiger since back when you were doing your Open?
RICKY BARNES: I hadn't played with him since Olympia Fields, actually. We were talking about that.

Q. Ricky, how does this compare to some of the better rounds in your career, just in terms of how you felt out there?
RICKY BARNES: You know, I made some putts, you know, like I said, the first hole, and then, you know, I was converting on 12-, 15-footers.
As it comes around, yeah, it was great. You know, almost stopped the momentum. You know, when you're going good in a basketball game and the coach calls time-out, I was almost hoping that wasn't going to happen.
Came out right away, birdied the first hole back, 14 and 15. So it was good to get right back on that streak.

Q. You were kind of on the fast track, and then things got a little bumpy. Just talk about that transition. Did you just learn to become patient? How did you get to where you are today?
RICKY BARNES: Hard work. You know, patience is definitely a key. But hard work, you know. I had doubts. I think everyone gets humbled by this game. I was humbled pretty early in the transition period, you know, not being able to get my card. But, you know, stayed patient. Adjusting my attitude and hard work.

Q. Ricky, obviously, you had the big week 51 weeks ago, and then the rest of the year not a lot of high finishes. This year, if I recall off the top of my head, four top 10s coming in. It's been completely the opposite, consistent. Is there anything you can put your finger on there to explain that?
RICKY BARNES: Normally, off-season drop the clubs for three straight weeks, whether it be November, December, whatever it is. Didn't really do that this year. You know, I was pretty mad that I kind of only had one good week last year, and one week led to me getting my card, really. Made 90-some percent of my money to get my card.
So I was pretty pissed off actually. I was really disappointed in myself. I knew I was better than that. And it didn't help that we were going to change grooves.
So instead of dropping them for three weeks, I probably dropped them three or four days actually. Had a bunch of new grooves sent to me. And I was out grinding on my wedge game end of November, beginning of December, and I didn't want to let it slip away.
Even when I went home for the holidays, the weather was good enough that it didn't allow me to sit in and enjoy the rainy days in northern California. So I was out playing a lot in the off-season.

Q. What did you do during the weather break to kind of stay loose?
RICKY BARNES: We were in the holding house for about a half hour when they called us in. Came out, had a little good warmup, and it paid off.

Q. What did you do in the house?
RICKY BARNES: Watched TV, BS'd with the boys. Watched my Arizona Wildcats. Anyone know if they beat Washington in the ball game, semifinals? They were up 2-0.

Q. They probably won then.
RICKY BARNES: My brother's wife was an ex-U of A softball player.

Q. Ricky, you mentioned playing with Tiger at Olympia Fields. How did you handle it then? And obviously shooting 62 today, what was it like playing with him and shooting that kind of a number?
RICKY BARNES: Playing with him back then, you know, I was probably more -- I was probably more in awe at the Masters. So I'd already played with him a couple of rounds, carried over to Olympia Fields. So I knew the atmosphere, and it calmed me. I was able to make the cut in both of them.
When it comes to here, if anything, it helped me feed off the crowd. Tiger crowds are obviously the biggest out here on this Tour.
So as I was going well -- and, obviously, they're yelling for Tiger, they started to -- they'll embrace a good round as well. So I think, if anything, I was able to feed off the crowd, and it turned out to be good.

Q. You know, you and Furyk now have a low score of 62 playing with Tiger.
RICKY BARNES: That's good. Two U of A boys.

Q. I know you're worrying about your own game out there, but did you notice Tiger much? I mean, obviously, he's not played a whole lot. It's taken a little while to get back. Did he look like the same old Tiger to you? Can you tell?
RICKY BARNES: You know, I think it's probably tough to tell in one round, and obviously the conditions that we're in. I know he did well coming in. Hit a lot of good iron shots coming in. We all really did. Coming down the stretch, made a lot of irons at the pin. We were feeding a little off each other on the back nine.
I would say from the last seven holes, the whole group played pretty good.

Q. You said you changed your attitude. What exactly does that mean? In what way?
RICKY BARNES: You know, I'm a fiery guy. I'll show my emotions. I'll let them out a little bit. You know, withholding a little bit of them, walking slower, talking slower, and being patient, knowing, obviously, having a few good rounds breeds a little bit of confidence.
And then once I got a little confidence -- but I definitely knew I needed to change my attitude. I get hot under the collar pretty easily, and I've been doing that pretty well here the last, I would say, one full year.

Q. Could you just walk us through the eagle: Distance, clubs, scenarios, whatever you were talking about at the time.
RICKY BARNES: It's one of the best things about my game, I think, transitioning and playing better is the off-speed shots. I had 180 yards, probably playing 110 uphill, I hit a 9 iron. Wind was picking up coming into our face. I knew it was an easy wedge. It was the soft ground. I knew if I hit that pitching wedge up, I knew I was going to grab enough of it. It landed short of the pin. I knew I had plenty of club. 9 iron from 110.
Just happened one hop, stop, and then trickled in.

Q. Ricky, given how Tiger tried to work himself back into playing shape, do you find yourself saying maybe stick it in there, Tiger, or just stay focused on your own game?
RICKY BARNES: I stay focused on my own game. I was playing pretty well, so I don't worry about much. If anything, Dustin and Tiger were egging me on today. They were good playing partners.

Q. A 62 is good anywhere, but is it particularly satisfying in front of the world's number one ranked player?
RICKY BARNES: I think it probably got noticed a little bit more. I mean, obviously, the cameras were probably already in our group, so they didn't need to go anywhere.
Like you said, I'll take 62 anywhere, whether it's with my buddies or a Saturday at Memorial.

Q. And did Tiger make a comment to you about the round at all? He didn't to us.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. He said, hell of a round. You know, whatever, keep it going. And then he told me again in the playing tent. So even Steve was pumped. Cleaned my ball on 18, told me to put it in the hole.

Q. You said outside that, when you came out today, you were thinking maybe 65, 66. At what point did you kind of get the impression that this was going to be something more special than that?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, you know, I was coming out, trying to play well. I know we had ball in hand. Maybe be a little bit more aggressive out of the fairways and not worry about mud.
You know, probably after the eagle. You know, I was playing really good golf. Hit a great shot at 10 and converted there. I was playing pretty long today.
And then once you make the eagle, kind of cruising at 4 or 5 under and then go to 7 through 11. I think that's the first time where you think, you know, this could definitely be a round where I cannot only make a little move on the leaders, I can maybe, you know, play in one of the last two or three groups, last group, last two groups on Sunday.

Q. Just I'm sure you didn't leave many shots out there on a 62. The putt on 17, though, looked like you had the right line.
RICKY BARNES: I was going to say, I bet you you could hit that any other day of the year here, and that putt's not going to stay short. I think that was just probably a little bit of the moisture, and my caddie and I were pretty -- I had it right in the heart. If that's there, it's right in the heart.
I just thought it was going to be super fast coming off that hill.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Ricky. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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