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March 6, 2011

Rory Sabbatini


DOUG MILNE: We would like to welcome 2011 Honda Classic Champion, Rory Sabbatini. Great week, obviously not the easiest conditions in the world but you certainly made it look easy. You came away with a victory, your sixth on the PGA TOUR, and you pick up 500 FedExCup points, which moves you up to third in the FedExCup Standings. Just open up with a few comments about the week and we'll take a few questions.
RORY SABBATINI: You know, fantastic golf course. Extremely challenging. The preparation was incredible. You know, I guess there's a pretty good reason they call it the Bear Trap because if it doesn't get you one way, it's going to get awe another. It definitely caused some stress for me today. But you know, just a fantastic week, and just really thankful to be sitting here right now.
DOUG MILNE: As far as thankful goes, you've obviously been through a lot, you've had the skin cancer to overcome; so this has obviously got to be quite a special win for you.
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, definitely. I think my wife was pregnant twice before during two of my wins and this time thankfully she wasn't because I don't know if she could have handled the stress today. Definitely to me, every win out here is as special as the first one. They are all different. They are all unique and just what can I say? It was a fantastic week, and everything went great and it was just better than could be expected.

Q. The shot on 17, your tee shot, would you rather hit that shot before the delay or after the delay, and why?
RORY SABBATINI: I was glad I hit it when I did because it ended on the green. I don't think I would have changed anything (laughter).
It's a tough hole. You know, 15, 16, 17, you really just have to give those holes the respect that they deserve. Especially 15 and 17, they are just fantastic par 3s, and very challenging. So just both of them just mainly concerned with just putting the ball on the green and doing my work from there, so I'm just pretty content to have had it on the green at that time.

Q. What would you say about the way you responded when the lead got down to one, you must have felt particularly good about that.
RORY SABBATINI: Y.E., he played a fantastic round of golf today. He just came out there, he did what he had to do to put the pressure on me.
Lucky, I had enough of a cushion that I didn't get too concerned about it. After 15, I realized that, you know, hey, I need to maybe put a little pressure back on him. So I really just focused on 16 on putting together two good shots and two good strikes, and I managed to do that and gave myself an opportunity. And obviously converting the putt was just a huge bonus.

Q. When you go into a round with a big lead like that, do you brace yourself for the likelihood that most or all of it is going to disappear at some point and you need to respond to that; is that part of your thinking going in?
RORY SABBATINI: I knew going into today that if I shot even par, it was going to be tough to catch. But that everybody in the field is always capable of putting a low round together out there. So you can't get too complacent. You have to really still commit to what you're doing out there, and focusing on what you're doing.
If you do get opportunities to make birdies, you do need to make them out there.

Q. You talked about how difficult the Bear Trap is but you played them in 1-under par for the week. Were you aware of that and what did you hit into 16 today to set up the birdie putt?
RORY SABBATINI: After the round today, I thought about it, yes, I did play it 1-under. I just really tried to play those holes as smartly as I could and just try to eliminate any opportunity for some big numbers. I think any time you do that, you take a lot of pressure off. On 16, I hit a 6-iron in for my second shot. I believe I had 187 yards to the hole.

Q. Much was made about you switching to the different putter this week; how much confidence did you have on 16 as you stood over the birdie putt with that new putter and just confidence making the putt?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, it's actually quite bizarre. I've never quite had as much confidence in a new putter as I have in this one. After picking it up last week down in México and hitting a few putts with it, right away it just felt amazing to me. And was doing a little bit of work with it during the week, but obviously not using it during the tournament; and then getting here this week and doing some practice with it, it really just felt phenomenal. I can honestly say I think it was probably one of the smartest decisions I've ever made in my golf game.

Q. Y.E. talked about, he wanted to commend you for being so emotionally stable today; do you feel there's a new Rory out there that's you can control your emotions a little bit better?
RORY SABBATINI: I'm a passionate golfer, I really am. I love the game of golf and I've had my moments. I'm not proud of everything I've done out here, but I'm trying to learn. I'm trying to be a role model for my children and I know as my wife has said to me, I wouldn't want my son doing some of the things that I've done in the past.
So I definitely have to take into account that my son is old enough now that he understands everything that I do, and really try and be a role model for him.

Q. You were saying each win is as special as the first one. Can you just kind of put in perspective what this one means, particularly given the long drought with wins, and the spoils that come with this one, including the Masters and things like that?
RORY SABBATINI: Obviously, this win it's very special. As I said, each win kind of feels like the first and this one has its own unique qualities to it. It's been a stretch; had a tough road. My wife had some health issues with obviously the delivery of our baby, and it was a very concerning factor there. And then obviously me having to go through what I went through with my skin cancer, and then her father just went through it recently.
So it definitely is kind of a new -- turning of a new leaf, so it really does feel good. It does feel like a fresh start in a sense.

Q. What about like the Masters and stuff?
RORY SABBATINI: Oh, the Masters -- I love going and I love competing at the Masters.
But as I've always said, my goal every year is to get to Maui, because if you get to Maui, you've had a good year. I don't care if you win once, win twice, whatever. As long as you get to Maui, it's a rewarding year. I love being there, I love playing Kapalua. I think it's a fantastic spot. I'm just looking forward to being able to go there and relax and have an enjoyable week again.

Q. Was this your eighth tournament in a row?

Q. And so you'll have Doral nine; are you playing at Bay Hill?
RORY SABBATINI: I'm playing Tampa after Doral and then I think we might have to do a little conversing as to whether or not we are going to continue onto Bay Hill. My wife made me promise her that when I won, I'd take some time off (smiling).

Q. Why have you played so many in a row?
RORY SABBATINI: Just very simply, I've been feeling like things are going the right direction and trying to build on it each and every week. I felt like something good was going to happen. Really I guess trying to flush a win out. I guess if you flip a coin enough times, you are eventually going to ends on the right side. So kind of thought of it in that way.

Q. When you guys, as you just stated, talk about the tournaments that you're going to play and say, I'm going to play Bay Hill and I'm going to play Tampa, this is one of the few events where you actually use the company's name. No one says, I'm going to play the Waste Management Open. Why is it that this event -- do you call this the Honda? Do you say to your wife, I'm going to play the Honda? Why is it actually called by the name, the corporate name?
RORY SABBATINI: I guess I call the Sony the Sony.
It's just very simply: It's been a long-running sponsor. As I said today, it's the longest continual sponsor on the PGA TOUR. They have been a great supporter of the TOUR and I think everybody has just come to know it as the Honda. They don't call it anything else. That's the way it's recognized. It's one of the unique facets that this tournament has is it's been such a long-running and continuous sponsorship. Unlike a lot of events that are continually changing names, this one has remained very consistent.

Q. Your wife looked very emotional on the 18th green; is that because of everything that you've gone through this year? What did she say to you?
RORY SABBATINI: She just said that she was very proud of me and my wife is my No. 1 cheerleader, and she's as passionate about my game as I am. She's always been my biggest supporter and I love her for that, and you know, it's something that we share in the enjoyment of wins. We share in the difficulties of struggling. So there's definitely a great bond there.

Q. On 17, Y.E. fights for par there when it looked pretty rough for him at that point and then at 18 he's going for it in two. Can you just talk about how he continued to fight and just keep the heat on as much as he did? He could have just played for second place.
RORY SABBATINI: Exactly. Y.E. is a fantastic competitor. We saw that at the PGA when he won there. You know, him and K.J., they are both bulldogs. They are not going to let you get away with anything. They are going to challenge you.
He really put a fantastic round together out there. It was hard at times just to remind myself to be patient and not get concerned about it, but I definitely knew that both of the guys I was playing with today, both Jerry and Y.E. were going to be a challenge.

Q. On 18, did you have any worries about Y.E. putting the sandshot in?
RORY SABBATINI: You can never put it past him. He's got a fantastic short game, and I'm not going to say I wasn't happy to see his ball go past the hole. I was quite surprised that it actually didn't come close to going in. I was quite amazed at that.
But yeah, you can never put anything past him.
DOUG MILNE: Rory, congratulations. Last thing real quick, just two birdies and bogeys, if you could give us clubs and yards and so forth.
RORY SABBATINI: No. 3, par 5, I hit driver off the tee. Had 240, right around 260 hole, hit a 3-wood to about 35 feet, 2-putted for birdie.
9, hit 5-wood off the tee, had 154 left to the hole. Hit an 8-iron back left of the green, left my first putt about six to eight feet short and missed that.
14, I hit driver off the tee, center of the fairway, hit a 5-iron from 201 and just pulled it just on the left fringe. Left my chip short in the fringe and chipped it up to about a foot short and made the putt. Made bogey.
And 16, hit 5-wood off the tee, hit a 6-iron from, I believe it was 187, to about 20 feet and made the putt.
DOUG MILNE: Well, best of luck at Doral.
RORY SABBATINI: Appreciate it. Thank you.

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