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June 2, 2011

Chris Riley


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chris Riley, thanks for joining us here after a first round 66 here at the Memorial, eight birdies, two bogeys. Your first trip back to Muirfield Village since 2002, and I'm sure you're glad you made it back.
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, it was very unexpected. I didn't even think I had a chance of getting in here this year, and last week at the Byron Nelson I was playing with Paul Stankowski and he goes I'm 10th alternate next week, and I was kind of thinking about, and I didn't know how you got in here except off the Money List, last year's, so I was really excited. To be able to come back here is a pretty big deal.
I really putted good. I made a lot of nice par saves. I made one on 6, my 15th hole, for like 20 feet for par, and just -- 1st hole I made about a 15-footer for par. It was just one of those days where everything was going in the hole, and it felt pretty good to see that.

Q. You're one of the first guys to try out the new 16. What did you think of it?
CHRIS RILEY: Oh, yeah, you know what, it's funny, my caddie said, You're the first one to hit it there, because I had the tee, and it's a beautiful hole. I hit a 6-iron as high as I could because the green is a little different than all the other ones because it's so new.
But I liked it. It's a good-looking hole. It'll be exciting coming down Sunday to see how that hole is on TV.

Q. Joel mentioned that it's your first trip back here since 2002. I just wondered if you could maybe reflect a little bit, without going into your life story, just everything you've been through since then both maybe physically with your game and mentally in your head to get back to a level where you can --
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, it's kind of funny, I could have played '03, '04, but it always rained here and it was pretty long for me. I don't really hit the ball that long.
No, my game has been -- I started off really hot when I came out here on tour and then I guess I got older and started thinking about what I was doing, and then that started -- it's pretty good when you're in your 20s and you're really not thinking about what you're doing, at least it was for me.
I had a pretty nice year last year. These guys are so good out here, if you don't play the best level of golf, then you're going to get blown away. It's been a struggle. I think this is my 13th season out here and the first six were great and the next three after that were really not that good, and I'm trying to climb out of a hole right now.
But I played solid last year. I think I was 90th on the Money List, and this year has been -- I've made some cuts and I top-tenned in Hawai'i, but it hasn't been that great.

Q. I think maybe the fringe golf fan that maybe pays attention only to the big events might think that the Ryder Cup had some large effect on your psyche.
CHRIS RILEY: Well, that was a pinnacle for me. That was like I worked really hard to get there, and then when I got there, it was the most amazing event I've ever played in. And then I guess it was a letdown after that. I felt like I accomplished my goal of getting there, and then when I did it, it was pretty cool.
There was really no negative stuff. I had a child the next year and then the family comes into play, and I guess I haven't been the best at doing that. But it's been good, though. I mean, I've enjoyed having the kids. I just feel lucky that I've played some great golf in my career and now I have a great family, so there's no -- you ain't going to hear anything bad out of me.

Q. You talked a little -- you touched on this a little bit, but it looks like you've had some good rounds, but putting a tournament together has been --
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, like last week in Texas I was right there going into the last day and I shot 8-over. It was real windy, but I'm just thinking too much, really. I'm just trying to turn off my head and play golf. If you play well, then I'm just so result oriented right now instead of just doing -- and it's easy to do.
It's kind of funny, a lot of guys that I came out here with aren't here anymore and as you can see, it's a tough game. For me it's just I'm just thinking too much, and the less I think the better I do, and today I didn't have time to think. The pace of play was so good and I didn't stand around and think about shots, I just played golf.

Q. Is your wife still playing competitively?
CHRIS RILEY: No, she quit when I asked her to marry me. She quit grinding. No, it's been a great marriage, though, at least I think it has. (Laughter.)

Q. Can she still beat you?
CHRIS RILEY: No. She could beat you, though, probably. (Laughter.) I've never seen you play.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Can we go over your birdies and bogeys? You started on the back side, I believe.
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I birdied -- it's going to be hard for me to remember, but I think I birdied 11. I made like a 20-footer up the hill.
I bogeyed 12, I hit it left and that's a tough hole anyways.
13, I hit a driver, 9-iron to about ten feet, made that.
14, 2-iron, sand wedge to about ten feet, made that.
15, driver, 3-wood in the front bunker, got it up-and-down.
17, I hit driver, 6-iron, really good shot in there about six feet.
Then on 18 I was thinking too much because I was 4-under and made bogey there. That's how it is.
And then on 1, made a 15-footer, driver, 9-iron.
7, up-and-down from the right rough to about ten feet, made that.
And then on 9, hit a 3-wood, sand wedge to about four feet, made it.

Q. How has your putting been?
CHRIS RILEY: I just put my old putter back in the bag. It's been two years. It hasn't been good, but it was good today.

Q. Why did you take your putter out?
CHRIS RILEY: Why did I take it out? Because I've been watching everybody else changing putters and putting cross-handed and belly putter, so I thought maybe I should change.

Q. What did you try?
CHRIS RILEY: I didn't try any of that, but at least changing a putter was a big deal to me, because I guess you could say I'm kind of old school. I don't really change much. I hit the same irons. So for me to change something I really have to believe in it.

Q. With all the red on the scoreboard, what's the course playing like?
CHRIS RILEY: The greens are soft and if you drive it in the fairway, the course is in such great shape, you can make putts. I imagine there's going to be a 6- or 7-under, another one. Par-5s are reachable.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chris Riley, thank you very much.

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