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July 3, 2011

John Cook


DAVE SENKO: Congratulations, this is the third time you've sat up here as a winner this year, you won Hawai'i at Hualalai, and you've won in Tampa. You've earned $270,000 with this win, which puts you very close to $1 million this year and 270 points in the Charles Schwab Cup, and your 54-hole is a new tournament record, and with that, leading for Ohio State.
JOHN COOK: We were low team today.
DAVE SENKO: Congratulations. And maybe just share your thoughts on the win.
JOHN COOK: Obviously after last year, which was really not my doing, Larry's round was fantastic, so not much you can do. Very happy, very proud to be the champion here, one manufacture I fondest memories of golf was winning the 1983 Canadian Open in a playoff with Johnny Miller, so to add another championship in Canada is very special. I'm very pleased. I'm not kidding, I'm very, very touched by this.
It was a battle all day, but Mr. Lu would not give up. Obviously I got off to a great start. And even when I got it to a four-shot lead, I knew that so much could happen on this golf course. There's so much risk and reward, there's going to be a lot of birdies made down the stretch. So I never felt comfortable, which is a good feeling in the game of golf, once you start feeling comfortable, something bad always happens, so I never felt comfortable.
I kept hitting quality golf shots hole after hole after hole, and was very pleased on how I played today. I didn't hit every shot perfect, but I hit a lot of really good golf shots.
DAVE SENKO: Just before we get some questions, I want to go through your card, you start off birdieing 1 and 2.
JOHN COOK: Birdied 1 and 2. Hit a 3-wood and a wedge on 1, three feet and hit a really nice shot. Hit 3-wood and a little wedge at number and made about a 15-footer so off to a really nice start. Missed a makeable putt on 3, hit a drive in the rough and hit 6-iron about five feet and missed it. Made a good par on 6 after hitting not a very good shot to the right of the green, hit a nice pitch and made about a 4-footer, which is one of the keys to the day because the next hole I hit a real good drive and 3-iron just off the right edge of the green and hit a nice pitch and made a 4-footer there as well.
Then birdied 9. I hit a 3-wood and wedge about 12 feet behind the hole. Good birdie there.
Started the back side also with a birdie at No. 10. Driver, 3-wood right on front edge of the green, and 2-putted. Missed a very makeable putt at 11, about a 6-footer, missed that. But then I had it flagged, you know, rest of the day really except for 15. I made a nice up-and-down at 15. I kind of pulled a 5-iron, just ran through the green and had a really sketchy little lie, and I didn't hit a very good shot, but I made a real nice putt from about 12 feet.
So that was a big key, two-shot lead going into the hat trick.
16 was a little funny. I wish it was more into the wind, believe it or no. It was so left-to-right. There was really nowhere I could have hit a driver. 3-wood was not enough club for me, and driver, I could have hit, literally, anywhere. I could have hit it through the green, into the trees. And there's all kind of things that could have come into play there.
So I wish it was more into the wind like it was last year, so I chose to lay up. Mr. Lu was in the same place. John Huston hit a 3-wood there, but we can't hit drivers too much, and 3-wood is not enough.
So I didn't feel comfortable driving it, and when he laid up, obviously it was a lay-up for me. That just would have been stupid to go for it from there. That just would have been madness.
And then I hit a beautiful little wedge in there about six feet, too. I really wanted to make that one, but missed.
17, obviously was a big bonus. I hit a beautiful 6-iron, went by the hole about 30 feet. But I had a real good look at it, real good line. And as soon as I hit the putt, I knew, if this doesn't go in, something is wrong with this game because this is as good as this gets right here and it went in right in the middle, perfect speed.
And to Lu's credit, he topped it. He battled, obviously, just battled, all day. And he wasn't giving up. Even when my putt went in, you could tell, he was still in mode and great to see.
18 I wanted to hit my drive down the right side to get that good angle and I didn't readily hit a good drive, but was it was playable, and that was fine with me. I hit a beautiful 7-iron in there, just started out just right of the flag, a perfect little draw, and I couldn't hit a better shot. To get myself -- at least I knew now that Lu would have to hold his shot, because there was no way -- mine was 15 feet and I can handle most of those. A little mini-slip up on his part.
Like I said, I hit a lot of greens, I battled, I never felt comfortable, and I'm very, very proud to be the champion up here at Montréal.

Q. You said yesterday that you had an idea for a score that in your mind that you would like to shoot today, was that it?
JOHN COOK: I thought 20 would have a good chance. I didn't know if 20 was going to win but it would be a good starting point and that's what I calculated last night and this morning. I thought if I could get to 20, get to 20, and take it from there, if you can.
Obviously you have to have good things happen, but I got off to a great start, and that kind of let me then relax a little bit and go ahead and free-swing it. Because 20 was my number that I thought was going to be close, had a chance, maybe a playoff, all day I was thinking that, once I got to 20, I wanted to get to 21. I was stuck on that 20 number for a while.

Q. Were you out there knowing that there is a tournament, like with Larry coming from behind last year?
JOHN COOK: The wind blew a little stronger today, so you had to keep your wits about you. And one of my things on Sunday, if you have a lead, is to not make a bogey. You don't have to hit perfect shots, just quality shots, and a quality shot is not eight feet with a 4-iron. It could be 25 feet. Just something -- just don't get yourself in position to make bogeys. And I did that fairly well. The only hole I really had even a chance, remote chance, was 15, and I made a nice 12-footer for par. I wanted that one really bad.
So that definitely, it's in the back of your mind that somebody could shoot a good score.

Q. But you didn't play the leaderboard?
JOHN COOK: I do watch the board, absolutely. You want to know where you stand and anybody that tells you that they don't watch the board are guys that just don't win golf tournaments, they just don't. Because how do you know? How do you know what you need to do? I just want to -- yeah, yeah. Like if I wasn't looking at the board then going down 16, I had to know where I stood to play that hole. If I was one back I would play it a lot different. But if you're not watching the board, how do you know if you're one ahead or one back? I don't get that. Maybe that's new school thinking and maybe that's why kids don't win a lot. They are very, very good, but man, you'd better know what you're doing out there. If I sat up here and told you that I wasn't watching the leaderboard, Ken Venturi would get on the next plane and come up and slap me right in the face. (Laughter).

Q. What were you being told when you saw guys like Lehman?
JOHN COOK: You just watch, knowing everybody is up there, 14-, 15-, 16-under and we are 18, 19 and I'm just going, what's my number? My number's 20, my number's 20. I just kept plugging away trying to hit good golf shots, trying to connect the shots to where I can go to make birdies and take advantage of opportunities.
I really hit some nice drives on the back side that got me in good position. Normally I'm a fairly good iron player, so I'm good with my distance control. And that gave me a lot of opportunities.

Q. How much more satisfying was it after coming so close last year?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, it was a little bit in the back of my mind, not much. Like we had been talking about, somebody could come from behind like that, and I did. I came from behind today. Wasn't way behind, but to win from coming from behind or win from being ahead, is two different animals, really. And Mr. Lu did a nice job. He kind of got things going on the back side there, and made some beautiful birdies coming down the stretch.
You know, so that -- like I said, it's just a great feeling. Winning is winning. Another Ken Venturi: Winning is fun, and the more fun we can have, the better we are off.

Q. Your Canadian Open last year, a second last year, a win this year, you must like this Canada place?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, we like Canada. We have no issue with Canada, not at all. Not at all. I had some success at the Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club, so that's on the border there. Had some nice runs up here.

Q. Did you have any time this week to see Montréal?
JOHN COOK: Really haven't. I flew in Wednesday night. I had my little three-day outing at Pine Valley with some friends, which as golfers know is kind of a Zen place and I had kind of three days of just getting back into playing golf. I had not played very well the last few weeks, very, very mediocre and I just was really struggling with -- I'm really up and down. My emotions go all over the place and I really wasn't very happy with my golf the last month.
But I knew Pine Valley was coming up, and that's just -- four rounds that we play in 2 1/2 days, and it's just all golf. It gets me into a real good spot. So you know, sometimes you've got to go back to square one to get to square two.

Q. What memories do you have of your teammates?
JOHN COOK: Rod was older than we were. And he was a quiet guy, but you knew that there was some fire in this guy. I watched him play some hockey, and the kid can play some hockey, I tell you what. If they had an intramural team at Ohio State, they probably could beat the hockey team, these guys were good. Not that Rod was like a senior, I was a freshman type of freshman, because he wasn't that way. He wasn't like the captain guy, but he was such a nice guy and we hit it off right away. So it was great to be around him for the little bit of time that I was.
And then Joey and I had a great run there. We won the NCAAs. Our team was ranked No. 1 for a lot of our career. So we have got a special bond, as well.

Q. Do you still wear it with pride --
JOHN COOK: Absolutely. I'm a psychotic when it comes to Ohio State. I'm a very, very proud Buckeye, be I really am. Dad went there, coached football there. We're a Buckeye family.

Q. Does it get much better --
JOHN COOK: No, I'm happy to see guys play well.

Q. Your second place last year, did that leave a sour taste in your mouth?
JOHN COOK: Not really, because I played okay. I missed the putt at 15 that would have tied me that I should have made. Did I drive it on the green and putted down there and I missed it. That way I finished last year, I wasn't really pleased with the course -- I shot 68 with the lead and got beat. Well, you know, worse things have happened than that, and Larry played a great round.
So yeah, you never -- sometimes second is better than third obviously, but it's not as good as first. I thought that I was pretty motivated coming in. Obviously these guys this week wouldn't let me, you know, forget about that, and how great they were last year getting me ready for Montréal. They kept pumping me up those three day. If you could have been a fly on the wall talking to these guys, it was hysterical. We did the same thing, identically, and I imagine that this is going to be on the schedule again for next year.
DAVE SENKO: Thanks John.

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