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August 13, 2011

Ben Crane


BEN CRANE: There's not a lot of room for error. The bunkers are so penal off the tee and around the green, just with the sand being so soft, and it just makes for an incredibly tough test. The greens are getting faster and faster, and it's hot. Did I mention that?

Q. I can't tell by the wetness of your hat.
BEN CRANE: Yeah, I actually went bucket hat halfway through the round. I needed some shade under this tree. I played great, though, putted really well and just took advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves.

Q. You shoot 4, David shoots 5, who started this thing?
BEN CRANE: Actually, I did. I got off to a great start and David was just plugging on around par and then all of a sudden he eagled 12 and he played the hole perfectly, left side of the fairway, hybrid to about 40 feet and then just swished it. Next hole, birdie, and then he started tearing it up. He holed out from a bunker on I guess it was 14 from the right side of the green. He was like 60 some feet away or whatever, and he hits a bunker shot and you're hoping it's close and he cans it. It was cool, we were just feeding off each other, and it felt great.
They moved the tee up on 13, and so you're going to be able to drive it either in a bunker or around the green there somewhere, so that's one where they're going to allow you to get one there.
I think this is the PGA Saturday where everyone says, hey, a lot of guys make a run. 17 is an accessible hole location. And then tomorrow they're going to stick us back there and make us hit woods and hybrids in there. Yeah, definitely more accessible today, and we'll just kind of see how the course holds up in the afternoon.

Q. We see some plus 5s and plus 6s.
BEN CRANE: Don't kid yourself, the course is so hard. The greens are so fast, and these Champion greens are as good as we've ever seen, but they're incredibly fast. You get these downhill, downgrainers, and eight feet coming back is a lot. You've got to make some par saves to keep rounds like we just had going, otherwise it's just hard to get ahead of the course.

Q. Could you talk about a couple of those?
BEN CRANE: Yeah, on the second hole today I hit a great shot in there with a 5-brid, what I call a 5-brid. It's like a 5-wood, hybrid kind of a thing. It was about 30 feet behind the hole, which on these greens is actually a decent look, but it was downgrain, and I hit a good putt, and it went like eight, nine feet by, and I'm like, oh, my gosh. I had putts like that, three of those kind of early, and I was able to make them and just kind of keep the going round, and then all of a sudden I got hot and made some birdies, and ba da bing, had a great day.

Q. What do you think of David's game?
BEN CRANE: It was impressive today. He drives it in play, and then he hits -- he's not long, but he hits great iron shots that are just -- they don't curve, they don't curve right to left or left to right, they're just pretty darned straight, and consequently was able to get a lot of balls close to the holes and attack some of these pins. I think today was a great example of that, and he made a lot of putts. I mean, 18 was a perfect example. He hit a great drive, he hit a great 3-iron to 20 feet below the hole there and then sunk the putt.
I don't know, I haven't played with him a lot in the last few years, but you're not going to play really much better than he played today, I don't care who you are.

Q. What did you hit into 18?
BEN CRANE: I hit a 5-brid into 18.

Q. Another one?
BEN CRANE: Another one. I was wearing that club out. I'd better check the face.

Q. Is that new in the bag for this week?
BEN CRANE: You know, I've kind of been playing with it on and off this year. It goes a little higher and comes in obviously a little softer and kind of carries as opposed to chases in there. These long par-4s it's nice to be able to access some of the holes coming in at a little steeper angle of descent. I've played it probably half, a little more than half the time this year.

Q. Overall, we were talking about these high scores, you must be very happy with how you played in every aspect.
BEN CRANE: Yeah, this is the best round I've played in months. I really battled some injuries this year and stuff and just trying to get my game back, and today I felt like my game was in really good shape. I played excellent all day, all the way through the round.

Q. What are some of the things you've been overcoming?
BEN CRANE: My back is -- yeah, I hurt my back after playing my second match at World Match Play, and I could barely walk, and I tried to play my next match, and that didn't really work all that well. And it's just been a struggle. I tried to come back too early and haven't been healthy enough to swing the way I wanted to, and I had it go out on me again before the British Open. I almost didn't go to the British. I really went no practice round before the British, I just flew over there and played golf. It's been rough, been a rough stretch, and just thankful that I'm playing good.

Q. (Inaudible.)
BEN CRANE: Yeah, my back hasn't -- we've ironed out some stuff, actually found out what was wrong with it, and now I can kind of exercise around it.

Q. What is wrong with it?
BEN CRANE: It's called an annular tear, so actually if I just do extension exercises, the disk that's between the vertebrae there, if I keep pressing it up into the back end with extension exercises like that, it really kind of keeps it at bay. So I've been doing that each day and trying to stay away from this kind of sitting for long periods of time because that pushes against those nerves back there.

Q. L4-L5?
BEN CRANE: Down at the bottom there.

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