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January 12, 2006

Rory Sabbatini


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Rory, thank you for joining us in the media center here at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Great finish out there today. You hit five birdies down the stretch. Talk a little bit about the conditions once you started and you finished and if there were any changes?

RORY SABBATINI: The course is playing very tough out there. The wind was blowing first thing this morning. I couldn't believe you only get a grace period of three or four holes before the wind would really pick up. It was blowing from the get go, and just continued to get harder and the gusts just made the conditions out there tough clubbing, and for putting, too.

Q. You've been over here quite a while, haven't you? Did you come over here last week and do the Pro Am?

RORY SABBATINI: We've been over here just over would weeks. We came over, I played the Pro Am last week at Kapalua and just it's a yearly ritual.

Q. Is that an advantage, getting used to I know the wind doesn't blow the same every day, but getting used to that?

RORY SABBATINI: It gets pretty windy in Dallas during the off season. It's a lot colder there, except this time of year, right now it's pretty nice there.

It's just more come over and relax and get in the warm weather.

Q. Did you play much last week outside of Wednesday?

RORY SABBATINI: I played I think four times in the last two weeks before we came to Oahu.

Q. At Kapalua?


Q. How would you compare the winds on those slopes as opposed to this out here?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, here there's no real hiding from the wind. The wind gets you, other than the trees, that's about the only thing. Kapalua you can get a lot of break from the wind with the hillside and stuff like that.

So you know, there's a couple of greens on this course that are just really open to the wind and that makes it really difficult.

Obviously here, it feels like every hole is across the wind. There's not any hole that feels like it's straight down.

Q. You said conditions are difficult, what were you able to do particularly well, other than getting it in the hole; what's the process along the way of getting it there?

RORY SABBATINI: I hit the ball pretty well. I only missed four greens, which is a pretty good start out there. Other than that, I actually made a lot of good putts. I can't complain.

Q. Is putting tougher than maybe people think it is? The greens are fairly flat.

RORY SABBATINI: The greens, they are real subtle slopes, and it's definitely a learning process out there on these greens. I've played this tournament so many times now that that I still have putts where I go out there and I hit them and they baffle me. It's going to happen.

There's just certain parts of the greens that you know if the flag is over there not to hit it in a certain spot, things like that. You know, it's just a way of positioning yourself around the golf course. When you can put yourself in the right positions and take a little pressure off yourself, it makes it a lot easier.

Q. (Henrik) Bjornstad is playing in his first PGA TOUR event, playing pretty well, can you relate to that, as far as your first time playing, and how good is that, especially with these conditions for him to come out?

RORY SABBATINI: You know, this is a tough golf course. It's an extremely tough driving force, for one thing. It seems like it doesn't matter how good you're going to drive, one little bounce and it's in the rough. There are tight fairways, every hole is pretty straight. There's a few real subtle doglegs out there, but with the wind and how fast the fairways are running, it's hard. He's doing a good job.

Q. How aggressive were you today? How often did you hit driver today? Do you just bomb away here or do you throttle back on some holes?

RORY SABBATINI: I stuck to the game plan I've used on this course in years past. I didn't try to be totally aggressive. I didn't try to be defensive. I just kind of, you know, once in awhile, took one shot at a time. I had a lot of fun out there and just remained pretty relaxed.

Q. Did you hit driver a lot?

RORY SABBATINI: Driver quite a bit. I hit a lot of 2 irons, I hit a lot of 3 woods, too.

Q. The big Hawaiian kid out there is having a bit of a struggle, probably 8 over through like ten. Do you think having her played now three or four times now on TOUR, when the cut gets farther away, when the scores keep going up that it's going to be tougher on her to come out here without feeling any resentment?

RORY SABBATINI: I'm not sure if I totally understand what you're asking.

Q. That's all right, I don't either. (Laughter). I'll try it again. From players, I don't think what your feelings are about her playing, but if she goes on like this and the scores pile up to an 80, to an 82, do you think it would be hard for a tournament director to want to offer her a spot? Has the novelty warn off type thing, and do you think it becomes somewhat of a sideshow if there's no improvement made? Did I do any better there?

RORY SABBATINI: I understand what you're saying.

Q. Thank God.

RORY SABBATINI: I think Michelle has done a wonderful job in representing herself in past years. She's always put herself in the position to make the cut. Obviously she has not been successful yet. You know, she's done a respectable job in her playing abilities.

In regards to if she shot 82 or something, no, I don't think that would add any more pressure to the tournament director or creating any resentment. Michelle is a great player. Hey, I've had tournaments, I've played by Bay Hill a couple years ago, I shot 89 the first rounds, and I was in the top 80 in the World Rankings. Is that embarrassing for the tournament director? I don't think so. Things like that happen and that's just part of competitive golf and she'll get over it and she'll come out and she'll learn a couple lessons from it and make her a better golfer for it.

Q. When you did so well at Kapalua a few years ago, was it really windy like this?

RORY SABBATINI: It was pretty windy that year. I grew up in coastal conditions in South Africa, so I'm used to the winds, I'm used to playing in 20 , 25 mile an hour wind.

Q. Can you get yourself to enjoy it?

RORY SABBATINI: Actually, the funny thing is, I find the wind actually helps me settle my swing in. It doesn't become detrimental. I think it forces you to create shots. It forces you to hit shots holding against the wind. It forces you to use a lot more imagination out on the golf course. I'm a very imaginative golfer, so in some sense, it kind of helps me get prepared.

Q. And concentration is easier, too?

RORY SABBATINI: Every shot you have to focus out there. If you give up concentration for just one shot, it can amount to a pretty big score in a hurry.

Q. You said you hit it pretty well today, you made some putts, anything particular kick start the back nine for you?

RORY SABBATINI: Actually, yeah. I missed a 4 footer on No. 10. I was putting well the whole day and just the back nine I find is easier than the front nine. I think there's a lot more scoring opportunities on it. The par 4s tend to be a little shorter. You know, I just kind of got myself in the right positions and after, again, through the first nine and battling through the first nine, I just kind of seemed to have settled into the back nine and let things go.

Q. What was the longest putt that you holed today?

RORY SABBATINI: It was probably close to 45 feet.

Q. On which hole?


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can we go through your round, starting with the birdies and bogeys? You bogeyed No. 2.

RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, I actually hit a great drive on No. 2 and blew it clean through the fairway. Caught the lip of the bunker and couldn't get to the green from there. I had to lay it up, and just I had about 75 yards to the flag, skipped through the back fringe, made bogey.

No. 3, I hit a 2 iron down the middle of the fairway, hit a wedge to about 15 feet and made that for birdie.

4, I hit 5 iron to about 12 feet, made birdie.

5, driver, left rough, hit a wedge to about 30 feet and 3 putted.

9, driver, middle of the fairway, hit 4 iron over the back, chipped it up to about eight feet, made it.

12, drove it first cut left just past the bunker, hit a little 9 iron to about 18 feet and made that.

13, driver, middle of the fairway, 5 iron about 15 feet right of the hole. Made that.

14, driver just past the bunker on the left in the rough. Sand wedge to about 40, 45 feet and made that.

15, 3 wood in the fairway, 7 iron front right fringe, chipped it about six feet and missed it.

16, 2 iron in the fairway, 9 iron to about 12 feet and made that.

18, driver just through the fairway, hit 8 iron to the back of the green, 2 putted.

Q. Are you not doing the Thursday pants this year?

RORY SABBATINI: No well, I am going to be doing them, we just haven't got the new material done yet. We're actually going to go to a lighter material this year.

Q. Lighter in color?

RORY SABBATINI: Lighter and feminine. Hawaii, heat, humidity and really thick denim cotton doesn't work together.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Rory.

End of FastScripts.

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