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July 11, 2012

Olin Browne


JOE GOODE:テつ Good afternoon, everybody.テつ I want to welcome the 2011 U.S. Senior Open Champion Olin Browne to the media center this week.テつ He is playing in his fourth championship, all of them top ten finishes.テつ He's coming off an incredible Senior Players Championship, where he shot a tournament record 62, I believe in the second round, and finishing in third place at 11 under 269.
You're coming into the Senior Open playing extremely well.テつ Do you prepare differently when you're defending a championship like the U.S. Senior Open?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ It's been my experience that getting prepared for the Senior Open is probably the easiest tournament to prepare for for the year because the formula is the same, and it's the U.S. Open too.テつ Hit the ball where you're aiming it, make a couple of putts and get out of dodge without making too many mistakes.
That's a little tongue in cheek, but the bottom line is USGA sets up the courses to challenge us to the max of our abilities, and my experience has been in the three Senior Opens that I've played that that has been the case.テつ The scoring has been a little bit more volatile than you might imagine in years past, but still great golf is required.
In fact, I thought the setup at Sahalee, for example, was maybe one of the best I've ever seen.テつ Really excited to be here.テつ This golf course is exceptional, and it falls right in line with what you guys are trying to do, which is to offer us a championship on a great golf course and test us to the ultimate level of our talents.
JOE GOODE:テつ Let's open it up for questions.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the challenges that this course, particularly 17 and 18, pose to you, and getting up and down on those two in particular?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ By the time you get to 17 and 18 on Saturday and Sunday, you'll have gotten the bulk of your round out of the way, and we'll have whatever rhythm you have for the day.テつ The green is very demanding at 17.テつ The pins can be very difficult to find.テつ And then 18, of course, the green, let's call it unique.テつ It's three times the size of any other greens out here, it looks like.テつ Got a bunch of other stuff going on.
All of us are trying to figure out where the flag locations will be.テつ We're all commiserating about that, trying to sort it out.
I think you're going to have to finish strongly to have a chance.テつ You do have to do your work on 17 and 18.テつ Right out of the box on the 1st hole, the fairway is eight or ten yards wide.テつ Everything else is going to funnel down in the rough.テつ If you want a shot at the green in two, you're going to have to hit an exceptional tee shot right out of the blocks.
Then all through the course, the entire day, this course requires precision, pinpoint accuracy.テつ The greens are the ultimate challenge out here.テつ I think it's going to be a tremendous test.テつ I think every person, to a man, has enjoyed this beautiful golf course.テつ It's got beautiful vistas and great texture with the fescues and so forth.テつ I think it's a terrific championship golf course.

Q.テつ Olin, the 18th has been described as unique for a hundred years.テつ Is that a good description for it?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ Well, I see a lot of that kind of motion when I'm on my boat.

Q. テつSee, that's what I was looking for.
OLIN BROWNE:テつ It does.テつ That doesn't mean it's not good.テつ It just means it's unique.テつ You're coming in with a long iron into that hole, and the thing about it is that you can land the ball 50 feet away from where you want it to end up and work it towards that location.テつ On the other hand, you might have a challenge in getting the ball close on some of the pins as well.

Q.テつ When does No.9 reach a ball off the tee?テつ Is that something guys will attempt to do?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ There's been a rumor that No.9 is potentially going to be‑‑ the tee is going to be moved up.テつ I don't know.テつ It's a totally blind shot no matter where the tee is located.テつ It's going to take a real leap of faith.テつ Guys that hit high cuts like Mark Calcavecchia will probably rise to that challenge.テつ We'll have to wait and see.
Look, those risk/reward holes like that, they're in there as strategically, and they're totally dependent on how you feel at the moment.テつ If it's capricious and you just feel like doing something, there are a bunch of white stakes around those trees.テつ If you catch a tree limb or you block it or hang it out, you can end up with a really bad number.
I think that, by the time you get there, it's either your last hole or the 9th hole of the day.テつ So you've got some feel for what you're doing.テつ I think it will be individual selection as to what the guy does there.

Q.テつ Olin, you mentioned earlier the 62 shot.テつ You also had a 59 in a U.S. Open qualifier.テつ What's the psychology of being able to go so low, and when do you feel it coming on?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ I wish I had an answer for you.テつ I also wish I knew when it was coming on because I'd do it more often.
Look, I've worked with Jim Hardy for ten years now, and these lower scores have started making appearances since I've started doing that.テつ I think if you build a golf swing that you have faith in, it doesn't matter what kind of a shot you're presented with.テつ If you feel like you have faith in your ability to execute the shot, you go ahead and do it.テつ I think that's the secret to playing well.
You see these guys like Bernhard Langer or Tom Lehman, guys who are stars out here, Freddy Couples, who have done it for so long, ultimately, you may look at their golf swings and say technically they're this way or that way whatever it is.テつ But the bottom line is those guys believe in their ability to execute the shot at the moment.テつ I think that's the secret to playing really good golf.

Q.テつ Tom Watson is back in the field this year.テつ What are your thoughts on his ability to still be a competitor and a threat this week, perhaps?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ I think we ought to ask him for proof of age or something.テつ He's unbelievable, isn't he?テつ And the guy shows up‑‑ you know what, he asks no quarter, he gives no quarter.テつ He goes about his business.テつ He's a consummate professional.テつ He gets after it, and he accepts whatever happens on the golf course.
A lot of us, we get on a roll, and it's all good, and we have a couple of bad breaks and hang or heads or whatever.テつ The guy never, ever quits going forward.テつ That's an admirable characteristic.
JOE GOODE:テつ How meaningful would it be to win back‑to‑back U.S. Senior Opens?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ That's a question that everybody likes to ask me.テつ We'll talk about that on Sunday if it comes down to that.
Right now, I've done my preparation.テつ I've seen the golf course a couple of different times, and I'm worried about my first tee shot tomorrow.テつ We'll worry about what happens in terms of performance at the end of the week.

Q.テつ Olin, can you talk about this past year, what's been different as the defending U.S. Senior Open Champion?テつ What's been different?テつ What opportunities came your way that wouldn't have happened last year?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ I got a free ticket to the views at Olympic a couple of weeks ago.テつ I thought that, by the way, was the greatest U.S. Open setup I've seen.テつ I've played a dozen or so of them over my career.テつ I just thought everything about it was perfect.テつ The fairways were great.テつ The greens were immaculate.テつ You couldn't find a dime sized patch of poa annua if you got down on all fours and tried looking for it.
I just thought the setup‑‑ Mike Davis and Jeff Hall and the guys, everybody is bring bringing a different mentality to setups in these kinds of championships that I think is really well received by the players.テつ We all really embrace the challenge of playing a U.S. Open.テつ You don't feel like you're going to the gallows anymore.
In the old days, when you knew you were going to come and play rough that was 8 inches deep and unplayable, pitch it out laterally, now there's some hope, at least, if you hit an errant shot that you might be able to advance the ball far enough where you're still in the hole.テつ I think that, as I said, is really, really well received.
But as it applies to what's happening, the last year has been really rewarding for me.テつ It's a validation of a lot of hard work.テつ It's our national championship for the over 50 set.テつ That carries cache.テつ I'm proud to have represented the USGA in the last year, holding that trophy.テつ Displaying it in my home and taking on the road a little bit, sharing with some of the people that have helped me along in my career.
So it has more legs than I thought it would.テつ I thought, you win a tournament out here, it's great.テつ A couple of slaps on the back, you're after it the next week, and you get after it down the road.テつ This is the one tournament that I think everybody really wants to win.テつ It's a major championship, and I'm very proud to have it in my case.

Q.テつ You talked about the greatness of Olympic and I think you used the word outstanding to describe this golf course.テつ In your mind, what makes for a great, an outstanding major championship course?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ I think all golf courses have character.テつ Each golf course is its own blend of holes and style of play that it rewards.テつ I think a truly great golf course accepts all styles of play.テつ It used to be, you know that old expression, horses for courses.テつ It seems like the evolution of technology and so forth has made some of those courses less so.テつ But great golf courses allow guys like me and Corey Pavin to compete at the same level as guys like Freddy Couples.
I think the classic courses are classic because they stand the test of time, and they receive the championships well, and the champions that win on those courses represent great golf.テつ I just think that, you know, there's more than one way to hit a golf ball, and that's the whole point.
So if you have a 240‑yard carry over water and a bunker, that gets to being a little retarded, you know.テつ That seems like the kind of direction that golf has gone.テつ On the other hand, if you take the old‑style golf courses, this course is going to acquit itself beautifully this week.テつ It's going to be challenging.テつ But if you take a shot that's offline a little bit, you can take a chance and scoot one in between the bunkers.
It just offers a variety of different ways to execute a particular shot.

Q.テつ Why do you think that is that we're seeing so many more golf courses that aren't the classic design.
OLIN BROWNE:テつ It's the same way that van Gogh and Monet and guys like that are classic and they've endured the test of time.テつ And they've got people painting pictures now, and they're just not.テつ They don't have it.テつ I can't explain it.テつ You know what it is when you see it.

Q.テつ Why has it gone the other way?テつ Why are so many modern courses built that way?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ I think we can do too much to the courses.テつ Instead of being out there with mules and wheelbarrows, they're out there with backhoes and huge graders and things like that.テつ Instead of working with the topography, you get things that go counter to that.テつ You've got someone with a wild hair, saying this is what we're going to do today.
There are golf course architects who I think are terrific, and their courses match up to the classic ones.テつ And then there are architectural designs that I don't like.テつ It's a matter of personal preference as well.テつ There are some people who like those kinds of tracks.
But there's a reason that Pebble Beach is great 100 years later.テつ There's a reason that Marion is great 100 years later, the Country Club, Shinnecock, Indianwood, Olympic, and the list goes on and on and on.テつ Pine Valley, Seminole, Cypress Point.テつ There's a reason for that.
You can't fake that, and you can't paint a picture that doesn't fit.テつ I think that's what some people try to do nowadays.
JOE GOODE:テつ Additional questions for Mr. Brown?
OLIN BROWNE:テつ Thank you very much.
JOE GOODE:テつ Good luck this week.
OLIN BROWNE:テつ Thank you.

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