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July 12, 2012

Tom Kite


MODERATOR:テつ Good afternoon, everybody.テつ I'd like to welcome Tom Kite to the U.S. Senior Open Media Center.テつ Tom shot a 5 under 65 for the championship, and he also broke a USGA Men's Championship record by shooting a 7 under, 28 for nine holes.テつ Was it as much fun on that front nine playing as it was us watching?
TOM KITE:テつ It was a lot of fun.テつ You don't get rounds like that very often, especially in major championships.テつ The hole just seemed large, and I was hitting some nice shots and, obviously, getting some good breaks.テつ Very fortunate to have that but nice.
MODERATOR:テつ A tale of two rounds.テつ The back nine seemed to play a lot more challenging today.
TOM KITE:テつ Well, I think we'll see that all week long.テつ I think the back side is significantly more difficult than the front nine, and I think the scores will show that throughout the week.テつ There will be some opportunities to take it relatively low on the front nine and try to hang on for dear life on the back nine.テつ There's not that many opportunities on the back.
MODERATOR:テつ Just a terrific round.テつ Let's open it up for questions right here.

Q.テつ Talk about your shot after the drop on 12.テつ I think you were maybe 220 and put it pretty close.
TOM KITE:テつ I had 203 to the front.テつ 209 is what I had.テつ That was probably the best shot I had all day, Larry.テつ Poor tee ball there, just turned it over a little bit and went into the water and had to make a drop and hit a 3 iron.
Really, like I said, probably the best shot that I hit the entire day.

Q.テつ Tom, Peter was saying that it's the best he's seen you putt with the long putter.テつ He talked about how confident you looked standing over every putt you hit today.テつ Could you comment about that.
TOM KITE:テつ Well, I'm using that long putter now going on six or seven years, and I putted pretty well with it most of the time.テつ There's been a few little spells where I get off on my alignment a little bit and struggle with it, but I feel like I'm putting very well right now.テつ I like it.テつ I putted very well last week at Pebble Beach.テつ Didn't play well the last day, but even so, putted reasonably well.
These greens are a nice speed for making putts.テつ They're not super fast.テつ They can't be fast because the slopes are so severe.テつ They got them fast, we wouldn't have any pin placements at all out there on a couple of those greens.テつ But keep it below the hole, you've got a good chance to make it.

Q.テつ Can we go over all the birdies?テつ Do you mind?
TOM KITE:テつ Par on‑‑ I drove it just in the left rough on 1 and couldn't reach the green, had it right up in front of the green and failed to get it up and down.テつ Hit 3 wood off the tee on 2, 8 iron onto the green.テつ Made about an 18‑footer for birdie.テつ Par on 3.
4th hole, drove it in the‑‑ just in the short cut, the right rough.テつ Had 155, hit an 8 iron, and, you know, that's a blind second shot.テつ You're just going up over the hill.テつ And had it going right at the hole, and lo and behold, the gallery let me know it went in the hole.テつ So it must have run out nicely out of that semi‑rough.
For 2, I hit a 3 iron about 15 feet, on the next hole, No. 5, and made that for birdie.テつ Number 6, good drive, 6 iron about 12 feet.テつ Made that for birdie.
Par on 7.テつ Let me see.テつ 8, put a good drive, 8 iron.テつ Yeah, 8 iron.テつ About, again, about 12, 13 feet left to the hole.テつ Made that for birdie.
5 wood off the tee on 9.テつ Sand Wedge on my second shot.テつ Again, probably about 12 feet, made a of couple 12‑footers.テつ Most of those putts, fortunately, were uphill putts that I could make nice runs at.テつ As a matter of fact, I think the only one that was a downhill putt that I had all day was on No. 5, the par 3.

Q.テつ As spectacular as your front was, how crucial were these par saving shots you had after the turn?
TOM KITE:テつ Well, you know, you're going to have spells on a golf course.テつ You're not going to continue that streak that I had.テつ That just doesn't‑‑ those don't come around that often.テつ So those par saves that I had, and actually I was pleased with the way I played the back side.テつ You know, it was a good, solid nine holes of golf until I got to the 17th hole.テつ And then I kind of messed up there.テつ But yeah, there was good saves, especially the one on 12 that we talked about.
But a beautiful little chip shot on 16, drove it just in the left rough.テつ Played a nice shot that ran through the back of the green, and a nice little pitch shot for par there.テつ It was good.

Q.テつ When you go out on 7 and you knock it in for eagle there, do you feel this is my day?
TOM KITE:テつ You hope so.テつ You better stay in the moment though.テつ You start getting too far ahead of yourself and‑‑ this golf course is tough enough it will bite you.テつ There's no question.テつ Nobody's going to play 72 holes out here without having it jump up on a hole or two and kick 'em in the rear, and it got me on 17 today.テつ There are just some places that, if you miss it, you're going to pay the penalty, and nobody's going to avoid those for the entire week.
But I feel like I'm playing well right now, and obviously, I was surprised, very pleased, ecstatic with the front nine because not only was it a good nine holes of golf, but some good breaks and good putts and just everything got going the right way.テつ I'm still pleased with the round.テつ 65's a good score in a major championship.テつ So I'm feeling good about it.

Q.テつ Just as a follow‑up.テつ You obviously had a 61 earlier this year at the Liberty Tournament.テつ You're 62 years old.テつ Do you feel a lot of this tour, Champions Tour, Senior Open, is for that 50, 55 set.テつ Do you feel you're running out of chances, that this is one of the best chances you have to capitalize at 62 years old?
TOM KITE:テつ You probably haven't read, but 60 is the new 40.テつ You know, you start looking at the guys that are out here, and they're working at it.テつ They're staying in shape.テつ They're working on their game.テつ They're practicing.
And I think you're going to see a lot‑‑ I won't say a lot, but you're going to see a number of guys in their 60s continue to play well, where in previous years on the Champions Tour 15, 20 years ago, you had about a five‑year window that you needed to capitalize on.テつ Now, I think that window is 10, 12, maybe even‑‑ you look at Hale Irwin, 68 years old.テつ He looks terrific.テつ He's in great shape.テつ He feels good.テつ He's playing well.テつ And just kind of gives inspiration, watching his play and it's terrific.
I'm using those guys as a motivation because those are my contemporaries.テつ Those are my peers.テつ I'm working hard at it, trying to stay in shape.
I think you'll see the same thing on the PGA Tour, where it used to be, if you got in your mid 40s, you were done.テつ You're seeing more and more guys that are in their mid‑40s playing well on the PGA Tour.テつ Again, the fitness is key.

Q.テつ You mentioned the long putter.テつ There's been a lot of controversy about it over the years.テつ This year no less than Tiger Woods said he'd like to see it banned, no longer than the shortest club in your bag.テつ What do you feel about that?
TOM KITE:テつ There are certainly enough rules officials around here you ought to be able to get an answer for that question.テつ There's‑‑ I'm not in the rule‑making business.テつ There are a lot of people here that are‑‑ their business is to protect the integrity of the game, and I'll rely upon them to do that.

Q.テつ When was the last time you had a 28 or better for nine holes?
TOM KITE:テつ 28 for nine holes?テつ Gosh, I don't know the last time .テつ I've had a couple of them.テつ I know I shot a 28 in a tournament up in Cincinnati years and years ago.テつ I remember that.テつ Shot a 61 that day.テつ But it's been a while.
MODERATOR:テつ Exceptional round, Tom.テつ FastScripts by ASAP Sports

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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