home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 9, 2003

Rory Sabbatini


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome the 2003 champion of the FBR Capital Open, Rory Sabbatini, after a 14-under 270 this week. Rory, it's been an interesting week with all the rain and extra play and a Monday finish. Talk a little bit about your second career victory.

RORY SABBATINI: It's been a long time since I had this feeling. It's great to finally get that second win. It's been really a roller coaster ride the whole week, with having the lead and the stress over that and trying to hold onto that. And then just coming down the wire there, trying to avoid a playoff.

TODD BUDNICK: Were you aware of the situation that was going on up there, the ruling with Duffy?

RORY SABBATINI: Well, you know, I guess we figured it out on 16, walking up the fairway, when I saw Mark Russell come up to him. Duffy had obviously called and asked him. And then obviously, sitting in the scoring trailer afterwards, that's when basically we got the gist of everything that was going on. It's tough for Duffy, because in the sense that he's played an absolutely wonderful tournament and to have something come down like that right at the end is obviously disappointing. It's a little heartbreaking for him. At the same time, it's admirable of him to even call it on himself. The principal of golf is being honest out there and knowing that it's you against the course and you're not trying to beat other people; you're trying to beat the course.

TODD BUDNICK: Looking down the road, Rory, as a South African, the President's Cup is later in November. You have two months to qualify. This should jump you up a whole bunch. Is that something you think about now?

RORY SABBATINI: Definitely. I've been trying to play myself into that situation all year long. It's definitely something that I spend time thinking about. I can't qualify for the Ryder Cup teams, so to be able to qualify for the President's Cup would be, you know, an absolute enjoyment and honor to represent South Africa.

TODD BUDNICK: Talk a little bit about today's round specifically. You had the eagle on 13. You had a birdie on 1. Walk us through what you were feeling today.

RORY SABBATINI: I got off to a pretty good start. I knew that the situation was everybody would be coming after me and that I had to stick to my game plan and really try to get into a nice comfortable rhythm out there and let that happen. I birdied the first hole, and that's always a great way to start. The round was progressing well up until I had a little hiccup on 6 there. After that I recuperated and I calmed things down again and I started building momentum again.

I'm very happy with the way I played today. It's nice to, I guess, put a few of the rumors to bed that my Sunday scoring isn't that great.

Q. When you eagled 13, did you think you had enough breathing room at that point? I think you had a two-shot lead at the time.

RORY SABBATINI: I had a two-shot lead at the time. I had a two-shot lead at the time and I knew Duffy had a very makable eagle putt. I was standing there and I had a pretty tough lie. I knew at best I could make it, but at worst I needed to make the birdie to keep myself in the lead. I hit a great chip and it worked absolutely perfect. It's not often that you can hit shots like that, that obviously come off like you want and then also to react like you want. So that was definitely a big confidence booster there and that settled me down a little bit.

Q. Talk a little bit more about the 6th hole. Yesterday you said you were going to play very aggressively. You made your bogey, and then it seemed like you pulled back a little bit. Is that accurate?

RORY SABBATINI: I hit a bad second shot there. I had the ball below my feet and I'm trying to hit a hard 3-iron into the green and try to stop it. I caught it a little heavy and the result was it splashed down. And then I got up on No. 8 and hit a good tee shot there again. I hit another second shot that I hit a little heavy. After that I had to kind of back off and go back to basic fundamentals out there. I think for a short period there I had to go back and focus on making a couple of good swings and building up my confidence again.

Q. Take us through 17. Your shot out of the bunker went sideways or backwards. What happened there?

RORY SABBATINI: I hit a 6-iron off the tee and I surprised myself. I didn't think it was going to go that far. I was just trying to play to the middle, left side of the green. When I got up there I was surprised to find that it had plugged into the back lip of the bunker. My only options were, A, try to hit an amazing shot and either make 6 or make 2, or just try to hack it out. Unfortunately, I never got it out of the bunker, but I knew it still wasn't going to be that bad.

Q. (Inaudible)

RORY SABBATINI: Well, I knew I needed to get it just on the green. It barely had to get on the green, because I knew how fast that was and how severe the downslope was. Anything more had a chance to go in the water. I knew I had to basically get it to the second ridge to let it trickle all the way down.

Q. Take us back to when you first won. You got a lot of attention because you were the youngest winner since Tiger and people mentioned your name. Did you feel that it came too easy, that it came too soon and you weren't ready to back it up? Where were you at that point and how come it took so long to do it again?

RORY SABBATINI: At the time when it occurred, I was in the whole process of early stages of changing my swing and doing pretty major modifications to my swing, and it just happened that that week everything kind of fell into place. It's been a continual thing of working on my swing and trying to get in a situation where it's consistent and where Dean and I feel it's worthwhile and where we want it to be.

So yes, in the sense it did come a little early and unexpectedly and it was a situation where it was going to be tough to back it up. But the Mercedes, it was real close there and that was only 6 month later. I was also a lot older then, r since I was no longer a young gun.

Q. Did it feel as up and down out there as it was watching, bogey, eagle, plugged in a trap, or was it not that much of a roller coaster?

RORY SABBATINI: It was definitely an emotional roller coaster out there. It didn't quite come as easy as I would have liked. I would kind of hoping for a rain out (laughter). I was pretty tired out there today, pretty worn out mentally and physically. I made a couple of mental mistakes out there. I really had to do a lot of talking to my caddie, Okay, Kevin, you have got to talk to me here, help me remain focused. He did a great job out there talking me through some of the shots and a couple of times telling me I have got to slow down here. That was the toughest thing, maintaining consistency.

Q. For a lot of people when their tired and drained and under pressure -- (inaudible)?

RORY SABBATINI: I noticed that I was getting a little quick out there. I had to back off and, as I say, go back to fundamentals for a couple of holes and put a couple of good swings together. With doing that, it relaxed me, as well as it allowed me to be more confident out there.

Q. More or less the same subject. That round took a long time to play and you were playing with a couple of guys who take their time. You were ready to take a shot. Did you have to relearn patience to get through that?

RORY SABBATINI: It was tough. There were a couple of times out there where I really -- I was getting frustrating because, as you said, I was ready to go. I'm pretty simple when it comes to pace of play out there. I believe when you're ready, hit it. I don't spend a lot of time, you know, trying to find the answer in a yardage book. I basically get there, I get my number -- by this time, I hope I would know how to hit a golf shot. Basically, I had to just kind of stop myself thinking about shots and really over analyzing things. I had to step away and talk to my caddie about this, that, and the other thing to keep my mind off a particular shot at any given time out there.

Q. Without belaboring the point, the second sand shot on 17, how good was that shot, in your mind? Does that rank up there with the best you've ever hit?

RORY SABBATINI: Considering it could have stayed in the bunker, it could have gone in the water and a lot of other options, I was pretty happy because I got it up and down. Any time you have 30 yards of ground to cover towards water, it's never a pleasant shot to have.

Q. You talked before about your reputation for Sunday scoring. The fact that this was a Monday, do you think that played into it --

RORY SABBATINI: I've got the best Monday scoring right now.

Q. In the sense that maybe it didn't necessarily feel like a Sunday, with the crowds not being as big because of the --

RORY SABBATINI: The situation being is, you know, ultimately I had to go out there and I had a job to do. I knew the situation that I was in. And regardless whether it was Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday, it was still the same thing, I had to get the job done. So it may be a Monday today, but it still felt the same as a Sunday.

Q. (Inaudible) how do you reach the pro Tour without having what most people would call a lesson?

RORY SABBATINI: You rely on a lot of natural talent and stupidity.

Q. With the win, how does this set you up now for next week? How excited are you. You gained momentum from this. Talk a little bit about next week?

RORY SABBATINI: I see this as definitely a confidence builder going into next week. The situation being, I'm going to get up there. I still have a lot of work to do to get prepared. I've basically got a lot of work to do to get myself physically prepared. With being as tired as I am, and playing as much golf as I have recently, it will be a challenge to be mentally and physically prepared.

Q. Following up with that, what do you think the difference will be for you playing next week in the Open as opposed to this week?

RORY SABBATINI: Obviously I think the greens are going to be tougher and the USGA will have a little fun with us, hiding the pins as they do. The situation being, it's a major. It's hard to compare a tournament to a major, because there really isn't any way. The preparation, the course setup, and generally the course designs are to a level which -- there is such a premium on hitting shots that are perfect. If you don't hit them perfect, they're pretty close to it, because wayward shots are going to eat you out there, and you're going to be struggling all week. It plays a pretty good game with your mental stamina out there, too.

Q. What was your reaction when Amy told you on Thursday this was your week? Is that the kind of thing she says every week? Did it really resonate with you?

RORY SABBATINI: It's not something that really I hear from her very often. I think that may be the first time I have heard that from her. The situation being, I've heard it enough times before. As much as you may hear it, in the back of your mind, you're going, Sure. Whatever.

Q. (Inaudible)

RORY SABBATINI: You're definitely right, there's no doubt about that. (Laughter) What do you predict this week?

TODD BUDNICK: Would you like to follow-up with that, Amy?

Q. There's so much up and down with a lot of golfers this week. Did you feel like you played about as consistently as you have?

RORY SABBATINI: I would say that each day that I went out there I hit a lot of good golf shots and I hit some bad golf shots. Overall, I kept the ball in play pretty well. I did make mistakes. I limited the damages. I'm very happy with the way I played. I didn't go out there and hit the ball like Kenny Perry did at Colonial. The situation being is, I went out there -- my misses were still in play, my good shots were fine. That's all you can do, is try and keep the ball in a position that you can still get around the golf course with as much ease as possible. I did that and I'm very happy with that.

Q. Did you use your own performance at Colonial as a stepping stone for this? You played pretty well there.

RORY SABBATINI: Obviously I played very nicely at Colonial. Each of the last four or five weeks, I've played progressively better. The situation being is, I've definitely been a lot happier recently of my play than I have been over the last, say, two years, simply because when I'm putting myself in position to make birdies, I am making birdies, because I'm finally getting the putter working. As much as people deny it out there, you have to get the putter working or you'll be fighting an uphill battle.

Q. (Inaudible) because you're aggressive you go for everything. Is that your personality?

RORY SABBATINI: I don't know if I would say that's my personality or anything -- being self-taught, not taking lessons or anything like that. I can't contribute it to one particular thing. I think that's the way I play golf. I like playing golf.

Q. (Inaudible)

RORY SABBATINI: When everything is working out, you know, like it was for a couple of holes on the back side there, there's nothing better because you know you've been thinking, you stand up and you just swing the club, and you hit it three feet and you're going okay. Or you hit a shot and you walk up to the green, like we did on 16, and the ball is 3 and a half feet, and you didn't realize it was that good. It's almost like there's no thought process involved. Everything is flowing perfectly.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through your round starting with the birdie on No. 1.

RORY SABBATINI: Hit driver off the tee into the fairway. 7-iron to about 15 feet and made the putt.


RORY SABBATINI: Hit 5-wood off the tee, hit sand wedge to about 18 inches.

TODD BUDNICK: Bogey on 6.

RORY SABBATINI: Hit driver off the tee left side of the fairway, 3-iron into the creek. Hit an L wedge to about 12 feet, missed it. I had 214 to the front.

TODD BUDNICK: Eagle on 13.

RORY SABBATINI: Hit 3-wood off the tee, hit 5-wood into the first cut of rough next to the green, chipped it in. About 45 feet, L-wedge.

TODD BUDNICK: 15, birdie.

RORY SABBATINI: Hit 3-wood off the tee, hit 5-iron to about 3 and a half feet.


RORY SABBATINI: I had a birdie on 16. I hit 3-wood off the tee on 16, hit 7-iron to about 3 and a half feet.

TODD BUDNICK: And then the bogey on 18.

RORY SABBATINI: 3-wood into the right fairway bunker, hit 5-iron short of the green, hit sand wedge to about eight feet and missed it.

Q. (Inaudible)

RORY SABBATINI: 18, actually I made a pretty aggressive play at it. I had 196 yards to the flag into the wind. We pretty much figured it was a club-and-a-half wind. 190 is a 6-iron for me, so I took a 5-iron and I knew I had to hit all of it. I took a really aggressive swing and I just caught it just a fraction heavy.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Rory. Congratulations.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297