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August 24, 2012

Bob Estes


LAURA HILL:テつ We'd like to welcome Bob Estes into the interview room.テつ Bob, a really nice round today to move up the leaderboard.テつ You're now tied with Vijay.テつ Maybe just give us your overall thoughts on what's working for you out there and the position you're in heading into the weekend.
BOB ESTES:テつ I started hitting the ball a lot better the last few days.テつ I missed my last two cuts in Canada and the tournament at Sedgefield, the Wyndham. テつGot right after it on Saturday, started practicing to get ready for the Playoffs, and found a little something, and I continued to work on that and kind of fine‑tune it.テつ I'm setting up to the ball probably better than I ever have, and I'm hitting it much more solidly and straighter than I ever have.テつ That's a big part of it.
You've got to be hitting fairways and greens to play this place, so I've hit most of the fairways, most of the greens, and then I switched back to putting with the left hand below the right a couple days ago, also, so my putting has been pretty solid, as well.

Q.テつ A lot of the players have been saying that as the days go on the course is going to get harder, but you played significantly better today.テつ Did you have that type of mindset going into today thinking it was going to be harder?
BOB ESTES:テつ Well, I figured that the golf course‑‑ well, the greens in particular would be a little bit softer this morning, and they probably were starting out.テつ But at the end of our round, the greens were really drying out and they were getting really firm and really fast, and so it's really dangerous out there right now.
But earlier when there was a little more moisture, the balls were holding a little bit better.テつ You could actually find your pitch mark on the green.テつ Yeah, the earlier you play, the easier the golf course is.テつ I wouldn't want to be out there right now.テつ It's getting really‑‑ the greens are getting really dry fast.テつ We're putting on dirt basically in places, so they're just really, really quick.

Q.テつ Did you grow up putting on dirt greens?
BOB ESTES:テつ Yes, that's all we have in West Texas is dirt greens.

Q.テつ How do you find something or how does it come to you?テつ Is it just hitting balls?
BOB ESTES:テつ Experimenting.テつ A little bit stronger grip, a little weaker, a little higher, a little lower, stance a little wider, a little more narrow, different clubs, different golf balls.テつ We go through a lot out here every day that people don't know about.テつ Unless you feel like you've absolutely got it then you can play the way the rest of your life, we're always trying to get better.
I've always struggled with my ball‑striking.テつ I've always known that something wasn't quite right or a few things weren't quite right, and I've worked with different teachers that have tried to help me.テつ Jim Flick, who I'm working with now currently has helped me some, but he's not telling me every single thing to do; he's not putting me in every single position.テつ I'm still having to kind of try to work within his foundation, I guess, but find my own grip, setup and swing to make it all work.
And so after I hit the ball pretty poorly again last week and I knew that something was not right‑‑ my good shots were okay but my bad shots were just too bad, so I knew something had to change.テつ Your bad shots just can't be as bad as mine were last week.テつ I only missed the cut by two shots, but still, the bad shots were just too far off line.テつ So now after making‑‑ doing some experimenting and making some changes, I think I've gotten much closer now just in the last five, six days to finding closer to where I'll supposed to be at address to hit the ball like a TOUR player should.

Q.テつ So it was mostly a setup issue?
BOB ESTES:テつ Yeah, just a little setup adjustment.

Q.テつ Your putting, how often have you done that in your career?テつ It seems like a pretty big departure, your whole approach to putting and the way you hold the putter, how often have you gone back and forth, and what makes you decide to do that?
BOB ESTES:テつ I've done that about every other day for the most part for the last 20 years.テつ But no, I know I'm supposed to putt with the left hand below the right because mechanically that's just the way I set up to it correctly.テつ But I get stubborn sometimes and I go back and forth.
I should just stick with it, but maybe sometimes I've putted with the left hand below the right or maybe I didn't have the right putter, so sometimes that might confuse me or confuse the next guy.テつ Maybe the putter that I'm using now matches up better with putting left hand low as compared to what I've putted with in the past.

Q.テつ Sorry for the pessimistic question, but having missed the cut last week, were you worried about missing the cut this week with the Playoffs on the line and you at No.103?
BOB ESTES:テつ Yeah, actually I was obviously trying to prepare as well as I could, but I was trying to treat this like Q‑school.テつ I was back at Q‑school, kind of an insurance policy last December, and so when I get in that mindset, I tend to play better.テつ And I just really, really focused.テつ I mean, sometimes I think I'm focused but I'm maybe not as focused as I could be.テつ So I played these two rounds more with that Q‑school mindset and focus and discipline, and so that's allowed me to shoot the scores that I shot.テつ It's not like I'm firing at every flag.テつ But yeah, starting out after I missed the cut last week, I was like, I've got to find some game in a hurry.テつ You've only got five days until the next tournament starts or the Playoffs start.

Q.テつ I would have thought maybe you've run across this before in your career that when you go into a tournament thinking that got to make the cut that it actually makes it harder?
BOB ESTES:テつ Well, I'm not just trying to make the cut, it's just that I'm just playing with that kind of‑‑

Q.テつ On Thursday.
BOB ESTES:テつ Well, I know you're talking about Thursday, but ask the question again.

Q.テつ Going into a week starting on Thursday, I know you're trying to do more than make the cut during the week, but when you go in there with an attitude of I've got to make the cut first, it's a little more difficult to play?
BOB ESTES:テつ Well, for some guys, but I'm tougher that that (laughter), so no, I've been through so much, I've played so many tournaments and majors and I've won, I've lost, I've played really well, I've played bad, so I've been through pretty much everything except, I guess, a Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
But it was just about just focusing on every shot and trying to make the best of every shot and not get too far ahead of myself.

Q.テつ Are you focused right now?
BOB ESTES:テつ I'm still focused.テつ I'm still in that‑‑ not until I hit the dining area will I come out of it.テつ I'm still focused.

Q.テつ You played in the second wave yesterday.テつ What did you think when you got here and saw all those low scores yesterday, and do you think we maybe have seen the end of those given the way the course is firming up?
BOB ESTES:テつ Well, I was really surprised with Padraig's 7‑under because I played a practice round with him and he hit it all over the place, so that was what was so surprising to start with.テつ (Laughter.)
But he obviously found something yesterday morning.テつ No, with the three par‑5s and maybe the chance to make an eagle or two, and there's enough short par‑4s, if you drive it in the right place or far enough, no, I knew that that kind of score was out there.テつ More so in the morning than in the afternoon.テつ If somebody shoots a score like that this afternoon then they really played well because the greens are just getting that much firmer.
Just like we said earlier, it's just easier to get the ball close to the hole in the morning when the greens are a little bit softer and they're not quite as quick, either.テつ But right now they're just really slippery.テつ And there's another, what, six or seven hours of golf left?テつ Five or six?

Q.テつ When you feel like you've got to make changes like you said you did after last week, do you find it's easier to make those changes when you don't have as much time to work on them, like you said you only had five days before this tournament started as opposed to maybe having a few weeks to mull over a lot of different ideas?
BOB ESTES:テつ Well, all I needed was just a little setup change.テつ It wasn't like I had to change my swing.テつ So if I was changing my swing, yeah, sometimes that takes months or a year or whatever.テつ So yeah, just‑‑ I was just kind of playing around with my setup a little bit.テつ So one basic setup change, and that's allowed me to hit the ball with more confidence and hit it straighter.

Q.テつ But the putter change wasn't as big for you?
BOB ESTES:テつ No, because I've putted like that about half my career anyway, so...
LAURA HILL:テつ Bob, thank you.テつ Good luck this week.

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