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


March 25, 1999

Bob Estes


LEE PATTERSON: Sir, very good round. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about it, and then we will entertain questions.

BOB ESTES: Yeah, I guess basically this is the kind of tournament where you do want to get off to a fast start because you know that the golf course can play much tougher as the week goes along. Usually the greens get just firmer and faster as time goes by, and especially in the afternoon, the wind may start picking up just like it was just as we finished. I think just in the last -- just when we were playing No. 18, the wind started to pick up a little bit more than it was the rest of the day, because at times it was dead calm. So, yeah, you like to take advantage of calm conditions, and I guess that is what I did. So hopefully it will blow this afternoon, but not tomorrow afternoon.

Q. Since you brought up the players meeting, I am curious, how much was made of how fast and hard the greens were before this tournament, and did it actually play that way today?

BOB ESTES: No. The greens -- they are still very firm, but they might really be firm. If the wind continues to blow a little bit like it was there on the last hole, then, yeah in a couple of hours they could really get dried out, because there are areas right now where it is a little bit moist and then there are some areas of the greens where it is a little bit drier. It is hard to keep it entirely uniform; especially when you got slopes and things like that. So, but as far as the player meeting, we talked about it some and talked a little bit about last week also, you know, because that was a perfect example. The greens got so hard last week, you get anything downwind and you have to land it on the green; you just can't stop it. And like, I mean, Azinger's got a legitimate beef about all that, because the Tour almost every week -- because the greens typically are so firm, maybe not so much on the west coast, but starting maybe with Doral onward, a lot of times the greens are going to be really firm and fast, and it really does favor the guy who hits the ball long, hits the ball high. If you are driving the ball long, or longer than somebody else, you are going to have a shorter iron into that green. That is a huge advantage when the greens are as firm as they are. You would think that if a guy was a very, very good iron player, he might be able to hit his 6-iron as close to the hole as somebody else is hitting a 9-iron. But it is physically impossible as firm as the greens are. You almost have to be closer to the green so that you can hit a shorter iron in. A lot of times that is dictating my play as well as other players, as far as what you hit off the tee. There may be certain holes where you'd like to hit 3-wood, maybe give yourself a better chance of being in the fairway; but, you know, with that pin cut on the front, that you better get it on down there so you can hit a sand wedge, a wedge, a 9-iron, something like that. No. 1 is a good example. I think that hole is probably playing a touch downwind right now, and that green is firming up. You better get it down there to the very end of the fairway where you can hit a sand wedge in so you can stop it anywhere near the hole.

Q. What was decided at the meeting? Does it go to another level? Does somebody now go to the Tour?

BOB ESTES: They were talking about some sort of committee that -- I don't even know who is on the committee, you know -- some players, some administrators and things like that to discuss it some more. Some of the agronomy staff. But what I was going to say was we had a player meeting at Oak Hill about five years ago it seems like, maybe even -- yeah, that is probably about right -- where we talked more about firming up the golf courses. But we meant the entire golf course; not just the greens. See, it has -- it is twice as bad for a guy who hits the ball low, you know, short and/or low, you know, if the fairways are soft, and the greens are firm because the guys who hit the ball long can carry that ball a long way. Like me, I don't hit the ball as high as some of the guys do off the tee. I hit a lower kind of slider. I am going to play well when the fairways are firm and the greens are firm. But another good example hole, like No. 8, I remember for last year in particular, No. 8 is a hole where you are hitting a long iron, typically 2- or 3-iron. And if you land that ball in the front of green, it is going to release to the back or the back half of that green. But if you land it just short of the green, it is going to hit and just stick there. In so many of the courses, the way they are being designed these days, you can't land it short any way. You land it short, you are either in the bunker or in the water. So the game is so much through the air that you are missing out on a lot of good golf and a lot of good players because it is so one dimensional. I can get on a roll when it comes to certain subjects. I am not as quiet as you all think I am.

Q. Bob, how about your putting today on what they said was fast greens, or did you take advantage of an early start?

BOB ESTES: Oh, little of both, I guess. I mean, they were very fast. They can probably get faster as they dry out some more. There was just enough moisture this morning. And I am not for sure -- again, it depends on the wind as far as this afternoon; but, yeah, I took advantage. Actually there is a few shots that I hit that I was expecting more release back to the flag than I received. But that is just based on from past years I have played here knowing how the greens can be. But for the most part, the greens out there were either -- the right amount of firmness or -- it just depends. You have got so many different players, so many different opinions, you know, I thought that they were just about right. But I know that they are going to get firmer and that it is more difficult for me hitting approach shots. But that is better for me when it comes to the short game, because I have got one of the top, you know, 2 or 3 or 5 short games out here, as far as getting that ball up-and-down, and so I don't mind seeing the greens get real firm. Sometimes they just get ridiculously hard and you can't even stop a wedge.

Q. How about your putting today? Obviously you putted pretty good.

BOB ESTES: Oh, yeah. Yeah, my putting was very good, very solid, no three putts. Made some good birdie putts, good par save on the last hole. But that goes back to the Western Open last year. I think I found out that I switched to putting cross-handed the same week that Vijay Singh did - haven't done as nearly well as he did, but maybe in the next couple of years - but I have putted consistently well, seems like every round, since I did that. That enabled -- had struggled a lot with my putting prior to that, even though I have had some success up until last summer. But I knew I never was consistent as I needed to be, and so I finally came up with a double overlap cross-handed putting grip. I think Jim Furyk maybe is triple overlap, I don't know. But my hands fit together really well, double overlap cross-handed putting, and yeah, I just -- my putting is very good. I think I am fit in the stats. I think I saw it yesterday or the day before, yeah, the putting is fun. Putting was not fun for a long time, and now I love to putt. Actually, I did get a new putter. I mean, I have been putting with STX, putting for the most part for the last year or so. But I went to one that was an inch longer Wednesday night before Bay Hill. And last week at Bay Hill was probably the best, you know, and most solidly I have ever putted in a tournament on Tour, except for maybe the one week that I won. I made a few putts that week too. Putting is fun now.

Q. You are a guy who is a perfectionist and tinkers with all elements of your game, your equipment. Have you tinkered --

BOB ESTES: Only 'til I get it just right, then I will be done.

Q. Off the tee these days, like a couple years ago, you were using a baseball-style grip; then you kind of went to a stronger grip, then back. What are you using these days?

BOB ESTES: Just basic overlap grip. It is certainly a whole lot stronger than what I have ever used out here on Tour. Yeah, I hate to get into talking about all that again, but basically I just -- my left hand was not -- too much to the left, and my right hand was too much on top and through my right side over the top too much. So, the changes --

Q. But you are driving the ball well with --

BOB ESTES: It is okay. It is not as good as it needs to be. On this course, in particular, you know, there are some holes where it is nice to be able to move the ball left-to-right off the tee, but I still think, for the most part, on this golf course to take advantage of the par 5s, you know. Then there are some other tee shots, like on 18, some of the very crucial tee shots, it is best to be able to work that ball right-to-left off the tee. Start it away from the trouble and work it back to the trouble. Too many of the shots I have to play, I am starting to hit too close to the hazards, working it away from it. A lot of times you are not bailing out kind of like I did on 18 and, you know, hitting it in the right rough, or whatever, so, but I am going to work on that a little bit next week. I am not playing Atlanta, and probably going to get together with Chuck middle of next week and we are going to -- I hit some draws actually Tuesday morning with the driver. I didn't think I would ever be able to do that. So, we are going to go work on that a little bit because this tournament and The Masters, you know, could be two very good tournaments for me, but you almost have to be able to hit that ball right-to-left off the tee to take advantage of the golf course. And to be more secure and confident when you are playing it, you know, for me I mean, this is -- they give you plenty of room to drive at Augusta but here it can be kind of scary. You have got hazards on the left side, bunkers, deep rough, I think I would just be much more secure playing this course if I was able to hit it right-to-left off the tee. Maybe by next year.

Q. How long have you been working with Chuck?

BOB ESTES: No, he just -- Payne Stewart was late, slept in one morning; Chuck was there waiting for Payne, and --

Q. Have you worked with him before?

BOB ESTES: I have a couple times, but really spread out over a long period of time. But, yeah, I think we are going to get together middle of this next week and -- but that is really the last element of my golf game because you can look at my stats, I mean, they are pretty much, you know, will tell what you is going on.

Q. You have been so close, you have had a lot of high finishes the last --

BOB ESTES: Yes, but you have got to be able to step up on the tee on 18 knowing that you can hit that ball hard and hit it in the fairway. I have -- some guys drive the ball here great; they don't have a very good short time. Me, I manage my game well; I have got a good iron game and really good short game, but I haven't driven the ball, you know, as well as I needed to, but as soon as I do, I will be in here a whole lot more often because if I am hitting fairways, you know, and hitting it longer, the iron game is there for the most part and the short game is definitely there; then you will see, yeah, a lot more low score. That too, I have the potential to shoot - I shoot a lot of 68s and 69s and 70s, but I do that more with my course management, my iron game, my short game. But you have got to be able to, you know, attack the par 5s, drive it a little further down the fairway on the par 4s, you know, like a Davis or Vijay or Tiger or Freddie, just go on and on and on with a lot of those best -- David Duval, they hit the ball so long and so straight for the most part, they can take advantage of the golf course. I have usually had to play a little too much defense from the start and then I can attack the closer I get to the hole.

Q. Speaking of driving, I presume that everyone was talking about the rough. But obviously you kept in the fairway and set up your iron-play that might have set up some of those birdies?

BOB ESTES: Yeah, I think hit most of the fairways. Haven't really added it up. I would have to go back and figure it up. I know I did miss the fairway on No. 4. Hit a pretty good drive there. Hit it straight to the fairway; had to just dig it out. I couldn't even try to go for the green, I had like 139 to the hole; I had to hit a sandwedge out of the fairway; hit another sand wedge to the green 2-putted for bogey, but I hit most of the fairways. 18 was another one where I did drive it in the rough, to just kind of advance it with a 9-iron down the fairway; then I got it up-and-down from 104 yards after making a 20-footer, but, yeah, for the most part, I have hit most of the fairways and that is what you have got to do.

LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you go over those birdies for us real quick.

BOB ESTES: No. 2, is a good example, kind of like what I am talking about. 2 and 16, I mean, it really helps if you can hit driver and turn that ball over and get it going more down the fairway, you know, get it closer to the green. I am not comfortable hitting driver off the tee on 2 because you have got so many big tall trees just left. Hit 3-wood off the tee on -- almost everybody is hitting driver. I usually don't even attempt to go for that green in two. Then I hit 3-iron for my second shot; ended up in the first cut of rough, down the right side and I had probably about 70 something like 77 yards, I think, to the hole. Hit 60-degree sand wedge in there about four feet, made that for birdie. No. 6, I hit 3-wood - coming back into the wind just a touch - hit 3-wood in the fairway, and 6-iron about twelve feet, pin-high, made that for birdie. 8 I hit 3-iron, it was like 226 or something like that to the hole. I hit 3-iron landed on the front edge like I hoped it would. Released back to the back just about pin-high, made about 18-footer for birdie. No. 9, driver, 3-iron, and then a 60-degree sand wedge from about 82 yards; hit it in there about four feet, made that for birdie. 15, that is one of those actual left-to-righters, you know, I hit slider off the tee, hit 7-iron from 176, pin-high about 15 feet. Made that. Bogey at 16, good tee shot on 16. I had about 204, I think was to the front left, but the way that fairway is around that area, there is a big mound, I mean, a big dip or swell; then a big mound, Brandt Jobe kind of got it up on top of that mound but I was kind of like on the up-slope with the wall above my feet, and yeah, maybe not a shot I should have even tried, I don't know, the yardage was great. Hit 2- or 3-iron left side of the green; get it on the green or around it, but I was fighting going too far left and I blocked it out to the lake, so -- again maybe if I was a little bit better ball-striker and, you know, a little bit more confident, I'd pull that shot off every time or hit the good safe shot, but I over-corrected and blocked it in the lake. Took a drop, knocked it on and actually caught some of the hole had about 15-footer for par. Lipped it out. Good putts three of the last four holes, and I lipped it out on 16 for par.

LEE PATTERSON: Birdied 17.

BOB ESTES: 17, pin is on the front 9 today. 9-iron, touch downwind, you know, it was playing about 130 I think to the hole, yardage is probably 130, 135, something like that, and, yeah, landed it just short of the flag just to the right. I was just trying to play it past the flag; maybe use the slope, bring it back just to the right. Anyway I had about 10-footer just past the hole and to the right and made that one. Got a good read from Brian Henninger on the putt before, he had basically the same putt and knocked it in.

Q. You said you had a save on 18?

BOB ESTES: Yes, 18 the wind is going kind of down, little from the right, and if I hit a good driver I could go through the fairway end of the rough so hit 3-wood I blocked it out to the right, into the right rough, and couldn't even -- I think I had 186 to the front of the green but I couldn't even try to get it down there. And, if you play safer down the right side, you have got a tree in your way and rough and dips and bunkers and everything else you see on TPC course, so, I just hit a 9-iron out into the fairway, 104 to the hole and hit sand wedge expecting a little bit more release. It kind of checked up on me so I was about 20 feet short right of the hole and, you know, it is one of those you are not going to make very often, but it went in.

Q. How many other places did you hit a 3-wood?

BOB ESTES: 6 and 18.

Q. 2 you said?

BOB ESTES: That may be it. Right, No. 2. Because that is an uncomfortable tee shot with me with the driver, hitting it left-to-right to lose it right over there in that gunch.

Q. Just those three?

BOB ESTES: I believe so. I would have to -- because I hit driver on 12, 10, 11, 12, sometimes, you know, 10 or 12 can be a 3-wood tee shot. I believe that is it.

Q. What do you give up for yardage when you take the driver out?

BOB ESTES: A lot of times just depends how firm the fairways are. The distance I carry a driver and 3-wood is probably not that much. I probably carry the 3-wood off a tee, you know, 245 off a tee and maybe the driver about 260, 255 or 60, but, yeah, you are going -- just kind of depends, like I said, on the firmness of the fairways. Maybe 30 yards. More the firmer the fairways are.


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