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June 7, 2001

Bob Estes


DAVE SENKO: Bob, congratulations. 10-under 61, which at the moment is the lowest opening round in tournament history. Matches your career low at Chattanooga.

BOB ESTES: I remember Chattanooga. That was a long time ago.

DAVE SENKO: Maybe just real quick, run down on your day and then we'll get birdies and open up for some questions.

BOB ESTES: You mean like going back to the time I went to the range today and I was still dog-tired from Tuesday? Still kind of in recovery mode from the qualifier on Tuesday. Still haven't slept real well the last few nights, kind of before and after. So I was really tired warming up, and I guess that slowed me down a little bit and made me play along with myself and to go along with that. I got a new putter on Monday and putted well Tuesday on the qualifier and just kept it going today. Maybe what helped a little bit, also, was only having to play nine holes yesterday in the Pro-Am. We were out here for a long time and it wasn't like we were trudging out there in the mud and the wet, you know, another two and a half hours. So I was able to go back and take a nap yesterday afternoon and get some rest. And that's what I'm trying to do right now, make sure I get the right amount of golf and the right amount of rest to play real well next week and also to set myself up for next week.

DAVE SENKO: How about your birdies, starting at No. 1.

BOB ESTES: Driver to the fairway and 8-iron in there about ten feet to the right of the hole. Made it. 2, I hit driver, left. Just ten yards in the left rough. Certainly didn't want to go right with those trees over there, but I pulled it a little bit left in the left rough. Had a decent lie. Hit a 9-iron about seven or eight below the hole, I guess, and made that one. 4, I think it was playing like 185 or something like that. Hit 6-iron about four to five feet and made that one. 5, I hit a driver down the right side of the fairway and had to squeeze a 2-iron underneath that three; and I really didn't think I hit that good of a shot, but it stayed in the air long enough that it carried past the rough and scooted up on the edge of the green and rolled just over. It is a real easy chip up the hill for eagle, and chipped it up there about six or eight inches and tapped it in there for birdie. Wanted that eagle, though. 7, driver in the fairway. Hit a 4-iron from 199, I think it was. About four to five feet again. Made it. 8, I hit 7-iron. I think it was 169 to the hole. I hit it about 12 feet past the hole. Made it coming back up the hill. 12, I hit 3-wood at the bunker through the fairway. I was short of the bunker, but I was in the rough. Had a good lie. Had a wedge from 130 and hit a pretty good wedge shot in there, again about 12 feet and made that one. 15, I kind of hung my 3-wood out to the right. I was in the edge of the rough and had to play a little bit conservatively. The pin was in the back right, so I didn't know if I was going to hit a little flyer or not. I had to play short of the hole just in case it jumped a little bit and came up between 20 and 25 feet short. It was a good play; just didn't play. That one -- did a little dance around the hole, but it finally went in. That was good to see. The ball was trying to get out of there. I thought it was going to go in the middle of the hole, but it was such a breaking putt; it went around the one side, around the hole, and disappeared. 16, driver to the fairway. 3-wood, just short of the green. Then I had a good angle at the flag and I just scooted a sand wedge back to the hole. It was kind of uphill and then a little downhill and rolled it up there about six inches and tapped that one in. But that's the eagle I needed to make to shoot 59. So, had a chance, but it didn't quite -- missed it just to the right. Then on 17, I hit the driver down the right side and it was just in the edge of the rough. You know, I've got the trees on both sides to kind of protect you, or protect the green, if you don't hit it in the fairway. I think I had 184 to the hole, 184, 185. Had 169 to the front. Anyway, I hit a punch-cut 2-iron through the tree, down the fairway. Kind of like on No. 5. That one got away from me, also, a little bit to the right. But it just scooted up there just like it knew where it was going, and I had about, again, another 4- to 5-footer for birdie. Just a little bit up the hill, right-to-left. I'm sure I was planning on birdieing 18, as well, but I kind of got caught in between clubs on 18. I knew I didn't want to go over the green, because there's only four or five paces behind it. Then I miss-hit the 6-iron and came up a little short. Actually, I thought I was going to have about a 20-footer for birdie and it was just over the false front, so I had a little longer putt than I anticipated. I wanted to have a better chance to make birdie and shoot 60, but just didn't get it close enough to the hole.

Q. Did sub-60 ever enter your mind while you were actually hitting balls at 16? Were you thinking --

BOB ESTES: While I was on the course?

Q. Yeah.

BOB ESTES: When I got through 14 and I was 7-under, I started thinking -- I knew par was 71, so I was thinking: Birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie. So, you know, not that I was trying to get too far ahead of myself. I just, you know -- so, yeah I was dry on 14 and 2-putted for par. I've eagled 16 before and I birdied all the other holes. I knew if I go birdie, birdie, birdie, I'd shoot 12-under, and me and my friends would probably just have a big party and not even show up tomorrow.

Q. Did you change putters?

BOB ESTES: Well, I'm putting with an Odyssey putter. I don't know if I can say that with my clubs, though. They are Cleveland. Maybe I can. Anyway, the Odyssey rep helped me out on Monday. Not exactly the putter I was looking for. I have another putter that is to arrive tomorrow, another Odyssey putter.

Q. Are you going to use it?

BOB ESTES: Well, I'll certainly hit some putts on the putting green after the round tomorrow and just give it a try, because I'm sure it will be here tomorrow morning. I grew up putting with Bull's Eye. I think I've tried to stick too close to what's like textbook. You know, as far as the full swing and putting, stuff like that, it's almost like I'm overcoached. So quite a while now for the last six or seven years, I've just try to find my own game as far as grip, setup, stuff like that. There's some things that I can't do that maybe some other people can do. The whole thing had to do with just being more natural. If you're not enjoying what you're doing -- you know, golf is hard, but it doesn't have to be as hard as you make it sometimes. So, I've just been trying to make things easier for me so I can, you know, have more fun when I'm out there playing, which I did today, and just kind of let it flow, and that's what you have to do to be able to shoot low scores like a 61. It's pretty funny that I just shot a 61 because I was just telling people, in the last couple weeks in particular, that I felt like I was getting closer to having the ability to shoot some lower scores. Not just, you know, 2- or 3-under. Those are good scores usually on TOUR, but if you want to win golf tournaments out here, especially where the scores are traditionally pretty low, you have to be able to shoot some 61s, 62s, 63s, 64s. I've shown some signs off of that lately; shooting 64 at Colonial on Saturday and tying for the low round. I was 7-under after two rounds at the Kemper and was two shots back. That was without the new putter. So, anyway, I'm gaining on it.

Q. The mantra of a lot of PGA guys is, "Stay in the present. Don't go too far in the fast and don't go too far in the future." As you're at 14 thinking birdie, eagle birdie, birdie finish, is that a danger, or are you in such a zone at that point that it didn't bother you?

BOB ESTES: I think I was so relaxed, and it's only Thursday. Anything can happen between now and the time we finish up on Sunday. Kind of from the very beginning, obviously -- not that I didn't care but I almost started out the round, you know, kind of that mindset. Like I just wasn't going to let anything bother me. I wasn't too worried about each individual shot. I knew I was playing pretty good. I knew I was making some putts now. And not that I started thinking ahead, until I said, like once I finished No. 14. For the most part, I was just relaxed and kind of visiting with some of my friends sometimes between shots that live here in Memphis, so just trying to keep it a little bit looser. I've played with a little bit too much intensity at times in the past, but part of that was because I was kind of still lost in my game. Again, that goes back to what I was saying earlier about doing things the way it is normally right, for you, so that you can be more relaxed when you are out there playing. Not get as uptight between shots or playing shots, and just kind of let it flow a little bit more. That's kind what have I did and it worked out. So maybe I found something, but making putts helps.

Q. Did the course seem at all to get maybe just a little bit drier, lose a little bit of the water off it that was there earlier as you went through your round today?

BOB ESTES: You didn't go out there today, did you? (Laughs). There's still so much standing water in places. I'm sure it is obviously going to dry a little bit, but, you know, a couple tee shots maybe released down the fairway somewhat, but, I mean, it's still just really, really wet out there. I guess maybe it's going to rain a little bit tonight or tomorrow, or hopefully it's all through. The weather I saw this morning said we still have a chance of thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow. I hope this afternoon was a good sign that we are done for a while, because the course certainly doesn't need more water.

Q. You mentioned you were tired especially after Tuesday -- getting qualified on Tuesday, did that take a little bit of load off your mind, knowing where you get to go next week?

BOB ESTES: Maybe somewhat. I don't know, I'll have to think about that one for a while. That's a good question. Yeah, I certainly wanted to qualify. I need to be playing in all the majors. My World Ranking and my position on the Money List has kind of slipped a little bit the last couple years for different reasons. So, yeah, knowing that I -- I needed that. I needed to qualify. I needed to be playing at the U.S. Open, even though Southern Hills maybe isn't quite the kind of course that I feel like really suits me but maybe I've got a better chance to play well than I did in '93 or whatever it was that we played the PGA there. I guess, you know, having already accomplished something this week, I guess -- I guess if I wasn't in the U.S. Open next week, then, you know, I just would have accepted it. I did just about everything I could do up to that point and I just didn't qualify. So that's kind of just the way golf is; accept it and move on. Not that you can compare a regular Tour event to a major, but if I had not played the U.S. Open, I was probably going to add Hartford to my schedule. So, I guess, there's kind of different ways I can respond to that question. But, yeah, I'm glad to be playing next week. But, I love it here, too. This is one of my favorite tournaments as well. This is kind of like my third home. I'm from Abilene. I live in Austin. That's where I went to school. But a lot of my best friends in the whole wide world are right here in Memphis, Tennessee. I wish I as able to get here more often than I do. But I certainly try to make advantage of it and spend time with my friends when I do get here.

End of FastScripts....

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