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June 2, 2002

Bob Estes


JOE CHEMYCZ: Bob, welcome and congratulations. A great win for you. A great week. Really steady play out there. And just talk a little bit about the enjoying the day and your fourth career win.

BOB ESTES: Yeah, I enjoy it more now than I did while I was out there. It was obviously really difficult. But I knew I was playing well. I had been hitting it well for a couple of months now and not putting very well. So I had made more putts this week and but, boy, through about, you know, seven or eight holes today I felt like I should have been three or 4-under and I was even par. So I knew pars were good but I wanted to make some birdies as well. You figure that as tough as the conditions are, you're probably going to make a few mistakes, make a couple of bogeys, which easily could have happened but I made a couple of good saves. And, yeah, I knew that the winning score for the most part probably was going to be as low as I had originally projected yesterday because the wind started to blow harder than it's blown all week. Not that it was gale force by any means, but even a 15 mile an hour wind or 18, 20 mile an hour wind is going to make a big difference on a golf course like this when the greens and the fairways are this firm. So it was a U.S. Open kind of setup and round. And I think my experience from having played in a bunch of Major championships in the past and just playing on Tour, because a lot of times this is the way the golf course has played on sat and Sunday. You know, having that experience, knowing when to play away from flags and things like that and when to maybe hit a 2-iron off the tee instead of a 3-wood, a three wood instead of a driver, you know, that experience helped me out a lot today.

JOE CHEMYCZ: The only player in the field today without a bogey. Good steady play.

BOB ESTES: Yeah. Like I said, I was sure -- I mean I knew I was going to make a few birdies and it turned out that one was all it took. But it didn't have to be that way. It still could have taken a 67 or 68 to win, actually. But I that's one of the things that I pride myself on. I make some bad shots ever once in awhile, hoping I can overcome those with a good short game. But I hate to make mental errors, hit the wrong club off the tee or play to the wrong place on the green. And I really didn't hardly ever do that. I mean I missed a few greens but, yeah, it was a really smart round of golf for the most part. I just knew that there weren't a whole lot of birdies out there so I was having to put myself in position where if I made a longer putt, that's good. But I was putting myself in position to make sure that I made par on a lot of those holes as well.

Q. Bob, on 17 did you hear the guy, did you hear anybody yell something in your back swing? Take us through the shot. I mean somebody yelled, and I think, hit it in the water or something like that. Can you take us through that shot?

BOB ESTES: No. I didn't hear anything. Maybe I was so into it that I wasn't going to hear anything. I don't know. Let's see if I can remember what the yardage was. I just knew for the most part that it was going to be a full 7-iron. I was trying to land it either just short of pin high or pin high and use that slope behind the flag. And maybe having hit 6-iron in the back bunker yesterday made it that much easier for me to go with what my caddy was suggesting and hit the 7-iron. And I sure wanted to hit a, make a full swing, I kind of learned that lesson on Friday. If you can help it, I was in between a 6-iron and a 7-iron on Friday and trying to avoid the back bunker I took a little something off of a 6-iron and didn't hit it solid, or solidly, and came up short in the water. So I knew today especially you would like to make a full swing on a hole like that. So yeah, I figured that if I hit a full 7-iron left of the flag the ball would do exactly what it did. Hit and scoot forward and to the right and just kind of work its way around back around the flag. So, but I sure wasn't trying to lay up on that putt. I wanted to make that and have a two shot lead going into the last hole. Every tournament that I've won on Tour I've won by one shot and I'm kind of getting tired of it. I would like to have a three or four or five shot lead for once going down 18 so I can really enjoy it. That's why I couldn't get too into it or anything like that. I still had work to do. I still had a long 2-putt on number 18. You're not always going to get those down in two, but anyway, at 17 it always is going to be a crucial hole here unless you got a six or seven or eight shot lead. And yeah I just had to gut it up and hit the shot.

Q. Can you talk about playing on a day where there weren't a whole lot of birdie opportunities out there. What does it do to you when your playing partner gets a hole in one like he did at the 11th hole?

BOB ESTES: I guess there were more eagles out there than birdies. But I was happy for Bob. That was great. If I didn't win today and Bob won, I mean that was going to be fine. There's a lot of guys out here and I was like that for a long time, where you work so hard at it, do everything that you know to do to get good enough to win golf tournaments on Tour and so yeah, it could have easily been Bob Burns' day as much as it was mine. The shot that he hit on 16, I mean that thing was so close to being a 10 or 12 foot birdie putt. And he makes that, he probably goes on to win the golf tournament. So Bob played really, really well. And he's obviously got the game and the guts to get it done on Sunday. A lot of times guys don't necessarily choke but it just doesn't happen. The ball just doesn't end up where it should or it just doesn't go in the hole. That's kind of what was happening to me through the first 11 holes. Until I made a good par putt on number 12. But anyway, I just kind of, to finish that off, when Bob made the ace on No. 11, I was happy for him. But I had every intention of making my birdie and I would have been just one shot back, but I still knew we had a lot of golf left and on this golf course there's so much danger even one or two shots with that many holes left is not that big a deal.

Q. When you stood on the 16th fairway, did you know that it was very dangerous to go at that pin, so you were better off playing high right? You played it much more conservative and he got severely penalized for going at the pin. What was your mindset standing over that shot on 16?

BOB ESTES: Yeah, exactly like you said. I was trying to hit it right where I did for the most part. I hit it, maybe would have like to have hit it a little bit closer to the hole. Maybe 12 to 15 feet left. But it got away from me just a touch to the right but that was still the place to miss it. You don't want to miss it short left or long. And I knew that. Trying to remember exactly what Bob, I guess we were tied going in a that hole, right? I went blank for a second. Yeah, but I knew that that was a real dangerous place. Because that bunker is so deep below and I've been in that thing before. I knew that that's not where you wanted to be. Because when the greens are that firm you just can't play as aggressively as you would like to. Maybe on Thursday you could have gone right at that flag. And the greens were softer and that ball would have hit and just stopped right there. But the greens kept getting firmer and firmer and when that happens, you got to start playing away from certain flags. And that was one of the ones that I knew was dangerous, even if you do carry the bunker, the first hop might be over the back of the green before it even has a chance to checkup. So that's where I was playing on 16 and on 18.

Q. Is that a play too, the play that he made and the play that you made, is that something that sort of comes with maturity and a little more experience knowing that that's just not something you can do?

BOB ESTES: I can't say for sure that he was shooting at the flag. Sometimes the ball goes where it wants to. But yeah, I, it, yeah I mean you could have to ask him I guess first of all where was he trying to hit it. Was he trying to get it right at the flag, but for the most part that's about as dangerous as it gets when the greens are that firm. The deep bunker in front, it falls off on the left, it falls off in the back. And you know, you got to really, a really, really difficult up-and-down if you miss it in any one of those three places. So yeah, I don't want to say that he made a bad play because he may not have been trying to hit it there it just ended up there. And just to kind of finish up on that, it may be Bob hasn't won on Tour before, and maybe sometimes that's what you got to do. I mean if you want to win a golf tournament, you know, sometimes you do, you have to take a chance. And shoot at a flag or that you might not normally shoot at. But it's just like I said, it could have ended up 10 or 12 feet from the hole and it trickled off the green. If it stays on the green Bob might win the tournament.

Q. How long was the birdie putt at 14?

BOB ESTES: About 18 feet.

Q. (Inaudible.)

BOB ESTES: Going from one through 18? Is that what you meant? A few good saves? Okay. Yeah. There were about four holes also which don't -- I'm not really talking about I'm just kind of correcting that where I was in the fringe or it kind of hit the green but number five was a good example I was two inches into the fringe, but I had a 12 foot birdie putt. But let's see. Nine was -- I'm sorry, number three. On three I hit a really good 3-iron that landed on the green left of the flag like I was trying to, but it just didn't hold. And so it went over the back of the green. So I had a real tricky up-and-down with a sand wedge. Hit a really good pitch shot. I had almost kind of the same type of shot on three and nine. I was kind of hitting a low scooting sand wedge 56 degree sand wedge. And hit both of them up there within a few feet and made those for pars. So those were really good up and downs.

And then I hit it just over the back of the green on No. 11. So that was the same club I used, the 56 degree sand wedge. Plus it wasn't that hard of a shot I hit to get it on the green and get it running down to the hole and actually I couldn't believe it didn't go in. I thought it was in for sure. I thought that was going to be my first birdie. But it rolled over the edge of the hole. Tapped it in for par. And even though it wasn't an up-and-down, I hit it kind of past the flag to the left on number 12, misread the first half of the putt and had to make about a 10 footer for par on that hole. So that was a really big putt as well.

And then the up-and-down out of the bunker on number 15.

Q. (Inaudible.)

BOB ESTES: Sometimes I just kind of forget what the yardage is to the hole because I know exactly where I want to land the ball. I hit a 7-iron and what's funny is the two tournaments that I won last year, I hit 7-iron into 18 both times at Memphis and Las Vegas. That was a 7-iron on number 17, that was a 7-iron into the green on 18. So I was actually kind of laughing when I got to where my 3-wood tee shot ended up on 18, and started getting a good feel for the yardage and what the wind was doing I was real sure it was going to be 7-iron again. So I was pretty pumped about that because there was just no way I was going to hit a bad 7-iron shot.

Q. (Inaudible.)

BOB ESTES: That's right. As far as the yardage, let's see, 45, 65, 45, 29, 174. It was 174 to the hole. Downhill. But I was trying to carry the ball 165 yards downhill five from 160 and then the wind was coming in. So it was just a good solid 7-iron to the middle of the green.

Q. You said earlier that sometimes you have to take chances to win a golf tournament. Did you take any chances today?

BOB ESTES: No, I don't think I, I don't think I was ever really in a position. And even though I had it close to the hole on 17, I don't even think that was taking a chance. Because I was aiming left of the flag. I knew the slope would bring it over to the hole. But I guess it just kind of depends on what you want to call it.

Number 13 for instance, I hit 2-iron off the tee, some people might think that's a conservative play. But I knew if I hit 2-iron as well as I could hit it, I could still knock another 2-iron on the green and so the second shot was a 2-iron from like 248 yards to the front edge. So you could say that some people might have laid up. But anyway, I guess to answer your question for the most part I pretty much just played what I thought was the smartest play on every single shot, every single time. And I never was in a position -- I kind of had a really good feel for what was going on out there. Nobody was getting it to 12- or 13- or 14-under. Except for Bob when he made the hole in one. So for the most part, yeah, it was just -- the golf course didn't allow you to play too aggressively. Sometimes I thought I was making a pretty conservative play, like my second shot into number 12 I was trying to play a few paces into the green so I wouldn't have to deal with that big swale or the big hump in the center of the green. And the ball hit short and it just shot toward the back left of the green. It was, you just -- it just didn't allow you to play very aggressively, actually.

Q. After winning twice on year Tour was there any point this year where you were frustrated why you weren't able to get that close this year?

BOB ESTES: I knew for the most part -- earlier in the year I was still experimenting with a few things, grip size, I actually got a new set of irons the week of New Orleans, half an inch longer than what I had been playing. And actually my 3-wood and my driver are also a half inch longer than what I've been playing. So for the first few months in particular and even at up to New Orleans I was still kind of trying to really get things just right. And I still feel like I could have had some better tournaments than I did even though I'm through that. If I would have just putted better. I don't know what my putting stats say. I'm a very good putter for the most part, but I just wasn't making enough putts. So I knew that if I continued to hit the ball the way I was hitting it and just figure something out with the putter, then something like this week was bound to happen. I was just giving myself too many good opportunities. I shot some good scores leading up to this week. A 65 on Sunday at New Orleans, 65 Thursday at Colonial, maybe 67 on Thursday at the Byron Nelson. So I have been shooting some lower scores and so it was there. I just needed to be a little more consistent with it and just keep making putts.

Q. Speaking of putting, did you stick with the back and forth with the cross handed and conventional the entire week?

BOB ESTES: You weren't paying attention, were you?

(Laughter.) Yeah, I did. I was still going back and forth. The par putt I made on 12 and the birdie putt I made on 14th par putt that I made on 15, all of those were left hand low. But then a lot of the first putts that I hit from long range were more conventional with the right hand below the left. See I'm still going back and forth. I just get the ball on better with the left below the right but I got better touch and feel with the right below the left. So this is the first week that I've ever done that. I may maybe done it for a few holes but never committed to it for an entire week. And so maybe I got a new system that works for me.

Q. On 16, 17, 18, did you go right hand low on all three of those, right? Because you're starting to get into pressure time?

BOB ESTES: No, no. No, 17 was left hand low. It was only about a 15 footer. Somewhere between 12 and 15 feet. So I wasn't having to be too concerned with the speed of the putt. And actually hit a very good putt. We talked about it before. You got poa annua greens and you got guys wearing soft spikes, the greens are bumpy. I hit a lot of good putts. A lot of the guys could say the same thing, they made a lot of good putts that didn't go in. But I was all over the hole all week long. I shot 11-under and felt like I should have shot 18 or 20 without too much trouble. But the putt I hit on number 17 a few feet in front of the hole it kind of got caught up in a footprint and it killed it and kicked it short and left. Because on smooth greens that ball was going in for sure.

Q. Do you feel that your kind of game in this, these conditions holds up better than guys who are all over the place in terms of getting birdies and bogeys?

BOB ESTES: Yeah. I see what you're saying. I guess as long as those guys aren't making a lot of birdies. So, yeah, there are definitely players like a Calc or Fred Couples of Phil Mickelson who make a lot of birdies, make a lot of bogeys. So you got to make more birdies than bogey to offset that, obviously. But a lot of times again like I was saying earlier, the way this golf course was set up, there's so many sharp edges, there's disaster out there in a lot of places just lurking. And so a lot of those bogeys maybe would have been could easily be doubles or triples. It's just like you come up short on 17 or hit your second shot right on number 12 or whatever. You come up short with your second shot on number 10. There's a lot of places like that where you're going to make double bogey, not just bogey. So, yeah I was having to play some times short of the flag, sometimes beyond, sometimes right, sometimes left. And make myself do that. So I played with a lot of self discipline and it paid off because of the way the golf course was set up.

Q. You have an experienced caddy who has been a caddy for 18 years and with you for about a year and a half. Can you talk a little bit about that relationship?

BOB ESTES: Did he tell you to bring that up? Is he back there?

(Laughter.) Yeah. Chuck Mohr. M O H R. Chuck and I got together I guess that was March of last year. So, yes, we have had three wins together now and a bunch of other top-10s. But Chuck stays really calm. I like to think that I stay very calm for the most part also. I think that we're both similar personality-wise. And I think that works out real well out there. I don't need somebody who is getting real excited and maybe losing their head. I mean if anybody can loose their head out there it's me but I better have a caddy who is calm, cool and collected. And Chuck is like that. So he has got confidence in me and I got confidence in him and we're a good team.

Q. You got anything special planned in terms of celebrating this victory?

BOB ESTES: Well I was supposed to be on a plane in 15 minutes. So we already figured that we weren't going to be able to fly home tonight. So you ask mom, dad, Tracy, what are we doing tonight? I haven't even thought about it yet. I don't know. Either just go have dinner somewhere or something. Maybe at the hotel. But we will go back and clean up and maybe go to dinner somewhere. So we will see.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Bob, thank you. Congratulations on a great week.

End of FastScripts....

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