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February 1, 2013

Robert Garrigus


PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Robert, early morning today, but you get in with a second consecutive 66 and right now tied for second place.  A few thoughts about your round today.  You've been playing well of late, sixth last week, I believe.
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, I've been‑‑ like you said, I've been playing well.  I've been having a lot of fun.  My caddie and I are enjoying it.  It's pretty easy when you're playing well to have fun.  Bad shots aren't so bad when you're playing well.  You know you're going to hit a good one on the next one.
I finished sixth last week and 16th in the desert, I finished second at Disney at second in Malaysia and second in Canada and top‑tenned in two of the last playoff events.  It's been a fun run, and I'm keeping it going.  I feel really strong, very healthy.  My swing is not breaking down, I'm not getting nervous, and it's been a lot of fun the past six, seven months.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Take us through your round today.
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, starting on the back, I made a good par on 10, hit it way right and got it up‑and‑down.
11, birdied that hole both days.  For some reason that green has been kind to me.  I hit it to about 25 feet, made that.
Hit a good shot on 12, almost got to the green in two and didn't get up‑and‑down on 13.
14, I hit a great shot out of the fairway bunker and hit it to about 30 feet and made par.
15, hit it right down the middle of the fairway, hit 4‑iron just short of the green, almost made eagle.
16, hit it pin high and two‑putted.
17, hit it right on the front of the green and had about a 100‑some foot putt.  I misjudged it a little bit and it came up short, and I didn't make that one.
Piped it down 18 and hit sand wedge in and hit the downslope and skipped about 20 feet past the hole, got a little bad break there.
Then lipped out from the fairway on 1 for an eagle.
2, hit it down the left side and missed the green, got it up‑and‑down.
3, I hit 5‑iron in, hit it like 350 or something into the wind.
Hit 4‑iron left and got it up‑and‑down.
Stuffed it on the next hole, par‑3, 175, hit 9‑iron to about ten feet, made birdie.
5, struggled tee shot last couple days, hit it left in the desert, had an easy shot and just didn't pull it off, didn't get it up‑and‑down.  It lipped out for par.
Then birdied the next hole, like I usually do.  If I make a bogey, I'm going to birdie the next hole.  I led that stat last year all year.  I was pretty proud of that, leading the bounceback stat.  I also led the proximity to the hole last year, too.  That was my two most proud stats I guess you could say.  I didn't care about the driving distance.
The last three holes I missed the green all three of the holes.  I usually don't miss greens, but got it up‑and‑down on the par‑3 and got it up‑and‑down on 8 and had a great up‑and‑down on 9.  That was a very big putt just for momentum purposes, not really tournament‑wise, but for me and the momentum of the week, that was a big putt.  It was about 15, 16 feet down the hill.  It was a dead straight putt, but you had to start it perfectly on line, so I was pretty happy to make that one.

Q.  I heard you mention while you're playing well this year, this kind of started last year.  Is that kind of the case?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, you know, it really started in 2011 in the U.S. Open when I finished third, and I felt like I could play with anybody if I was playing well, and even when I wasn't playing good I could still finish in the top 10 like last week.  I didn't really strike it all that great, but I made a lot of good putts, and I stuck in there.
You know, I don't know how many under‑par rounds I've had in a row, maybe 14 or 13, but I think I've shot over par one time since Indianapolis, BMW.  I think I shot over par once the last round in the TOUR Championship and once in China.  So two rounds over par in about 40 or 30.  So it's been a lot of fun.
As golfers, we ride our hot streaks, and when we're not, for me, I just say, oh, well, and as soon as they start dropping again, we'll be happy again pretty much.

Q.  Where are you living at in the Valley right now, and how many of these tournaments, Phoenix Opens, have you played in?  I know you used to watch it.  Did you ever get an exemption or anything from the Thunderbirds?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  No exemption, and rightfully so.  I wasn't‑‑ it's not like anybody‑‑ I probably bring about 100 people to the golf course.  I didn't care.  And I live in Ahwatukee, and I think I've played in five out of the eight years I've been on TOUR, so five of them, I think.

Q.  Best finish?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  T11 in 2007, and the last couple that I got to play in, 2011, 2012, I think I missed the cut both times.  It's just distractions.  I mean, you've got so many people here and family comes out and everybody wants to watch you on 16.  I kind of told everybody that I'll do you guys' tickets on Monday, and I'm done with everything.  It's worked out this week to not be distracting and treat it like another golf tournament, not your home deal.

Q.  Do you think this is a bombers' golf course?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  If you hit it straight.  If you don't you're in the bushes or getting your butt filled with a cactus.

Q.  Is that what's gone wrong with you?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, in years past, absolutely.  If you don't hit it straight here, it doesn't matter how far you hit it, it's going to be in the bushes.  I've really kind of dialed it back a little bit this year, hit 3‑wood a few times, and just tried to put it in the fairway because the ball goes forever regardless of what you're hitting.  I'm hitting my 3‑wood over 300 yards out here, so just get it in the fairway, and once you get in the fairway they're perfect, the greens are perfect.  If you get inside of 20 feet, you've got a 50 percent chance of making it right now.  It's pretty cool.  The greens are perfect.  Never seen them this good.

Q.  You say that you told your friends I'm going to do the tickets on Monday.  You're in second place right now.  How is it going to‑‑ how are you going to handle the weekend?  I would think more people would get in touch with you.
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Oh, yeah, they can buy a ticket.  They'll be fine.

Q.  I don't mean just tickets, I mean with people coming out and maybe calling you and friends‑‑
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  I get that all the time.  I get 100 text messages or a bunch of stuff on Twitter and emails and whatever.  It's the second day, and my tournament pretty much at home.  It's not that big a deal.  I'm going to be in like 10th place by the end of the day.  I'm not really worried about it.  I'm just going to go out and try and shoot probably about 14‑, 15‑under on the weekend and see if it's good enough.  I don't know if it will be, but it should be a lot of fun on the weekend.  I'm looking forward to 16 tomorrow especially.  It should be a lot of fun.  There's going to be a few people there.

Q.  You said 16 was a little early when you got there today, but over the years, what are some of the things that the crowd has said to kind of taunt you?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  What was it?  I have yet‑‑ I've missed the green one time, and it was my very first time I ever played it, and it was about 6:00 at night.  We were almost not going to finish.  I mean, it was dark, there was two people standing back there, hammered, and I'm sitting about two waggles into my shot, and the guy screams, "My money is on you, Gargorilla," and he couldn't even get it out.  He walked the whole sky box, the whole way down and heckled me the whole way down because it I hit it over the flag, and I chipped it to about 15 feet and made it for par, and I looked at him and I'm like, where are you now?  There was two dudes, that was it.  That was probably my fondest memory about being heckled there.  Other than that, I think I stuffed it in 2007, hit it to three feet, missed it because I was nervous, and I threw the ball in the crowd, they threw it back at me.  And I was like, thanks, appreciate it, I get to use this one on the next hole.
But I think it's fun.  You get the village idiot that comes out there and ruins it sometimes, but it's a lot of fun.  It's a great whole.  It's what this tournament is about.  That's our little Super Bowl in there, so to speak, and it's just fun.  I enjoy it.  It's always usually a wedge or a 9‑iron, and I've been pretty good at those for 10 years, so I really don't worry about the shot, it's just calming your adrenaline.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  You were saying walking in here that you were there when Tiger hit‑‑
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, I was actually standing two people behind the ropes when Tiger hooped it, and we were actually chanting for Omar Uresti because he hit it to four feet or whatever it was, and we were screaming "O‑mar, O‑mar," and then Tiger makes it, I might have been the first guy to throw a beer, I don't know.  But it started raining, big time, and everybody in the Thunderbirds was like, no, no, and they're getting pelted with beers.  It was unbelievable.  Tiger‑‑ I told Tiger about that.  He's like, oh, you were there for that, huh?  I'm like, yeah, the freaking windows in the clubhouse were shaking.  They could feel the roar from the clubhouse.
That was pretty cool.  That made me‑‑ if I didn't want to be a professional golfer right there, I wasn't going to be one.  That was pretty cool.  And I got to see it.  I watched the whole shot and I watched it go in and I had the perfect angle.  I was even in the GQ shot after he made it; you could see me in my sunglasses in the back, in the shot.  It was so perfect.  It was a perfect shot, high 9‑iron, boom, right in the joint.  It was perfect.

Q.  I may be wrong, but did I hear you finished a few holes Monday, left Torrey Pines, got here before the tournament ended over there?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, that's how long they took to play the back nine.

Q.  Would you go through what you did?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  So Tiger was in the group in front of us.  I was right behind him.  I birdied the last two holes.  I was in like fourth place at the time.  I'm like beautiful, I'm going to have a good finish, I'll probably finish in the top 10.  So we hopped on a jet, and I got the deal with NetJets, so we got to the private airport‑‑ I ate at the golf course with my wife and my son, the guy drove us to the private airport, took off at 1:10, flew to the Phoenix airport, got in my car, drove home, unpacked kind of, like chucked my suitcases in the closet, sat down, turned the TV on and Tiger is on 17.  And I was like, wow, is he pissed right now.  It's taking forever.  I mean, I hopped on a jet and flew home and drove to both airports and got home and he's still on the golf course?  (Shakes head.)
Slow play is beyond me.  I cannot stand it.  I get up and hit it.  I'm ready to hit when it's my turn.  I just don't understand how people cannot be ready.  There's too much stuff out here to just think about.  You just get up and hit the dang thing.

Q.  I thought I heard someone say you threw Lemon Heads out at 16?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Oh, yeah.  Kevin needed some help.  He had a massive bag of Lemon Heads and head covers, and I think I accidentally hit like 10 people.  No, it was fun.  We were throwing them up there to the crowd, and it was a blast.  I did it yesterday.  It kind of wore me out a little bit, actually.  I was breathing hard on the green.  I was like, man, that was a little harder than I thought.  I was throwing them pretty far.  I was throwing them to both sides and throwing them up top.  It's just fun.  You never get to do that.  It's like being at a baseball game, shooting up the shirts or whatever.

Q.  What do you think the bounceback stat says about you?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  That I don't care if I make a bogey.  And I make a lot of bogeys and a lot of birdies.  I probably make‑‑ I definitely make more birdies than bogeys, but it just so happens most of the time it probably meant that I bogeyed a hole right before a par‑5 and I'm mad and I smoke it down the middle and stuff it and either make birdie or eagle.  I think that had a lot to do with it.  But it's just really, I don't get mad.  I don't care.  It's golf.

Q.  You had some success with a really short putter, did the long.  What are your thoughts on this potential ban of anchoring?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  My thoughts are that let us play golf and leave us alone pretty much.  I talked to Mike Davis, I talked to Tim Finchem, I just asked one simple question:  I asked him out of the 15 board members that vote on our game, our professional game, how many of them have ever struck a shot in competition?  And that was zero, and that's all I needed to hear.
It's unfortunate they're trying to ban it and everybody is calling Keegan and those guys cheaters.  They're not cheating.  I told them to go back to the tape in Canada when I couldn't make a thing on the last day with a long putter.  Couldn't sniff the hole from three feet.  And they think it's cheating?  I mean, I giggled at that.  I told him to his face, just go back to the tape and check it out.  I didn't make anything.  You think it's going to be illegal?  You still have nerves.
His point was saying, hey, you guys can adapt, you're professionals, but he doesn't have to make a putt for a million dollars, and that's the unfortunate thing.  They're amateurs policing a professional game.  It's just unfortunate.  But we'll see what happens because you've got a lot of TOUR players, obviously Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson‑‑ Tim Clark can't even grip the club the right way.  He has to get changed like this because his hands don't fold out.  So he's probably going to do something legally if it comes to that, but I don't think it's going to come to that.
It's unfortunate that nerves play a big part in the game and being able to control them, and I don't think a long putter‑‑ who cares if Ernie won with a long putter or Keegan.  They played great golf, they hit great shots and made great putts, and it doesn't matter what they were using.  It's not as easy as it looks.
I've been saying that forever.  I used a mini‑me putter for 28 inches, I used a 50‑inch putter in my chest, and I think the long putter helped me with the short one.  I plead the case for the long putters because when we're playing and we miss a two‑footer on the last hole with whatever putter we're using, if we're in the top 10 or top 5, that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it's not our money, but it should be if we make the putt.
No, I don't think it's probably going to go through.  I think there are some things that are going to happen that people will be surprised about.

Q.  I know you'd like to win a major probably most of all, but what would winning this tournament mean?  Does this one rate a little higher than some of the other ones?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, absolutely.  To win in your hometown and always being able to play here regardless of your status, and doing it in front of the crazies out there, that would mean a lot, and that would give me a lot of confidence because it's like a major on the last four holes.  The first 14 it's pretty cool, but it's nothing like 15, 16, 17 and 18.  I mean, there's 170,000 people there tomorrow.  Some of them are even going to go out there.  There's maybe 25 to 30 percent of the people that are here not to watch golf.  They're just partying.  I was there, too.  I got to see one shot, and it was Tiger's.

Q.  Do you remember the first Open you went to, how old you were?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  Yeah, I was 21, and we were out there, and that was‑‑ it was crazy.  I actually worked the driving range for Scottsdale Community College, and that's the reason why I was here.  So we were out there, and I got to work the driving range at Scottsdale, and I got to talk to all the guys.  I got a ton of stories.  Hal Sutton let me hit a driver and I outdrove him; Fuzzy Zoeller let me swing it a couple times; and I was driving the cart when Dudley Hart got hit in the wrist by Larry Mize.  Just stuff like that you remember for the rest of your life, and this is kind of where it started.

Q.  Do you remember the first time that you ever went to Augusta National and how you felt and then the first time you actually played it, and what do you think of that course?
ROBERT GARRIGUS:  You know, the very first time I stepped foot on the grounds was last year the week before on Monday.  No, it was Sunday afternoon because I missed the cut at Bay Hill because I actually touched the water.  I missed by a shot, and I was like, well, maybe it's a good thing.
So we drove over to Augusta, and I missed the turn first because you don't‑‑ you're driving in and you're like, Augusta National is here?  So I turned around and hung a left, and I was like, okay, and I saw‑‑ I stopped.  The guard stopped me, he's like, what's your name and what's your Social Security Number and what kind of underwear are you wearing and you're about to get tasered.  And I saw Magnolia Lane, and I stopped, I got out of the car, like, you're going to have to give me a minute, and I took a couple pictures, and that was pretty cool.
I got there, they've got the best lemonade I've ever had in my life.  It's unbelievable.  I don't know what they do to it.  There's no alcohol in it or nothing.
And when I got to the clubhouse, I'm just sitting there and I'm looking at all the green jackets and I look in the locker room, and I'm like, well, I'm here, so I get to play some golf, and so I walked on the golf course, and I'm like, wow, this is hilly.  I didn't realize‑‑ TV doesn't really do it justice.  Everybody will say even 3D doesn't do it justice.  It's a tough walk.
Just the whole‑‑ there's not a weed on the whole entire place.  My buddies looked for five days.  They were looking around for anything.  They couldn't find one.
So it's pretty special.  And then when I got to the tournament, the biggest thing I remember was how much the golf course changed on Wednesday night to Thursday morning.  That led to about a four‑putt for a triple on the first hole for me.  I'm going to remember that one.
You know, it was kind of a wake‑up.  I just kind of walked off the green, like well, welcome to Augusta, and I almost chipped in for eagle on the next hole and got it going.  That was probably the biggest thing.  And then you're just in shell shock for the first three or four holes, you're like, I'm actually playing here, because I told myself I would never play here until I got in the tournament.  I had a chance to play it 20 times, but I never did because I wasn't going to play it until I'm in the tournament.
I did that, and it served me well.  I didn't putt very well.  I had the long stick and the greens were 14, and I'm like, what am I doing out here.  So that was probably the most that I remember about the tournament itself was how much the golf course changed from Wednesday to Thursday night.  They sped the greens up about five feet.  That was fun.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:  Robert, good luck this weekend.

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