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February 14, 2013

Brandt Jobe


LAURA HILL:  We'd like to welcome Brandt Jobe to the interview room, a nice 66 to get things started this week.  It's your best round one here and ties your career low, so maybe just talk about getting off to a great start here at Riviera.
BRANDT JOBE:   It's obviously very nice.  Going off first, obviously get the best greens, no one's been on them.  It was cold, so the first four or five holes were playing super long and super tough, so it was kind of survival until the sun came out and warmed up a little bit.  Not a lot of wind.
Got real nice and warm.  Golf course is in good shape so it was out there to do it if you hit the shots at Riviera.

Q.  Playing in the coldest part of the day, how did that affect your back?  Do you have to take any extra precautions?
BRANDT JOBE:  Well, I don't have a bad back but I have a bad everything else (laughs).  For me, it's hand problems.  I'm on a medical from a couple procedures I had done on my neck, so luckily my back's fine.  But more my hand after I had my hand injury, I don't have the tips of my fingers, so that's tough when it's cold.
But it warmed up pretty quickly.¬† Fortunately got the ball in the fairway the first few holes, so that's kind of what you're trying to do because it's wet and cold and the ball is not going anywhere.¬† Made a couple good up‑and‑downs and kind of kept the round going.
Once we got to the fifth or sixth hole, warmed up pretty nicely and the ball started going a little bit.

Q.  I ran into Dr.Joe Parent earlier today and he was saying  he ran into you at the range real quickly and you had a quick discussion about confidence and just kind of going out there.  Wondering if that translated at all for you, maybe set something in your mind about being confident and being out there, because certainly it looked like the way you played?
BRANDT JOBE:¬† I'm still‑‑ let's see, the last swing I took was July 1 at the AT&T, Tiger's event.¬† I basically didn't touch a club until the first part of‑‑ about December 1, end of November.¬† That was a good layoff, but I had to for the procedures that I had done.
So it's kind of been hard to get back.  The older I get, I've done this, this is I think my third time.  So the older you get, the more you get away from the game, the tougher it gets, and got used being to being home, too. 
This is the first round I've played a solid round of golf.  I saw some good things which makes me happy, which is what we are all trying to do.  Round one accomplished.  Let's see what happens tomorrow, and it's a good start to the week.

Q.  You mentioned the neck.  What did you have, a discectomy or something?
BRANDT JOBE:  No, I did two nerve blocks, my C5/C6, and then took about five or six weeks in between both.  A bunch of therapy; got on some machines, traction machines; I actually have one now that I travel with, and I found that that's really helped.
Actually this last month and a half, I've felt normal, like there's been no problem, because my hands, I couldn't close my hands in July.  That's how bad it got.  You know, playing that last round at Congressional, I couldn't close my hands on the golf club to hold onto.  I knew there's a problem.
So you have to research the problem and then you hear a lot of things that you can do.  If you can get your disc replaced and doing some like that, but then what happens three or four years from now.  For me, if I do, that I didn't know what the future would be.
So I wanted to kind of go the easiest course, which you still go under 30 minutes or so, and you're able to see a lot of pictures on what the problems are or aren't.  My disc looked all right, a few degenerative areas, but what was bad was my nerve canal; I was so inflamed.  They are surprised that it didn't hurt more than what it did.
So had to calm down and really get away from golf, get away from the computer, anything that locks you in that position, and have good posture; I'm working on it.  Just little things that we work on every day.  The body can only make so many golf swings, doing activities so many times until something falls apart, and what's kind of what's happened.

Q.  How much did you warmup before the round and how much time did you have and what did it consist of?
BRANDT JOBE:  I'm on a ball count and I've stayed on it actually, because I have a tendency, warmup in the morning, I have to make my warmup just a good, brief warmup; so when I walk away, I don't need to hit every ball that's laying out there.  But just accomplish what I'm trying to do, which is get warmed up.
If I finish and hit it well and everything, don't hit a lot of golf balls, go chip and putt.  If I need to hit them, take a bucket of balls or bag of balls whatever it is and try to get as much as you can out of that.  I used to be a guy to go pound five or six or seven of them and enjoy it; it's just not going to be an option anymore.

Q.  Was there enough daylight?
BRANDT JOBE:  You couldn't see a shot on the range, and I don't know that I saw a putt from 15 feet; the putting green was dark.  When we hit our first tee shots, I didn't know if it went on the fairway or where to go.  The sun wasn't up yet when we teed off.
So it was almost borderline.  I think that's the earliest tee time I've ever had in my career out here.  I think we've always had a little trouble getting around here so maybe they moved us up 15, 20 minutes, but that was early.

Q.  Was it in the fairway?
BRANDT JOBE:  No, it was not.

Q.  Was this injury just the result of years and years of golf, or did you do one bad swing or one bad fall?
BRANDT JOBE:¬† Actually, I honestly believe about a year and a half ago, I had somebody‑‑ I had been hitting on some stands watching my son play baseball all day, eight hours.¬† I woke up the next morning locked up.¬† I had someone try to adjust me that didn't work and from then on, my neck has hurt.
And just for the last year or so out here, I actually had someone that was trying to help me and I was doing massages and all these‑‑ sports massage, not a nice massage, trying to just keep my body loose, and it didn't work.¬† You know, just kind of got to, okay, what's your last resort.
You can do these nerve blocks and if those don't work, then your next thing is a big‑time surgery, and they don't know how long that will last.¬† That's what Peyton Manning had done.¬† I think Steve Stricker has looked at it.¬† I think Davis Love has looked into it.¬† There's a few older guys that have had the same problem.

Q.  Can you estimate how many times you've played here?   And given where you are in your career, your wins not coming on U.S. soil, would you consider this one of your best shots to win on U.S. soil?
BRANDT JOBE:  I hope not.  Right now for me, I'm trying to get back and trying to do good things.  However that ends up the end of this week, if I keep improving and get better, then that's what it is.
It's the first round I've played, and that's the way I look at it.  I have to kind of take baby steps right now.  Hopefully by May I can sit here and say, I'm playing good and I'm ready to go.  That's kind of where I'm at right now.

Q.  How many times have you played here?
BRANDT JOBE:  I played here in college all the time, wood drivers, and this was a bear.  I've played here probably 15 times, a hundred rounds, 200 round at least, maybe more, 300 rounds.  It's a lot.  I've played a lot here.

Q.  When you're trying to avoid surgery, and I'm sure you're looking at all these outside the box options, and people are probably giving you suggestions.  Can you talk about some of the crazier things that people have suggested, and also how you balance trying these different things with what is legal and not legal?
BRANDT JOBE:  Well, obviously there's some things you can do to help yourself, there's no doubt about it.  Now, if you're not playing golf and you do that, then I guess that's not illegal, because it's something prescribed by a doctor.  But it's obviously illegal to take those items while playing on the PGA TOUR.
So there's a fine line there.¬† For me, that wasn't really a route.¬† I mean, I was looking for something to reduce swelling.¬† And so anti‑inflammatories, a lot of those, and it didn't work.¬† You know, you do a steroid anti‑inflammatory, which is perfectly legal to do on the TOUR, too; I tried that, that didn't work.
The next answer was, which way to get this nerve block.¬† People do it many different ways, and there's some ways‑‑ I went and did it twice.¬† One guy did it, you're face down and they go in through your back in a catheter in your sleep and they try to sprinkle everything with magic dust and it's supposed to feel better; and it did, it felt great for about three weeks, and I was right back to where I was.
So I went and saw someone else and tried a different way of doing it which is on your side, it's very different.  The doctor that's prescribing this is actually a spine doctor for the Cowboys in Dallas.
So I've had enough experience with all these doctors and things, and my dad being a doctor, too, that I always ask them what they think and what their thoughts are, and if I don't like it, I go ask somebody else.  And if somebody gives you the answer that you want to hear, then you try it.  And if that doesn't work, you have to go backwards and go back to the answer you didn't like.
I kind of took the first course.  I tried not to have these shots, because you don't even want to go down that path.  It just became, if I was going to play golf, it wasn't an option.  It's helped but I've got to be careful.

Q.  Suffice to say that you have not played in a tournament since last July, and the last thing in the world you were thinking about is coming out here and sitting in front of us as the leader in the tournament.
BRANDT JOBE:  This is a good thing.  If you guys want to talk to me, it's a good thing.
I did play in San Diego, I missed the cut.  I did not play well.  I had some equipment issues I had not really taken care of from the end of last year through this year.  Actually these last couple weeks, I'll give Art Sellinger a plug, the long drive guy.  I actually went and worked with him on some shafts to try to understand what was going on with my driver, and brought him in a bunch of heads, TaylorMade heads, and he put a variety of shafts in my equipment and all of a sudden I saw the ball doing different things that I actually wanted it to do.
I have to give him a plug because if I had not done that, I would probably be the same mode of where I was, not hitting it well, wondering why.

Q.  Pretty much every time you take the club back, do you have to wince or are you past that?
BRANDT JOBE:  No, I'm past that.  I'm good.  I'm ready.  I'm going to keep telling myself that, too.

Q.  Talk about the close of your round today, birdieing four out of the last five.
BRANDT JOBE:  Yeah, on the back nine, I had a lot of short putts for birdie.
I think I missed about a 10‑footer on 10.
I had about a 15‑footer on 11.
13, I had about a 10‑footer for birdie, missed it.
14, I made a 10‑footer.
15, I made a 10‑footer.
16 I made a 10‑footer.
17 I made a 15‑footer.¬† It's kind of like I made a few of those putts.
18, I made a bad swing from the fairway and I feel like I was going to lose it right and I made a bad swing, and you can't get the ball up‑and‑down from left of that green.¬† I know that, and I still hit it there.
But at the end of the day, a lot of positive things.  I've still got a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be, but my situation, obviously the medical, every round counts.
So this is a good start to the week, and you know, I mean, hey, I'd love to have a good week and get this thing wrapped up in the beginning and be able to move on and have a normal life out here.
But the reality is, you've really got to take it one day at a time.  I've been out here and played enough that it's not the end of the world if you have a bad day, too.

Q.¬† You used to be known as one of the fastest swing speeds on TOUR when you were a little bit younger‑‑
BRANDT JOBE:  See, he's getting on me.  I'm getting old.  (Laughter).

Q.  What about now?
BRANDT JOBE:¬† I'm not sure exactly what it is.¬† I'm probably somewhere, I can probably get it up to 120 if I want to.¬† I still hit it, I'm probably still close to the Top‑20 in distance out here, which that's kind of‑‑ my thing is hitting the ball in the fairway and hitting it pretty long.¬† I have to take advantage of that.
Some of these kids now, like I played with Jason today, they bomb it.¬† It's a whole different program.¬† But they are 6‑4 and big guys.¬† So I'm a little, old guy.
Still, you know, I'm still hitting the ball long and certainly long enough to compete out here.

Q.  You said earlier that you had to give yourself a ball count to limit your practice.  Just curious when you get the chance, have you had to cut back the number of hours you've spent watching your son play baseball?
BRANDT JOBE:  If I get on the field, I can help, I don't have to sit in the stands, so I'm trying to do that, because I grew up playing baseball.
Luckily, let's see, I just got through coaching football and basketball.  So being out there with him was kind of fun with some fun guys.  Time off was kind of fun.  I got to coach and do things I don't normally get to do.
Baseball season is actually getting ready to start up.¬† I've got some chairs now‑‑ honestly, that's the place that kills me, so I've got chairs and I've got to get up and move around.¬† I've got to be careful now, and I understand what's going on, and like I said, I have a little machine that I can do therapy and traction by myself and know how to do it so that I don't hurt myself.¬† And I think last year, I did a lot of things that I thought were right to help myself, and I was actually hurting myself.

Q.  Sounds like you've dealt with a lot dealing with all these injuries, did you ponder retirement at any point?
BRANDT JOBE:¬† I've been there many times with these injuries.¬† But I think that there will become a point in time if you can't compete, and if you ask‑‑ if you don't feel like you can go out there and shoot a good round and compete, then it's not fun anymore.
The fun part of it is getting nervous and getting uncomfortable and doing those things.  I think that's what we all thrive on.  When that doesn't happen anymore, it's time to do something else.

Q.  And this contraption thing that you travel with, how much does that weigh?
BRANDT JOBE:¬† It's a carry‑on.¬† It fits in one of the carry‑on bags and you roll it.¬† I haven't had to use it lately, so it's been good.

Q.  I believe you were at UCLA when Fred won both of his titles here.  Did you ever have a chance to come out and watch?
BRANDT JOBE:  Don't tell anybody, but we would jump the fence and get in.  Yes, we all did, and sometimes we got some tickets, but we snuck over here and watch.  We used to watch Corey play, and David Edwards, I watched him win.  I was actually talking the other day, my first L.A. Open was in 1987.  So it's been a long time out here.
LAURA HILL:  Thanks for your time and good luck the rest of the week.

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