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January 30, 2004

Ricky Barnes


TODD BUDNICK: Ricky, thanks for joining us today, back-to-back rounds of 67 has you two back of the clubhouse leader. Of course this tournament must mean a lot to you having attended U of A.

RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I came back out early this morning and had to play four holes and picked up two birdies. I was 2-under. And then finished off with a birdie at 16 and 18 to kind of get things started. And then pretty much from the getgo, the second round, hit it pretty well, birdied 10 and 11 and really hit it good after that. I mean, I hit a decent shot into 12.

13, I had a 5-iron in my hand on the second shot and made par, so I just had a lot of opportunities today and took some and gave away a few, too, on the par 5s.

TODD BUDNICK: It's your first sponsor exemption and you're off to a great start right now. Talk a little bit about your goals for this year.

RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I definitely made better use of my sponsor exemptions than last year. I just didn't play well. This is unfortunately my first PGA TOUR cut using a sponsor's exemption, and those are the ones you want to make the most of. They're willing to give you the opportunity to come out and play versus many other guys fighting for them, so I'm just trying to make the most of it. This would definitely be a good start to the year, put myself into good position to get something going on the weekend.

Q. How many sponsor exemptions did you have last year?

RICKY BARNES: I played in six, from, I want to say, like the middle of August until the end of the year.

Q. Where have you improved the most since, like you said, you didn't take advantage of the exemptions last year and now you're making the cut and you're in the hunt. Where are you including those?

RICKY BARNES: I think I've come a long way mentally, just coming from amateur golf and you have to adjust to the level of play, along with mentally. They were a step ahead of me, I think a pretty good step ahead of me in that department when I played in my first PGA TOUR event. I tried to get rid of the bad shots right away as opposed to letting them stick there for a while. My brother would probably back me up on that one a little bit.

Q. Take us from Bayonette is I think where you went through Q-school. Take us through your life since then. What are you doing? Did you relocate? Are you training, et cetera?

RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I really didn't do anything with my golf swing going into Bayonette. I worked really hard on my game and then had a tough fall where you don't make Q-school and get to the final stage. And then I think my next tournament, I went over to Australia and played in two events and I actually had a chance to win the Australian Open. I was in contention until the end and I think I came away with eighth place or something.

Q. When was that, November?

RICKY BARNES: That was the second week of December. I went over there and built up a little confidence, and then I came back and finally got a steady teacher. I had never really had a steady teacher. I hooked up with Peter Costas here about a month ago and I've been working really hard. Out of school, you don't have to worry about school now. All I have to really worry about is golf and my body. I've been working really hard on and off the course with my golf game, my swing, and in the gym, as well.

Q. What has Peter been working with you on your swing specifically?

RICKY BARNES: Just making a few changes, nothing real drastic. When I first met with him we changed my grip a little bit right before Australia. That was probably the biggest move out of everything. I just started working on a good base. I was kind of all over the place and not really getting set. I had a lot of the weight on the balls of my feet and we were trying to get a good foundation.

Q. Before you started working with Peter, you talked about not having a coach. Did your brother play that role sometimes?

RICKY BARNES: He helped a little bit. He had seen me play time and time again and he probably knew my swing the best. I would say if there was any specific guy that I looked to the most it was almost my brother just because he kind of knew and got feedback from another couple of coaches that he had dealt with.

Q. What's your schedule, Ricky?

RICKY BARNES: Well, as it stands right now I'm supposed to leave Sunday night to go to Australia. I'm actually going over there for a couple events in a row, but that could always change with a weekend here.

Q. Top-10 you go to Pebble.

RICKY BARNES: Yes. My goal is out here first and foremost, get on the PGA TOUR. You've got to play while you're hot, so if I'm Top-10 this year I'll be there.

Q. Is this a home-field advantage for you, or is there more pressure playing before so many people who know who you are?

RICKY BARNES: No, I think it relaxes you a little bit more. You know a lot of the people looking at you. Seeing familiar faces in the crowd, it's like you're playing basketball with your friends.

Q. Everything went so well when you won the U.S. Amateur and then you go to Q-school and don't get past the second round. Was that humbling? Talk about your emotions after that.

RICKY BARNES: Well, it's tough. I competed at a very high level on every level that I've played so far. Junior Golf, I figured I was one of the top juniors. Amateur Golf, I was one of the top amateurs. It's tough when you don't have success right away at the professional level. I know it's going to take time, but I'm the guy who wants everything right away, just like every other 22-year-old coming out. I've just got to be patient with myself. I know it's going to come around sooner or later.

Q. It's hard to read an article about you lately and there's people mentioning the screaming girls in the galleries and stuff like that. Is that a weird thing to read about? Do you like it? Is it strange?

RICKY BARNES: I mean, I don't dwell on it too much. I hope it's not a bad thing, though. I guess I don't need plastic surgery already. Yeah, it's fun. I'm just out there having a good time and competing.

Q. Are you living full-time in Tucson?

RICKY BARNES: No, I live here. I'm in Scottsdale.

Q. When did you move here?

RICKY BARNES: I moved here about a month ago. I'm at home here.

Q. Are you going to play Tucson?


Q. You're on a sponsor exemption?

RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I'm in there. I have a couple more PGAs going on.

Q. You have five?

RICKY BARNES: Well, you're allowed seven, but right now I don't know exactly what's set. I do know here, Tucson and the Ford Championship the week after. I know that for sure.

TODD BUDNICK: We'll just go through your birdies and bogeys today. You started with a birdie on 10.

RICKY BARNES: Well, 10, driver, lob wedge to about 12 feet and made it.

I hit a good putt on 11, actually hit a great drive, thought I hit a great second shot, but it went in the bunker. Chipped it out of the bunker just short of the green. That was kind of a momentum builder because I hit a great second shot.

Then I bogeyed 14, pulled a drive. That's kind of like the shot that I hate. Pulled a drive, left it right in front of the green and just didn't get up-and-down.

18, great drive, big drive, hit a sand wedge to about ten feet again, put a good roll on it.

3, bombed a drive, hit a 5-iron and two-putted. I was just on the left fringe pin high. Hit a great putt, had a chance at eagle.

4, played the smart shot, didn't leave the ball on the amateur side, put it over there about 15 feet right of the hole and just made a good putt, played the safe way.

Then 7, just a bad swing, hit it solid, had the right club, left it out a little bit right and short-sided myself. You short-side yourself on these bunkers, you're not going to get them up-and-down. I made a 15-footer there.

9, hit a horrible drive, pretty much the only bad drive of the day. Hit a great second shot, and that birdie was definitely the second shot. I hit a 7-iron over the hill, over the crowd kind of thing, and ended up about ten feet and made a good putt.

Q. How close were you to out-of-bounds?

RICKY BARNES: There is no out-of-bounds there.

Q. Isn't that next to the range over there?

RICKY BARNES: Maybe I was close. I don't know. That's probably a good thing that I don't know.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Ricky.

End of FastScripts.

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