August 5, 2003
CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You are not going to go back and defend your title at the Amateur. Now you are playing for the real dough. Why don't you make a couple comments about your feelings coming into this week and about the change? You've had an opportunity to play out here as an amateur, and now you are playing out here for real. Why don't you make a couple comments about that coming into the week.
RICKY BARNES: First and foremost, I'd like to thank the Vicars family for giving me the opportunity to have my first start here at the INTERNATIONAL. You know, you always need an exemption to get in and start somewhere and this is a great place. You know, I've had a lot of time to think about not defending the Amateur title, and this is just a good time for me to, I think, move on with my career.
Fortunately, I've been able to get the opportunity to play in some tournaments over here in the next couple months before Q-School to hopefully avoid it. I don't know if many of you know, I've been fortunate, I've signed with Callaway. They have done a great job over there and I'm looking forward to playing their equipment. It's not only their driver that I've been hitting great over the last couple of weeks, but I have also moved into the ball and the irons, as well. Just looking forward to the relationship with them there and hopefully good things here this week.
Q. How do you feel standing on the first tee here?
RICKY BARNES: It's good but you're a little high up. Just wondering how far that ball is going to go once you hit it.
Q. How far down did you get it?
RICKY BARNES: I don't know. How long is that hole? Probably about 400 yards.
Q. What did you hit?
RICKY BARNES: 2-iron.
Q. What do you think of the course overall?
RICKY BARNES: It's a great course. Very fair, challenging. There's birdies to be made, maybe a few eagles in there.
Looking forward to a good week. It's a great golf course. I think it fits my game pretty well.
Q. Was your first exposure to The INTERNATIONAL watching it on TV, wondering if you would play in that format some day?
RICKY BARNES: I think this format fits me pretty well. I tends to be aggressive at some times, and also tend to make a lot of birdies and hopefully some eagles out there. But at the same time, I think we all remember last year, where it hit home on holes 15 in with Lowery and Beem.
Q. A lot of young guys when they turn pro, sometime it takes a while for them to get comfortable, what do you think is the largest quality or reason for that?
RICKY BARNES: I think experience and not a lot of guys get too many professional debut experiences. Fortunately I've played just a tournament in the past four months: I've played a tournament in each of the last four months, Tucscon Open, Masters U.S. Open and British Open and I think that's made me a little ahead of the game and easier to adjust from the Amateur level to the pro level. The last three tournaments, three of those six tournaments that I played, I've been at the professional level, and the last three that I've played have been at the professional level. I've also played in the Scottish Open.
Q. Some interesting pairings. What have you learned?
RICKY BARNES: Consistency, patience, they are all at the top for a reason.
Q. You've had a couple rounds with Tiger?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, and a couple with Ernie. They are just very solid. They manage their game very well. When they have a game plan, they stick to it.
Q. Did you get a chance to play with Arnold?
RICKY BARNES: Oh, yeah. At the Masters got a good practice round. It's been a great experience playing with them so far. I think it's matured me coming into this week that I can play with anybody, coming from playing with the two best guys in the world at the U.S. Open and making the cut with them, and maybe just faltering in one round, but had three out of the four good rounds there. It kind of feels after that week, that I belong out here and that I can play with these guys.
Q. After your first two rounds, after the experience that you had, have you decided you need to change some things in your game or in your course management?
RICKY BARNES: Mostly on the course management side. I know you have to lay back, shoot for a lot more center of the greens. Avoid disaster is really what you need to do. Bogey needs to be the limit. If you eliminate all double-bogeys out of your game, yeah, those kill you. You're going to make birdies. My game, too. I'm going to make birdies. I've just got to limit the mistakes. That's what those guys do out there. When they do get in trouble, they get out and take their medicine. And I think that's what a lot of us amateurs in the past have not done, not been able to take our medicine quickly, and I've learned that very quickly in the past two or three months.
RICKY BARNES: I just like competition. I think that's what all great athletes do; they thrive on competition. I mean, everybody hates losing, but I don't think it's a fear of Q-School. I think that's just a thing that will come if I start playing well and get on a roll. That's what I'm looking forward to out here is to take advantage of the exemptions that I'm going to get and just kind of get on a roll to get good things going. One great week or a couple good weeks in a row will be due dividends at the end of this year.
RICKY BARNES: Just on to the next week and just concentrate. I've missed the cut before and I've made some, too.
Q. What do you have left? Tell us how many events you have?
RICKY BARNES: Well I played in the Tucson Open, which took away the sponsor's exemption, and I have six left that I can use, if I don't get a Top-10. I think they have a new rule now that if you get a Top-10 you are able to use that exemption the next week. As it stands now, I'm going to focus on this week here at The INTERNATIONAL. Looking forward to a good week here. I am playing in the Reno-Tahoe Open, which will be two weeks from now, and from then on, I'm not too sure. I'm looking forward to some other exemptions taking place and maybe just focusing here, and I know that I'm in the Reno-Tahoe Open.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: He has five exemptions. This is one of his six. He has five left. And on top of that, if he would get a Top-10 this week, he could switch out his Reno spot for a Top-10. He has 12 tournaments to become a special temporary member which is as much money as the 150th player on the Money List from last year.
RICKY BARNES: Right.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: And he's used up part of his 12 because of the Masters.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I think I can get three Top-10s and that would max it all out.
RICKY BARNES: When I get on the golf course and I'm really focused, determined, like I said winning is just a great feeling. I think that's what I go out there with is the fact that I'm going to go out there and try to win every week. I believe I can win. Out on the golf course, I think you'll see me smile a lot. Pretty easygoing guy. Not so many people know me off the golf course, but if they do, I think it's easy for them to describe me better than for me to describe myself. I'm pretty happy-go-lucky. But that's neither here nor there. (Laughing).
Q. What do you like to do offer the golf course?
RICKY BARNES: Anything involved with sports. Everybody loves a little R&R, but at the same time, I like to work out, too. Probably when I'm done with you guys, I'll get a little workout in. Just to stay in shape, stay on top of my game on and off the golf course. When it all comes down to it, a little SportsCenter at night and hit the hay.
Q. Have you tried the cookies?
RICKY BARNES: Oh, I already got him one and I think that's going to do it for me for the week. They are good, about that can add a few lbs to your life very quick.
RICKY BARNES: I think it's tough to do. I haven't been out here that long or seen too many people's games. I probably wouldn't match up my swing against anybody else's. I don't know how other people play or go about their business, so I think that's a tough question.
Q. Do you have an idol?
RICKY BARNES: I think we all grew up liking Jack. I was real, throw, but Jack still had a little bit in him. And especially in '86 when I was about 5, I think we'll never forget that.
Q. You saw that?
RICKY BARNES: Well, yeah, and you saw it for the next five years on the Golf Channel, too. So, yeah, we'll never forget that one.
RICKY BARNES: For me, it's the best hitting product out there. The driver has been unbelievable. I used it starting with the week before the Scottish Open. I hit it well there. And then I switched to the ball and the ball has been a huge advantage, a little less spin for me. I go at it pretty hard and get a lot of spin rate on my ball, and it has been a little less for me, but still with a touch around the greens.
I actually went down to the plant about a week ago to fit out the irons again, and I put them in the bag this week. I switched over and I'm looking forward to it. I've been hitting them really good, straightened out my ball flight and actually added a little height to my ball. I'm a pretty low-ball hitter. I am just looking forward to the product and definitely the relationship with those guys over there has been great so far.
Q. What were you hitting?
RICKY BARNES: I was pitting Ping irons but I had been hitting the Callaway woods here for the last month or so.
Q. Did Ping make a run at you?
RICKY BARNES: I don't know. I'm happy where I'm at and that's pretty much it.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Ricky, for joining us. Play well this week.
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