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January 12, 2014

Jimmy Walker


JOHN BUSH:¬† We'd like to welcome 2014 Sony Open in Hawai'i champion Jimmy Walker.¬† What a great way to win, 7‑under par 63, just an outstanding show you put on out there.¬† If we can get some comments.
JIMMY WALKER:  You know, I stayed real patient on the front.  Only made one birdie through the first eight holes.  My caddie said, you know what, just get par on 8 and hit a good drive down 9, start making some birdies.  That's kind of what we did.  So made some birdies on the back, hit some really good shots, made a really good par save and then hit some really good iron shots in, made some good putts, and birdieing those three holes in a row was big.
JOHN BUSH:  You also lost the FedExCup lead last week but you got it back this week.  Talk about this year so far, two wins in six starts.
JIMMY WALKER:¬† I did it on the Nationwide Tour, I won a couple times real fast, but that was a while ago, and it's been a long road to get back to here and this year and what happened at the start of the year.¬† I worked hard‑‑ it's not to say I wasn't working hard, but working on the right things.¬† Got a new coach, Butch.¬† Really good stuff happening.

Q.  How long ago did you and Butch start working together, and what have you been working on that's been so successful?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† The first time I saw him was two years ago in February, so almost two years.¬† Almost two years ago.¬† I saw him after Riviera after a really good West Coast Swing and started working with him.¬† You know, just really like a four‑hour lesson with him and then didn't see him again for a while until maybe the summer.¬† It wasn't until the end of that year that it was more kind of official, I guess, something like that.

Q.  Who were you with before?
JIMMY WALKER:  I was with Bryan Gathwright.  He's out of San Antonio.

Q.  Did you know where you stood before those shots on 16 and 17?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† I did.¬† I saw that‑‑ I birdied‑‑ I knew I was one back going into 15 and made birdie, and then when I got to 16 green, I saw that Harris had made bogey, so I knew I had a two‑shot‑‑ I had a two‑shot lead.¬† And then birdied 17, so I had a three‑shot lead.¬† And then I got to 18, I didn't know that Kirk had made a birdie, I guess, somewhere, on 17.
So it wasn't like I wasn't trying to make the putt or anything.  Boy, it just really snapped.  It was fast and it was breaking and I knew it was.  But yeah.

Q.  What was the club selection on 17?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† I hit a 7‑iron.

Q.  Do you think you'd have won today if you hadn't won Fry's?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† I think Fry's taught me a lot.¬† It was just kind of the‑‑ it was just another step in the right direction.¬† It was stay patient, stay focused, don't get bent out of shape when you make a bogey or any of that kind of stuff.¬† I learned a lot.¬† I learned a lot that week.¬† I played really well on the weekend, and I think today‑‑ I'd been making a bunch of bogeys this week and I had plenty of firepower, and we were talking about it last night.¬† I said, I haven't had that round where I kind of felt like I got everything out of it this week, where you make the par putt, you make the birdie putt you're supposed to make, that kind of thing.¬† I said if I didn't make any bogeys today I'd have a pretty good shot because I felt like I had a lot of firepower this week.

Q.  At what stage did you kind of figure out those greens and start rolling it in the hole?
JIMMY WALKER:  I don't know.  You know, I don't know why the putts started going in.  I mean, just sometimes they do.  I made my fair share the first three days.  I was making birdies, but I was hitting some close shots, I was hitting it good, knocking it inside eight, ten feet a lot, stuff like that.
Like I say, not to say focus was more or anything today, but you're seeing lines and they looked good and they felt good and reading the grain is the hard part out here.  You've got a lot of putts that look like they're going to break left but they end up going right because of the grain.  It was really a lot like that last week, too, over in Maui.  It was good prep for this week, too.

Q.  Seems like you've taken a while to kind of get used to Waialae.  You keep coming back, and you struggled early.  What are the keys to you doing well here?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† You know, they say this is one of the harder courses on TOUR to hit fairways, and I don't hit a lot to begin with, so I feel like I'm kind of‑‑ everybody kind of comes back to me, I guess, in that fashion.
I felt like I drove it well.  I drove it pretty well today.  I felt like I was in the fairway quite a bit.  This is where I got hurt in 2005 at this tournament, and it's always been kind of like, you know, kind of a sore spot, but I always keep coming back because I like the golf course.  I felt like I could play well here.  I've had a good finish before, I think I finished fourth a couple years ago.  So I like the golf course, and I'll keep coming back.

Q.  What were the details of the injury?  I don't remember it.
JIMMY WALKER:  I was on the range on Monday, and I took one swing and it felt like somebody stuck a knife in my neck and it turned out it was a disk bulge.  Ever since then it's been about taking care of that, maintaining that.

Q.  Did you come back in '06?
JIMMY WALKER:  I did.  I ended up playing nine tournaments that year and shut it down, and then I came back in '06 and didn't play very well at all.

Q.  Came on to the range and thought, here we are?
JIMMY WALKER:  I came back, yeah.  It wasn't good.  I think I finished dead last or something.

Q.¬† You mentioned the importance of no bogeys today and that putt on 14 was probably bigger than any of your‑‑ as big as any of the birdies.¬† Could you talk about that, and how much did Jerry putting first, did that give you some help?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† The par was big.¬† The par putts sometimes are bigger than the birdie putts.¬† It keeps the momentum.¬† It doesn't‑‑ it's all about momentum, and if I'd have missed that, it would have been a little different, I think.
But Jerry's putt broke.¬† I went and read his, and I had his breaking left, so when he hit it left and I was like, okay, I've got that putt‑‑ I felt like I read it the correct way, and I had mine like right center, and it looked good and it felt good, and the grain looked just right, and put it right in the middle, so it was a good putt.¬† It was a slow putt.¬† You had to really hit it.

Q.  I know it's really early and it's only January, but how much are you looking at the Ryder Cup or how much of that is a goal of yours?
JIMMY WALKER:  It is a goal.  I definitely would like to go play Ryder Cup.  It's something I've watched since I was a kid, and it looks like the ultimate, the ultimate pressure and playing for your country and it's got a lot of history, and I would love to be a part of the team.  So that is a goal.  I would love to be playing.

Q.  On your front nine today I think the second hole you birdied?  I believe so.  That had to help you get off to a good start even though you didn't go on that birdie binge until later.  But going back to that 2006, do you remember the second hole?
JIMMY WALKER:  Did I shank one?

Q.¬† You birdied it three out of four this week, but then that one, it wasn't‑‑
JIMMY WALKER:¬† I made like a triple or something.¬† I think I remember it being really windy and I think I had a 3‑iron into that hole.¬† That tells you how windy it was.¬† Today I had 9‑iron.¬† Yeah, it was a long time ago.¬† I've tried to forget about it.¬† Thanks for bringing it back up.

Q.  Not a lot of similarities probably between this course and Fry's.  Is there something you did really well both weeks?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† You know, it seems like when you‑‑ I putted really well today.¬† I drove it well, which I didn't do at Fry's.¬† I did just enough there.
But making putts, when you make putts it cures a lot of everything else that's going on.¬† You can drive it good, you can hit good shots, you can hit 14 fairways and 18 greens, and if you don't make any putts, it's no good.¬† I made a lot of good putts.¬† The putt‑‑ left‑to‑righters are the tougher putts for me and the one I made on 15 was awesome.¬† The one I hit on 15 was really good.¬† I saw Jerry make his, and it's still a tough putt to make because it's got a ton of break and there's a lot of grain, but that was really nice.

Q.  Can you tell us what that picture is?
JIMMY WALKER:  That was the sword of Orion right there.

Q.  Can you talk about the time that you started working with Butch and the transition or how much that's helped you because there seems to be some parallels here, even though you hadn't won last year there were times when you were playing very, very well before you won.  Can you just talk about that?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† Yeah, you know, when I went and saw him, he said I believe in you and I believe you've got a lot of talent, and I think you're under‑utilizing what you've got.¬† He said, I want to work and make things better, and I think it's been great.¬† I really enjoy hanging out with him.¬† He's a very confident person.¬† When he tells you something, you believe it.¬† And it's been great.¬† I've really enjoyed my time with him, and I'm going to keep enjoying my time with him.

Q.  When did you start?
JIMMY WALKER:  Almost two years.  In February it'll be about two years, but not until that summer where we really started working.

Q.  Could you talk about why you have such an affinity for astronomy?
JIMMY WALKER:  It's funny, I asked my wife like right before our first guy was born.  She's like, what do you want for Christmas.  I was like, a telescope.  I had a telescope as a kid and I'd like a telescope; can you get me a telescope.  She calls her dad, who's kind of a tech guru, and she said, Dad, Jimmy wants a telescope, what do we get him?  He said, does he want to take pictures, and she's like, I don't know, he just wants it for the backyard.  So she got me a telescope for the backyard that didn't take pictures.  What did I want to do?  Take pictures.  It lasted about two weeks.
Long winding road, I just got into it.  I got hooked on it, and it was something to kind of keep my mind occupied and keep the brain working.

Q.  How did you get hooked on it?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† I don't know.¬† It was something that grabbed my attention.¬† I love being outside, so going outside and setting up your equipment, I love kind of the tech side of setting all the equipment up because there's a lot that goes into setup and getting‑‑ making it so you can take pretty pictures.¬† And then so that coupled with being outside and outdoors and seeing the sky from a really dark place is really cool.¬† I don't think a lot of people really ever get to do that, truly.
And then it's what you do with the pictures.  That's the artistic side because it's really art after you take them and put them together, because you can give the same data set is what we call it, same data set to 50 different people and you're going to get 50 different results.  It's all about how you make the picture look the way it does, and I've gotten really good at it.

Q.  What do you do with these pictures?
JIMMY WALKER:  I just post them online.  It's just fun.  I had a guy contact me the other day wanting me to take some pictures of some stuff, stuff that's unidentified and stuff that's never had a picture taken of it before.  There's a lot of guys that I've gotten to meet that actually do scientific work.  They get asked by agency to see do research for them and give them the data.
So if that ever came around, I think that would be pretty amazing.

Q.  Have you seen any forms of life that look like Alex in anything you've seen?
JIMMY WALKER:  Well, no.  I haven't.  You're welcome.

Q.¬† Do you take photos of anything else, any other kind of photography or strictly‑‑
JIMMY WALKER:  I have a nice Canon camera that I shoot pictures of the family with.  The iPhone has a great camera.  I don't know if everybody knows how to use it, but it's a great camera and you can take some really cool pictures with it.

Q.  Pretty good rainbow you took last week, too.

Q.  Do you think it's just a coincidence or is there anything to the fact that probably the three guys with the best chance to win on the back nine all won in the fall?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† That was interesting.¬† I saw that, and I said‑‑ I don't know.¬† You know, guys get into grooves and they've all been playing really well.¬† I think it's cool.¬† Everybody makes a big deal about being No.1 on the FedEx and stuff, and it is cool and it is a big deal, and I think all those guys out there today wanted to jump into that spot.¬† I sure did, and I know it's January, but it's a long way to September, and every little bit helps.

Q.  You are No.1 in the Ryder Cup standings, too, by a fraction.

Q.  Do you feel any differently with two wins that you didn't have four months ago?  Do you feel any different as a player?  Do you feel any more of a sense of belonging than you might have, if that makes any sense?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† Yeah, I think I do.¬† I've always felt like I belonged and you need affirmation every now and then, and the win the other‑‑ a couple months ago was like, yeah, okay, I can do it.¬† I did it, I was supposed to be able to do it, everybody told me I was supposed to do, and I finally did it.¬† And then everybody is‑‑ then it's, well, are you going to be the guy that won and you never hear from again or are you going to win again and are you going to win again.¬† I've always felt like I could, and it's nice to get it done and do it again today.¬† I think every win you have is probably going to be different than the other ones.
When I won Fry's I kind of walked out on the 17th green and I had the lead all of a sudden, and today it was watching the leaderboard and it was actually really fun because we were making birdies all over the place, story topping each other and making putts.¬† It was really fun.¬† Jerry Kelly was having a blast.¬† We were high‑fiving and fist bumping.¬† It was cool.¬† He's like, let's keep this going.¬† It's like, yeah.

Q.  Could you see yourself at 47 getting that excited about playing in a golf tournament like Jerry did today?
JIMMY WALKER:  I hope so, man.  Guy has got fire.  He loves it.  He's out here banging away, grinding just like all of us.  He's a great guy.  I like Jerry.  I've always liked Jerry.  Hard worker, fan favorite, everybody loves him.

Q.  You usually work on your astronomy during the mornings sometimes you said.  Did you spend any time with that this week?
JIMMY WALKER:  I did.  I've been getting up early.  I've been waking up at like 5:00 every morning, and I would go downstairs.  I'd wait until about 5:30, and I would go downstairs and take my computer, and I worked on a couple pictures this week, posted one up this morning actually.  I'd go down and have coffee and I would get on the computer and download the data and work on it.  And then when I'd get the text from Erin, like hey, everybody is up, let's go out to breakfast.
It was big; last year I really got into it.  We were having our baby and I played the whole West Coast all by myself.  It was nice, I had something to do.  It kept my mind off of not being at home and missing everybody and that kind of stuff.

Q.  I'm just curious if you take the telescope with you.
JIMMY WALKER:¬† No, it's set up remotely in New Mexico.¬† Everybody asks me, do you shoot from the road?¬† And I'm like, no, to do what I do and to be able to do it, I have to shoot ‑‑ there's a place called New Mexico Skies that does remote hosting, and they host telescopes for universities, NASA, private individuals like myself.¬† It's in New Mexico and the roof is probably open right now, and it may be firing away, I don't know.¬† It's outside.

Q.  It was a long time before the first win, and when it finally happened the family wasn't there I understand?  What did you do that night?
JIMMY WALKER:¬† That night I had to stay with the Fry's crew and we had dinner and I stayed at Cordevalle and it was‑‑ it wasn't a quiet night, but after dinner and stuff and wine, I was tired, and then I got up the next morning, flew back to Park City and hung out for the day and tried to buy a nice bottle of wine, but it was Labor Day or something and all the liquor stores in Utah were closed, which is kind of funny.¬† But anyways, it's cool that it was nice to see them on the 18th green and give big hugs.¬† It was cool.
JOHN BUSH:  Jimmy Walker, congratulations.

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