2001 US Open - Loren Roberts News Conference Transcript

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 14, 2001, 4:00 pm
LOREN ROBERTS: It just feels good to play good for a while. I played so bad for the last few months. It feels good to put a round up that's a good round. I enjoyed playing with Hale today. He's always been one of my favorite players to play with, and we had a good time out there, and I enjoyed watching him play.
Q. Did Hale have any effect on your good play, then, if you've been struggling, today you played well, you seem to feel comfortable with it, was that a factor?
LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, I've been working a lot of things on my golf swing, and this week I got here and I've got to forget about it, and just go out and swing the club back and try to hit it hard and that's it. And my mind was pretty unencumbered today, and I hit a lot of solid shots. And I think -- it helped me just the fact that I like Hale, and I felt comfortable out there.
Q. Loren, all of us know you're known as a great putter, that these greens are very, very tough to putt. How was your putting today and do you like these greens and your chances?
LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I like the greens, there's a lot of slope to them, you have to have a lot of imagination, and that's what I like. You can hit it 10 feet all day, and not necessarily have too many makable putts. So the greens are such good shape, I think probably the best condition Open greens I've seen in a long, long time. You hit a putt, you get it on line, it's going to go in the hole. But there is a lot of slope to them. So I was able to see the line good today and made a lot of good putts.
Q. They say this course is made for long hitters, and the second part, what club did you hit on No. 10?
LOREN ROBERTS: On the 10th hole? I cut a 3-wood down around the corner and had like 92 yards to the flag. I think this golf course sets up good for anybody. You don't have to hit the ball a long ways out here, it's playing long and fast. Most of the fairways turn at about the 260, 280 range. So I don't think it favors any one particular player, and I think you're going to see that I think reflected in the scores today, and I think you have already.
Q. I had the same question, just whether the way the course is playing helps the short hitters, and that helped your game and Hale's game?
LOREN ROBERTS: I think it helps the control player. Obviously, you've got to put the ball in the fairway, here. I think I only missed maybe two fairways off the tee today. So I was able to get the ball on the green or around the green, or at least where I could get the ball up-and-down. And I think this golf course is a golf course that is very fair for everybody in the field. You can be a shorter control player or a longer player, and still be able to play this course.
Q. Loren, I wonder your thoughts, they say some really bad weather is on the way, and they maybe will have to pull players off the course. I wonder your thoughts about being in with that minus one and not have to worry about either going back or whether you think, if the players are able to play, the greens will soften up a little and they may have an advantage, your thoughts?
LOREN ROBERTS: It's so early in the week you never know what's going to happen. All I know is I'm going to get to sleep in a little bit tomorrow. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
RAND JERRIS: Could you run through your birdies and bogeys.
LOREN ROBERTS: I started out today on the second hole, I hit a good, for me a really good 4-iron, about five feet from the hole today and made that for birdie and kind of got me started. And a real key was I got aggressive at 4 and hit it over the green in the back fringe. And I hit a great chip shot to keep it about 25 feet below the hole, and I made that for par. I bogeyed the 5th hole. But then I hit a good 7-iron at 5, par-3, to about 6 feet and made that for birdie. And then I made a really good up-and-down on the front right bunker for bogey on 7, after driving it in the left hand trees. I drove it way deep in the left hand trees. And then hit about 6 feet at 10 and made birdie. Then just pin-high right at 13 and a good chip shot down about 8 feet and made that for birdie. And really the hole that I really played poorly was the 15th. I drove it perfect, I had a 7-iron in my hand and put it in the bunker and couldn't get up-and-down and made a bogey there. And then just knocked it in the back fringe and made a par. On 16 a couple of good two putts coming in from about 18 feet on 17. And I 2-putted from the middle left on the 18th green from about 40 feet. I was a much better ball striker around the back nine than I was in the front.
Q. What is it about Hale that makes him such a good player at his age in this championship?
LOREN ROBERTS: He's a control player, and this golf course lends itself to someone who keeps the ball in control. He putted extremely well today. I would say that's what you've got to do. But he had some great iron shots. He hit a 2-iron, kind of around and under the tree there at 18 today and hit it a foot from the hole. He hit some great shots and made some great putts. But I think if you look at Hale, he's had a long career and he's never been injured, he's always taken care of himself and it's one of those things that you like to say he's genetically blessed.
Q. This is about you. You're known as an exceptional putter. Does this round now make you feel better about your chances here?
LOREN ROBERTS: There's only one down and three to go for me, and there's still some guys that haven't teed off yet. I'm just going to keep playing golf. I'll be 46 years old next week, I'm just out here playing, having fun, and that's all I want to keep doing.
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Rahm, with blinders on, within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

“It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

“I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”

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Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

“I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

“I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

“If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”

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On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.

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Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1