2001 US Open - Loren Roberts News Conference Transcript
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.
Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown
There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.
Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.
She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.
It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.
Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.
"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”
Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.
Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.
Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.
“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”
Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.
“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”
The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.
“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”
Koepka still has chip on his chiseled shoulder
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brooks Koepka prepared more for this Open than last year's.
He picked up his clubs three times.
That’s three more than last summer, when the only shots he hit between the summer Opens was during a commercial shoot for Michelob Ultra at TPC Sawgrass. He still tied for sixth at The Open a month later.
This time, Koepka kept his commitment to play the Travelers, then hit balls three times between the final round in Hartford and this past Sunday, when he first arrived here at Carnoustie.
Not that he was concerned, of course.
Koepka’s been playing golf for nearly 20 years. He wasn’t about to forget to how to swing a club after a few weeks off.
“It was pretty much the same thing,” he said Tuesday, during his pre-tournament news conference. “I shared it with one of my best friends, my family, and it was pretty much the same routine. It was fun. We enjoyed it. But I’m excited to get back inside the ropes and start playing again. I think you need to enjoy it any time you win and really embrace it and think about what you’ve done.”
At Shinnecock Hills, Koepka became the first player in nearly 30 years to repeat as U.S. Open champion – a major title that helped him shed his undeserved reputation as just another 20-something talent who relies solely on his awesome power. In fact, he takes immense pride in his improved short game and putting inside 8 feet.
“I can take advantage of long golf courses,” he said, “but I enjoy plotting my way around probably - more than the bombers’ golf courses - where you’ve got to think, be cautious sometimes, and fire at the center of the greens. You’ve got to be very disciplined, and that’s the kind of golf I enjoy.”
Which is why Koepka once again fancies his chances here on the type of links that helped launch his career.
Koepka was out of options domestically after he failed to reach the final stage of Q-School in 2012. So he packed his bags and headed overseas, going on a tear on the European Challenge Tour (Europe’s equivalent of the Web.com circuit) and earning four titles, including one here in Scotland. That experience was the most fun and beneficial part of his career, when he learned to win, be self-sufficient and play in different conditions.
“There’s certain steps, and I embraced it,” Koepka said. “I think that’s where a lot of guys go wrong. You are where you are, and you have to make the best of it instead of just putting your head down and being like, 'Well, I should be on the PGA Tour.' Well, guess what? You’re not. So you’ve got to suck it up wherever you are, make the best of it, and keep plugging away and trying to win everything you can because, eventually, if you’re good enough, you will get out here.”
Koepka has proved that he’s plenty good enough, of course: He’s a combined 20 under in the majors since the beginning of 2017, the best of any player during that span. But he still searches long and hard for a chip to put on his chiseled shoulder.
In his presser after winning at Shinnecock, Koepka said that he sometimes feels disrespected and forgotten, at least compared to his more-ballyhooed peers. It didn’t necessarily bother him – he prefers to stay out of the spotlight anyway, eschewing a media tour after each of his Open titles – but it clearly tweaked him enough for him to admit it publicly.
That feeling didn’t subside after he went back to back at the Open, either. On U.S. Open Sunday, ESPN’s Instagram page didn’t showcase a victorious Koepka, but rather a video of New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dunking a basketball.
“He’s like 6-foot-2. He’s got hops – we all know that – and he’s got hands. So what’s impressive about that?” Koepka said. “But I always try to find something where I feel like I’m the underdog and put that little chip on my shoulder. Even if you’re No. 1, you’ve got to find a way to keep going and keep that little chip on.
“I think I’ve done a good job of that. I need to continue doing that, because once you’re satisfied, you’re only going to go downhill. You try to find something to get better and better, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Now 28, Koepka has a goal of how many majors he’d like to win before his career is over, but he wasn’t about to share it.
Still, he was adamant about one thing: “Right now I’m focused on winning. That’s the only thing I’ve got in my mind. Second place just isn’t good enough. I finished second a lot, and I’m just tired of it. Once you win, it kind of propels you. You have this mindset where you just want to keep winning. It breeds confidence, but you want to have that feeling of gratification: I finally did this. How cool is this?”
So cool that Koepka can’t wait to win another one.
Despite results, Thomas loves links golf
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Despite poor results in two previous Open Championships, Justin Thomas contends that he has what it takes to be a good links player. In fact, he believes that he is a good links player.
Two years ago at Royal Troon, Thomas shot 77 in the second round to tie for 53rd place. He was on the wrong side of the draw that week that essentially eliminated anyone from contention who played late Friday afternoon.
Last year at Royal Birkdale, Thomas made a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 sixth hole in the second round and missed the cut by two shots.
“I feel like I’ve played more than two Opens, but I haven’t had any success here,” Thomas said Tuesday at Carnoustie. “I feel like I am a good links player, although I don’t really have the results to show.”
Although he didn’t mention it as a reason for success this week, Thomas is a much different player now than he was two years ago, having ascended to the No. 1 position in the world for a few weeks and now resting comfortably in the second spot.
He also believes a high golf IQ, and the ability to shape different shots into and with the wind are something that will help him in The Open over the next 20 years.
“I truly enjoy the creativity,” Thomas said. “It presents a lot of different strategies, how you want to play it, if you want to be aggressive, if you want to be conservative, if you want to attack some holes, wait on certain winds, whatever it might be. It definitely causes you to think.
“With it being as firm as it is, it definitely adds a whole other variable to it.”