What they said: R.W. EaksSeptember 14, 2008
PGA TOUR staff
HE MODERATOR: Okay, R.W. Eaks, final round 71, and you successfully defend your Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn title. It's your fourth win in 14 months; your second of 2008. You become the ninth multiple winner. You earn $255,000, and 255 Charles Schwab Cup points. Just sort of a few general comments about the overall victory, and talk about your day?
R.W. EAKS: What can you say you win a tournament? You just beat the best players in the world at your age, and it's quite a thrill for me. Because I got to tell you something, three years ago you were standing here, I didn't know if I could win a tournament out here. Then Andy beat me in the playoff. Andy wrote me a nice note, and I think that note kind of changed my life. So I owe all of this probably to Andy.
As far as the round today, it was kind of a -- it got kind of windy out there. And nobody was really making a run. I can say that, and just played a nice, safe game today, and things might work out, and just happened to do that.
Tom Jenkins played very well today, just got in a little trouble there. What hole did he make? He made a double bogey on the 6th hole. Yeah, the 6th hole. He hit it over there by the rock on the 6th hole, and laid up, and then hit a poor iron shot to the green. But that kind of opened the door for me. Because after that, it was pretty tight.
THE MODERATOR: You want to just take us through your round? Obviously, you think 6 was a turning point where Tom made double there and you birdied the 7th hole?
R.W. EAKS: Definitely. That turned everything around. Actually, he made 6 there. And I only had a 4-footer for birdie straight up the hill and I missed it.
But, you know, when the guy's making a 6, he has a little hard time coming back from it, especially when the weather is windy like it is today. It just kind of opened the door for me and gave me -- I relaxed after that a little bit. I was a little tight before that.
Q. When you shoot 61 you're supposed to be.
R.W. EAKS: I think the 61 had a lot of pressure on me this week. It's probably pressure that I haven't felt before starting a tournament like that with a lead like that.
Boy, I tell you, when your putter goes. I hit some great putts the last three days. I think I only made a couple of putts the last two days, but ball striking was probably better this week than I had in the past.
On the 7th hole, I just bobbed a drive out there and hit a little 4-iron on the back edge of the green and two-putted.
Q. About how far??
R.W. EAKS: I'm going to say it was probably 45 feet.
R.W. EAKS: Then the 13th hole we had about a 10-minute wait. Tom needed a ruling. And I probably had about a 50-footer there. I think the wait got me a little bit. I started thinking too much about the putt instead of just walking out the putt.
I looked at it about 40 times in the time we were waiting. I think I was over that. It took too long for me to play, and I three-putted that hole.
But I stepped right up there on 14, and I hit driver. Not many guys hit driver there. But I hit a driver with a 4-wood right in the middle of the green, which got me going again. Where I felt like I pretty much had the tournament under control. I just parred in from there.
I don't think I aimed it five flags all day to day. I aimed at the sticks. They had great pin placement out there on the corner. Had a lot of 20-footers for birdie today out there.
Q. You mentioned a note Andy sent you??
R.W. EAKS: Well, he told me how well I played. I put a lot of heat on him that day. I don't know what I shot, maybe 30 or 31 or something. And I ended up three-putting it in the playoff. He just wrote a note and told me how well I played. That my time's coming soon. And I've just got to believe in myself.
Instead of coming out and playing and admiring everybody, you have to think that you can win. I never really thought about golf as winning. I just played golf to make a living. But I think that sparked something in the back of my mind, and it stuck with me.
Q. Do you think you were 0 for 92, and it turned around here??
R.W. EAKS: Probably, you know, I don't know. I was just happy I was out here making a living, so.
Q. Last year you had talked about after winning here, you know, now you thought you belonged a little bit more out here on the tour. Got two more wins again this year. Now do you feel you're in the upper echelon??
R.W. EAKS: No, I don't feel I'm in the upper echelon out here. These guys have had unbelievable golf careers. I'm just kind of the guy that is a late bloomer.
Every once in a while I get it going. I shoot some low numbers and I just happened to beat these guys.
But I got way too much respect for these guys to think that I could play as well as I can. Not ever think that I play as well as I can, I'm just lucky a couple of times a year that I happen to be.
Q. Does this make your knees feel better??
R.W. EAKS: The knees are pretty sore. I tell you what, riding in that cart makes a big difference for me. We've got two more tournaments that we have to walk in this year. I'm pretty apprehensive about those. But I'm going to try to play.
Q. You've thought about the possibility that your time could be limited for these??
R.W. EAKS: My time is very limited if they take the carts away. I don't think they will. But if they take the carts away, I'll probably have to end up playing pretty sporadically. My game will be sporadic, too.
Q. You said the other day you're not going to get your knees replaced until you're done??
R.W. EAKS: I'm not going to get my knees replaced until they tell me out here that I have to leave. That's what you're plans are right now.
Q. You talked about this is your second win. We've had eight other guys with two wins, and you're the ninth. Now it's wide open for you for some extra goals the rest of the year. Can you sort of talk about that??
R.W. EAKS: As far as my goals are the rest of the year? I think that, well, hopefully I can win another tournament. Of course you always want to do that.
If I can finish in the Top 10 in the two tournaments that I have to walk, it would be an absolutely unbelievable year for me. I just, you know, you just got to go with the flow on getting injured out here. You know, you just got to accept it and try your best.
But, gosh, what can you say about the Champions Tour? If it wasn't for the Champions Tour, there is no telling what I would be doing.
I never dreamed in January -- I was hurt so bad in January, that I never dreamed I'd keep my card this year much less win two tournaments. So it's been a dream come true year for me.
Q. Anything about successfully defending a title. We looked it up in the media guide and you had successfully defended a mini tour event, the old Taco Bell event.
R.W. EAKS: I've done that a couple of times.
Q. But the tour event you finally got it done??
R.W. EAKS: The Old Taco Bell event used to be the old Crosby. For the guys that couldn't get in the Crosby would come down to Newport Beach and play, and I beat a couple of those guys one time. I had another one in Farmington, New Mexico, which is no big deal to you guys. But I tell you what, first place was $10,000 there. I defended that one other time. I played it three times.
Back in the middle to late '80s, $10,000 was a lot of money. Gosh, that was almost enough money for the wife and I to last a whole year back then.
So defending this title, gosh, I don't know how many times people defended titles, but it's harder to do than you could ever imagine, you know? I took all of last week off on purpose so I could come here and be absolutely as fresh as I could.
It happened to work out. I don't know if it will work out again doing that. But it seemed to just kind of be destiny this week. I think this is the first time I've played in a tournament that guys actually backed up that I was playing with instead of charging.
I always told the wife it would be nice if I played a tournament and somebody backed up instead of charging at you. But either way it's fulfilling. I'm just happy.
Q. Do you remember the name of the event in New Mexico??
R.W. EAKS: San Juan Open.
Q. Was that in Albuquerque??
R.W. EAKS: No, it was in Farmington, New Mexico. Some of the best trout fishing in America.
Q. What do you like about the course here??
R.W. EAKS: I like everything, are you kidding me? The golf course just sets up good to me. I know it's a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course.
But this golf course plays just like a Nicklaus golf course to me. You've got to hit a lot of fades off the tee. The second shots are extremely hard here because the greens are shaped where there are little corners to most of them and all the greens roll away from you. If you miss a green, it rolls down, it might roll 10 or 15 yards over the green. It just gets you in a mindset that you've got to focus a little bit more here.
R.W. EAKS: You know, I really like it when it's 115 at home and no humidity. But, yeah, they've done a great job here. The community should be very happy we like it here, and it's such a great place.
Q. You think you figured out a formula here, because it's been a really hot start and played pretty steady golf all the way?
R.W. EAKS: On the Champions Tour, but most of it is three round tournaments. If you get a really, really low round, you can usually do pretty well.
Gosh, I think most of the guys that shoot low rounds usually win these tournaments.
Q. Do you ice your knees after play??
R.W. EAKS: I iced them for about an hour and a half before I play, and two hours afterwards every day. Even when I'm not playing, if I'm home not doing anything, I probably ice them three, four times a day. Do a little exercise.
The guys - the trainers - out here in the van have been world savers for me. They've worked very hard with me. I've got to tell you something, I'm not a guy that likes to exercise. Exercise for me is changing the TV channel from right to left, and that's about it for me.
R.W. EAKS: Yeah. You know, I've played a lot of golf with those guys. Fortunately, I can still walk, most of them can't.