What they said: Olin Brownetext sizeJuly 31, 2011
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: U.S. Senior Open Championship transcript archive
DAN HUBBARD: Olin, congratulations. First of all, even par today, 269, minus-15 for the championship, one bogey on 8, which was your only three-putt of the week, and obviously the birdie on 18. If you'd just talk through those two, then we'll open it up for questions.
OLIN BROWNE: I couldn't hit a fairway on the front nine, and I was struggling the whole nine. I didn't hit the fairway on 8, and I didn't hit the fairway on my lay-up and I barely hit the green with my third and then three-whacked it. It was just a difficult day for me.
Then I got -- settled down, made a bunch of pars until I made a putt on 18.
DAN HUBBARD: And that was at least 20 feet on 18.
OLIN BROWNE: Yeah, 28 or 30 feet. It's easily the longest putt I made this week but double.
Q. Congratulations. You'd been in the hunt, particularly at Pinehurst in the regular U.S. Open six years ago --
OLIN BROWNE: Congressional, as well.
Q. What were your emotions like today??
OLIN BROWNE: I was jumpy today. I told my wife this morning that my stomach was churning a little bit, and as much as I tried to settle down, I guess it carried over because I couldn't play a lick on the front nine.
But I knew that if I stayed patient that I could settle into the round and find a way to be there at the end. I didn't know if I was going to win, but -- I didn't know if I was going to end up being a winner.
But I knew if I was in the lead or somewhere near the lead on the back nine that there was going to be all kinds of stuff happening. It's just too hard a nine holes of golf. I just did the very best that I could. I hit as many -- what's the word I'm looking for -- functional shots, to stay in it, not lose my patience and not start doing stupid stuff.
And then 16 is for me the hardest hole because the wind is coming in the wrong direction for the shot I like to play, and I just -- I had to hit a quality tee shot, and it was the only really good tee shot I hit all day until that point, and then I hit another good one on 17.
It was just a hard day and very pleased to have gotten through it.
Q. You're going to get your name on a national championship trophy, a USGA trophy. What does that feel like right now??
OLIN BROWNE: You know, I'm just not sure at the moment. You know, when I started playing golf, my bride would -- she wasn't my bride then. We'd go to the driving range, a little dumpy par-3 course with a driving range called Arroyo Seco. She'd have her books out, she was pre-med and a French major and she was doing her homework. And I'd tell her, this is the U.S. Open. What's the shot here? She would say, all right. U.S. Open, 700 yards, par-4. I said, that's not how it works. How about 440, dogleg right, and then I'd hit a shot. So this goes back a long way for us.
I had a couple of shots at Congressional and at Pinehurst, and I butchered Pinehurst on Sunday, played with Michael Campbell and watched him win, and this is very satisfying for me.
Q. For three rounds you went -- your scores were low. Today you had even par. How gratifying is it to win and win by grinding out this final round??
OLIN BROWNE: I don't think it matters how you win. I don't think it matters whether you shoot 63 coming from the pack. I don't think it matters if you shoot 75 after having a six-shot lead. But it certainly was a lot harder, and I think this will be a confidence boost for me to know that I can hang in there when I don't have my game, and I sure as heck didn't have my game today.
I was struggling, and I wasn't -- I've exaggerated a little bit. I wasn't horrendous. I was just off, and my tee shots were three yards in the rough the whole front nine, and that's not a place where I like to play from. I like to play from the short stuff.
So I managed to just muddle my way through that, and then I played a little bit better on the back, which is -- I'm grateful for that because if I hadn't played very well on the back I wouldn't be talking to you right now.
Q. When you were on the back nine tied or whatever, did it seem like they were 700-yard par-4s a little bit for the U.S. Open??
OLIN BROWNE: You know, not really. But the point to this championship is that if you start wandering mentally, it's curtains; it's over. And the thing that this championship does, whether it's this one or the U.S. Open or any of the USGA events is it narrows your focus, and you'd better show up for the shot that you're hitting. And if you start worrying about other stuff, you're going to have a problem.
In that regard, I did a good job today because I didn't get ahead of myself and I didn't get frustrated, and I just knew that everybody was going to struggle today. I mean, it's just that kind of a venue and that kind of a championship. So I was patient, and I managed to push through it.
Q. When you saw Mark's tee shot on 13, was that the little crack of the door you were looking for??
OLIN BROWNE: No, because there are still six holes to play there. It's 13, it's 14. 14, I think is as hard a golf hole as there is out here. 15, is a brutal par-3. 16, I don't even want to talk about. And 17, if you hit it left, you're dead, you know.
So, no. It could have just as easily gone the other way. And I just knew if I stayed patient and hit the best shot that I could that when it came down to the last couple holes, I'd have a chance, and that's all I was asking for.
Q. Are you a scoreboard watcher??
OLIN BROWNE: I watched the scoreboard all day. It was Mark and me the whole day. Guys made a run, Calc played pretty well and Peter Senior was up there for a while, and Hale Irwin, as well. But basically I was never worse than 14-under today, and Mark was never better than 14-under, was he, or 15-under. So yeah, one hole, but we were tied at that point anyway.
So it was Mark and me, and the golf course just didn't allow anybody to shoot the kind of score that would have elevated them into the equation.
Q. Knowing that you were tied with him and it's right there in the final grouping with ten holes to go, was there an inclination where you could watch him because people were making runs, but you knew the two of you had the lead or were tied at that point??
OLIN BROWNE: You know, I guess from the middle of the back nine on it became a match play situation, and I've got zero experience in match play. I lost to Davis Love in my only appearance at the Match Play event 2 & 1.
But, again, I hate to keep answering your questions with the same exact phrase. It's about putting your ball in play, keeping it out of the junk. I made one double this week because I hit it under a tree. I didn't hit it under any trees today, even though I didn't drive it like I like. And the bottom line is minimize your mistakes, maximize your effort, and that's all you can do.
Q. Talk about Mark's little bit of a run in the beginning and his play to start and how you held yourself together.
OLIN BROWNE: I expected Mark to make a run. He's a great player. He's got two major championships under his belt and I don't know how many other tournament wins worldwide. He's a great player, and he's a gentleman to boot.
We had a great 36 holes. He played great yesterday, I played great yesterday. He played great on the front nine today. I didn't. I played a lot better on the back. He didn't play quite as well as he did on the front.
But ultimately it's 18 holes. It's like I said in here, everybody asked me when I shot 64 Thursday, I said, are you going to give me the trophy today, everybody said no. So that's how it works, you know, 72 holes.
Q. Two questions if I may: The iron shot on 16, was that a 3-iron??
OLIN BROWNE: It was a 3 hybrid, yes, a Callaway RAZR hybrid, 21-degree.
Q. Looking back at the 2008 Ryder Cup, did you learn anything there that helped you as a player??
OLIN BROWNE: I learned how much fun it can be to be part of a winning team when you don't have to carry the lumber. Those guys were so good, and they played so great, and Paul set up such a great team situation, it was just -- it was a blast to be a part of it.
He and I had been talking about it for years leading up to it, and I was honored and thrilled to be invited to be a part of it.
But as it pertains to today, no, because there's a difference between theory and reality, and when you're dreaming about things that happen in life, that's theory, and then when the situation presents itself, that's reality. And even though they're connected somewhat, they're not related; you know what I mean?
DAN HUBBARD: Olin, congratulations again. Great week, and very happy to have you as our USGA Champion.
Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports.