What they said: Jerry Pate

June 22, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

DAVE SENKO: Jerry, 4-under today.

JERRY PATE: Played well. First hole, hit to about 20 feet, and then missed about a 3-foot putt. Then missed the green on 12, I think it was, or maybe it was 13. Par 3 is the 13? I hit a beautiful pitch up the hill with a hybrid up to three feet and missed that. That was my second bogey.

Then 17, I was about a hundred yards from the front of the green, and out of the fairway, and had 130 into the wind and had to hood down a 9 and hit it hard, hook it; hit it fat, came up short of the green and had an easy pitch and didn't get the ball up-and-down. Made bogey there.

My birdies were relatively easy. I had six birdies, other than the last hole. The last hole I hit a wedge, hit a beautiful drive. Had 127 to the hole but I was just in the rough and the ball came out as a flyer and it hit and rolled over the back of the green. Took a drop, and away from the bleacher, just moved it maybe five steps to the right and then pitched it in for a 3.

The irony was, when I got ready to hit my shot, the marshal raised their sign, and I turned around and looked, and it was one of the girls that was one of the hostesses, so I'm standing there and looking up at her and she's standing there looking down at me.

So I started laughing, because I was getting a good view from there, before I had to hit my pitch. (Laughter). The guys playing with me started laughing and I'm going, ahhh -- I literally was looking right up at her and I said, "Do you mind holding your sign down."

So it was kind of funny. I chipped in and reached up and gave her a high five.

DAVE SENKO: How far it was?

JERRY PATE: Probably a 40-foot pitch. It was a little flop shot. But it was really a nice save after, and I had a lot of chances for birdies today that I didn't make the putts. I hit some really good shots on the birdies that I made.

I hit the ball close to the hole, the birdies that I made all were relatively short putts, other than maybe, I think 16, I made probably a 15-foot putt. But I had the ball inside of ten feet a lot of times, and even for me, I could make those sometimes.

Please don't put my story on the Internet.

Q. We have pictures.

JERRY PATE: In fact, had to have a huddle with the other two guys on the green. They knew why I was laughing.

Q. Overall impressions of the course??

JERRY PATE: Beautiful golf course. Well designed.

I don't even know who designed it, but whoever it was, the rest of these famous designers we have in the world of golf today that I think continually are ruining the golf game, the game of golf, because they are taking too much land to build a golf course on; the holes are too long; they are too tough; there's too much grass out there to maintain. Takes too long to play.

We, as the users of the game, are I think frustrated because of all the reasons; I think the sensationalism in golf architecture has gone over the top, and it started in probably the early 70s, and it's just: Who can out-do whom.

This is a very simple golf course. It reminds me of the great old golf courses up east, whether you were in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, whether you're playing in Ohio, some of the great old golf courses built around the turn of the century, very simple, simply done as a flat piece of ground. The greens are strategized nicely. There's a nice grouping of bunkers off the tee.

Now, for the PGA TOUR players, it's probably too short. But for us, it's a perfect golf course. Reminds me of the old major championship courses we played back in the 70s. But my point about design is, golf is supposed to be fun. We come out here for recreation. You want to see people shoot low scores, and we get caught up in this thing called par.

It would be like saying, I'm going to -- the score of a football game, the old Notre Dame-Michigan game or the old Alabama-Auburn game, 3-0, or 6-3, it doesn't happen anymore; the athletes are better, you showcase them. Basketball used to be 68 to 72. Now the guys are bigger and better and stronger, and how many points are they scoring.

In golf, we continually make the test tougher to combat the talent, instead of letting the talent shine. I think it's been a problem for the last few years because we are not gaining golfers based on that.

As I said, it plays too long to play and the game is too hard. This is a very nice golf course. It's fun to play. If you hit good shots, you're rewarded. There are no tricks out there. Everything is right in front of you.

Q. What are your impressions of the way Olympic Club set up last week for The Open??

JERRY PATE: Well, that's the Open Championship, which is supposed to be the toughest test in golf; the U.S.Open Championship, not The Open Championship. They set it up the way they wanted it; 1-over par won; par is supposed to be the score.

I think it's great to test the players, but the reality of it is, whoever is playing the best is usually going to win. Now when you set an Open up at Olympic like last week, you take players like Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods out of the equation; I never thought Tiger was in it even though people on television probably did, but he's not driving the ball straight enough.

If you don't drive the ball straight on a golf course like Olympic or Oakmont or some of the great old Open tests, Baltusrol, you're not going to fare very well; whereas you can play other golf courses that you can spray it in the rough and if you hit it long enough, you can hack it out. Olympic doesn't allow that. There's too many trees. But it's a great test. So I think for The Open Championship, that's good.

But when you see the U.S. Open -- but for The Open Championship in Britain, I think they kind of rely on the weather to test the golf course. If the wind such, the score is around par. If it's not, it's going to be eight, 10-under par. So I think they pretty much let the golf play like it should be played.

You want me to say all that in French now? (Laughter).

Q. Do you feel like you will still be standing first later on today??

JERRY PATE: Well, really, the first round, it doesn't matter. You always like to shoot as low as you can every day, but it's irrelevant. You just go out and play the best you can play, and if someone plays better, you try to play better the next day.

You normally don't play the field. You play the golf course. If you stay focused on the golf course and play your best; if your game is on, you'll play well with it and if it's not, you won't.

When you start playing other players, I think you tend to lose your focus of what you're trying to accomplish. You know, tee it off, get it in the hole and go to the next hole.

Q. How do you feel about how you played the course today??

JERRY PATE: I played extremely well today. I hit a couple of just one or two bad shots, but not many. I mean, in 18 holes -- and putted, I would say, kind of average. I didn't putt well; I didn't putt poorly, but it was sort of average. You know, you hit the ball within ten feet a number of times, you're going to make birdies.

You know, my game is up-and-down based on my short game. I don't play much anymore. I played in Korea last September. I played this year in March at Mississippi; May in Tampa; June in Birmingham; and now I'm playing here, and I'll play next week and I'll play the Senior Open in Detroit, but that's pretty much -- I might play one or two more times. I don't play but six or eight times a year.

So I don't play enough to keep my short game sharp. And that's by design. I choose not to play as much as I used to. But I love the game, love to come out here. I especially love to experience coming to Canada. I've always loved Canada. I won the Canadian Open my rookie year at Windsor, and love the golf course. That was an old Donald Ross golf course in Windsor, Essex, a beautiful golf course.

Always enjoyed playing here and enjoyed Glen Abbey, and finished second at Royal Montreal in the Canadian Open. I think it was '78 or '79 when we played there, I can't remember, about 80 years ago.

So I've always liked playing in Canada and I respect the great an Canadian players. There's been some great -- I played a lot of golf with George Knudson. He was a great ball-striker, other than Moe Norman, who was a great ball-striker. I never played with Moe, I watched him hit balls. Always admired the guys that played on the PGA TOUR from Canada.

DAVE SENKO: Thanks, Jerry.