MORE INTERVIEWS: Toshiba Classic transcript archive
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay, Loren, thanks for joining us this morning. Obviously you come here this year as the defending champion winning Champions Tour number 13 in your career last year here at Newport Beach. I looked it up, I guess your first professional Tour victory in the State of California.
LOREN ROBERTS: And I grew up here, that's pretty amazing.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Anyway, that was pretty cool. Maybe just start us off with a few comments on what you remember about last year's victory and how your game is coming into this year.
LOREN ROBERTS: Well, first thing I can say about last year probably outside of the Champions Tour majors that I won, it was probably my sweetest victory for me just for the fact of, you know, the weather we had to deal with and the fact that I was with Freddy and Calc the last round and Freddy as defending champion and basically playing as well as he was playing. And so I felt like it was a very, very satisfying win for me to beat those two guys down the stretch last year. I am 57 years of age, so it was nice to get it done and to get a win. So I was very happy about that.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Talk about maybe winning in California.
LOREN ROBERTS: I guess it was the first official of any of the Tour wins for me in California. I grew up here in San Luis Obispo. That was good. I won a few of those Calloway deals up there in Pebble Beach, but this is the first really official win. That gets the monkey off my back I guess a little bit.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: We'll just go with questions.
Q What do you feel, going into this new year still, it's only March, what are some of your big picture goals for 2013?
LOREN ROBERTS: Obviously the older I get, you know, to get a win. This is a great golf course for everybody in the field. This would be a good golf course for me. Obviously you know Freddy and Calc's length, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman still hit the ball a long ways. This is a golf course that doesn't rule you out on length. You know, I've never been a long hitter so this is a good golf course for me. I think everybody is in the game this week. Greens are a little tough here. Putting really matters on this golf course because there's some greens that can be pretty extreme and generally the speed is pretty good for us, so putting is a key element and that's kind of been the strong point of my game over the years. So the fact that you don't have a long golf course and you have to putt well here, I kind of like that. And so hopefully I can put up a good defense this year.
Q What do you make of having Rocco out here on the Champions Tour?
LOREN ROBERTS: It's good. Obviously we're getting new guys all the time. I think we've seen over the years that guys now pretty much stay competitive on the regular tour until they turn 50 and then come out here and I think that's great for our tour. It's great for our tour that some of the guys still go out and play some on the regular tour too. So I think it helps us. It really does. Obviously, you know, Rocco is great with the gallery, great with the sponsors, so that is a key element for this tour.
Q When you think of California, what memories come to mind?
LOREN ROBERTS: You know, I was actually up in my hometown for a little bit last week, spent the weekend up there and went and played golf with some friends and I usually always come back a couple times a year. So I still have family there. And I really enjoy the drive down from San Luis Obispo down here, just like I enjoy the drive up when I went and played golf up in Monterey. Really that was the epicenter of my golf world growing up, so it's just nice to come and do the same things again and still feel like I'm home and enjoy the same places that I used to go and see friends. Even though I don't live here anymore, this is the epicenter of my golf world as I got started so it's always great to be here.
Q Maybe touch on your game coming in this week?
LOREN ROBERTS: As far as me playing, you know, probably haven't put as much time into my game up until the last month or so leading into the year as I have. I usually just play even during the off season, but this year I took a pretty good off season. So hopefully I think I'm rounding into form. I was down at TaylorMade yesterday. Hopefully I've got some new clubs that will add 50 yards to me off the tee. I don't think that's going to happen. But I'm excited about the way I'm starting to play. This is a good week. Last year this tournament kind of set my whole year up really, so hopefully we can do the same thing again.
Q Hi, Loren. I want to talk a little bit about your equipment and the changes you've made. Full bag this year or just what were you working on with performance things?
LOREN ROBERTS: Just trying to find a driver that I everybody is talking about mathematics now when it comes to hitting the ball farther. You see it on TV, you see it on the Golf Channel, they all talk about, you know, you can go in and come up with the right spin rates and launch angles and that kind of thing. That's what I was down trying to find. I've always been old school, where if I like the feel and I can produce the shot I want, that's what I did. So I decided to go down there and really try to get into the mathematics of making the ball go farther for me off the clubs. And hopefully I got a new driver that I think I added a few yards on the launch monitor. Now I'm going to have to get on the course and see if it really does work, but we're going to do that. I put a new set of irons in the bag the end of last year, so basically I have a new set of clubs that I am playing with this year. But the one thing that never changes is the putter. Putter is not for sale.
Q So back to your equipment, do you feel that over this past seven years now, has the equipment and the changes that have happened in the equipment kept you in the game? Do you feel stronger than maybe what happened on the regular tour?
LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, I probably have noticed a little drop off in the last year or so. Obviously I'm getting older, you know. I've noticed a little bit of a drop off. I probably hit it now as far as I did when I first started the regular tour. I think if you talk to everybody else out here, they would tell you the same thing, that everything they've lost they've regained. And some guys probably hit it longer than they did when they were 24, 25 years old. Technology has really changed the game. And you see it now, you just look at the regular tour players, I mean, you know, what is it, a third to a half of the field hits the ball 300 yards off the tee now pretty much. So that has really, really changed the game.
Q Get in the wedge in your hand so you can get the putter in your hand, that's the whole idea?
LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah, right, right.
Q Good luck.
LOREN ROBERTS: Thank you.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Anything else? Loren, good luck this week.
LOREN ROBERTS: Thank you guys