MORE INTERVIEWS: Hyundai Tournament of Champions transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: Thank you for joining us after an impressive second round in the 2011 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Why don't you just start off with some comments on how you're feeling, obviously good, as we head into the weekend.
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Yeah, it feels great, leading a tournament after two days really doesn't mean much but it would be nice if I could finish which tissue off this weekend. I feel great.
My wedge game is exactly where I want it to be. I worked on it. I worked very hard at my wedge game, and today I almost made I think four wedges that actually hit the hole. It was a lot of fun. I love Maui. Obviously I came over here on my honeymoon and obviously it feels great to be in this position.
Q. What were the wedges we saw one of them looked pretty good.
ROBERT GARRIGUS: The one on 10 I hit to like an inch. No. 3 I hit to about two inches and it just missed the hole. And No. 7 almost went in, too. They were all wedges, all 51-degree. I'm working with my 61-degree with Jim Ahern back in Phoenix and it's been awesome.
No. 6, it was probably a 30-yard shot, something like that.
Q. What is the biggest club you've hit into a par 4 in the last two days??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: I hit 5-iron into 17 yesterday when it was into the wind. But I hit it on the green and 2-putted. Haven't really hit a bad iron shot all week. Obviously I've been hitting it close, and the time that I've spent at home is paying off big time right now.
Q. For as long as you hit it, what triggered you to finally put in the extra work with the wedges??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: You know, I have no idea. It was one of those things where the guy talked to me three days before Disney, got me so pumped up to play golf again, I just don't know why -- because I didn't feel like I was the 122-on-the-Money-List guy. I don't want to sound cocky but that's just how I felt on my game. I kept telling myself, I'm not this type of player that keeps finishing and 122 and 126. And he saw; he watched me hit balls for four minutes and he said, "Tell me why you haven't won ten times on TOUR."
And I said, "Because my wedge game sucks."
And he told me, "Why does it suck?"
I told him, I'm like, "Well, I guess I haven't worked as hard on it as I should have."
He said, "Well let's take the grass off this place the next three days before you go to Disney."
I can't say how much fun it was to be inside a hundred yards and be like, I'm going to make this. Whether I did or not, I was confident in every single shot inside of a hundred yards. And that week of Disney, eight shots inside a hundred yards, never had it outside three feet; and I made one. So it's hilarious to think that that little amount of work that I put in, is paying dividends this big.
But the work that I did after Thanksgiving and everything, I sat on the driving range and hit three bags of balls from inside a hundred yards, from 50 to a hundred yards every day from Thanksgiving on to here. And man, it's transformed to all of my game, not just the wedges. It's gone right through my bag into my irons, my long irons and my driver, I'm keeping everything shorter and more compact and accelerating through the shots and it's just been a lot of fun.
Q. You're working with Jim Ahern??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Yeah, he's out in Phoenix. He give me a call, I think it was Saturday night and it was about 35 degrees on Sunday morning and he's like, "Hey, let's get out there at 7:00."
I'm like, "Hey, man, whatever let's go do it." He gave me a pep talk before I came over here. He was like: You know a lot of people are going to be rusty. This is your chance to get up and get ahead of people and start your year off right. You know, he's put all of the confidence in the world in me and it feels great to have somebody backing me. I know everybody else has done that before, but for some reason, this guy lit a fire underneath by butt and I'm going from there. Feels great.
Q. How much of an advantage is being able to bomb it off the tee here with these fairways??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: It's great. I'm out of breath on every tee, so I don't have to worry about hitting a 20-yard fairway. It's great. When I launch a driver and I catch it good, I'm inside a hundred yards and that's what I'm working on all winter. It's kind of fun. I actually hit 3-wood the first three holes today, just because I didn't want to be too close because it was a little wet.
But you know, I laid up to perfect numbers and I was hitting it close. Just the wide fairways out here is kind of nice. Next week is going to be a little different. I enjoy swinging away and you really don't have to worry about flinching or making a bad swing because if you do, it's in the right side or the left side of the fairway. So it's a huge advantage.
Q. The first-time people haven't had a lot of luck here. Any problems for you??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Not really. It's really easy when you have ten putts inside a foot, you know. (Laughter).
The hard part is when you hit it to ten feet or 12 feet, and those putts, I got fooled on today. I made a long one on 12, because I trusted my read and it actually came true. But these greens are so tricky. With the grain, putts will break uphill and putts will hold on downhill ones. The downgrain ones are lightning fast and the uphill, into-the-grain ones are just dead slow. I felt like I left myself a lot of easy putts today.
Now the next couple of days, we are going to have to plod ourselves around and hopefully stuff a couple and make some long ones. But I feel pretty confident about being out here. I'm enjoying it. I'm having fun being out here, first tournament of the year. There's really not any pressure. I told everybody, I'm not going to really be nervous unless I'm the last group, but here we go. So it's going to be a lot of fun.
ROBERT GARRIGUS: No, but it's a heck of a good way to get started. There's a lot of guys out here that are Top-5, Top-10 in the world and it is not easy, at all. It wasn't easy to win at Disney and there wasn't a lot of top-ranked players there. It's so hard to win on the PGA TOUR. I'm just glad I'm where I'm at right now, and playing the way I'm playing. It's a blessing to be out here just to be able to walk the fairways and have everybody cheer for you; it was awesome.
I can't wait for the next couple of days, regardless of what happens. I'm going to make a check and I'm going to watch the Ducks win the National Championship. I can't wait.
Q. First no-cut event you've played in??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Q-School. I was telling everybody that -- you can, but you get to play six days. This is the first one I've played in that I haven't had a cut to make except for Q-School.
Q. Is this the first no-cut tournament you've played in where last place gets more than the winner of Q-School??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Well, absolutely. I don't think there's any other tournaments like that.
Q. Did you try a lot of things before you settled on the short putter??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: The first time I put it in my hands, I looked at the guy and I wanted to hit him with it, because I was so mad. He was like, you need -- he's like, get your eyes over the ball, all this stuff. I'm like, okay, I'm 19 years old, thought I knew everything, just like everybody else when they were 19. And I got used to it, right away. I was like, okay, I'm going to listen to this guy, even though I don't think he knows what he's talking about.
But as soon as I got to Q-School, I wasn't missing those short three, 4-footers anymore. I was rolling them all in. And I went through first, second and got to third when I was like 20 years old. And I just felt like that was a fit for me. I haven't changed that length -- maybe I went to 29 and a half before Memphis last year, and felt like I got up over it a little more and was stroking it well.
But then before Vegas I cut it back down to 28 and a half and was like an old pair of shoes. I was like, oh, this feels good. I was getting too up and too elbowy, just because my wrists were not locked in, and once I got my wrist locked in and I started rolling it at Disney, it felt great.
ROBERT GARRIGUS: I gave one to Tiger at Quail Hollow two years ago because he was making fun of me on the putting green. He was like, "You putt with that?"
I was like, "Yeah, I'm sponsored by U.S. Kids Golf, you didn't know that? It's all about the kids." I was like, "I'll give you one for Sam." He was like, whatever. I put one in his locker. He took it (laughing).
Q. What did you hit for your second on 18??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: I hit 5-iron. It was playing 238 yards, I think 209 front. So obviously the tee shot went for miles. I couldn't believe how far. I didn't see my ball down there. To be able to hit 5-iron to that green after yesterday, I couldn't even get a 3-wood there. Driver, driver for Bubba yesterday and he made eagle.
But to be able to be all the way down on that front, too -- it wasn't such a downhill slope. I could actually take a swing at it and draw it on that instead of hanging it out to the right. 5-iron was just hit perfect, maybe a little too far to the left because it didn't ride that slope. But no, I wasn't getting picky at that point. I just wanted to make a good swing.
ROBERT GARRIGUS: I thought I was going to get a damn Christmas card or something. Maybe Robert Karlsson might have given me some Swedish chocolate, I couldn't figure it out.
Yeah, that definitely was a gift. But I had to learn how to do it. I didn't know what I was doing. My caddie and I got quick. We couldn't make a decision; we were just like, yeah, we'll hit to the green and then I hit the tree and I was like, I'll chip out and I made a 6-footer for par to get into the playoff. That was probably one of the biggest putts of my life. But if I don't get hosed in the playoff, either, I felt like I was going to win that tournament anyways.
But I haven't seen Lee. Next time I see him, I'll probably say something smart to him. But I'll have found with it.
Q. No. 1 in the world --
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Yeah, but whatever. Everybody gets theirs in the end I guess. I'm looking forward to starting my career and getting going and people might actually know who I am when I step up on the first tee now instead of, that's the guy that hits it far and has the short putter.
Hey, it's good now. It was terrible last year. I'm just looking forward to this year and I'm just playing golf and having fun.
Q. Are you proud that you got on the other side of that??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: All my past and stuff?
ROBERT GARRIGUS: I tell what you, the week after Memphis was Hartford, and I had a 25-foot putt on the last hole to make the cut and I made it. And I'm sitting there like, thank you. I didn't want to miss the cut after blowing the whole tournament in Memphis. Even though it wasn't that big of a putt for the tournament, I probably wasn't going to win; just mentally, for me, I was like, all right, I'm still here. I'm still having fun and I felt great about that putt. Actually gave it a fist-pump and I usually don't do that to make a cut.
Mentally it was huge and Memphis is as hard behind me as it could be. I'll never forget it but I can learn from it. It's really easy to dwell on things, but tell you what, if Memphis didn't happen, I wouldn't have won Disney. It was really easy to be like, all right, hey, you know what, I've been here, I blew it last time, I'm not going to this time I concentrated on the right things and slowed down and was able to plot my way through that back side.
Q. Where did you hit driver??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Yesterday I hit it pretty much every hole. But I think, what is there, 15 driving holes or 13? 15 driving holes? I probably hit 12 today -- no, I hit 11 today because I hit 3-wood four times. Just stay back a little bit.
Q. Ben Crane said he's going to the National Championship game. What are your plans??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: I'm going to watch it here at the hotel at the Ritz. I wanted to take the red eye and get over there, but I flew everybody over here and my step dad, Dave, he's a huge Ducks fan and we decided, you know, let just watch it over here, leave on Tuesday, have a relaxed deal and go over to Sony. Because I wanted to play Sony.
For some reason the fairways are super tight there but I love playing there just because I love playing in Hawai'i for that matter, being on an island and relaxing and stuff like that. But I really wanted to go to that game. Especially because everybody is like, 'Hey, I got you a ticket, I got you a ticket.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm going to be in Hawai'i, come on.' It was killing me. I'm going to watch it here.
Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports.