MORE INTERVIEWS: FedEx St. Jude Classic transcript archive
COLIN MURRAY: We'd like to welcome Robert Garrigus to the interview room here at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. I'm sure mixed emotions to some degree coming back here. If you could just talk about your thoughts being back here at Memphis and TPC south wind.
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Yeah, it is kind of mixed emotions. It's kind of weird to know how to feel. I feel like I'm the defending champion. It's really weird.
I had a good practice round today with the guys. We had fun, and everybody wanted to see me play 18, obviously, which is funny, because I mean, it's just a driver and a wedge when there's nothing going on.
But it's nice to be back. It's great to eat some of this barbecue again, and I love the area. It's pretty hot this week, so it's going to be a lot of fun trying to stay hydrated and keep the stamina up because I got pretty tired today after that 36-hole qualifier. Get some rest this afternoon, and we'll go get 'em on Thursday.
COLIN MURRAY: You finished off last year with a victory and got off to a great start this year. Talk about the state of your game.
ROBERT GARRIGUS: I feel like I'm playing better than I ever have. I'm a better player than I was when I got here last year, made a lot of money, played a lot of great golf. You know, I feel great about this week. Not a lot of people are picking me to win, which is kind of adding fuel to the fire because I can tear this place up if I hit it well and putt well. I'm looking forward to this week, and my game is in very good shape going into this week and the U.S. Open. I'm looking forward to the next couple weeks.
Q. To finish off last year with a win, how much did you use this experience here on 18 to learn and grow from it and how much did it help you??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Oh, it helped me beyond what anybody could even think. It was really funny because we got on the 18th hole at Disney and I looked at my caddie because I wanted to know where I was, because I didn't here, and he was like, well, we've got a three-shot lead. I'm like, well, we know what not to do, and I made par and we won by three, which I should have done here.
This was a great learning experience. I mean, this pretty much set up everything for the rest -- that and then Maui. I played phenomenal in Maui and just missed in a playoff there and didn't really feel like I lost. That putt on the lost hole was just mental exhaustion in the playoff there.
To lose this playoff here, I really got a bad break. I didn't feel like I hit a bad shot and I ended up making bogey. This week is going to be a lot of fun, especially playing that 18th hole again knowing I'm not going to screw it up this time. I know what to do and where to hit it and in what situation, and last year helped my career leaps and bounds even though I lost in the playoff and made 7 on the last hole.
That was pretty cool actually that that happened to me and then was able to win. I think it made it a little sweeter, actually, and that feels very nice to have that win, especially after what I did here, falling on my face.
Q. How did you spend last year right after the tournament when you had left the course here? What was the next 24 hours like for you?
ROBERT GARRIGUS: You know, just the same as usual. I just went to the airport and followed the players, and they're like, what happened, and I told them. One of the guys that talked to me for a while is Chris DiMarco. He's like, a lot of times when a guy goes out and he's got a two-shot lead and he bogeys a couple holes on the front side like I did, he's like, you usually don't hear their name again. He's like, but you came back and made five birdies and had a three-shot lead. He's like, not too many guys could do that. And then not too many guys make 7 on the last hole, either. But Chris DiMarco kind of told me, hey, you've got to get there to blow it, and you were there and you're going to be there again, it just depends how mentally tough you are is when you're going to get there again. I got back there at Disney and took advantage of it and got her done that time.
You know, that 24 hours after I flew home and saw my wife and forgot about it, and obviously watched a lot of SportsCenter and Golf Channel and got myself nice and fired up for the rest of the year, everybody telling me I choked and that I'll never win again. That got me pretty pumped up to go out and do it again, a little fuel to the fire which was nice. I think I needed to see that. Everybody was telling me not to watch The Golf Channel and not to watch PTI and all that stuff, but I watched it giggling because I knew I was going to win again and it was just a matter of time.
Q. So what Chris DiMarco said was invaluable at the time, was it not??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Absolutely. A lot of guys besides Chris DiMarco came up to me and said, hey, the way you handled that situation was about as classy as you could possibly handle it because I didn't whine, I didn't complain, I just told everybody I blew it and I've got to deal with it and I didn't know what I was doing.
You know, and that's me. I don't complain about much. I don't whine on the golf course. I just go with the flow, and that's pretty much how I take life, as well, and that kind of bleeds into the golf course. I don't ever get worried about much, and why should I; I play golf for a living. It's pretty darned good.
Q. What is it about this course where you said you can tear it up? What about your game?
ROBERT GARRIGUS: You know, I think there's just a lot of tough golf shots. Some are fairly long. The course usually plays a little longer. With the zoysia fairways, you don't get a rot of roll, and the second shots are really tough and I'm hitting shorter clubs in. I can spin it a lot more with my middle irons than most guys, and I can get to some of these flags, and the greens are pretty tough. I mean, they give you some spots to hit it, but the wind usually blows around here, and par -- 3-, 4-under and par are pretty good scores out here if the wind is whipping. A lot of small targets out here.
I feel comfortable out here. I've played well in the past, just didn't play well on the weekend. But last year was just awesome. I was making everything. I mean, putting is huge out here. If you can make some putts, make the par saves and get a couple long birdies to drop, that's what happened last year, and even on Sunday last year I hit -- I think I only missed a few greens and made a bunch of putts and was making my five- and six-footers, and when a PGA TOUR player makes 100 percent of his putts inside of 10 feet, you're not going to see him in 20th place; he's going to be right up near the lead or contending. And that's the main thing out here is making your short ones and making a couple long ones when you need to.
This golf course is awesome. I just love the setup, all the tee shots fit my eye, and it's a lot of fun. And the crowds out here are great, people are great, barbecue is unbelievable. I'm surprised I'm even able to get up in the morning as much as I eat out here. But it's a lot of fun out here. I like the area.
Q. Was it nice to see a guy like David Toms bounce back after THE PLAYERS Championship and get a win like he did??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Oh, absolutely. I feel his pain. When the average golf fan sees somebody, oh, my gosh, he missed a three-footer to lose in a playoff, it's not the end of the world. He made a million dollars. I look at it as just another week that you played well and you didn't take advantage of that one opportunity.
But it's really nice to see David get that win at Colonial. He's a great guy. His caddie Scotty Gneiser is a good friend of mine. We're fellow Blackhawk fans, so last year was a lot of fun for us. The Blackhawks aren't in the Playoffs this year, but -- they didn't get to the Stanley Cup Final. They got beat by Vancouver. But we're good buddies, and David is a good dude, and it's good to see that he got it done, as well.
Q. Do you like the fact that you're going to start the first two days with Lee and Robert, shades of last year??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: Yeah, I knew they were going to do that, which is fine. I think it's great. It's good for TV. It's going to be fun. I don't know how much conversation is going to be going out there, but I guess I'll just have to talk to my caddie. I played with Robert Karlsson on Saturday and Sunday last year, and I don't know if he said a word to me. But it'll be fun. I like to talk to guys on the golf course, and playing with those guys I don't know them that much, so I'll probably try and get a little bit out of them, have a little fun with them, and I'm looking forward to it. It should be fun.
Lee Westwood is one of the best players in the world, and Robert Karlsson is right up there with him. So I think I belong in that group, seeming that I pretty much beat everybody last year. I just need to get a little more consistent because it seems like when I'm not in the hunt I finish 70th or 58th, but when I am in the hunt, I have a chance to win. I'm looking forward to the challenge this week of playing with them and having fun with them. It is just golf, and we get to play for a living, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. We know the weather here is always hot, but were you expecting what you see when you look at the forecast for the next four days??
ROBERT GARRIGUS: You know, the last three weeks have been extremely hot except for the first two days of Memorial, but Saturday and Sunday were steaming. I played a 36-hole qualifier and it was 90 degrees. I saw the forecast and just started giggling, like man, I'm going to have to drink about 15 bottles of water a day and get some Gatorade and maybe some Amino Vital and eat a lot and make sure I eat the right things so I don't pass out on the golf course. I'm used to that.
Last year it was so hot the bottom of my golf bag was melting on Saturday here. I pulled my 3-wood out and it's got tar on the bottom of it from the bottom of my golf bag.
You know, I'm totally used to it. I felt like today wasn't even that bad, and it was pretty hot out there today. I'm looking forward to the week and trying to stay cool, I guess.
COLIN MURRAY: Robert, thanks for your time. Best of luck this week.