MORE INTERVIEWS: John Deere Classic transcript archive
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started. Ricky Barnes, nice playing today in Round 1 of the John Deer Classic, 7-under 64. Obviously off to a great start.
With that, I'll turn it over to you for some comments on round.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, it was nice solid round. Eight birdies, one bogey. Bogeyed No. 9, but got off to a great start. Birdie three of the first five and four of the first eight.
With no wind out there, second group off, benign conditions, can't even tell where the wind is coming from because there's not much, and I took advantage of it.
I made a bogey on 9, but came back and birdied 10 and 12 right away and birdied 17 to finish. It was a good start to tournament that usually you know you have to go low.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. With that, we'll open it up and take some questions.
Q. Your had four rounds under par last week at Greenbrier. Did you see this coming??
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I played well last week. You know, just didn't make many putts last week. Like you said, four rounds, hadn't done that since -- my caddie and I were talking -- since Pebble Beach this year. It was kind of nice to get back in that frame of mind shooting in the 60s every round.
I was nice. I actually made a little least one, if not two putts today that I hadn't been making.
Q. Did you make a putting change??
RICKY BARNES: No, I've been working hard on it. That's kind of what we've been doing and what's been lacking for me finishing in the top 10, top 5, and competing.
Hit enough greens. I think another 15 or 16 today. Did a lot of that last week. It's also a little misleading sometimes with the proximity of the hole when you feel like you're striking it well and not taking advantage of the opportunities when he have 'em. It was fortunate or nice to see that I did that today.
Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. I've been hitting it pretty good. To sum up let's say the last eight weeks or something like that, I've made seven of the last eight cuts or something and I lead the week in Memorial and birdies and didn't even finish in the top 20.
That was kind of when I went home, assessed it, and knew that I needed to get on the green and start making more putts.
Q. And no change??
RICKY BARNES: Grind it. You know, I mean, a few things here and there in the stroke and trying to hold my finish a little bit longer. Definitely working on that kind of stuff, but didn't go from the normal putter to the long putter, anything real drastic or make a huge putter change. I am still with the same design and everything.
Q. What are you putting with??
RICKY BARNES: Using an Odyssey, a No. 9 right now. Put a little bit more weight in the head this week.
Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: Nothing really. I was with a Scotty Cameron, but I'm using the same model. It was kind of one of those that you make the change and what do you have to lose? That's kind of the point we were at. Needed to hole putts.
Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, we did use thatputt last week. No, we made the change I think for the weekend at Congressional.
Q. Must say something about how much of this game is in the head.
RICKY BARNES: A little bit, yeah. I mean, you got to fine drill but get your mind off it. You only want one swing putt usually when you go to the golf course. If you can get dialed in on just one thought, that definitely helps.
Q. When you go out there and play early in the morning, no wind, shoot 7-under, in the back of your mind you're going, I wonder how good that really? Do you think about that?
RICKY BARNES: We were talking about that. 7-under is a great round. It's tournament that you know you're probably going to have to be in the 20s at the end of the week to win.
With no wind out here and second off, you know, you do feel like you need to go out and shoot a score. Like you said, I did, but you know there's birdies. I was turning around and 4-under through 8. Usually you look at the board and you definitely have a lead or a two-shot lead and I think you're tied for the lead.
It's one of the tournaments that if the weather keeps up we'll have to keep that kind of pace.
Q. Do you have to make an adjustment going from playing the Memorial, say, where winning score is going to be 8- or 9-under??
RICKY BARNES: I mean, I think your mindset when you get out there better be. You better stay a lot more patient than you normally would. Because out there you're two birdies away from being back in the tournament.
Here, you need to keep up with the par, because as I said, definitely wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't leading or in third or fourth place by the end of today just because of the weather, the course, and the softness of the greens.
Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: I'm changing. (Laughter.) I'm not in any of the majors this year thus far, and I figured I either need to win one of these tournaments or I have to shoot 28 under.
Q. Do you have kind of a grinder's mentality??
RICKY BARNES: Yeah. I figure a lot times if I do get in the rough, if I hammer something up near the green I trust my short game to get up and down. Real creative player; like it shot� make a lot. A feel player, and that's where it's kind of I guess where I've been beneficial in some USGA events on some tough golf courses.
Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: No, there is some sneaky rough out here. Obviously doesn't suit that well with that, but I've played enough golf and I've played a lot of college golf and I've won a few college golf tournaments. I think even the Nationwide, the one that I got in the payoff, it was in the high teens when I had to win.
Q. (Question regarding tee time.)
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I always like second off, especially with the weather we had this morning and then the greens and the pace of place. You know, if you're up at the front of the pack it goes quicker and you can get in a little better rhythm.
Q. Speaking of majors, if you get top 5 here, are you ready for that? Do you have your passport ready?
RICKY BARNES: Absolutely, yeah.
Q. When you're going through that stretch, how do you keep your head in the game.
RICKY BARNES: Just got to keep grinding. You got to assess your game and trust that you're playing really well. You'd make a few putts but never really get it going.
It was kind of one of those things I just wasn't getting up and down in the right frame of mind to keep the round going.
I'd go out, get 1-under par, make a bogey, and then my next step was a bogey. Then I make a birdie and I'm even par. You know, instead of getting up and down, making the next birdie, and you're off to the races, kind of like I did today.
I made a birdie, then I birdied 3, then I birdied 5, then I birdied 8. You kind of feed of the momentum. I hadn't been able to do that yet this year.
Q. How does your mindset change tomorrow then??
RICKY BARNES: Same thing: Go out, hit fairways, hit it on the green, and make the putts. You know, driving it well, hit a lot of fairways. When you do that, my iron game has been pretty sharp this year. And distance control, I feel like I can make a lot birdies.
Q. I know this place fits your eye and I know your track record here. The last three times you haven't made the cut.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, it's been pretty surprising. I tell my caddie every time we come back that there are a few course, that I actually like the golf course. It does suit my eye. I like the way you can hit driver or 3-wood off a lot of the tees. You can take it down and be aggressive or not.
It's been a little bit surprising that I had -- I think two years ago I think I shot 4- or 5-under and I was the second or third group off. I finished, I think I was 38th, and I missed the cut. Like it switched. It moved two or three shots two or three years.
I think it was 2009 or something like that.
Q. (No microphone.)
RICKY BARNES: I think so. It was 2009 or something like that. So it was three years ago.
So I like the golf course. I like the place. Unfortunately I haven't played that great, so fourth time is a charm.
Q. You were pretty heralded as an amateur. Do the expectations get to be a burden at some point??
RICKY BARNES: No more from anyone else than I put on myself. I did tell someone after 2009, I barely kind of kept my card. Finished second in the U.S. Open. I was pretty mad and upset with myself.
Worked really hard and still working really hard, and the next year I came out and had eight top 10s, so that was pretty nice.
This year, like I said, seems like if it's not one thing it's the other. It's been tough when you're making this many cuts and you feel like you should be having higher finishes.
The fortunate thing I think you saw last week with the top three finishers last week, we're one good week away from flipping our years around.
Q. Do you take solace in that??
RICKY BARNES: Absolutely. Traveling that week, we came over on the charter with a lot guys. Go from grinding, maybe not getting in three or four tournaments or not making it into the FedEx, and you come out and one guy wins and the next guy locks up his card and the third guys moves up -- you know, so I think three guys that finished there probably weren't playing that great this year.
That's what we said. You're one great week out here from changing your life.
Q. Because of the commercial, are you more recognized by the public??
RICKY BARNES: Yeah.
Q. Do they give you grief??
RICKY BARNES: No, I think I it's funny. I think they caught the humor in it with the seriously kind of comment going on. It's been good. Nothing but good. Definitely recognizable. If someone doesn't see you with the hat, Oh, I didn't recognize you.
Main thing is people don't recognize that I'm 6'3". God, I didn't know you were so big.
But then you get out here and there are some guys you think that are 6'3" and they're 6'. So that's kind of the biggest comment that I've got from it.
Q. Haven't got any other offers??
RICKY BARNES: No. Hopefully we get a win so we don't have to. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: Ricky, great playing today. Keep it up.