MORE INTERVIEWS: Zurich Classic of New Orleans transcript archive
RICKY BARNES: It's been a while. I just haven't gotten off to good starts in the first couple of days. It seems like I'm always just chasing the cut. So now to kind of get off to a good start. Kind of went off to the golf course with one swing thought, and I've been working really hard on my short game.
Came out here late last night and put in a solid hour on the short game about 6:30. Quick dinner and quick turnaround. It was kind of nice. 8‑under, and I think, yeah, I had one bogey. Seven birdies, eagle, and a bogey.
Q. Take us through the eagle, if you can.
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, started off, hit a good drive down and actually hit it about 10, 12 feet, so I had a great look at it, a little uphill on 2. That kind of got the round going. Was 2‑under through 2, was 3‑under through 4. And those are the kind of starts I need and guys do need when they're not playing that well is to kind of get off and get the accelerator going instead of shifting gears all the time.
Q. Ricky, lift, place, clean, how did that benefit you from being the first group out too?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, you definitely don't know if the greens are going to be good. I didn't grow up on a lot of grain, but my caddy helps me out with that. So always kind of knowing where the grain is at helps.
But at the end of the day, if you give us ball in hand and some shorter irons out there, we're going to take advantage of it. I was fortunate to do that today and sneak in, like I said, sneak in an eagle. You're always gaining one more than that what you think you're going to do. And 15 today was a really good birdie. That is a solid hole today, a driver and a 4‑iron.
Q. How long was your putt on that one?
RICKY BARNES: About 15 feet.
Q. Two top 20s to start the season, then 7 missed cuts after that. Can you try to explain what went astray, and how you've been working to try to get it going in the right direction?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, it was unfortunate in San Diego, actually. I was playing pretty well and had a solid first round on the South Course. It was a weird day Friday. I don't know if you guys were out there and it started to rain, got caught and just didn't perform enough to get the cut there and get back to the South Course and play well. That was unfortunate. It just seemed like it was kind of a slow, steady decline after that.
Like I said, I just wasn't comfortable with my swing. I wasn't putting or chipping very good. Doubt creeping into the mind a little bit. So I changed things up. I started seeing my coach quite a bit in that last stretch the last month and a half. I think I made two of my last three cuts or something. But just saw some good things coming around.
Then I actually MDF'd last week and snuck home and got some family time. I didn't fly in in until last night at 5:30. It was a good way to get home and see the birth of my second child as well.
Q. When did you feel your swing kind of click? Was there a moment? Do you feel totally confident with it now?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, it's getting good. Like you said, I've got one good swing thought going and just trusting it. That is the main thing. Going out there and actually trusting what you're doing is right.
Today it worked. Some days you doubt it and you try something else, but it's going well. I'm starting to see the results. Probably about four weeks ago I started to see the results on the range and bits and pieces on the golf course, but not always for 18 holes.
Q. You said you doubted yourself at times. Have you always done that and snapped out of it? Is it almost like you snapped out of it today doubting?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I mean, I think it's that you're working on so many things that you're doubting what you're working on. It's not doubting that you're a good player and you can compete out here. But you're kind of doubting yourself, am I doing the right things? Am I putting in enough time? That kind of stuff. Where you know that I'm putting in enough time, but is it the right work that I'm putting in? So I know what I'm doing is the right stuff.
Like I've said in the past month I've seen a lot of good signs. And today it was nice because it was a pretty stress free round, and I think I only had to chip once on 18 holes, so that's nice.
Q. When was the baby born and the name?
RICKY BARNES: Natalie Barnes, about 5 o'clock on Monday.
Q. This Monday?
RICKY BARNES: This Monday. It was awesome. Well, I'm here. I had an early tee time. Let's just say I'm waiting for this to get over to go back to the hotel and sleep.
Q. How much did she weigh?
RICKY BARNES: 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
Q. That's 5:00 o'clock west coast?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, 7:20 something here.
Q. (No microphone)?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I know. I had to give her somewhat of a late birthday present.
Q. Is it hard to show up here after?
RICKY BARNES: It was and it wasn't. Everything went pretty smoothly. Stayed quite a while Monday. Was in and out Tuesday. We live pretty close to the hospital. Saw them Wednesday, mom and baby came home Wednesday to see their big brother, so it's pretty cool. I'm sure I'll be talking to them here pretty soon.
Q. So you got here Wednesday night?
RICKY BARNES: Yeah, I got here last night. Landed at 4:30, got on the golf course close to 6 and put in a good hour and a half session here last night to see the softness and the grain around the greens.
Q. Was there a shot today that kind of either catapulted you or kept it together or gave you the impetus to tie a course record? Secondly, I don't know if it's doctor‑patient privilege, but what does a sport psych tell you? I know what you might tell him. What does he tell you? What does your psych tell you?
RICKY BARNES: He came out and analyzed me a little bit with some holes, and, like I said, it's easier for my caddy and someone else outside the ropes to know this stuff. So he was noticing some stuff in my routine that you just kind of take for granted. Stuff that became a little quicker. I was doing stuff but glancing and really getting focused on some stuff.
It wasn't like, hey, you need to work on this, this and that. It's like hey, be aware of this when you go out and you're going to approach this. It was a good thing for me just to kind of sit back like, oh, wow, I definitely do that. Then maybe the next week we talked about some stuff and what felt comfortable for me out there and all that kind of stuff. It's feedback from what we're giving them.
Like I said, if you're not honest with them, it's tough for them to give you good feedback. That is the best part that I've enjoyed about it in the short time that we've been working together.
The other thing on the front nine, the second shot on 2 to hit it to‑‑ I had a 12‑footer for eagle and to convert the eagle instead of just kind of making birdie, going to the next hole. And then on the back nine was to get that third birdie and then on 15, like I said, 15 is playing straight into the wind. It's 450 yards so.
Q. (No microphone)?
RICKY BARNES: Driver, 3‑wood‑‑ yeah, driver 3‑iron.
Q. The putting routine, your practice stroke is cross‑handed, but your stroke is actually a claw. Is that something that you just feel comfortable with?
RICKY BARNES: So longer putts I've been working really hard. I know it's good to pick that up, but to try to keep my shoulders level. If you watch a lot of guys that cross‑hand, their shoulders are able to stay very level. If you go the other way with your right‑hand low and if you're a right‑handed player, it's easier to get a loft. I've always had a problem of hitting the ball behind my putter. So it's a good way of getting the feeling of hitting down on the ball. It was it was something that I implemented into my pre‑routine last week.
I've been working on it for a while. Like I said, it wasn't like I just put it in today and it was the first thing. I've been working on a lot of things that lead up to being able to put it into play. Like I said, it's the same thing with the swing. You put in that many reps to be able to take it to the golf course.
Last week it went pretty well for me. It's a lot of stuff, tightening up my stroke, and it worked today.