What they said: Tom Kite, Gil Morgan

April 22, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MODERATOR: Tom and Gil, 29-33, 62 10-under, you're leading right now. The Texas-Oklahoma partnership worked today.

GIL MORGAN: We try to bury the hatchet, for this tournament at least.

MODERATOR: Just talk about your round, just a few general comments from each of you and then the highlights.

TOM KITE: We've had a little bit of trouble getting started in the tournament. We've played fairly well, but the first round has really held us back the last few years, seems like we shoot 67 or 68 and find ourselves four or five shots behind before we ever get started, so it was nice to get off to a good start.

GIL MORGAN: And it's usually my fault.

TOM KITE: No. But I made a nice birdie putt on 1 and Gil made a good putt on 2 and I made one on 3, and we both had birdies on 4 and 5 and so it was just a good start for us there.

And then, as I said, Gil played brilliantly all day long. Had he been playing on his own ball, I don't know what he would have shot.

GIL MORGAN: 73 or 4.

TOM KITE: No. Gil could have come very close to shooting his age out there today, which he did earlier this year in Toshiba, which is quite an accomplishment when you're 53 like he is, or 64, whatever it is.

GIL MORGAN: I'm older than you think.

TOM KITE: Yeah, I know. But we had a good day and he played well and I rode him all the way.

GIL MORGAN: Well, not necessarily. I mean, sometimes the first guy in makes it a little easier or makes it a little harder sometimes, but those guys get ahead on the scorecard at least. You feel like that person maybe may have made the score on that hole, but not necessarily. Tom made a lot of putts, even after I was in for -- for birdie or par, whatever that is.

I think we only made one serious mistake. We didn't birdie the 11th hole and we should have at that point, so I think we only gave away one that we really could have maybe made one more pretty seriously there.

Then the rest of the time we did pretty well as far as kind of back and forth, both of us making birdies at key times, and that's kind of what this tournament's all about. The guys have to -- one guy has to make a point and then the next guy make another point, so you kind of divide it up. It's not always equal, but at the same time, by the time the tournaments' over it usually boils out to that if you play well, because one guy can't usually play well every day but we just hope we play this well for the next couple of days. It'd be nice.

MODERATOR: Go through maybe the highlights of the round. Were there any long putts or any really good shots?

TOM KITE: Yes, there were. Yes, there were. I made about a 15-footer on 1 for birdie. Doc made about a 15-footer?


TOM KITE: 15-footer on 2. Then I made probably an 18-footer on 3 to get us started. Close on 4, close on 5 as I said, close on 7, Gil hit it close on 7, and then number 9 we had no business making birdie there but Doc drove it in the right rough and played a pretty good shot out of the rough, probably 20, 25 feet --

GIL MORGAN: Made that one.

TOM KITE: -- and made that for birdie. Birdied 10. We made about a, what is that, 15 feet maybe? 15-footer on 10. And then, as Gil said, we both missed 6-footers on 11, which really hurt. Two easy putts and we missed those.

Then came back, Gil made a good birdie on 14, made about a 15-footer coming down the hill and I made about a 15- or 18-footer on 17. And then on 18 we were in trouble. I drove it in the left rough, Gil drove it in the bushes to the right after his ball hit the cart path. I played the shot out of the rough short of the green in front and Gil hit his next shot about six or seven feet in front of him, he said, into a bush.

GIL MORGAN: I was lucky I could hit it again.

TOM KITE: Then he was able to knock his third shot on the green. Of course I'm thinking he hit a great second shot except nobody clapped over there, so I wondered if he took an unplayable lie. But I pitched it up maybe 7 feet past the hole so I'm thinking I may have to make this putt up the hill for par, and lo and behold, Gil makes about a 35-footer, 30-foot putt I guess coming down over the hill to top the day off. Nice way to finish.

MODERATOR: Questions? Just wait for the mic.

Q. Congratulations on a great first round. Can you talk about the putt on 18 again? Where it came from?

GIL MORGAN: Well, I hit an 8-iron in there probably about at least as long as this room, maybe a little longer, and it broke about maybe a foot and a half or so, two feet. It was going maybe a little bit hot but it hit the hole and just fell in. I was right on kind the top of the hill and the pin was in the back corner and I was just trying to give it a chance because I knew I needed to at least get it to the hole to have an opportunity to try to salvage something, and fortunately it went in.

Q. You guys talked about slow starts. Do you want to get an early tee time then to kind of get your number up there? You don't really have any kind of choice.

TOM KITE: No, I don't think the tee time has anything to do with it. We just want to get off to a little quicker start than we have. It seems like in years past we haven't birdied -- you need to get off those first four, five holes, you really need to take advantage of those because --

GIL MORGAN: 6 gets really hard.

TOM KITE: -- 6 is a tough hole. 7's a really good par 5, not always a birdie hole. 8, when the pin's in the back is kind of tricky. Those first five are critical and we finally got those.

GIL MORGAN: 12, 13 and 14 play back into the wind so they play pretty substantial, especially 12. Then 13 wasn't a cinch but it wasn't terrible. And then the last -- 14 was kind of a short hole but at the same time you have to keep the ball in play here in order to have a good chance. You know, our goal is to kind of both guys be on the green putting for birdie every time if we can is what we would like to do and not leave one guy out there on his own.

TOM KITE: For the most part, we did that.

GIL MORGAN: Yeah, we did that pretty well today.

Q. John Cook had to play without Joey Sindelar after the 4th hole. With the format as it is, what do you think about what he was able to accomplish today just being one man rather than two??

GIL MORGAN: Well, what did he end up with?

Q. 7-under.

GIL MORGAN: 7-under, that's really good.

TOM KITE: Did Joey help him in the first four holes at all?

Q. One birdie.

TOM KITE: Well, you know, I don't know whether you say fortunately or unfortunately, but it's fortunate for the Champions Tour, it's unfortunate for the guys who are trying to beat him, but we're getting accustomed to see John Cook play like that.

GIL MORGAN: John's a very good player and he's had a lot of success here lately, playing very well so if you keep the ball in play and he putt's really well. So you expect that, but in the long haul, playing by yourself you're not going to win probably is the bottom line.

TOM KITE: I'll tell you, obviously probably better John than somebody who couldn't handle it.


MODERATOR: Okay. We'll let you go.