What they said: Mark James, Des Smyth

April 23, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MODERATOR: Okay. Mark and Des, you shot a great 63 in the final round, it's one better than Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch and you win your first Raphael Division championship.

Just a couple thoughts on the day, I know it was exciting out there, and then we'll go through the key highlights of the round.

Mark, do you want to start us??

MARK JAMES: Yeah, I think the key for us is we fitted well together. When one person was out, the other person was sort of good under the pressure. We made no bogeys and even the odd birdie when one person was out, so that was clutch. We played pretty well on the back 9 today. So those two things, it was nice to be in control of those things.

DES SMYTH: Yeah, we had a terrific run here. Two years ago we played in the Legends Division and we closed with two 62s, so we've actually trackened up a little with our two 63s, but it was good enough to win. I'm really glad that I -- I haven't played any golf this year, it's my first competitive event. I was a little bit worried, but Mark was pretty sharp. I stood in when I was needed and I was happy with that.

MODERATOR: Can you just take us down the stretch? You had 30 on the back 9, but sort of the key shots, a bunch of teams right in there close.

DES SMYTH: Yeah, I wasn't really looking around very much, I was more concerned about my own game after having played the front 9 with only one birdie, and it didn't count because Mark had already holed out. I was keen just to get some birdies so I got a few birdies early on in the back 9. I think the important one was 10 and 12. And then it got quite tight because even playing with Curtis and Ben, Curtis made an eagle at I think it was 14 and that got it all very close. But Mark stepped in and made two great birdies at 15 and 16. I kind of felt that he did most of the work there.

MARK JAMES: I think we were both reasonably sharp, which was surprising because I haven't played for almost six months. I pulled a pectoral muscle at the end of last year and it took ages to clear up and I haven't been getting in tournaments this year, ranked 50th last year, so I hung around -- this is my first trip, I hung around last week and didn't get in and it looks like I won't be getting in much the rest of the year the way it's working, so I need to be -- and Des to be pretty sharp this time of year is pretty encouraging.

MODERATOR: Mark, do you just want to take us through the deciding birdie that clinched it for you??

MARK JAMES: Well, I don't like to say one of my birdies clinched it but I was pretty good on that hole. I mean, it was -- my caddie said -- actually, we weren't sure which club. He said, Just hit wedge and come up short and left of the pin, leave yourself a straight uphill putt. It was a little longer than I wanted, about 30 feet, and I wasn't too certain of the pace. But, I mean, I just hit it perfectly and it just dropped in the right edge. That was just a really good break at the right time and sometimes that happens in golf.

DES SMYTH: Yeah, I didn't realize because I said to Mark going down 17, How are we doing? He said, Well, we're a shot ahead of Maltbie and Koch unless they birdied the last, and when we walked off the 17th, they had completed at 17 so we knew we needed a par to win and Mark duly obliged.

MODERATOR: Okay. We'll just open it up for questions, just wait for the microphone.

Q. As I understand it, to get this straight, neither one of you have played in a tournament this year??


Q. This is a first for both of you??

DES SMYTH: This is a first, yes.

Q. Very interesting. I remember you winning this thing as an individual.

DES SMYTH: In '05, I won in '05, so it's a very lucky tournament for me, but I play on the European Senior Tour. I only make a couple of trips now. I came for this because I was exempt. I'm coming back for the Senior PGA. Otherwise, I play the rest of the season in Europe.

Q. You have not played anyplace so far this year??


Q. Why have you not played this year??

DES SMYTH: There was a couple of tournaments, one was in China and one was in Brunei on the European circuit. I did six years on this Tour and traveled an unbelievable amount. I was going across the Atlantic 10 times a year, which would be 20 times across the Atlantic. By the time I finished my six years, the thought of these long flights really throws me out, so I prefer to wait until the Tour gets closer to Europe where the flying is only two or two-and-a-half hours and that's the reason.

MARK JAMES: Getting lazy.

DES SMYTH: Quality rather than quantity.

Q. Were you guys supposed to be paired up together??

MARK JAMES: I was to play with Blaine McAllister. It's a long story. Last year I was supposed to play with Des again because we finished 5th in '09. Last year

Des couldn't get here because of the ash cloud --

DES SMYTH: In Europe.

MARK JAMES: -- in Europe. I played with Olin Browne, who came in as an alternate to play with me and we got on great. I actually rang Des in December to ask him if he wanted to play in the Legends Division and I would have to get an invite.

Des said, I don't think I should, I'm not exempt, blah, blah, blah, probably going on holiday, it's a long flight, I'm feeling touchy, that sort of.

So two weeks later Olin comes up to me and said, Do you want to play together. I said, Great, I'd love to. I'll write and try to get an invite to the top division to play with Olin. Unfortunately, I didn't get an invite; that, I found out about two weeks ago.

So then I rang Blaine, because Des was in the top division and it ended by now and the thing with Rod Spittle, so I was looking for a partner in the Raphael. I rang Blaine McAllister. Blaine said, Great, yeah, love to play. Unfortunately, I think it was Thursday morning, Blaine rang me and said his father had died and he couldn't play.

And then of course I've got no partner. There's no provision for anyone to come into the Raphael Division as an alternate, and Mike Goodes, who was third alternate for the Legends Division, mentioned it to Des and Des said, Well, I'd be glad to move down a division to play with Mark and Mike Goodes could play with Rod Spittle to sort of keep everything happy.

The Tour had to cover the meeting because there's so many rules, as you're probably aware, that if any of the rules precluded this type of action, but they said it didn't so that's what happened. That's how we ended up together.

Q. I understand your whole family is doing pretty good, like your son won some kind of tournament in Ireland??

DES SMYTH: No, my youngest is actually in college in Boca Raton at Lynn University. He plays on the golf team there. He's doing pretty good there.

Q. What's his name??

DES SMYTH: His name is Shane, Shane Smyth.

MODERATOR: Anything for our Raphael Division winners? Congratulations again.

DES SMYTH: Thank you very much.