What they said: John Cook, Joey Sindelar

April 22, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf transcripts DAVE SENKO: Well, John, thanks for joining us. Looks like you're going to finish one back maybe. Just talk a little about your day. Had a pretty good finish for you.

JOHN COOK: Yeah, we were a little surprised yesterday when we finished, we really felt like we left three or four shots out there easily, not begging, but actually missed, you know, three- , four- , five-foot putts that we've been making for how many years. But then only to be two back after that, we kind of got a little boost of adrenaline last night and this morning knowing that we're only two back. It was going to be a heroic round today, I figured we had to get to 28 or 29, and 29 was it, and we got to 28.

But we both played well today. Helped each other out on the one or two holes that the other one was struggling on, but the rest of the day we had two putts at it every single hole, and when you have that happening, you can be fairly aggressive and we both played very aggressively today. We just came up a couple short. We had some good putts coming in on 15 and 17. I had a putt that hit the lip, and on 17 Joey hit a putt that hit the lip. We had our chances; unfortunately, we fell one short.

Q. Were there any eagles out there for you today??

JOHN COOK: No. Had one opportunity at 13. Joey hit a great 1-iron just off the back edge of the green and had a decent pitch at it. No eagles, though. We just made 11 birdies. Birdied some of the tough holes, too which were good. You birdie holes like 3, 6, -- we birdied 18, so we birdied some pretty good holes.

Q. John, the weather has been sort of iffy all week. How does that play on the golf course when it's -- how different does it play day to day??

JOHN COOK: I think the first two days the wind was fairly consistent, then today the wind came out of a totally different direction. We knew that there was some weather coming in, but it had kind of stalled through -- we heard that Sunday was supposed to be a wash-out, you know, dangerous situation, don't go near windows and seek cover type thing. It might very well be, but it held off long enough. We've played this course now four, five times, five years, and we're comfortable on it. It's a great golf course for this format because it does have some really good holes, but also gives you chances, eagle opportunities, lots of birdie holes. And there's a little bit of danger here and there, but it doesn't frighten you when you get up on a tee, you know, one of those things, but it does catch your attention. So you have to pay attention to what you're doing because you certainly don't want half the day, one guy in his pocket and the other guy struggling. You don't want that. We've done a pretty good job four years now of being there when the other one may be out of play. You know, once a day it might happen, but for the most part, we've had a couple good looks at birdies on every hole we've played since we've been here.

DAVE SENKO: Joey, do you want to -- John talked a little about your game, maybe you can just follow up.

JOEY SINDELAR: Sure, sure. Hi, everybody. If John said anything similar to he birdied 90 percent of the holes, he's right.

You know, it's totally different than maybe what you've talked about so far. It's just so fun for me because John and I are such different kinds of golfers, and the big takeaway for me this week is -- always, every year, is I get to watch him for three days. We excel in very different areas and he does things that I just shake my head. I go -- and he does it every time, so this is a fun week.

For the next month and a half, and I'm saying this because several guys will probably tell you the same thing, you watch your partner do stuff and you get ideas and you say I want to try that, or John talked about a little putting -- I'm thinking of him as one of the world's greatest putters anyway and he's still working on his putter to get better, and the thoughts that he had made a lot of sense. And here we are in our 50s out here still experimenting and still trying to get better. So it's just a great week.

John just made the mistake of saying you have a lot of chances out here once you get by the hard holes. Yeah, you have a lot of chances to be angry because you didn't birdie the easy holes. It's a strange thing -- oh, sorry, no cell phones in the interviews.

You know, there's help so you're relaxed a lot of the time, but yet there's the crunch point. I mean, twice -- John was out of play maybe twice this week and I was gagging. I'm standing on the tee with my driver and I'm running for my 1- iron and trying to get -- I missed the green with a (inaudible) 8-iron today on the one hole he was out of play. So it's a strange, different, fun thing this week and we all love it and appreciate it. It's a fun, fun week for us.

DAVE SENKO: Questions?

JOEY SINDELAR: Did we officially lose yet?

JOHN COOK: Yeah. He rolled it up there, hanging on the lip.

Q. John, similar question about the weather. What about when it starts pouring down rain like this and you're having to play in that condition??

JOHN COOK: We had to do that in a couple years ago.

JOEY SINDELAR: The playoff.

JOHN COOK: You could see it coming on our last hole of the tournament, and then once we got into the playoff, it was like that for two holes, where 18 was unreachable in two by any of the four of us and par ended up winning the playoff hole. We have never made a bogey � � I don't know if we made one, two bogeys in five years.

JOEY SINDELAR: I think one and that was it.

JOHN COOK: We couldn't barely make a par. That's how quickly things can change here, especially the holes 16, 17, 18 coming in, they're not easy.

JOEY SINDELAR: And they probably had a pretty good -- they were probably paying attention, the officials were probably there because the conditions surely changed and all they needed was a par probably, if I read the board right, and I would think that if the green got unplayable, I'd be going whoa, I want to -- you know, you don't want weather -- it's a pretty easy hole. No. 18 is never easy until the wind gets like this, and when those kind of conditions happen, you could make a bogey. So they probably had a lot to think about out there.

Q. (Inaudible.) how each is going to play when you've been together this long?

JOHN COOK: I think we know each other's games very well. I love to help out if I'm called in, and I've got all the trust in the world on Joey and his caddie, John Buchna, who's been with him now for 30 years. They've been together for 30 years for a reason and I -- but if I'm called in, I feel like I know Joey's game. Like he said, it's a bit different from mine where I might do some things a little differently, but I certainly know what could work for Joey and never have a problem of helping him read a putt or having him look at mine, or he'll ask me just what I'm thinking about doing. And like on the last hole today, I think it was really important we needed to make a 3. We drove it pretty close to each other and I kind of had a little different thing I was going to do, but I knew exactly what Joey was going to do, and once he asked me, I said, You've got it, man, you've got the right thought in your head. So you do feed each other. We've played so much golf together that we know each other's game and I think that's important.

JOEY SINDELAR: And the tendency, surely you've heard it over and over again, is to try to do too much. All of a sudden it's four eyeballs on the putt and two brains, or whatever the addition of two golfers' brains is together, and it's so easy to try too hard in this format.

Every single guy that comes in here will tell you, we had to back off. You go in your corner, I'll go to my corner, and let's just play. You've got to do it. It's funny like that. I know for me trying too hard doesn't work well. I have to be easier about it. So it's just fun, it's part of the whole fun. We don't get to do it that often and that's what makes it fun.

Q. With so many teams there, how much leaderboard watching did you guys do (inaudible)?(inaudible)?

JOHN COOK: I think we both knew that there was a number in mind I thought that 28 would have a chance, I thought 29 was going to be the number. For some reason starting today I thought that was going to be the number. That was a tall order having to shoot 12-under today, but we got off to a nice start and I kept thinking to myself we need to birdie the house or we need to get to 28 to have any chance. And we kept firing away, we never backed down, we kept firing right at it. And down the stretch we hit some good shots and did birdie 18 to get to 28, but I think about the same time Frost decided he was going to pitch in at 14 and kind of call it a day.

JOEY SINDELAR: That was the hard part, that we were so many holes ahead. We were three, four, five holes ahead, which meant that we were turning into the wind on 15, 16, 17, and they were still playing a couple of birdie holes. So it was hard to -- you could look and see what was going on, but there was so much guessing and extrapolation going on, you just -- like John said, we call that the Jim Colbert rule: Play better. We'd have player meetings and whenever anybody had a gripe, he'd just stand up and say, Play Better; you're higher on the money list, it solves all the problems. Birdie the house.

Q. Coming off the course, the ambiance of Savannah -- Mr. Cook, I know you know the courses over in Hilton Head. The players did a really great job on the PGA TOUR, and Heritage is proud to have a sponsor for five more years.

JOHN COOK: Fantastic.

Q. Liberty Mutual, I guess, is looking at -- I believe this contract runs out in 2013, but we're hoping you folks will keep playing here in Savannah.

JOHN COOK: Absolutely. We love it here. It's perfect for this format, it's perfect for the families, it's easy to get around town, it's great food, great fun. It really couldn't -- I can't think of a better place it possibly could be. It's up to Liberty Mutual and what their clients think and what their people think. It's been here a while. I mean, I'm voting right now, keep it here. You know what, we'll do anything we can to keep them as our sponsor because they've been the longest sponsor on this Tour, maybe on any Tour ever, and that shows the belief that they have in what they're doing.

JOEY SINDELAR: High percentage of family stuff, families from the Tour players, that says a lot. A lot of times it's -- we get booted out of the house, no, you go there and do your thing for five or six days and I'll see you when you get back. But not this one. This one's always targeted, always.

Q. You talk about the differences in your games. Do you think that's an advantage rather than two guys who are playing together who have very similar styles? Do you think it's good to have maybe completely different styles?

JOHN COOK: Well, like Joey was saying, I can learn some stuff from Joey and perhaps he can learn something from me just watching and observing and kind of picking each other's brain a little bit. I know I'm not going to hit high bombs with my driver, although I know I can sneak it out there every once in a while. I love the way that some shot -- he'll call it right-footing it, and that to me is like a foreign concept because I've always had the ball pretty up. It will literally be off his right foot, and he'll hit the prettiest little low draw squeeze shot. Man, I wish I had that shot. I'm going to go home and try and see how he does that.

JOEY SINDELAR: I was doing that before Bubba was born.

JOHN COOK: It's a good mix. I think -- again, we feed off each other, we trust each other and we know what each other can do, and it's -- I couldn't ask for a better partner.

JOEY SINDELAR: But the fun is, you know, John's Mr. Fairway, Mr. Straight. So there's no argument, he's hitting first. I want him to hit. I don't want to be off in the shrubs somewhere when he has to hit. I want him to hit first unencumbered. There's no discussion. It's fun. From day one it was always been like that.

So for us this makes sense, but again, you get two bombers out there, that can be good. I don't think there's any winning formula. You look at Michael Allen and Frosty, Michael's more of a bomber, Frosty's more like John. So you've got to get out there and do it. But it's just fun, it's a fun set of differences. You know, one guy's riding the wind and the other guy's cutting it into the wind, it's fun.

Q. This tournament does so much for charities. What do you guys do personally with your own charities that you get involved with? Tell us a little bit about some of those things if you don't mind.

JOHN COOK: Most everybody's involved in some charities or helping different organizations. I do a thing every year in May for Loma Linda Hospital in southern California with Ken Venturi. He's been associate -- this is our 23rd or 24th year of doing it.

And I do lots of stuff for junior golf and just help around the clubs that I'm a member at, just paying attention and just being visible and helping when you can. We try to stay a little bit busy, but our off weeks, we certainly know that there's people that need some help and we love to do it, especially when it comes to junior golf. We both grew up in junior golf programs, me in southern California, Joey in New York, and I try to help them as much as I can, and First Tee, and my sister and her husband run the U.S. Kids golf. So whatever we can do to kind of keep the game of golf growing, we try to do that.

JOEY SINDELAR: For me, we live in a real small area and Sue and I kind of made the decision that we would rotate the kinds of things we do and it really has been -- it's amazing how much good how many people are doing out there. That's the shocker to me. Every place you turn, you could do this endlessly.

For us, way back in the beginning it was a bunch of years of Children's Miracle Network, all the way around the block to at the end of April, Jim Boeheim Foundation, I'm going to be part of that, you know, donating a golf day hopefully to raise some money, and Boeheim and I will go out and trash talk some people, so it's in there fighting cancer. So for us, we've tried to just keep going around the block and joining in where we can and it's a blast. It's lots of good people, really cool. Thank you for asking.

DAVE SENKO: Everyone okay?

JOEY SINDELAR: Have we bored you to death? Thank you.

JOHN COOK: Thank you.