What they said: Shane Bertsch

January 20, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

BOB HOPE CLASSIC: Interview transcript archive

DAVE SENKO: Shane, maybe get us started, 10-under 62. It looks like no bogeys and 10 birdies. Maybe just a quick chat about your round and we'll get some questions.

SHANE BERTSCH: Yeah, just one of those rounds. It was just, I got here late yesterday, with some tough travels from Hawaii and haven't played the course since some time in the late '90s for Q-School finals one year. It was like a new adventure over every hill. I didn't know really what to expect. It was one of those courses I just didn't remember a lot about.

I got started on the first hole, from the fairway bunker there, and got it in there about six feet and made it. And it's just always nice to start with a birdie.

Then made a little longer, probably a 20, 25-footer on the second hole. And that's better yet getting a little kick start like that.

Then I had a couple real good shots that I hit in, hit a sand wedge on one hole in about two feet and I hit a wedge about three feet on another hole.

Then I made a couple other longish putts, I think my 0th hole, No. 1 I made about a, I would guess about a 20, 25-footer.

Then I think it was the 6th hole, which was my 15th hole, it was playing tough. It was pretty windy at that time. And I got it on the back left part of the green and I don't know what Shot Link had it at, but I would say it was all of 30 foot.

And I had a couple other chances, but it was just one of those rounds that everything kind of flowed together. I didn't do anything over the top great and didn't really, my game was pretty solid all the way around.

I think I missed just a couple greens and was able to chip those up close. I would estimate my longest par putt all day was probably three foot probably at the top, maybe two and a half, three feet.

It just -- I was just comfortable. I always like these formats, too, because I help the guys out and stuff and it kind of keeps me maybe not so focused on myself so much until it's time to hit. And then I just go and hit.

DAVE SENKO: How were the conditions today?

SHANE BERTSCH: Conditions were great at first. Got a little windy, I mean even had just a regular golf shirt on for a while. Then it got cool and a little windy there for awhile.

But probably the first four or five holes that the wind picked up, we had them all downwind and I was able to take advantage with a couple birdies there.

And then played a couple tough holes on the front nine, which was my back nine, a couple holes played kind of tough into the wind, but I was able it get by those. And all in all the conditions were good, pretty calm again at the end again, the last three or four holes.

Q. You mentioned when you came in that you knew somebody was going to shoot 62. Was there any reason to believe it was going to be you before the round started??

SHANE BERTSCH: I've played good here in the past. I missed last year with an injury, but I've played good. I played good at the Palmer, I played good at La Quinta, and I played good at the Classic Club and Bermuda Dunes.

But the only thing was I was kind of hoping to get the Private a couple days into it, so I could at least go out and look around a little, I hadn't seen it. But I seen those other courses in the recent years, so I knew those rounds were out there. I can't say that I thought I was going to do it, but I knew I could do it.

Q. The Nicklaus Course is kind of a quirky little golf course in a lot of ways. There's a big rock on 2 and the green on 9 that's below the surface of the lake and the split fairway on 10 and stuff like that. But clearly you didn't have any probably with the quirks.

SHANE BERTSCH: No, I kind of like courses like that. It just kind of fits my game. Just, I was able to still hit a lot of drivers where a lot of guys were probably hitting 3-woods on some holes. I'm a pretty straight hitter and I just kind of put it in play.

And then lift, clean, and place I was hitting a lot of fairway, so you're always going to have a good lie. It was just a good comfortable day. Just everything went well.

Q. The TOUR media guide says that you gave up tennis to concentrate on golf after Agassi beat you. Where would you be today if you had beaten Agassi??

SHANE BERTSCH: I don't know. If I would have beaten Agassi I would have probably had to pursue tennis. But it wasn't even, that wasn't even in the realm of possibilities. I mean, he was so much far and above everyone at that age.

And I was able to get a game off him. He beat me 6-0, or 6-0, 6-1 or something. But that was a pretty good accomplishment for me. I was just kind of an average junior player and I just happened to play him in a big national tournament.

Q. Where was the tournament??

SHANE BERTSCH: It was in Denver. It was in Denver. I grew up in Denver and it was an Intermountain tournament where there was like the four state regions was playing. And actually it was my best junior tournament ever because I drew him first round, he knocked me out quick, and I got into the consolation round and ended up winning the consolation round beating some guys that I had never beaten before. So it was a great tournament for me.

Q. Do you play any tennis now for fun??

SHANE BERTSCH: I haven't played in a long time. Last time I played was in Turning Stone, New York at the RV park that I was staying at with -- I travel with a RV. And I went out and banged it around with a guy that was staying in an RV next to me, my back hurt for a year.

I was serving and hitting forehands and chipping little backhands. I could still hit it all right, anything that's on my right side. But I played a two handed back hand when I was a kid and I tried that lately and I might hit it over the fence.

Q. How high did you get as a tennis player in junior level??

SHANE BERTSCH: I think I got around the top probably 10th or 11 in the Colorado for my age.

Q. Did you know anything about Andre before you played him and after, as a kid, obviously it's one thing when you're 30 years old and you say, oh, well, I lost to this guy. What was your reaction after getting stopped by him??

SHANE BERTSCH: Well, I mean it was just one of those matches that you knew you were going to get beat. There was no way that I could beat him. There really was no way I could beat him.

It made me watch his career. And I've always been a fan. And I loved watching him all throughout the years. He's quite a player, at the level that tennis has gotten to, all the power game, quite amazing what he was able to do.

Q. Now he's retired and you're still making money.

SHANE BERTSCH: Yeah.

Q. You're shooting 62.

SHANE BERTSCH: Yeah. Yeah. I got to work a little bit longer.

Q. You mentioned maybe you played the Nicklaus Course back in the Q-School, I think that was might have been '99 or 2000 they played over there. I think Gossett shot a 59 that year.

SHANE BERTSCH: Who did?

Q. David Gossett did.

SHANE BERTSCH: Oh, really.

Q. You came over from Hawaii you said you had some tough times getting over here.

SHANE BERTSCH: Yeah, we just had trouble, we had a red eye Sunday night. I played pretty good and then so everything was going pretty good, we couldn't wait to just get over here. And I didn't expect to get in here really.

Looking at my schedule at the beginning of the year, because I had to go back to Q-School, I didn't really expect to get in here. I was hoping to, because I love playing here.

So my RV and everything was in Phoenix and the red eye cancelled Sunday night. We were the last flight. And then I got two little girls traveling with me and my wife and we had to go get shuffled around into a hotel, got in there may be at 2, 2:30 in the morning. And then they got us on a non-stop the next day to Phoenix, which is nice, but we didn't get in until midnight. So our bodies just weren't quite there.

So I drove over, drove the RV over here yesterday and after trying to get a little rest, I figured it wasn't worth trying to rush here and especially knowing the weather. So we just really didn't pull into town until about 4:30. And I got over here and was the last one to register and just thought I would come out and tee it up.

Q. Alex Prugh was in here and said this is his first time in this tournament, he just maybe drove around for an hour on each golf course. Is there any way to really prepare for all four golf courses, especially if you play the Sony??

SHANE BERTSCH: Well there is a way and the best way to do it is to do it before Hawaii, come over here. And because I always, I live in Denver and I've been coming to Phoenix and practicing for about 10 days to kind of knock off the rust. And then I go to Hawaii and then come over.

But one year I actually came over here a couple days before we went to Hawaii, played the Classic Club, played one other course. And then when I came back I only had two courses to see. You can do it that way.

But like I said, playing in Hawaii, there's no way you're going to come and try and get four rounds in. And luckily the courses are courses that most of us can play without seeing. Even if you had to play it totally blind you can go out and play.

There's some things I remember at SilverRock that are, that you have to kind of see. And I only played that course twice. But I'll kind of remember them. There's only a couple holes that I remember some stuff on. But we'll look in the yardage book and try and pick a good spot and hit it.

Q. Do you play any games with Duval up in Denver??

SHANE BERTSCH: We haven't played yet in Denver. I'm hoping to get out and do some fishing or something with him. I know he likes to fish and I fished around there for a long time. And my brother who caddies for me is actually a, he's actually a guide. He guides fly fishing. And we would love to take him out.

I left him a message one time, but we just practice at different courses and we haven't really gotten together. But I would hope, I would like to some time.

Q. You mentioned this is a course that you can just come in and play blind maybe compared to other courses. How about the format, does the format maybe make you more relaxed, and just maybe make you look around at more nuances that maybe kind of helps you relax and stay in the moment more, is this a format that you enjoy??

SHANE BERTSCH: I think like I was saying earlier, even back to the Nationwide Tour days, I won one of the tournaments, I think there's only one out there that plays like this. It was the BMW at the time. And we played with amateurs. And I played fairly good here and I played fairly good at AT&T at times.

I don't know what it is, other than -- obviously I'm trying, but I try to help the other guys out a lot. I just try to read their putts. And I'm not really giving a lot of swing tips and stuff, but I try and read their putts and try and play like a team event. And then play my ball too.

And yeah, it probably helps just being a little more relaxed and not being so got to play, got to play, and then maybe your other -- sometimes in tournaments some guy's going real low and that forces you to try a little bit and there's none of that going on, because you're just playing.

Q. The guys you were playing with today, did they get excited because of your score??

SHANE BERTSCH: They really did. Yeah. The one gentleman told me on the first tee that his pro last year had eight birdies and an eagle and I was like, "Great."

(Laughter.)

So then he told me when I made my 10th birdie on 17 he goes, "You 1-upped him", or he said something like, you know, you, I told you eight birdies and you made 10. I go, but yeah, you said he had an eagle too. And he said, "Well he made a bogey." And I said, "Well I still have a hole to play."

(Laughter.)

I had a good chance on the last hole, but they were very nice guys and they were excited.

Q. He must think he's the good luck charm.

SHANE BERTSCH: Yeah. Exactly.

Q. I think you made the cut in this tournament every year, every year you played it. If I read that right.

SHANE BERTSCH: I believe the very first year my rookie year, '96, I didn't make it. I know for sure I didn't make it. I don't think I got in in '97. But, yeah in the years past I played pretty well.

Q. Obviously a lot of places you go you shoot 10-under you get really excited. Can you afford to get excited here??

SHANE BERTSCH: It's just a long week. Yeah, I would rather shoot 10-under than even 9-under. But say like 3- or 4-under, a lot of times out here you shoot, depending upon -- I haven't looked at the scores and I probably won't, I'm just going to just play one shot at a time.

But in a tournament like this a lot of times you shoot 2, 3-under and friends back home call you, "Great round. 2-under, 3-under." And you're like, "Well, yeah, 25 guys shot 6-under, 7-under", so.

Q. You do know you're leading, right??

SHANE BERTSCH: Well, I got a feel for it, yeah. And right now it's, there's four more rounds, there's going to be weather and three different courses and I'm just going to go out and play.

I mean, it actually helps in a way to not have all that stuff going on instead of just one course and that. It's just a long ways home. Just going to go play.

Q. Knocked Tiger out of the headlines today??

SHANE BERTSCH: Oh, yeah, what? Did he come, did he show himself?

Q. Well, they got a picture of him.

SHANE BERTSCH: Oh, really.

Q. With a beard down in Mississippi and it looks like him. It's pretty good.

SHANE BERTSCH: Oh, really.

Q. The National Enquirer, of course.

SHANE BERTSCH: It's amazing that he is staying, stayed hidden for this long. I don't know how he could do it. I don't know, I mean, I feel bad for him what's going through, obviously I don't condone what he did, but I want him back out here as bad as anyone does.

Q. Do you, I've asked a few other people this, and I always, and I was in L.A. with the other guys when the incident happened. Is it, do the players mind talking about it? Do they talk about it amongst themselves? Are they sort of sick about it and say, let us play golf.

SHANE BERTSCH: I think that guys are talking about it. And there's different jokes here and there and stuff that are coming up. I think most of those are on the Internet and people get them on their phone or whatever.

But I don't know. I don't think people are -- I don't know the whole Tiger thing in general before this happened. There was, half the people were sick of hearing about him winning all the time and half the people wanted to. And so I think it's about the same. I don't really get caught up in it. I just feel for him and his family and I hope everything works out and he gets back out here and that's it.

DAVE SENKO: Thank you, Shane.

SHANE BERTSCH: Thank you, guys.