What they said: John Rollins

July 14, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Reno-Tahoe Open transcript archive

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started. John, thanks for joining us here in the interview room here at Reno-Tahoe Open. Defending champion.

If you could, just give us a couple quick opening comments on being back here, and then we'll open it up to questions.

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah, it's nice to be back. Obviously fun to come back to a place where you've had some success. Winning last year, you kind of relive some of the shots, you know, walking today. I played the course for the first time this week today.

So you kind of relive some of the shots, think about where the pins were, kind of remember how you did things and your strategies approaching the week and each hole.

It's nice to be back. Golf course looks like it's in great shape again. Should be a great week.


Q. (No microphone.)

JOHN ROLLINS: You know, I mean, I think it's -- sure, there's pressure to defend. I think people expect big things out of you. Once you've won a tournaments or you come back as a defending champion, myself included, you expect, Okay I've won here; I should be able to play good again. But I think it's just self-imposed pressure.

I don't think it's anything like pressure of, Well, I need to defend or something like that. I think it's just a self-imposed pressure that we, as players, put on ourselves. If you can avoid putting that much pressure on yourself and just enjoy the week for what it is, I think you'll be better off. That's what I'm gonna hopefully do this week.

Q. Do you come in with more confidence knowing that you have won here and you also have a second place in your past??

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah, I think it helps. Any time you can draw off good memories, positive shots on a golf course, I think it's always fun to come back and play a course like that.

This course fits my eye. I like playing here. Granted, I'd love to be at the British Open; but at the same time, I like it here in Reno. I like the golf course. The people have always been great here to us as players.

It's just a fun tournament. You know, it's kind of a -- it's got a different feel. It's just kind of laid back, sort of relaxed atmosphere out there this week. We've got a good golf course on top of it.

Q. Is there something about this course that you feel matches up and suits your game, or just...

JOHN ROLLINS: You know, I don't know. I don't know if it's the way the holes shape or just the way the golf course kind of feels, if it just sort of fits my eye with the shot pattern that I like to play or if it's the -- I haven't really figured out why. For some reason, I've felt very comfortable on the golf course.

I think it has a lot to do with sightlines. You hear a lot players talk about the sightlines off the tees and shots into the greens and things like that. I think it fits our eye. We like to aim at certain things, and you can really see specific targets.

Some courses, some guys have a hard time really picking out a spot to aim and what they're really trying to do, and it's tough to play.

Q. The last couple months haven't gone as well as possible. Is there something that's happened game-wise over the last couple of months that's been off, or just not scoring as well as you did??

JOHN ROLLINS: I haven't been scoring well obviously. My putting has been pretty sketchy early on. I managed a few good tournaments out there early in the year, like you said. My putting has really sort of let me down for most of the season. That's gotten better. Now my iron game is kind of not cooperating the way we'd like for it to.

I'm not hitting the shots close to the hole and giving myself a lot of the really good birdie opportunities that you need. I've been working on the irons.

But at the same time, I think the biggest things is my scoring on par-5s I've noticed has been pretty bad this year. I put the ball in position, and then I think that my short game or short wedge game, setting up that third shot for birdies and things like that, I think that's really put me behind the eight ball a lot. Where guys are just having routine birdies and things like that, I'm really struggling to make the birdies and having to make pars and things like that where you need to really score.

Q. Are you hoping that getting back on a course that you really like will help get your season back on track??

JOHN ROLLINS: I hope so. I'm hoping that I can draw off the good vibes that I have here, like you said, jump start a decent finish to the season. By far, a very poor season by my standards so far.

But that's not so say that -- a win here and some good play in through the playoffs can change that pretty quick in this game.

Q. You played here a few times. What do you like most and least about this course??

JOHN ROLLINS: Well, obviously I like least is walking the course. You know, I don't really get to carry an oxygen mask with us, so it's always tough. The worst is when you're like first on the tee on a par-3 and you got to walk up the hill to a tee or something. I need like a 20-second time out here just to catch my breath.

I just like -- the views are great. I mean, it's got to be one of the prettiest golf courses we play all here year with the mountains and the fairways -- you know, everything this year is very lush. It's just in fantastic shape.

So I just think the way that the holes shape, the way the golf course feels, and just the scenery around the golf course is just awesome.

Q. 8 has been one of the toughest holes in this tournament year and you're out. How have you played that and how do you try to attack that hole??

JOHN ROLLINS: Last year I think we hit 3-iron every day. Based on what I've seen today, the golf course is a lot softer than it was last year. I know we're a little bit earlier in the year, but last year it was very firm and rolling very fast off the tee. You really have to be cautious as to what clubs you hit off tees.

That hole especially, even though you're coming off like a however high cliff that is down the fairway, the ball would still bounce and release out. So I was hitting 3-iron and like maybe 9- and 8-iron into the green. Today we hit a hybrid off the tee. I would suspect if it stays pretty close to the way it is, you'll probably see most guys hitting 2-irons, hybrids, 5-woods, things like that off the tee pretty much all week.

That's pretty much what we're gonna be: 3-iron to a hybrid I would say pretty much every day. Just the altitude enables us to hit shorter clubs from longer yardages now just because of that 10% or whatever guys factor in.

Even if you leave it back 180 yards, you may still only be hitting 8-iron. So it still gives you an option to lay back a little bit off the tee rather than really try to attack.

Q. I'm not sure how the qualifying works. Did you try that qualify for the British??

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah, I tried to qualify. I was close. I think 5-under played off at -- I can't think of the name now, Gleneagles in Dallas. I was 4-under with three to play, and I made a couple bogeys coming in and trying to get aggressive and just didn't pull it off. It is what it is. But here we are to defend.

Q. If you had qualified, would you have gone there??

JOHN ROLLINS: Yeah, it's a major championship. If you're in and you take the time to qualify and you make it, you pretty much have to go. That's kind of the way I look at it.

You know, we always want to be in major tournaments. That's what we're out here to win and that's what you're judged on. So yes, I would have gone; but at the same time, it was a win/win for me. I either went to the British and played at St. Andrews, or I got to come here and defend. So worked out either way.

Q. This tournament, it's not been an easy time last four or five years, the economy, for tournaments like this one to keep afloat. This one has. Do you see the future of these tournaments that are opposite other events, will they continue? Do they have a place on tour in your opinion?

JOHN ROLLINS: I think they're great to have. I think it gives -- you know, from my understanding and the way that I've always heard things talked about over the last ten years being on tour, you know, guys always talk about equal playing opportunities.

If you don't have a tournament opposite a World Golf Event or a major championship or something like that, it takes away an opportunity for a guy that -- a rookie on tour. You know, a second- or third-year guy that hadn't won yet but his status is kind of year to year. Guys are really fighting for their jobs, and it gives guys that extra tournament to possibly win and stay exempt or solidify their job for a couple more years.

I think it's good for the tour that have 'em just because it keeps guys able to play. Rather than however many guys are in the British Open from this tour, you know, the rest of tour being off, rather than everybody having an off week because there's nothing else to play in, I think it's good to to give the guys the option to play if they want to play opposite a major championship.

Q. I'm a junior course reporter today. How are you feeling going into the tournament tomorrow??

JOHN ROLLINS: I feel pretty good. I mean, we touched on, you know, some positive memories coming here. I've got a second place two years ago and I won last year, so I've played well here.

I feel pretty good. I haven't been playing great coming into the week, but, you know, there's been signs. It's just a matter of -- my iron game has been pretty poor lately. If I can tidy that up a little bit, especially on a golf course like this and you got the ball close enough to the hole, I feel good enough on the greens and everything else that maybe we'll get some putts to fall and see what happens.

It's just nice to come back where you've played well and enjoy to play. It's good that be here.

Q. I'm with First Tee; I'm a junior course reporter. How did you get started playing golf??

JOHN ROLLINS: I got started playing through my dad. I don't know, I was obviously a young kid, and baseball was my true passion at the time. We would go on family vacations and we would have some cut-down clubs. My dad was a pretty good golfer, and we would go out.

Once we would get away from the clubhouse kind of out of pro's eye or whatever, he would get let me start wailing away at it a little bit. More like a kid just killing time and having fun and hitting a golf ball around.

But I didn't really get serious until was a freshman in high school. I was coming into high school, and some friends of mine said to tryout for the team. I kind of laughed at 'em. I'm like, I'm not gonna play golf; I play baseball. Really? I mean, come on.

Sure enough, tried out for the team; here we are. So I gave up baseball and it's worked out.

THE MODERATOR: John, thanks for your time. Play well this week.

JOHN ROLLINS: Thank you.

Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports