Humana Challenge interview: Roberto Castro

January 18, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Humana Challenge transcripts archive

DOUG MILNE:  We'll jump right in.  Roberto, thanks for joining us for a few minutes after a successful 5-under 67 today here in round two of the Humana Challenge.  Just a few comments, obviously a different course each day for the first three days, just some comments on the course today and how you're feeling after two rounds here.

ROBERTO CASTRO:  It was fun.  They had a lot of Sunday pins today.  I only played here one time, but the pins they used today were a lot of the ones they used Sunday last year.  So I think Palmer was playing pretty tough.  There was a lot of tucked pins.
But same situation as yesterday, my playing partner was making a bunch of birdies too and we both kind of got going and had the mojo going the right way, so it was a good day.

DOUG MILNE:  We'll open it up for some questions then.

Q.  You talked yesterday about the ever popular following up a low round with a low round.  Did this feel low enough for you?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  Yeah, I played good.  I played well all day.  Some nice up-and-downs on the par-5s for birdies, a couple slipped away there at the end, but yesterday I made a 50-footer on the last on a good putt.  Today I felt like I hit a good putt and 3-putted.  So that's stuff over 72 holes that's going to even out.

Q.  Given that the lead was nine yesterday, are you surprised that 14's still got a share of it?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  No, you can play solid every day and you're not going to shoot 9-under every day.  So I don't know what the number's going to be to win, but it's going to be low, but it's not going to be 45-under which is -- or 36-under, which is 9-under every day.  So you kind of knew it will level out.

Q.  What did you learn last year about what it takes to compete and win out here and what were your, what was your game plan going into this year based on that?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  I learned a lot last year.  That was one of the best things that happened to me was making a lot of the cuts early in the year.  And I didn't have any big finishes, but I got to play four days and I got to learn pretty quickly.
I got to play with some good players and watch what they do and you just, when you play with guys when they're not leading and see what their habits are, you kind of see how that carries over when they are in contention, so I definitely learned that.
And then the game plan this year, just try to have the same attitude I had last year, which was very grateful to be out here and keep a good perspective.

Q.  You talk about learning from guys.  I know that there's probably too many to mention, but is there one guy that stands out that when you watched him and said, hey, that's the way he does things, I should do that?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  I played with Stricker in Houston on Sunday and we were in 35th place to start the day.  And he made a couple early bogeys and he made a couple late birdies and he was in 35th place probably on the 18th tee.  And he was just grinding on that tee shot.
And for a guy who finishes like third every week it was a meaningless week for him basically.  But you could just see that he does the same thing every time.  So that when he is leading on that hole, it's a tough hole, 18 in Houston, he just does the same thing.  It's nothing different.
So I think about that all the time.  I played with Zach Johnson on a Sunday when we were in 65th place and watched him go about his business.  So you just learn little things along the way.

Q.  You go to La Quinta tomorrow, right?

Q.  All three courses are different, but that one seems to be more different than these two over here.

Q.  What do you feel about that golf course and do you know much about it?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  I love it.  That's one of my favorite courses on the TOUR all year.  It's just kind of the golf I grew up with, easy to walk, just right in front of you, it's really fun.  So you got reachable par-5s, but they're tight tee shots, so if you hit it in play on the par-5s you can get at it.  But it's not an easy golf course by any stretch.

Q.  Do you get double looks at rental car counters or anything with your name versus what you look like?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  I do.  Every day.  Every day.  First tee, every day I get a comment.
(Laughter.)  Every day.

Q.  And like what's the what are the most troubling comments?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  "You don't like a Roberto."  That's the most common one.

Q.  What is your golf upbringing?  How did you get started, why golf?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  My mom's side of the family are all big golfers.  I had an aunt who played on the LPGA Tour for like 15 years.  And my grandparents just took me out when I was a kid.  I had two uncles play in college.  So that's all on my mom's side of the family.
So they would just take me out, when I was really little, and just let me sit in the cart and hit a shot if I wanted to.  And I've been very fortunate, they really supported me.  I had two younger brothers who both played Division I golf in college.  So we just kind of made it a family thing.  But it's been fun.

Q.  How mucOBERTO CASTRO:  h was your aunt an influence?
RA lot.

Q.  How much did you play with her?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  I played with her a decent amount.  She was living in Scottsdale when she was on the TOUR, so I didn't see her a lot.  But I used to spend spring break out there and we'd practice together and stuff.  But really for all through junior golf and a lot of college golf, we would talk on the phone a good bit.  And she really, I think you heard Keegan say that about his aunt too, trying to win a tournament's the same no matter what TOUR you're on.  And college golf especially, great experiences there.  So she's had a big role in my golf.

Q.  Did you play other sports very much?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  I played tennis, soccer, until I was in high school and then just golf since then.

Q.  I wanted to ask you too about you are using an anchored putter?

Q.  You're not?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  Short putter.

Q.  What was your experiences like on the mini tours and what was your leap to faith to the PGA TOUR, what was the big difference between grinding there and then now making a living?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  Golf is really similar.  I played one, I think I played like two and a half seasons on the mini tours and one of them I was playing so well that I my coach always jokes like if you could just hit it this summer on the mini tours you could win two, three million bucks out here.
So the golf is very similar, but after that it's not.  Kind of have to learn to play the good golf and then learn how to manage the rest of what is the PGA TOUR.
Nobody wants to be on the mini tours, but I'm very grateful that they were there, because otherwise we would have nowhere to play.  You can't sit at home and hit balls at your home course and get better.  So I was very fortunate to have had a couple places to play when I wasn't out here and really I got better, I wasn't ready for this when I finished college, so I needed that, big time.

Q.  Those weekend rounds you talked about last year like with Stricker or seeing other guys, some guys might get to the weekend and be in 65th place and doing the best they can, but not really paying attention, I guess, to the bigger picture.  What was kind of in you to do that to kind of pay attention to the detail of other guys and what they're doing rather than just blowing off the weekend and grinding and doing the best you can?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  It's just a habit for me.  It was just reinforced by seeing them do it, really.  I tried to do it every shot the whole year, because it's going to matter in the end.  And seeing them do that, it wasn't like eye opening, it was just reinforcing that you are kind of on the right path, this is what these guys do, and they win tournaments.  So keep on keeping on, so.

Q.  What are your thoughts about, it just seems like more and more, Russell Henley being an example of guys maybe having a different mindset about what they can do out here when they get here.  It's not, it doesn't seem like for everybody it's this five, six seven year process anymore.  Do you think guys are better prepared or what do you think it is?
ROBERTO CASTRO:  That's a good question.  There's two sides to the coin.  You got a guy like Russell winning last week and then you got a guy like Jason Dufner who really didn't come into his prime until, I don't know how old he is, but, you know, there's two sides to that.
But 20-under is 20-under.  I think that's what guys are starting to realize.  Like if you can go shoot 20-under, I'm from Georgia where Russell's from and he won our state amateur I think twice and shot 20-under.  And 20-under wins most golf tournaments.
So I think that a guy like that just is like, well, if I can, you know, I'm going to go shoot 20-under and see what happens.  And he wins the tournament.  And then you got guys like -- there's million different paths to success out here and you see that.

Q.  Seems like there is a mindset for scoring more.
ROBERTO CASTRO:  Yeah, I think so.  It's just competitive, there's more good players.  You just go play and you realize that just okay isn't going to get you very far, you know.  So I think that guys realize that.  College, there's more good players in college, there's more good players in junior golf, and it filters all the way up to here.

DOUG MILNE:  Okay.  Roberto, keep it up.  Good luck on the weekend.  Thanks.