Greenbrier Classic interview: Tommy Gainey

July 04, 2013

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MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Tommy Gainey after a very successful 8-under 62 in round 1 of the Greenbrier Classic. Tommy, congratulations on a great round. Certainly kind of had reminiscent of McGladrey at the end of last year. That being said, just some comments on the round and we'll take a few questions.

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, you know, I'll just start out by saying the golf course is really soaked, it's really soft, and with the players that we have out here, when you have soft greens and the rough is not too penal, I mean, you can really score low out there. I just was one of the lucky ones to make some putts, hit some fairways, and you know, we all know it's all about making putts out here.

MODERATOR: You had mentioned, I read something earlier in the week where you had talked about just what a frustrating year you've been having and how that really adds to the pressure and the pressure you tend to kind of force things. What was the difference between prior to today and what happened today?

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, you know, my family and my support system around me, they just -- they noticed that I've been trying to force the issue. Ever since last year I feel like I should be playing more consistently, playing a lot better, contending more, and that wasn't the case. I was just putting so much pressure on myself and they noticed it and they had a talk with me and we sat down and tried to iron it out. Now I'm just trying to have fun again because that's what this game is to me, it's a lot of fun. I really don't want to go back into a factory, even AO Smith, working on an assembly line because I love what I'm doing right now.

MODERATOR: Well with that being said, we'll open it up and take some questions.

Q. First, talk about your front nine, finished with a 5-under 29, and second, take us through the decision to use a putter on 16 and leave the flagstick in. Of course you hit that dead center.

TOMMY GAINEY: You know, the front mine, I believe it's essential to get off to a good start on the 1st hole of the day and the first round of the tournament. You know, I hit a good drive, I hit kind of a poor second shot because I think it was like 40 feet or so, but I made the putt. It felt like I hit it five feet and made it. I made a 40-footer, got off to a great start, then the next hole I hit it up there 15 feet and made another putt. So I birdied the first two holes, got off to a great start, got the momentum built up, and I just tried to ride it on through the rest of the day. You know, I don't know what to say. There was a few holes in there that I missed some good putts at it,but you know what, you're not going to make every putt. I just hope to make the majority.

Q. 16?

TOMMY GAINEY: 16, I hit a poor wedge shot, hit it fat, laid the sod over it, whichever one you want to use, but I normally putt off the green,because I feel like I can putt it closer than I can chip it. It just so happened that it went in.

Q. Pretty much going steady dead red here, 21 or 22, I think Stuart shot two 58s or two 59s, is that out there this week, 8 already?

TOMMY GAINEY: You know, I believe you can get to at least 20 this week, maybe a little more. I think it also depends on the weather. I mean, if the wind gets up, if more thunderstorms come in this way, which I think thereis some more rain on the way as we're speaking right now, so it depends on how much more rain we get and how much softer this course gets. You know, I still feel that you can go at it.

Q. How nice is it to be in the house in early? These afternoon guys, who knows, there could be a lot of stop, starting, that type of thing?

TOMMY GAINEY: Absolutely, I'm very happy that I got my round in without no delays because I believe, as I've heard, there's more raincoming. I'm glad I'm not in the afternoon and have to deal with all the delays because it could be one or two or it could be four or five, you just don't know. It could be a start a stop, then a start again and a stop. That wear and tears on you a little bit when you have to go through that.

Q. The rest of the day, are you going to do some skeet shooting or go to the casino, take a nap?

TOMMY GAINEY: Probably going to take a nap, I've been up since 5:30, so I'm going to definitely gets some good food here shortly, kind of hang out with the family, see what they want to do. The Greenbrier is America's resort. I've seen the commercial with all they have to offer, I see why they call it that. I'm just going to try to experience America the beautiful.

Q. Tommy, out there you mentioned you put a new driver in the bag, the Callaway. With so much made about equipment, that's the first club you (inaudible) all day. How big was that driver to you?

TOMMY GAINEY: It was big for me. If you look at my stats in driving accuracy, it's going to be around 30 percent this year leading up to today. Let me tell you, I don't know what other pros will tell you, but in my opinion, the tee ball sets up the rest of your game. If you don't hit it in the fairway, you're just trying to knock it on the green and make par because hitting it out of this rough is no fun. Trust me, I've been doing it for the last three years.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about that meeting that you had with your family, when it was, who was there?

TOMMY GAINEY: You know, my wife, Erin, my sister-in-law, Loren, my brother-in-law, David Robinson, my agent, Paul, we got together and just kind of talked about different things, said, you know, you're playing bad, what's going on? I feel like I'm trying to force the issue. They said listen, you won a tournament last year because you were having fun playing the game you love to play. I had gotten away from that and I'm trying to get back into that now. I've got to say, it's a lot better when you have more fun playing the game you love to play because it's easier and it's less stressful. How long ago was this? This was probably, the last month, within the last month.

Q. How hard was it to hear some of the things?

TOMMY GAINEY: It wasn't hard at all. I felt like I knew what wasgoing on. I was putting too much pressure on myself. I knew I was doing that, but it's -- sometimes it's easy to change. I mean, it was just hard for me to change that and I'm just trying to have more fun now and it seems to be working out.

Q. Tommy, this tournament, all tournaments have great story lines, but this tournament certainly has with how the champions have been crowned. Have you kind of followed that, is that kind of a motivational tool for a player at this event?

TOMMY GAINEY: Absolutely, absolutely. Look at the last three winners, Stuart Appleby, Scott Stallings, Ted Potter, Jr. You know, Scott Stallings is a friend and Ted Potter, Jr.'s a friend. I used to play a lot of mini TOUR golf with Ted Potter, Jr. Guy's got some game.

You're not out here if you don't have game, that's just the way it is. Especially last year, he won in the playoff, it took him I think two holes maybe in the playoff, he had to play 18 the second time, made birdie, good night. I mean, it was -- guy can play. Everybody, I mean, there's different story lines. There's a ton of story lines out here. You look at me, I grew up poor and I'm playing on the PGA TOUR, I'm a PGA TOUR winner. It doesn't get any better than that.

Q. Tommy, was playing in the tournament, did that have anything to do with the proximity to your home? In other words, did you really want to be here because it's not too far from South Carolina versus maybe being on the West Coast? And the other thing is, who did you bring with you this week?

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, you know, I'll give you that, the West Coast,I've played poorly on the west coast the last few years. I don't know why is that, I have no clue. You know how this game is. But for me it seems like I'm either hot or I'm cold, there's no in between for me and I'm trying to get better at that and that means trying to be more consistent. Trust me, that's hard, it's hard. But as far as proximity, you know, it would help if I was in South Carolina playing in a tournament because I would have the home crowd behind me, have a lot of family and friends there, I mean, that's awesome when you can play in your home state and have everybody pulling for you, rooting for you to win, it's a great feeling. But here, this is just, I mean, how beautiful is this place? The Greenbrier, it's just awesome. I brought my wife, Erin, her sister, Loren, and my brother-in-law, David. We're here and we're just going to have some fun with it.

Q. Tommy, you talked about not wanting to go back in the factory. I would imagine that's a pretty big motivating factor for you not to have to get a job like that when you can do this.

TOMMY GAINEY: Absolutely, I mean, you get spoiled out here, you get spoiled out here and I have, I've gotten spoiled out here. I have to say I'm very proud to have AO Smith, the company I used to work for, as a sponsor because we have a lot of things in common. We're like family and that's good to have that support.

Q. What do you remember from those days, from working there to where you are now?

TOMMY GAINEY: From working there, it's a class company. I mean, they stick by what they say. They make the best water heaters in the business and they stick by that. If you're not happy with that, they'll make sure you will be happy with it. They'll make you happy with it. You know, I'm just proud to have them -- proud to be a part of the family.

MODERATOR: Tommy, congratulations. Happy Fourth of July and hope to see you back in here the rest of the week.