An Interview With: Bob Sowards

JULIUS MASON: Bob Sowards, ladies and gentlemen, playing in his fourth PGA Championship.

Bob, some opening comments and we'll go to Q&A, please.

BOB SOWARDS: Looking forward to playing here this week. I've only played nine holes, but from what I see, it's an unbelievable course, unlike anything I've ever seen. I can't wait to get out there Thursday.

Q. The club professionals that come into this championship, there are 25 of them that work hard through the channels to get to this National Championship and so forth, and now, there's more of a goal in mind than just making a cut. There are certain things that you would like to accomplish, too.

BOB SOWARDS: That's true. One of the things I've always tried to do, basically up until this year, my main goal was to make the cut.

This year, I feel like my game is so much better, I'm going to try to get in contention. I feel like I should see my name on the leaderboard.

Q. The last tournament before you got here was the Ohio Open, and you won by nine strokes?

BOB SOWARDS: Nine, yes.

Q. And at Longaberger you won by one and you played that golf course and that was a difficult golf course, as well. How are you on the difficult tracks throughout your career?

BOB SOWARDS: I feel like I've played my best on harder golf courses throughout my life. Even when I had really no game, the harder the golf course, the closer to even par the winning number, the better I do. I feel like I can make pars chipping and putting with the best of them and so the whole key is today, this week, hitting it where I'm looking, trying to pick out the right targets and hitting it where I'm actually looking.

Q. How about the responsibilities that go with being a club professional and coming in here in a dual role and being a competitor in a world-class level?

BOB SOWARDS: That's true. It's not our jobs to be out there practicing our game eight hours a day; we're in the shop eight, ten hours a day, teaching, whatever. What I have been doing is trying to practice a couple hours here and there. It makes it a lot more difficult. But I came up here early, got all day today, Tuesday, Wednesday, trying to practice. I'll be working hard here trying to get ready for the tournament on Thursday.

Q. What was it like for you to go through qualifying school this past year, and was that experience invaluable for you?

BOB SOWARDS: Going through Q-School was good, and I got to the second stage and got to the finals and putted terrible. I think I ended up missing five or six shots, something like that. I couldn't make anything outside two feet. I got a new putter right before CPC and have been making everything ever since.

Q. You said you only played nine holes, but what do you see as the toughest thing about Whistling Straits?

BOB SOWARDS: Toughest thing for me, obviously the wind is difficult. I don't think it's probably too bad out there right now. I know it probably blows harder than this, but the hardest thing for me is picking targets out there. I'm used to aiming at branches on trees and things. I'm not used to just seeing kind of -- there's no depth perception, I guess could you say. It's tough to pick out targets, and hitting fairways is going to be the key here because there's no way you can get on these greens from 500 yards on a par 4 if you don't knock it in the fairway, especially on the into-the-wind holes.

Q. Do you think more Europeans will have an advantage because obviously more links courses, especially in the U.K.?

BOB SOWARDS: That's a tough question. I don't know. This is the first links-type course I've ever played on. I know it's tough for me. A lot of the top players who play the British Opens and stuff like that, I'm sure they have a lot more experience.

Obviously the more you do something, the better you are going to be at it.

Q. I heard you say earlier that there was not that many bump-and-run type of shots on this course, and that's typically what a links course will show you. After just nine holes, what have you noticed so far?

BOB SOWARDS: Well, if the wind blows, for instance, double the wind, into the wind you're going to have to hit some low bump-and-run shots to land on the front of the green. The greens are so contoured, if you get something low and running it might run off the green into one of those pot bunkers. So you have to be careful and control your distance. Putting spin on the ball is also going to be pretty difficult, also.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks for coming down. Good luck this week.

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