June 5, 2003
Note: The news conference was moderated by Julius Mason, the Director of Public Relations and Media Relations of the PGA of America
JULIUS MASON: John Jacobs, ladies and gentlemen, in at 2-under in the first round of the 64th Senior PGA Championship.
JOHN JACOBS: I can't remember any of the holes.
JULIUS MASON: That's why this is going to help you. You could actually go through your card if you'd like.
JOHN JACOBS: I need my reading glasses. It's amazing when you play in these kind of tournaments where hitting it in fairway is a premium, you concentrate on so hard hitting the fairway, hit the fairway, hit the fairway, hit the fairway; by the time you get done, you try to think back what did I make on that hole because I mean, me, knowing my length is paramount on these wet courses, you really lose track of -- you are concentrating so hard it's tough to go on with the rest of the hole once you get it in the damn fairway.
Anyway, should we start?
JULIUS MASON: Sure.
JOHN JACOBS: My two partners birdied the first hole. I told my caddie I said, damn, (Gary) McCord is going to start this on me again. I have got get a birdie on this quick because he's going to needle me to death. I did. The second hole I hit a 9-iron about, I don't know, four feet behind the hole made it for birdie.
Geez, that's an ugly one, a bogey there?
JULIUS MASON: Yes, sir, sorry.
JOHN JACOBS: I don't like those.
JULIUS MASON: We have got to talk about them, too.
JOHN JACOBS: Bogeyed 4, hit a drive, not a real good drive, but I got it in the fairway, and I hit a terrible 4-iron in the bunker and hit it -- blasted out about 8 feet, missed it.
6, I hit it in there close. 6, eight feet, made birdie.
And 9, I got it on in two and 3-putted. It was very ugly.
Q. How far?
JOHN JACOBS: It was probably 30 feet. It was really kind of funny because McCord was -- hit a bad drive and he chopped it up there. He got it on the green in 3 just inside where I lied it. I was kind of on his line. He heard me tell my caddie I said, Jimmy, this should just go a little marginal left, right? It broke 10 feet left. (Laughs). So, I helped him there. And then I made -- parred all the way. I played -- actually played really good. I left a few birdie putts out there. A couple of holes I was 30, 40 feet away, I lagged up four, five feet which I made some nice 2-putts. And 16, the par 5, I -- it is a tough driving hole for me because if I hit it kind of right edge of the bunker where most of the people go it's going to go in the rough. I got to hit it left and the big tree kind of overhangs on my line, and I just thought well, you are 1-under par, the hell with it. I tried to hit it over the tree. I didn't. I actually hit a good drive, it chipped the tip of the tree and kicked back 40 yards. Usually when it's wet the balls don't bounce out of these trees, they come straight down, but it did. Then I hit a 7-iron back out down the fairway and then I hit a 6-iron about eight inches from the hole, made birdie there.
17, I 2-putted.
18 I 2-putted from 20 feet. Actually hit a good putt. Left it about two inches going right in the hole, two inches short. But I played very good. I drove the ball well, which you have to -- U.S. Open or the PGA out here you have got to drive it good or you are a dead duck. And I drove the ball very well.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks, John, questions, folks.
Q. Is 16 reachable in two?
JOHN JACOBS: Well, I played Monday and Tuesday and I could get on it. I really don't know. I know that -- yeah, I probably could have if I hit a good drive. I know Gary hit a good drive and he had mud on his ball and he didn't go for the green. He laid up. I mean, the mud out there -- you know, the PGA and the U.S. Open they are wonderful tournaments and everything, but you just hate to complain about anything, but they play the ball down, I don't think they should have, but they did. I know I had -- I got lucky. I had mud on my ball every hole and I didn't shoot it -- I probably only shot at 6 or 7 pins all day because of the mud on the ball. I was afraid -- unless the pin was in the middle of the green I didn't shoot at it because I didn't know which way it was going to go.
Q. Is that common you are hearing this from everybody and how wet the course still is?
JOHN JACOBS: Well, I will tell you that every drive I hit came backwards; not one drive went forwards. So that shows you how wet it is. I'm amazed that it is in as good a shape as it is, tell you the truth, greens were perfect, they were beautiful. It's nothing to do with how they set the PGA or how they set it up. They had to deal with bad luck. The course is wet. But it's a touchy deal. When you go to winter rules then you probably slow down play 45 minutes longer for each group. If it takes the first group four hours it's going to take them four hours and 45 minutes. So like a flip of the coin I am sure -- I am sure they decided not to. But it was you know, you had to get lucky.
Q. Did it help being grouped with Gil (Morgan) and McCord today?
JOHN JACOBS: (Laughs): I told Gil I says damn, Gil, he hit first about three or four -- the par 3s today he hit it terrible every time. I said, damn, Gil, tomorrow you are not hitting first, I don't care if you are up on the par 3s. But, yeah, we had fun. Gil is always -- he's pretty serious on the course. McCord and I are a lot different, but Gil is such a good player, you feed off good playing and then McCord and I are kind of teasing, laughing at each other. We could laugh at each other over our bad shots or needle each other. We won't do it to Gil or whoever else we were playing with. Yeah, we have fun. Gary hasn't played much, as everybody knows, and he played good. He shot 73. I would imagine tomorrow he will play a lot better.
Q. When you have a day when you are grinding like you were off the tee does your dynamic with Gary change at all?
JOHN JACOBS: Oh, no, we -- well, we shoot the shit 'til we get to our drives then we kind of concentrate on up. But, you know, there wasn't a whole lot of chatter out there today because I mean, there was, but there wasn't because you had to really concentrate. I am telling you there was serious mud on your ball every single hole and, I mean, you had to think your way around there. You got to look down if the mud is on left of your ball, or the right of your ball you are going to hit -- is your clubhead going to hit the mud first, you had to do some concentrating. It wasn't easy. It's as hard as I have concentrated because I am pretty happy-go-lucky and I just hit to hit, and man, I was taking my time.
Q. Being a long hitter, how much more of an advantage do you have today?
JOHN JACOBS: I think it's a big advantage. It's only an advantage if you hit it straight. Yeah, it's a hell of an advantage if you hit it straight. But you know, sometimes you get down there you -- the closer you get to the green the shorter the iron, you don't swing as hard so if there's mud on your ball, like if you are hitting a 4-iron you could kind of hit it harder and the mud is less of a problem. You get a shorter club you really can't judge it as well. I mean, sound like sour grapes; it's not. I am just telling you that I concentrated really hard and I am happy with what I shot. I actually thought I'd be wetter than it was. If it would have been a little bit wetter then you wouldn't get the mud on the ball because the ball would splat and then kind of settle. It was just muddy enough where like my drives were all backing up a foot, six inches, two feet, something like that. Two guys can hit the same drive, one guy can have no mud on it -- no, you are going to have mud on it; one guy could have a little bit and other guy could have a total shot that you can't even get on the green.
Q. I know it's not sour grapes, but I am curious, can you think of any or many major championships where they have let you put the ball in your hand?
JOHN JACOBS: Oh, I am sure I have played in them before. No, I can't. But -- I mean, just like I said, before, it's nothing -- I mean, they didn't do it to be mean. It's fair for everybody. I am not saying they shouldn't have done it or they should have played winter rules because it's the same for everybody. I am just saying it's difficult to function that way. I don't know what is best. I think probably they made the right decision because I know that in these -- in these kind of events when it's -- the courses are very difficult, you got to keep the pace of play going and I know that if you play winter rules it's going to slow it down an hour.
If they had any rain then they are really stuck because guys can't finish. Because we have played winter rules a couple of times this year and every year we play so many times, and man, it gets -- it gets so slow it just gets uncomfortable. It is almost better to go through the mud process than play winter rules: But the greens were perfect. I was totally shocked. I watched the rain a little bit the last couple of days like everybody else, and I couldn't believe the greens were like there was no water. They were beautiful. Beautiful.
Q. What did you do yesterday?
JOHN JACOBS: Well, I am not going to tell you because I think I lied to my wife about what I did and I don't want to -- no, I came out here three or four times to practice and then I went and had some sashimi at a Japanese restaurant. And I came back out and it was raining. And then we went back and had a beer and a little more sashimi; then I went home. Told my wife I said I waited out there all day to hit balls and never could really ever get anything done, honey. (Laughs). You don't have to print that.
JULIUS MASON: John Jacobs, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks very much.