The 2005 Senior PGA Championship
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An Interview With Graham Marsh

May 26, 2005

JULIUS MASON: Graham Marsh, ladies and gentlemen, in at 4 under. Playing in his 12th Senior PGA Championship. Graham, some opening comments. Let's go through your birdies.

GRAHAM MARSH: Well, it's a long way around out there, I'll tell you. It's a long golf course. But obviously I'm very happy to be where I am. I guess on a golf course like this driving the ball is, in the fairway, is of paramount importance. And I did that for the most part today.

Secondly, you have to hit so many long shots into these greens. If you're not getting it on the green you're going to spend the day getting it up and down out of these bunkers and out of the long rough around the green. If you miss it in the wrong place, that is not an easy task. So for me I managed to get my second shots or as it may be third shots on the par 5s in the right positions on the green and finished it off with a couple of nice putts.

So it turned out to be a pretty nice day.

JULIUS MASON: Do you mind going through your card.

GRAHAM MARSH: Do you need all the yardages and lengths of putts and all that stuff? Do you want to do that? Okay.

All right. Well, 10, I hit an 8 iron in to about 15 feet. Made that.

15, missed the green left in the bunker in an awkward lie and out on to the green and two putts for a bogey.

16, again, missed it left of the green. Tight lie. In the rough. Bogey.

18, I hit two good, two very nice shots on the green there and 2 putted from about 45 feet for birdie.

The first, hit a 9 iron on to about 14 feet and made that.

Second, hit an 8 iron in to about 6 feet and made that.

The 8th, I hit a 2 iron in about 18 feet left of the hole and made that one.

Up and down a couple of times there. Once at the 4th hole, just came up short, chipped it up to about six feet, or about four feet, I suppose. Made it.

And the fifth, I missed the green to the right and got it up and down and made that. So those were kind of the turning points of my round was the fourth and fifth. Because I saved my pars there and then finished it off quite nicely.

JULIUS MASON: Questions?

Q. What were the clubs on 18 and your yardage on your second shot?

GRAHAM MARSH: Second shot at 18, I had 210 to the front. I just against the a little bit of breeze there, and hit it in about oh, probably seven, eight yards behind the hole. Not to the right of the hole. Actually I had to just slice it a little bit off the side slope second shot. You don't get a flat lie with your second shot. So you really, it's a nasty little shot. Particularly against the breeze. If you happen to sort of just miss the shot in any shape or form, you can pop it in that water in a heart beat. But I got it back there and took a little more club than I probably needed but just wanted to get it on the green.

Q. What club?

GRAHAM MARSH: 3 wood.

Q. Did you sense coming into the tournament that you were able to start playing like this?

GRAHAM MARSH: Far from it. I played quite nicely we have had a slow start to the year. There hasn't been a lot of tournaments and now we're on this, we have never had more than three weeks out there or two weeks out there, I think. And in a five week stretch now. And I always play better when I get into a bit of a stretch or that's been my history at least. But I had two pretty miserable weeks. One in Pensacola and certainly in Birmingham. So both on golf courses that I've usually played well in the past. So coming in here was not a joy for me. But made a few changes to my putting this week and went back, got back in an old putting style that I have done well with in the past. You might ask why did you ever give it up? Well, who knows. That's golf. But got back into that old putting style and made a few putts today. Certainly didn't play well in the practice rounds. I cost Gary Player a few bob yesterday, I can tell you. But that's the way the game is. You never quite know. And I made a few little changes to my swing last night and that really did help today. I started to compress the ball a little better today and just when you start to do that and you start to get a little bit of confidence, anything can happen in this stupid game.

Q. Just wondering, after a couple practice round and today what are your general impressions of Laurel Valley?

GRAHAM MARSH: Well, it's a very fine test of golf. Laurel Valley's obviously, obviously it has a great history and in the game, particularly in this part of the world. And now with the remodeling that Arnold has done and he's given us a very very challenging golf course. One that at the end of the week I'm sure will almost every player in the field will walk away and say well even if I didn't play well there, the golf course challenged end me and provided an adequate test for this championship. It's, it's a golf course that you must drive the ball well on. The greens are challenging. There's a lot of penalties if you miss. Tough greens to read too. They're not your forward, straightforward slopes that you would get on many greens. So quite a little undulations in the, you can see them, but the tricky little undulations in the greens. And it makes putting very difficult. But very fine test of golf and a very fine golf course. And a great place to come and play. Even for the average guy. I think he would really enjoy the experience.

JULIUS MASON: Questions?

Q. You indicated that you changed your putting stroke and then you made some changes to your swing. How difficult is that to do coming into a Major championship?

GRAHAM MARSH: Well, I think for all of us the one thing that at the level of golf that we play and the years that we have played the game, we have always got a little key thing that we're working on. And I think that no matter how old you are, you're always looking for some kind of key to try and get better. And I've been fiddling with my swing, trying to get my hands in a slightly different position. And I had forgotten about some of the other basic things that I was supposed to be doing. So even though in golf we might shoot 68 one day and 74 or 75th next day, if you actually translate that into a percentage, it is less than five percent of your overall performance. I mean it's a very small amount. There's not, there's a very fine line between any of us playing well on a given day and just playing average and sometimes even playing poorly for that matter. We're all somewhere around it, and the way the scoring goes in this game, you can lose it quickly. But it's I've never been scared to make changes. The things when things aren't going well you make changes. Sometimes you just don't have a choice. You just can't keep batting away with what you've got. Because it's not taking you anywhere. So I'm always fiddling, always making little changes, and then you hopefully get back into where you feel comfortable. And that's certainly what I did with my putting and certainly what I did with my long irons. I mean I just wasn't compressing the ball. I was pivoting over the top of the ball and wasn't getting any weight behind the shot at all. I changed that today and all of a sudden things start of course when you start to do these things and the ball starts to fly straight you feel it. We have been there, we have done it. So it doesn't take four months for your confidence to come back. That only happens if you've been on a streak where you haven't made a cut for maybe four years or something. But we're out there our tournaments are three rounds. We play every week three rounds. So we're not missing the cut or anything. So we know pretty much where you're game is and how close we are to playing well. But it's not hard to make changes to answer your question in a round about way.

Q. What specifically have you done for your putting stroke you talked about

GRAHAM MARSH: I was getting very very mechanical, very, trying to get very very mechanical with my shoulders, take the wrists out of my game. But that's just not the way I've putted. I played a much of my golf on slower greens in Asia and in Japan even in Europe the greens there are, a lot of the greens there, even though they're bent greens there in Europe they were very slow back then. Now of course they got faster with better green keeping practices. But my touch was not, is never very good when I just use a shoulder technique. And trying to take my wrists out. My touch is much better when I just put a little bit of hand into my putting. I just feel the ball into the hole. And on this, on these types of greens, when you get very, very fast greens, feel is absolutely everything. So I just went back to that old principal for just letting my hands do the work instead of letting my shoulders do it. And it just paid off today. But, this crazy game, you never know. You just do the best you can and hope it stays with you. But sometimes when you make a change like that it can hang around for awhile.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Graham.

GRAHAM MARSH: Okay.

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