May 26, 2005
JULIUS MASON Tom McKnight, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the 66th Senior PGA Championship at 3 under after the first day. Talk about some opening thoughts and we'll go through your birdies, bogeys and then we'll go to questions.
TOM McKNIGHT: I just happy to have a good round. It's a long tournament. Four days on this golf course. It's a wonderful golf course, in great shape. I'm happy to get off to a good start the.
JULIUS MASON Let's talk about the birdies and bogeys.
TOM McKNIGHT: Started on the back nine and bogeyed 10 and 15. So I was two over at that point. And I just played pretty solid after that. Actually made a couple good saves in that time period too, early. And I birdied 17 and 18 and that kind of got me rolling again. I birdied 4, 6, and 8.
JULIUS MASON Questions?
Q. How did you play 18?
TOM McKNIGHT: I hit my drive and didn't catch all of it, but I hit it on a good line. So I was in a position where it was and I really didn't have any choice, I didn't feel like, but to hit it on the green. And actually hit kind of a cut 3 wood in there and hit it about 20 feet. Just right of the hole. And a left it about four feet short coming down the hill. So I had to make that second putt to make birdie there.
Q. What was the yardage you had?
TOM McKNIGHT: To the hole probably wasn't more than 220, 217. 220. But the trees were kind of in my way for the second shot. So I hit kind of a high cut around them. Just didn't feel comfortable hitting any less club.
Q. Was that the difference in your round, the after getting off to a slow start, 17 and 18, is that what turned it around for you?
TOM McKNIGHT: Yeah, I felt good over the ball, period. But I just made a couple mistakes early. I drove it in trouble a couple holes. But I actually drove the ball very straight all day. And then 15 was a killer because I was 1 over and then hit really thought I hit a good shot and I flew it right over the flag and it bounced in the back bunker and I made bogey there. And that hurt.
But 17 I hit it close. I thought I was going to make 1. I ended up being 2, 3, feet short of the hole.
And then I birdied 18 and kind of gave me a little new life. I hit a lot of good shots on the front nine coming in. Both par 3s, I hit good shots in there close. Missed one of the putts and made the other one. But I felt pretty solid on that nine.
Q. You birdied 8? I think that was one of the few ones today. What is it about that hole and what is it like to get that before you come in?
TOM McKNIGHT: 8 is a tough hole. Today it was a little tricky with the wind. It was a little in our face and across. And I hit a TaylorMade rescue in there. Just hit a really good shot. It was right on line the whole way. Looked like it had a chance to go in the hole and only went probably maybe three and a half, four feet right straight behind the hole. Pretty quick putt coming down the hill, but I was just happy to have a good chance for birdie there.
Q. Has the course conditions changed that much today because of the weather that maybe it affected anything you learned in the last few days about this course?
TOM McKNIGHT: No. The course is in wonderful shape. I think the sunshine might put more smiles on people's faces and puts you in a better mood. It's just, the golf course is wonderful. I was surprised as much rain they had that it's in as good shape as it is. It's perfect. The only difference really was we had sunshine today.
Q. What have been the surprises for you, if any, out here this year on the Champions Tour?
TOM McKNIGHT: I don't know that there have been a lot of surprises except it's just been a lot of fun. The guys that I have looked up to and admired with their golf games and have been wonderful to me. Everybody's been great to me out here this year. To be out here and be able to compete with them, I'm just tickled to death no matter what happens. It's just a bunch of great guys and it's just been a real treat for me to be out here. And be among them.
Q. Did you play 18 during the practice rounds where the tees were today? They have them pretty far up as opposed to where they were at during the practice rounds. Did that make it play a little bit different than the way you may have played it earlier in the week?
TOM McKNIGHT: Yeah, the practice rounds I played the back tee. I did not play the up tee.
So it didn't I just, when I stood on that tee I didn't know exactly where I was going to be. But I felt like that that's from the back tee I have to hit a really good drive to go for it in 2 to be comfortable. And from the up tee, I knew that I had hit as good a shot that I could. But that particular shot is not easy no matter how far you are. It's almost like you wouldn't want to miss it a little bit so you have to lay it up. I hit it to a position where I felt like I had to go for it.
Q. The transition from amateur golf to professional golf, has it been difficult not you just talked about coming out here early but has it been difficult in a mindset because it's totally different on what you have to do?
TOM McKNIGHT: It is a total different mindset. I think with the prior to this year the last couple years have really helped me. What I was doing was playing on the Hooter's Tour and playing with the young kids. And I think that really did a whole lot for me to help the situation as far as scoring and trying to get you a little more comfortable with the situation. In amateur golf it was like if you play a couple good rounds you just kind of hit and hang on and hope that nobody figure everybody will back up to you if you're not in the lead. But out here in the professional ranks, there's too many good players, somebody is going to play good all the time and you just have to keep playing. And it's just, like I say, it's just a treat for me to be out here and be playing with the guys.
Q. Did you have any anticipation of what your season would be like or how you would be able to play out here against these guys?
TOM McKNIGHT: I have a lot of goals, probably pretty lofty goals for myself, which I don't particularly care to share. But I just want to play my own game and play, do the things that I can do good. And I think I can compete. I hope, like I say, this is one good round at the start of this tournament, but it's a long season and a long tournament and we'll just have to see what happens. But I just think the longer we go the more comfortable I'll get and hopefully that will be reflected in the scores.
JULIUS MASON Tom McKnight, playing in his first Senior PGA Championship. Thanks very much for coming down.
TOM McKNIGHT: Thank you.
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