An Interview with: Roger Chapman
KELLY ELBIN: Defending Senior PGA Champion Roger Chapman, joining us at the Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. Roger, it hasn't even started, the championship itself, but I know it's been a very special week in terms of coming here as defending champion, hosting the Champions Dinner last night. Give us a sense of I'm sure there was a lot of joy that you felt just in the last few days.
ROGER CHAPMAN: Yeah, I had a couple of weeks off at Scottsdale and I was every moment that I had was thinking of this week.
I actually played, I got here on the Sunday night and I felt a bit more relaxed going out on the golf course on the Monday. As you said, we had the dinner last night, which was a real honor for me to have the other past champions and PGA champions there. And it was just, it just made it a special, special night for me and for Cathy to be there as well, to be part of it, because she wasn't at Harbor Shores, it just made it fantastic evening.
Hale Irwin and Tom Watson spoke and the guys said some nice things, which was even better. So all in all it went well. And the chef cooked a great meal. Even got the Yorkshire pudding right. So that was good.
KELLY ELBIN: Could you reflect just for a minute on 2012. What an extraordinary year, winning this championship and following it up with winning the U.S. Senior Open.
ROGER CHAPMAN: Yeah, I talked about it last night at the dinner. It was a special I keep using the word "special," but it is an incredible year that I have had.
You can't put it's difficult to put into words, but sometimes you just say, dreams come true. You keep knocking on the door and something good happens. And those two tournaments last year were the best thing that's ever happened to me in my golfing career by far.
It sounds a bit of an understatement, but, yeah, it was a fantastic feeling. To come to or go to Harbor Shores without any sort of expectations I knew I was playing okay maybe a Top 20 would have sufficed. But you lead after the first round and lead after the second round and you have to evaluate your goals for that week.
I managed to get over the line and just get the trophy in my hands. And Alfred. I love him. Alfred.
And just to see the names on it and my name is underneath Tom Watson. That just says enough.
And then it's incredible to be part of this championship.
And then to go on to Indianwood sort of 50 days later, whatever it was, and do it again, it was, I mean it's mind boggling.
KELLY ELBIN: Open it up for questions.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about with all of the preparation, not only for the tournament, but for all the other responsibilities that you have here, as defending champion, completely opposite from last year. Does the mindset still the same in terms of do you feel prepared to play? Have you given that as much thought as you would for any other event this year?
ROGER CHAPMAN: Yeah, last year I sort of snuck in under the radar, I didn't have to do anything, just get out on the golf course and there wasn't any autographs to sign.
That's changed. You come off the 18th green and there's two lines going up to the putting green and you do one line and you think, well I got to go back to the start and do another line.
But, no, I've enjoyed it. The sort of stuff, the periphery stuff, like the dinner and we went to the ballpark on Monday night just to watch Ozzie Smith and the two guys. And then I got hauled up on the stage as well.
So little things like that, that sort of it's been nice. Don't get me wrong. But they do all of a sudden you lose your focus a little bit on what you're out here to do.
Today I've just got this to do and then that's me finished and just concentrate on my golf. But it is harder as a champion to come in and do all that stuff. Because I'm not used to it.
Q. Could you talk about differences that a year makes in terms of expectations? Nobody, as you said, nobody expected you to do that last year, now a lot of people are expecting you to play well because you're the defending champion. Do you like to be, have that expectations placed upon you?
ROGER CHAPMAN: Yeah, I've raised the bar myself. And all of a sudden you get the attention of being defending champion and that puts a little bit more pressure on you, because you know you got to go out there and try and perform again. Obviously I want to put in a good defense of the title.
Again, it's sort of added pressure that, the two weeks before at Scottsdale, I was thinking about it a lot more than I am now. Now I'm out on the golf course, I'm where I know what I'm doing sometimes. I can handle that. So, yeah, I think the two weeks before I was, if you asked Cathy, I was a bit grumpy. I just wanted to get here and get it started.
KELLY ELBIN: What are your general thoughts on the golf course here at Bellerive.
ROGER CHAPMAN: Great golf course. With the rain we had on Monday night it's playing very long. With a bit of breeze as well. And I think it's going to be colder tomorrow.
So somebody that drives the ball a long way is going to have some advantage, because they can still just about get up to the par 5s.
But the course is in great shape. I did the media day here about four weeks ago and it was in a tough spring. But everything's great, the trees are out with the leaves now where they weren't four weeks ago and it really does look like a picture out there. The greens staff have done a great job in getting it ready in the last four weeks.
KELLY ELBIN: What's the state of your game right now coming in?
ROGER CHAPMAN: Not bad. I got my coach Gavin again with me. The feisty Scotsman. He's, he keeps everybody amused. But, no, it's good to have him there just as another short of reassurance that everything's going all right. And yeah, I am not playing too bad, touch wood.
Q. The most important question, do we have a one restaurant venue this year or are you going to go four separate or how are you going to do that?
ROGER CHAPMAN: I jokingly said last night that I picked out my restaurant for the week. And I hope Cathy enjoyed her room service. But, no, we are going out tonight and we'll see what happens. We'll see. If I do well tomorrow, I might go back to the same place.
Q. I was wondering, coming from your circumstance last year where perhaps people weren't mentioning you as a contender in this event, how broad a spectrum of players in this field do you think have a realistic chance of winning on a course like this?
ROGER CHAPMAN: Obviously you can't look much further than Bernhard Langer. I think he's playing some great golf this year. There are one or two people that are not here, for one reason or another, I don't know. So Bernhard must be feeling quite confident.
But it could be another upset. I don't know. It could be that type of course that somebody comes along and maybe did what I did last year and sort of sneaks under the radar and gets the job done. So, but there's 156 guys out there that can all play. So I think it's pretty wide open.
KELLY ELBIN: Was it difficult at all last year winning this championship of finishing the championship before envisioning getting the trophy? Were those last few holes a challenge coming down the stretch.
ROGER CHAPMAN: Yeah, I think I drove it in the water on 14. And then I started having little sort of palpitations and thinking about George Will and so I got quite emotional. But I think when I hit my tee shot on 16 I personally thought, I'm going to win it from there.
So that was the big tee shot for me obviously there on 16. And I 3 putted 17 and dropped one on 18, but I still won by two.
So, no, it was because a lot of people were making a move. I was nine in front at one stage and then three holes later I had made one mistake and all of a sudden the lead's down to five I think it was. So that's how quickly it can change.
But when I hit me tee shot on 16 I pretty much thought that was it.
KELLY ELBIN: Defending Senior PGA champion, Roger Chapman. Thank you so much.
ROGER CHAPMAN: Thank you.
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