THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon,
everybody. Tom Kite is kind enough to
join us again today. Tom, you were even
for the round, 5 under for the championship.
One off the lead. How would you
characterize your round today?
TOM KITE: 70, even par.
Just nice and consistent, just steady.
Just a bunch of pars out there.
THE MODERATOR: Did the course play harder today?
TOM KITE: It did.
The whole golf course, it dried out a lot. I was joking about being consistent out
there, by the way. Didn't give me a
chance to go on.
The fairways are firm. We hit three good shots on the 9th hole, but
none of us could hold the fairway. That
fairway needs a dousing. Not just water,
it needs to be doused because you can't hold the fairway. If you hit it far enough that it carries over
the cliff on the right‑hand side, it goes through the fairway well into the
So it got a little bit out of
control there. The greens are a little
brown right now so they need to put some water on them before tomorrow's round.
I played a nice nine holes of golf
on my first nine holes, the back nine.
And then I played a very poor nine holes of golf. Other than the bogey on 9, where I did hit a
nice tee shot there, I can't really attribute any of my bogeys on the last nine
holes to the drying out of the golf course.
I just hit poor shots, and as we
talked about yesterday, this golf course will give up some good scores and will
give up some birdies. But if you miss
it, it will bite you in the rear. It bit
me a couple times on the last nine holes.
THE MODERATOR: Let's open up for questions.
You talked about what a funny game this is. You bogeyed a hole, you eagled, you birdied a
hole, you double bogeyed. Your front
nine were good both days, but they were different nines. This is kind of a funny game that way, isn't
TOM KITE: Funny ha‑ha or funny strange? I mean, it's a sadistic game is what it
is. It really is. It drives us all crazy. As Harvey Penick said, it's such an easy game
to play, it's just such a hard game to play well. That's what we're trying to do.
In a championship like this, we're
trying to play very well, and they've given us a stern test on a golf course
that is very tricky. The greens are very
severe in a number of places. It's just
you've got to be on your toes all the time on a course like this, and you have
to play very well.
Was it something in your swing that went awry?
TOM KITE: Yeah.
I've been working on some things the last few weeks in my golf
swing. And for the most part, I get it
pretty good. And then occasionally I'll
revert back to some of the things I'm trying to get out of, and when that pops
in there, I can hit it right or hit it left, either one.
I hit a couple of shots to the right
on 1 and 2. I drove it in the bunker at
1 up under the lip and basically had no play.
Then I drove it into the right trees on 2. Then hit a couple left after that.
Fortunately, I got back to 7, 8, and
9, my last three holes, I really made some nice swings there. Two good pars on 7 and 8. And then like I said, a bad break on 9 with
the fairway being almost impossible to hit.
I made some good swings there, and
I'm pleased with that. So I'll go hit a
few balls on the range and try to get back to it.
Did it just start on the back nine?
TOM KITE: No. I
played beautifully on my first nine holes of golf. I really did.
I drove it long, drove it straight.
Hit my irons very well.
Tom, being a former major champion, a U.S. Open Champion on the PGA
Tour, how would you compare the setup of a USGA Champions Tour Senior Open as
opposed to a PGA Tour, regular tour U.S. Open?
TOM KITE: Surprisingly enough, one of the big deals
that the current staff of the USGA has been touting is this graduated rough,
and I don't think there's any graduated rough anywhere on this golf
course. I think the 16th hole, I think
they put a little bit through the fairway on the 16th hole, and it's the only
place on this golf course.
So I would say that the rough on
this golf course is significantly more difficult than what they saw at Olympic
just because this is more like an old traditional USGA setup in that there's
really none of the transitional.
What about the green speeds?
TOM KITE: Green speeds are reasonable for these
greens. They're certainly not fast, but
if they had fast greens, we would have no pin placements that are usable on a
number of those greens. They can't get
them any faster. If they do, they would
have a debacle like they had at Olympic years and years ago or like they've had
at some of the other golf courses, Southern Hills, where the ball rolls up and
So I think they've got the greens in
good shape. Like I said, they dried out
a lot this afternoon, and so they're firm.
But they also grew throughout the day, and they didn't get lightning
Tom, talk about the full‑time caddie, part‑time player Ten Broeck.
TOM KITE: He went to school at the University of
Texas. I played a lot of golf with ‑‑
not a lot, but I played a bunch of golf with Lance when he was in Austin. He's had so much talent for so many years and
just, to a lot of people's minds, didn't take advantage of all the talent that
he has. Obviously, he's playing very
well right now.
It will be good to watch him play.
You'll be paired with him tomorrow.
How surprising is it to see his name up there at the top of the
TOM KITE: It's the second round of a U.S. Open, a
Senior U.S. Open. You're always going to
have a couple names that pop up there from time to time, and Lance is a good
He hasn't been playing much, so I
think it's a little bit of a surprise, but he's a talented guy. I'm sure he's playing very well right now.
THE MODERATOR: Given the wind today, Tom, and perhaps the
conditions over the next couple of days, this course is going to get faster and
TOM KITE: Let's hope not.
THE MODERATOR: Do you go into the weekend thinking you need
to protect your score right now, or can you be aggressive going into Saturday
TOM KITE: I still think you can be aggressive. I'm not quite sure that I totally agree with
you, because I think when they go out and start assessing some of the fairways
and some of the greens, I would be shocked if they don't put some water to this
golf course in a number of places.
Now, whether they put it all over
remains to be seen, but they're sitting there watching television too. They're seeing balls ‑‑ again, I hate to
keep harping on that 9th fairway, but it's just the last hole we played. It's practically impossible to hit that
fairway. The fairway is about 15 yards
deep, and it's rock hard. You're hitting
a 3 or 4 iron or a hybrid, trying to hold that fairway, and it's just not going
So they're watching TV too, and they
don't want to look like they've missed the ball. They've had that happen before in certain
courses, where it got out of control, and it's never a good look for the rules
makers in the USGA to let a golf course get out of control.
So I'm not sure I totally agree with
you that it would get firmer and faster.
I think the golf course was set up beautifully. Personally, I'm not in favor of that
graduated rough. I like traditional U.S.
Opens with the deep rough right off of the fairway, or if you miss the fairway,
you get penalized. I don't have an issue
with that. Personally, I like it. I wish they'd get rid of that graduated rough
in major championships and just get back to driving the ball on the fairway.
But I think, as we said, the golf
course, if you're playing well, there are a number of places where you can make
some birdies. So you're still going to
have to go out and attack it.
THE MODERATOR: Tom, thanks.
We wish you the best heading into the weekend.
TOM KITE: Thank you.