Gene Sauers (Third Round- Flash)


By USGA
July 12, 2014
Q. Can you fill us in on your story? Not your life story.
GENE SAUERS: Back in 2009 I started having arthritis symptoms going on with me, and it lasted 2010, and I wasn't getting any better. They thought I had rheumatoid arthritis, which I didn't. I finally ended up going to Duke and they told me you don't have rheumatoid arthritis. They thought I might have had lupus or Wegener's, which are fatal. They are treating me with all these drugs, and the next thing you know after taking them for six or eight months, the drug interreaction burned me from inside out, both my arms and legs. I think they told me I had like a 25% chance of surviving. I pulled through. The mind is a good thing (smiling). So, you know, after that, 2011, June 1, I got out of the hospital. Spent seven weeks in the hospital there. After skin grafts and all that, I don't have any more arthritis, thank God. I'm living and playing golf with my friends again, which is awesome.

Q. Did they ever figure out what it was?
GENE SAUERS: I don't really think they did. They said drug interreaction.

Q. You didn't have arthritis. What was the cause of the symptoms?
GENE SAUERS: They don't really know. It went to one shoulder here, would last 12 hours, so much pain I was on the ground. Then it went to this shoulder and just started popping all around everywhere. It was like Phil Mickelson. He said he couldn't get off the couch. I was the same way. I have hardwood floors in my house, and I had to walk around with socks and basically slide. It was awful. When I ended up burning from my legs, I was laying on the couch and I had my feet propped up. All the blood is rushing this way. I could time myself, about three minutes. I could go from the couch to the refrigerator, get something to drink, I had to haul back to the couch and prop my legs up because it started burning like no other. But it was pretty bad, pretty painful. I was treated like a burn victim.

Q. All of those struggles make this easier?
GENE SAUERS: Yes, it does. I'm more relaxed out there, and it's like I have been telling everybody: a bogey doesn't matter that much anymore. It does, but not as much as it used to when I was on the regular tour. I was pretty hard on myself when I was on the regular tour. That's probably some of my downfalls, but I have learned from that. I'm more relaxed out here now.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
GENE SAUERS: Oh, yeah. He's had a motorcycle wreck and a few other things.

Q. Do you feel a kinship because of that?
GENE SAUERS: Well, yeah. I don't know. Say that one again? I lost my thought.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
GENE SAUERS: Oh, yeah, we both can relate. He spent a lot of time in the hospital, too. We're both thankful to be here, I tell you that.

Q. You have been struggling a little bit mentally with things, but it doesn't look like you're struggling now with any of that. Is it something you could switch or flip? What happened here?
GENE SAUERS: I have been taking a number of lessons from people back home. Jack Hall has been a good friend of mine. I have been playing a lot of golf with him. He really knows the golf swing. He's helped me a lot the last few weeks. Like I said, I always hit the ball good on tour. My putting has been my downfall. I'm making some putts this week, saving some pars, and that's what you have to do to win. I have just been working hard at it.

Q. Would you consider yourself a grinder? Because on this course, under this pressure, USGA, et cetera, you would think that's what you have to do.
GENE SAUERS: You have that right. Like I say, it played a little tougher today with the wind, and the greens aren't as firm as I thought they would be for a U.S. Open. But, you know, this is probably as fast and firm as you can get without killing them. The USGA has been kind this week, I think. This golf course, I don't want to play here too much more. It's a great golf course, I love it to death, but it is tough.

Q. You have one more round?
GENE SAUERS: One more round.

Q. But do you consider yourself a grinder who is ready for tomorrow, to tackle it?
GENE SAUERS: Oh, sure. Oh, heck, yeah. I'm all out tomorrow. My game plan is hit fairways and greens and let the birdies come.

Q. On 18?
GENE SAUERS: It was a 6-iron, had 166, I think a little 6-iron.

Q. You were fighting the heat and everything, too.
GENE SAUERS: I have a little fever right now, not feeling too good, but they always say be aware of the guy that's sick, right?

Q. Do you feel like it's survival of the fittest? Only three people shot under par today. You're the low guy. But did it feel different out there?
GENE SAUERS: Yeah, it is, especially in my situation, having a little fever right now. But it's tough. You know, it's a grind. You know, you've got to concentrate. I remember playing Augusta back in 1987, and you have to think your way around Augusta. Those greens, you have to think about where to hit it and so much in your mind. And I remember playing Augusta, then going to Hilton Head the week before it was so much easier because it was so much relaxed. This is one of those golf courses that you have to think around it, concentrate on where to hit it off the tee shot and where to place it on the green. I'll be glad to get done with this this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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