Gene Sauers (Final Round- Media Center)

July 13, 2014
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, folks. We'd like to welcome the runner-up in the 2014 U.S. Senior Open Championship, Mr. Gene Sauers. Gene, obviously you probably would like to have the trophy at this point rather than just a medal around your neck. Great play. Take us through what happened with the playoff and your thoughts about that to start.

GENE SAUERS: Well, the playoff, you know, on 16 in regulation I hit that drive to the right. You know, I just underestimated the wind going left to right too much there. Maybe I just didn't put a good swing on it. I did the same thing in the playoff. It's a long bunker shot. I hit 4-iron in the regulation. Hit 3-iron in the playoff. I had a fairly good chip, and I had that same putt earlier today. This was a little bit longer and I missed it low, also. You know, in regulation I think that's where -- you know, I bogeyed that hole, also. That's probably what was the turning point right there. You know, on 17 I hit 7-iron in regulation. Of course, I hit it long. I was in between 7- and 8-iron. Wind wasn't blowing as hard as it was during regulation, so I tried to hit 7-iron again, which I should have hit 8-iron. I just kind of left it out to the left. I told myself, just make sure to get the ball to the hole. I noticed I had a little plateau there and it went downhill. I said, don't leave it on that plateau. So I gave it a little extra. Of course, you saw what it did. Made bogey there. Didn't have a chance to make my par on the last hole. But, you know, I played great all week. I struggled a little bit. I had a little cold all week. I'm proud of the way I played. Yes, I would like to take home that trophy. One day I will.

THE MODERATOR: If you could just tell us the clubs you hit, the lies you had on the 72nd hole of regulation, your distances, et cetera.

GENE SAUERS: I hit driver, and then I had 192, I think, to the flag. Tried to hit a 5-iron. Of course I was going right at the flag. I had to try to make birdie. Came up a little short, and then I hit a little sand wedge, a little flop sand wedge in there, about three feet. Of course, he made his. I didn't have a chance.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please? Just raise your hand.

Q. Could you just kind of talk about mentally how tough it was maybe to play with Bernhard, and then a hole ahead of you Colin, couple of big names. You know, you're looking for something, your fifth big-time pro tour victory.
GENE SAUERS: I have played a lot with Bernhard, played a few times with Colin but not a lot. That didn't really affect me much. I was just trying to concentrate on my game and do what I had to do. That's all I really tried to do. Colin is a great guy. He's won a lot of tournaments around the world. So has Bernhard. You know, Bernhard kind of shocked me a little bit today, what he shot today. But, you know, coming down the stretch, you know, on 16 I should have made that putt. I wish I would have made that putt and things would have been different. I'm glad to have the opportunity.

Q. What about the birdie putt on the 72nd hole after that marvelous approach?
GENE SAUERS: Yeah, I just didn't play enough break. I knew it was going to go a little bit to the right, but I knew if I got it outside the hole I thought it was going to stay straight. I hit a good putt, and of course it lipped out. I wish I would have gave it just a little bit more break. Hindsight, you know.

Q. So much was discussed about your stuff that you have overcome. So I know moral victories are not probably in your DNA, but just talk about how good you feel about how you played and going forward after this effort.
GENE SAUERS: You know, I haven't had a good year up to this point. I have been struggling a little bit, but, you know, came around. Done a lot of work the last few weeks. You know, knowing that I can do it, I know I can. It's just a matter of, you know, telling yourself, getting in this mind here. You know, like I say, I have been hard on myself throughout my whole career. What happened to me, I don't take life for granted anymore. I'm not going to take golf for granted. Just go do what I got to do and focus and go on from there. I feel good about my game right now, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year.

Q. The shot into 18 in regulation. How far and what club?
GENE SAUERS: Oh, in regulation? I hit a 4-iron. I think I was like 202, I do believe, hit a 4-iron. Hit it perfect.

Q. I'd say so. He alluded to it a little bit. What's the overriding emotion you're feeling right now? Are you pleased because of coming so close, given what you've overcome, or are you disappointed being so close?
GENE SAUERS: I think at this point right this second I'm disappointed of being so close. You know, I had a lot of opportunities out there today. You know, on 13 -- no, 14, 15, I had a little short putt there. I left it short from, you know, about eight feet. If you want to win a major tournament, you can't leave things short. 16, missed that little putt. I'm disappointed but I'm happy, also. What can I say? It builds a lot of confidence going into the rest of the year.

Q. Can you talk about what you did to deal with the heat throughout the day, especially having to go out and play extra holes, as well?
GENE SAUERS: Yeah, like I say, I just got that towel and kind of kept me cool. I still have a little bit of a fever, but I feel better today than I did yesterday. Probably those last three holes got me. I'm not trying to make excuses or anything, but I was kind of tired. I was kind of tired the last three or four holes in regulation. Just to get it in was a feat for me.

Q. Obviously, like you said, the disappointment, you wanted the win and everything, but when you have three Hall of Famers on the board today, the one you ended up in the playoff with, for you to survive the heat and be there at the end, how much confidence do you have at the end?
GENE SAUERS: It's a lot of confidence, but -- you know, they're great players, great players, but I know I can beat them. That's just the disappointing part maybe. You know, they are great players and I love them to death, but we're all competitors. I know I can beat them day in and day out, given the opportunity.

Q. After the mess on the 72nd hole, was it hard to kind of refocus? Did that kind of deflate you going into the three-hole playoff being that close to winning?
GENE SAUERS: Yeah, it was. Like I say, I didn't get a chance to hit any balls or putts. They just took me right out and go. Then I did that same tee shot on the 16th hole I did in regulation. But, you know, I played great. I'm happy. I just gotta move on, forget about this week and just try to build on my confidence.

Q. It seems maybe a little bit long ago now, but early in your round, I know you had a shaky start yesterday, but today you started solid and then you had a great up-and-down on 4 and another one on 6 that kind of kept the round going for you.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the early going and how you were able to -- I mean, you were in the heat of it and you were performing, making shots that you needed to to stay in the lead there.
GENE SAUERS: Right. I made a good up-and-down on 1. And 2, had a good two-putt. Hit a 3-iron I believe into 2. Hit a great 3-iron. The next hole, what did I do there? Hit it in the bunker, made bogey. That was just another bad bunker shot. Then I made a great putt on the par-3 that sidered downhill. I three-putted the next hole from what, 20 feet, I guess. Missed a little two-and-a-half, three-footer, pushed it out to the right. Then I made a great par on the next hole from that bunker short of the green. That kept me going, building me up. Made a good birdie on No. 7. Kept me going. I thought a made a birdie on 9, but, it was going right at the hole and the last second fell off. So that kept me going, yes. Just tried to play solid from there. I did okay except for that little putt on 16, and 15, I should have never left it short. But I already forgot about it.

THE MODERATOR: We thank you for your great effort and cooperation this week. You should be very proud of the way you played, because we are too.

GENE SAUERS: Thank you, all.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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