MORE:RBC Canadian Open transcript archiveNELSON SILVERIO:Welcome, Greg Owen to the media center at the RBC Canadian Open. Greg, 63 today. Just maybe talk about the keys to your round today, and maybe talk a little bit about conditions out there.
GREG OWEN:Well, obviously I putted pretty well. I think you shoot 63 you have to putt well, so that was the strength of my game today, which is unusual.
You know, just gotta keep it in play, hit the fairways. It's not a long golf course. Hit the fairways and then give yourself as many chances as you can, and that's what I did today. Got off to a rough start, but I played pretty solid from then on.
NELSON SILVERIO:And conditions out there, guys are talking about maybe softer?
GREG OWEN:Yeah. I think we had some rain last night. The fairways are a little soft. The greens were soft today. You could fire at the flags.
Got a little windy at times. Kept coming up and down. So it was a little tricky in the middle, but played pretty well, and the wind seemed to die really the last three or four holes.
NELSON SILVERIO:Open it up to questions.
Q. Greg, after that tough start you alluded to there, did you have any bad thoughts that maybe the day was going to get away from you or did you keep the emotions in check?
GREG OWEN:No. The emotions were real good, which is unusual as well. You know, I wasn't even sure whether I would be playing this week with my hand. I was really 50/50 as to whether I should be playing or not.
My goal at the start of this year was to play in the PGA Championship, and this is the last chance I got to do it. So I was going to give it all.
And obviously when I started that way, I'm like, okay, well, not a lot lost because I wasn't sure I would play anyway, but I started playing well, and you know, you just keep moving, just keep momentum going and that's the way it was going. And every time I missed a couple of greens, chipped it close, knocked the putt in and then birdied the next hole and just kept going.
Q. Greg, you've always been a guy who hits a lot of greens. Do you kind of live and die by your putter? Is that a fair assessment?
GREG OWEN:I think everybody knows that. This year my stats haven't been that good with the putter, probably about normal for me, about 170 or something like that. But I've actually putted a lot better this year. I've holed out a lot better.
And today it was just something that I was expecting somewhere along the line because I've worked hard at it. It's something I'm continuously working at, and it's just nice to feel comfortable and hit the ball where I'm looking, because in previous years it has been a real struggle for me.
Q. Have you been working with anybody or is it just hard work and practice on your own?
GREG OWEN:Just figuring it out. Actually talking with one of the caddies, Daniel Chopra's caddie who is a pro. Just simplifying things, and also worked with Tripp Isenhour a little bit, from the Golf Channel. I saw him and just got some routines going. Just working a lot more on my short putts, which gives me confidence on the longer putts.
Q. Greg, I was wondering, first of all, did you hear any of the storms last night? Are you staying in Hamilton? Did you hear the storms?
GREG OWEN:I'm not sure whether I heard them or not. I thought I may have heard them, but I'm in Burlington, and my room is facing indoors, so I haven't got a window to outdoors, so I didn't see the rain. I just woke up and there were puddles in the parking lot. I presume it rained quite a bit.
Q. Were you happy to see that?
GREG OWEN:No, because I thought the rough was going to be a lot harder to get through. So I was a little worried coming out here, depending on how many fairways and stuff. The rough is obviously going to be really lush and thick, so keep it out, most of the fairways, hit most of the fairways, it was pretty good.
Q. So you did a pretty good job, in other words, of keeping it in the fairways?
GREG OWEN:For 16 holes, yeah.
Q. Could you explain a little bit more about your hand?
GREG OWEN:On the 14th hole at Lytham last week first round, I hit it left. The ball looked like you go and get it. So I attempted a full shot with a 7-iron. I actually hit the ball really well going flag high like 170 yards away, but as I hit the ball, the club just stopped dead and my hand just took the whole brunt of it, and I bogeyed the next three holes, and I struggled -- and it hurts when I'm warming up. It's like -- it's just sore. I don't know if I can do any more damage or what. I hope I can't.
But once it loosens up, it's not too bad. I just gotta be careful of how deep of divots I take and how hard I go after it in the rough. Hopefully if I hit it in the rough I'm going to get a decent lie.
Q. So no broken bone, no tendon?
GREG OWEN:I believe it's ligament damage, but I get a little swelling just up the wrist into the hand at night. But I just want to play this week and give it my best shot. So hopefully we can last all four days and keep playing like I did today.
Q. Did you work for a little while with Sean Foley?
Q. And when did that end?
GREG OWEN:Me and Sean have been off and on before he first started coaching Stephen Ames, we worked a little bit down in Florida. I'd just come out of a relationship with my teaching pro from 20 years, so I wasn't really sure what I wanted.
Sean obviously started progressing, and then I went on the Nationwide Tour and just couldn't get into see him. So I started working with a guy, Gregor Jamieson from Lake Nona for a year who teaches Retief.
And then I started working with Sean again. And we started working really well. And then again I lost my card. We only started working at the end of the year and I lost my card and I just couldn't get to see him. Now I'm working with a guy, Donnie Lee, who is working with Coral Golf down with Sean. We're working on very sort of similar fundamentals and characteristics. And I like the way Sean teaches. I think he's a great coach, still a good friend.
Q. Could you take us through what happened on your first hole, which I guess is the tenth? Were you out of bounds on the right?
GREG OWEN:I actually hit it in the rough. I was only like a yard or so in the rough on the right. And then the ball was sitting real horrible. It was like this matty kind of rough, so I tried to chop it out. It caught the tree and went in the hazard on the right, took a drop, chipped it out and two-putted. And then I hit a decent drive on the next hole just went through the fairway and got a horrible lie, made 5 there.
Q. So that's your start.
GREG OWEN:That's my start.
Q. I mean what's your mindset at that point? It's funny because somebody said, you've got this good score going, and they said, oh, he started on the back, and I kind of looked at it and back doesn't look all that impressive. Was there a moment or a point where this just started coming together?
GREG OWEN:No, not really. I hit a good drive off the third hole. I don't think many people have been hitting driver there. I thought I don't want to go in the rough and I want to hit it off the tee so I don't take a divot. So I'll hit driver.
Actually hit a great drive, hit it up to like five feet. Holed it. I thought, okay, there's some of my intent. Hit a good shot into the fourth hole, par-3. Had the wrong club, came up short. Had to hole a 4-footer there for par. Knocked that in.
And I just started seeing the line. Those two putts, the third hole and the fourth hole I just saw the line so well, but when I got on the green the next couple of holes I just felt confident I was going to hole them. I birdied 5 and 6, I believe. And all of a sudden you're back to even par, and then it's like, okay, a couple under is finishing in top 20, so if I can get into red figures, I'll be doing all right. And then just momentum kept going, kept hitting it to like 10, 12 feet and holing it. That's just the way it was all day, saw the lines and nice to hit it where I wanted to hit it.
Q. Is it easy for you mentally, you know, when you get off to that kind of start?
Q. To sort of tweak it and turn it around or is that difficult as it is for everybody?
GREG OWEN:I think if I'd have been physically healthy, I think I'd have probably caused more damage before.
But no, I'm not known for my patience. But as I said before, you know, I don't feel 100 percent, and when you go into a round of golf with no expectations, then things can go either way.
It started off bad, I'm thinking, okay, well, you know, just play. Just play, see what happens, and obviously started playing well, and the putter started working.
Q. Can you take that round into the next one, like I mean -- or does it sort of end and tomorrow you start again?
GREG OWEN:As I said before, my main goal for this year at the start of the year coming out of Q-School category is to play in the PGA championship. That was my goal. This is my last chance. So I want to try and just stay calm and just do exactly what I've done today.
I've been around a few years now, so leading after round one doesn't mean a lot. You know, you guys get to see us after round one, but for us it's more a case of, all right, well, that's a start. And then we just go. And tomorrow could bring -- you only have to miss the fairways by a yard -- you're better off missing by ten yards out here than a yard. So you can play pretty good out here and not get many rewards and you can drop back in the field pretty easily. So just going to go out again and try and take care of my hand and hit as many fairways as I can and hopefully the putter will keep working.
Q. This is a Harry /KOELT course. He only did two in Canada and did very little in North America, but at your home, the UK, he's very common. Does it seem familiar style wise?
GREG OWEN: It's very English looking, park land. You have a lot of big trees. So yeah, in a way it is an English kind of course, but we play so many courses, I don't think you can really have a favorite type of golf course, you know. At the end of the day you're picking numbers and you're hitting shots. Doesn't matter really what the beauty of the course is like, you're still looking at the flag and trying to hit a shot a certain yardage.
I think I felt comfortable out there today, so hopefully I can keep playing and feeling that way for the rest of the week.
Q. You talked about how receptive the fairways were as far as not going into the rough. As far as the greens go, how important was that to you? Were you sticking it pretty close? Could you talk a little bit about how receptive the greens were today?
GREG OWEN:Yeah, obviously when you have a 7-iron in your hand or something you can spin them back. Other than that, they're very soft, but they're not really spinning a whole lot. So you get in there with like an 8-iron or 9-iron and they're stopping pretty quick. I mean I hit a 5-iron on 4 -- I don't even know which hole that is. I actually talked backwards the other holes before. I think it's the 4th, the par-5. Hit a 5-iron down there straight down wind. It's when the wind picked up. And it stuck within like 12 feet. So they're pretty receptive. I'm sure they'll try and dry them out for the rest of the week. I don't know what rain is going to come tonight or tomorrow. We'll just adjust and see what happens.
Q. How is that affecting your putting stroke? Obviously it worked for you, but are you better on slow greens than you are --
GREG OWEN:Actually, since I've been in the States I've got better on quicker greens. I struggled a little bit at Lytham last week because they were a little slower. But they're a nice pace for me here.
They're not overly quick, and they're not overly slow. So it's just nice. You're not feeling like you're going to hit a putt and they're going to get away from you. The only time I felt like that was on 18. When I went big to the hole there, and that green is just brutal coming down that slope. So they're a nice pace for me. But I'm actually -- I mean obviously playing all my golf here in America now you're going to get used to quick greens like Congressional and Quail Hollow. So my stroke is probably better for quicker greens. So it's a nice transition from the Open to here.