Media Center Interviews

April 23, 2016

Interview With Ricky Barnes

Q. Ricky, great round. Lot of birdies out there. You made a ton.

RICKY BARNES: Yeah. I took advantage of my good shots, converted on my birdies and then obviously a bad finish, you know, bad swing at the end but actually still even hit a good putt there, kind of misread it. Overall, if you would have told me 5-under today, I would have taken it.

Q. I followed you the entire day. I was very impressed with your decision-making. Every time there was an opportunity where maybe it was a chance to make the wrong decision, you made the right one. Left the ball in great spots.

RICKY BARNES: That's what you got to do out here. You will really punish yourself by putting it in a bad spot and playing away from pins. Tried to play kind of aggressive conservatively.

Q. So you are the leader now as we head into the final round. Difference in anything for tomorrow, just stick to the game plan that got us here?

RICKY BARNES: Exactly. Hit it on the head. We played in two of the same winds. Today was a little bit different wind. Changed a few clubs off the tee but stick to the game plan. Like I said, got to hit fairways to make birdies outs here.

Q. You made a lot them today. Great watching you. Congratulations and good luck tomorrow, Ricky.

RICKY BARNES: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Q. Ricky Barnes here with a 54 hole lead. Second time in your career that you have had it outright. For you, what's the feeling about being in this position?

RICKY BARNES: I mean this is why you play the game, right, coming in Sundays and have a chance to win. You know, I've been working hard. Had to go back to the Web Final last year and, you know, fighting every bit of the way, been working really hard with Steve Graham, my coach, and things are starting to pay off. This is kind of the results so far of hard work.

Q. After winning the Amateur, you had to have thought a day like this coming out and winning a golf tournament would be a lot sooner. It hasn't come yet. What have you told yourself to maintain your confidence?

RICKY BARNES: I've been there before, you know, obviously just winning the Amateur isn't a fluke and getting out here isn't a fluke for about 8 years or so. I have good rounds, you know. I've been showing a lot lately. Just need to keep doing what I'm doing last three days. Obviously a sour ending but overall 16, 17, solid holes today and take that into tomorrow.

Q. With that, where is your confidence level going into tomorrow and what do you expect on a day where there will be a lot of guys shooting at you?

RICKY BARNES: You know, I just go hit a few balls then. I've been in pretty good rhythm. My emotions didn't really get too far up or down today and I benefited by making birdies.

Q. Thank you for your time.


Since we moved here, no better place for us. My daughter's birthday yesterday, 3rd birthday. We have a lot of fun after rounds, you know. It's just easy to go back and relax, you know. I know they raise a bunch of money in this area for the PGA TOUR. I know they're one of the leading givers of the PGA TOUR and I've come here I think every year since I turned pro but once.

So, it's a cool town. Actually I have my best friend's older sister that lives here that I stayed with for years before I started my own family and they had to kick us out. It's always fun to come back and if I were -- be fortunate to get my first win here. Like I said, it's as good as any place.

Q. Ricky, you've been in contention a couple times, had the lead a couple times going into Sunday. Last year at Barbasol.

RICKY BARNES: Yeah. I think I was one back or tied for the lead going into the final round. It's been awhile. I know that was an opposite event but I actually handled myself -- I was pretty calm that round. I ran into kind of a buzz saw, Scott Piercy played well that day and no one was going to catch him.

It's been awhile since I've been with a 54 hole lead by myself. Like I said, I'm doing the right things now in 2016 and keep doing that.

Q. How easy is it to not dwell on the fact that -- (inaudible)

RICKY BARNES: No. I'd be lying if I would say it was a successful career being out here 12, 14 years without a win. That's why we come out every week to compete. We just don't come out here to compete and finish -- I played well last year and finished 9th. You figure -- hopefully tomorrow will erase that.

Q. Do you feel you're pretty calm right now?

RICKY BARNES: If you're not feeling nervous or anxious you're not competing. I felt good on the first tee. I look forward to the challenge tomorrow.

Q. Ricky, people always say at the start of the year they look at what they've done, they look at what's holding them back and work to correct that thing. Was there one or two things you feel like has held you back you worked hard to try to correct that?

RICKY BARNES: I did. About two years ago my short game, my short game really improved probably the last 18, 19 months and my scrambling and putting has been way up since 2013, 2014. Then about two years ago maybe a little less, I took a look, like you said, in the mirror and hired a new coach and I knew I needed to get better. My ball-striking wasn't great.

I don't know if I wasn't working on the right things or just wasn't transitioning. So, I went and like you said, started from scratch and we're working our way to where we want to be.

Q. Who is your new coach?

RICKY BARNES: Steve Graham, Nashville, Tennessee.