An Interview With: Jimmy Walker

MARK STEVENS:  I’d like to welcome Jimmy Walker.  Jimmy, great round today.  Got it to 12-under.

And after the morning wave you got a couple shot lead going into tomorrow.  Still have the afternoon wave.  If you want to talk about your round today and then we’ll have a few questions.

JIMMY WALKER:  I started off just, you know, wanted to hit a bunch of fairways and stuff today and I did.  Right off the get-go I hit a couple good shots.

Had a really good chip-in on 2.  If it wouldn’t have gone in it probably would have rolled over the back of the green.  Just used a new pin they never used there before.  It was tough.  Hard to get to.

I chipped in there, made a good putt on the next hole, about a 15-footer, something like that, and then made par.  Didn’t birdie the next par 5.

Kept hitting some good shots.  Wasn’t getting anything to go.  And then got good looks on 8 and 9 and got both of those to go.  Hit a really good shot into 9.  I think 8 I made — what I did make there — like a 15-footer on 8.  Hit one pretty close in on 9.

11, I hit one in the first cut and the first cut here is tough because it’s so thick and the ball can be just sitting up on top of it and nestled down.  You can catch a flyer.  I caught one, went a little, released to the back.  Could have really gone down the slope but it didn’t.  I ended up making the putt on top of that, which was nice.

Parred the next par 3.  Hit to the middle of the green, back part of the green.  Had a good look on the next hole.  Just came up short.

Next one I hit it in the fairway bunker.  Had to blast out and I had about 85 yards left and hit to five feet and made it for par which was nice.  That kind of helped to save the moment and the round.

Hit a great drive on the par 5 and 6 iron right in the middle of the green.  Two-putted there.  I hit 8-iron on 16 right behind the hole, I had about 6, 7-footer straight downhill and made that.

Then I gave myself another really good look to the front pin on 17, hit a pitching wedge in there to about five feet, made that.  Then 18, 18 is tough hole.  I knocked — hit it on in two and had a tough two-putt into that back right pin.  It was a solid day, lot of fairways.

MARK STEVENS:  Questions?

Q.  Jimmy, will you watch the weather this afternoon and hoping the wind just blows like crazy or what’s the —

JIMMY WALKER: I saw the forecast.  I heard the forecast when we finished yesterday.  Supposed to be kind of calm in the morning and blow 10 to 15 in the afternoon.

It’s pretty muggy out.  I’m sure guys will actually enjoy a little bit of the breeze because it feels pretty good.

Q.  Then in a tournament like this obviously more birdies, depending on the weather over the weekend, do you like these kind of tournaments where it’s kind of a birdie-fest?

JIMMY WALKER:  You know, I don’t think anybody kind of knew what to expect.  The greens are real young and usually young greens are real firm.  I think they’re firm but they’re receptive to a fairway shot.  A rough shot they’re not going to stop.  The rough is pretty deep.

So, I mean I played really solid yesterday and today.  I didn’t really give anything away.  Who knows what’s going to happen on the weekend with the weather and the wind.  I don’t know.  I haven’t looked at it.

You just go out and keep trying to hit it in the fairway because the rough is pretty thick and you don’t want to be in it.

Q.  Jimmy, you got off to a fast start this year, three Top-10s before the end of February.  Slowed down a little since then. 

Any rhyme or reason how the year has gone?

JIMMY WALKER:  I don’t know.  I did this last year and I did it last year, same kind of start.  I felt like I was playing pretty steady, like I was making a lot of cuts and nothing — just kind of hanging in there.

I tore my meniscus in Dallas and I dealt with that for about three weeks, four weeks trying to kind of get over that and I couldn’t really get the swelling to go away.  I ended up having a cortisone shot right before — when was that — I don’t remember.

Right after Memorial, I think, something like that.  We didn’t go at the U.S. Open.  I got a cortisone injection that week.  It took all the swelling out and my knee feels a hundred percent again.  Still torn but I don’t have the swelling.

I can bend down.  There for awhile I was out of my routine because I couldn’t bend down, I couldn’t read putts the way I wanted to.  I couldn’t line my ball up the way I wanted to.

My right side of my body was getting more fatigued because, you know, I was squatting up and down on one leg instead of two.  I got that fixed and started feeling pretty good about everything again and, you know, all the stuff I had been working on starting to payoff.

Q.  Did it cut back on your practice, too, having a bad knee?

JIMMY WALKER:  It sure made it where you didn’t want to go do a whole lot of practicing.  You get done with the round and you feel pretty beat up.  You know, seeing the doctor and getting that taken care of was big.  I probably will end up getting it fixed after the year’s FedExCup is over.

Q.  Was surgery an option then?

JIMMY WALKER:  It was always an option.  Yeah.  It’s never going to — it’s not going to go away but the cortisone injection really helped kill everything that was in there and made it feel normal again.  It’s still there but it doesn’t feel, doesn’t hurt anymore.

Q.  I guess it would have kept hurting, you would have to do the surgery maybe sooner?

JIMMY WALKER:  Probably.  They thought that that would take care of it and it did.  They were right.  This isn’t something you want to keep doing.  You only want one and get it fixed.

I haven’t had any loss of strength or anything because I’ve stayed on it the whole time.  I think it will be a pretty quick fix, week and a half out, two weeks off.  Play some fall events.

Q.  Was that a golf injury or non-golf injury?

JIMMY WALKER:  Got to be golf.  I don’t do anything crazy off the golf course (laughter).  I don’t work out in the off-season.  I can’t blame it on that.

I was just walking, made a funny step.  It happened to me two years ago, tore my right one at Greenbrier.  I tore it and I think I just did my left one this time.  I did.

Q.  Jimmy, you said you didn’t think anybody out here had — knew what to expect, but based on yesterday’s scores, did you kind of have an inkling you could go out there and fire something low?

JIMMY WALKER:  When I got here I saw there were two guys that kind of — they played really well.  There’s an 8 and 6 and 4-under was like 3rd when I got here and I’m thinking, man, it’s pretty tough, you know.

There’s only two par-5s so guys can’t really attack the golf course that way.  I thought it was playing pretty tough.  I played solid yesterday, shot 4-under and today I hit it about the same, I just kept making putts.

Q.  At the end of the day, if you’re still in the lead, does that change your thought process tomorrow or just don’t really look?

JIMMY WALKER:  No.  I hit a lot of 5-woods off tees.  Kind of boring.  I’m playing with J.B. and he’s bombing the driver everywhere.  I’m just kind of bunting the 5-wood around and hitting good approach shots, that kind of stuff.  It was pretty boring looking golf.

Not a lot of drivers, not a lot of 3-woods.  Lot of 5-woods and some irons.  Just kind of placement, placement around the golf course, relying on hitting good approach shots and making a couple putts.

Q.  That’s the same strategy you obviously take into the weekend?

JIMMY WALKER:  Yeah, it’s what I’m going to do on the weekend.  There’s different golf courses where you can just send it all over the place, you know, and go chase it but around here you want to stay in the fairway, especially with the rough as deep as it is.

MARK STEVENS:  Okay.  Everybody good?  Thanks a lot, Jimmy.  Good luck this weekend.




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