Goydos Fires 59

Paul Goydos tied one of golf's most hallowed marks after firing a 12-under 59 in the opening round of the John Deere Classic. The 46-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., became only the fourth player in PGA Tour history to shoot that score.

Goydos joined other members of the elite "59 Club" Al Geiberger (1977), Chip Beck (1991) and David Duval (1999). During the 2001 season Annika Sorenstam became the only female golfer to shoot a 59 in a competition. The now-retired Swede posted a 13-under 59 in the Standard Register PING.

Goydos had 12 birdies and no bogeys. He went out with a 4-under 31, then birdied eight of the nine holes on the back - including the final three - for an 8-under 28 on the rain-softened TPC Deere Run course in Silvis, Ill.

Goydos leads defending champion Steve Stricker by only a stroke. With five birdies on the front nine, Stricker made the turn in 30. He had six more on the back, also including three on the final three holes, for another 30.

Another five strokes back at 64 on Thursday's birdie-fest are American Michael Letzig and three Aussies - Matt Jones, Aaron Baddeley and James Nitties. Four players were at 65, with more at 66 and an even bigger group at 67. Nearly 100 players in the field broke par of 71.

Goydos attributed a break he had early on for his record-tying round. "I would say that the key start to the round was probably on 5. I missed my only fairway and really caught a good break. Hit it in the right trees and the right trees are dead. I'm walking off the tee thinking I gotta chip out, and I get down there and my ball had actually gotten crooked enough to where I got into an opening where I could go over this one tree and get it on the green and I actually got on the green and ended up making about an 8-footer for two-putt to stay 2-under after 5; and that was a pretty good catalyst to the round."

Here's what else Goydos had to say after shooting the first 59 on the PGA Tour in 11 years.

MODERATOR: Okay. I'd like to welcome Paul Goydos to the interview room. Paul just shot one of four 59s in Tour history. Paul, if you'd kind of take us through your thoughts out there and your thoughts on being part of history, and then we'll take some questions.

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah. Well, obviously I wasn't thinking. If I was thinking I think I would shoot 74 or 5. You know, it was just a good day. First you gotta -- you have to commend the grounds crew here. I mean I was in the drugstore picking up a prescription yesterday. I didn't think -- I thought I was going to drown coming out of that place, it rained so hard, and then it rained again last night, and the golf course is just in outstanding condition, obviously, from that point of view. And they did a wonderful job to get us starting on time. I'll just start with the fact of giving credit where credit is due. You know, good day. I would say that the key start to the round was probably on 5. I missed my only fairway and really caught a good break. Hit it in the right trees and the right trees are dead. I'm walking off the tee thinking I gotta chip out, and I get down there and my ball had actually gotten crooked enough to where I got into an opening where I could go over this one tree and get it on the green and I actually got on the green and ended up making about an 8-footer for two-putt to stay 2-under after 5; and that was a pretty good catalyst to the round.

And then I birdied 6 and 7 after that to get to shoot 4-under on that nine. And then the craziness just blurted out of me. I played 10 very well, and I made a bomb on 11 for birdie. I mean dead center. I made a really good putt from about 20 feet on the next hole for birdie, dead center. I made 125 foot on the next hole, dead center. These putts were going in those little holes you see on the greens. It was like the one on -- after I made the one on 13 to get to 8-under, about 10 feet from the hole I'm watching it and I'm going, oh, no. Jonathan Byrd and Cliff Kresge are playing really well and they're not making anything. I got Laker warm-up. I am making it from everywhere, and this putt's eight feet from the hole, and I go, oh, no. Right into the center. And then the next hole I made a good birdie, and then I made a really good par on 15, and I think I was, what, 9-under at that point. You lose track. And I kind of realized walking to the next tee if I birdied the last three holes, I could shoot 59. And they talk about you don't talk to the pitcher when he's got a no-hitter going, blah, blah, blah, but the reality is in that situation three holes to go, that's a pretty good challenge to yourself, and that's what I did, see if you can birdie three holes, see if you can make good swings and make good strokes and see what happens.

If you're playing this well, let's enjoy it. Let's try to make the most of it and have a good time. I think trying to ignore what you're shooting and just try and one shot at a time or whatever is your only shot, you kind of lose sense of the fun of what we're trying to do in that particular situation, in my opinion. And I kind of decided let's have a good time and see what happens. I made a good swing on 16 and made birdie; played 17 very well and made birdie. And 18, I hit really as good a tee shot as I hit all day on 18. I hit 175, and there's no way I can hit a 7-iron 175, not gonna happen, no matter how hard the wind's blowing. Maybe at the British where the ball lands at 140 and bounces into 170. And I hit 7-iron as good as I could hit it, and I'm not hitting a little 6 to a front-lined pin. And hit 7 as good as I could hit it and got it up there I think it was 7' 3", according to ShotLink. And I was pretty nervous standing there looking around. I was probably as nervous as I've been over a putt in my life was on that putt. And again, the putt would have gone in a thimble. Don't know why. That's just the way it went today.

MODERATOR: Okay. Please, if you'd raise your hands, and we'll call on you.

Q. Had you been playing that well? Was there any indication that you were going to roll the ball that well this week or today?

PAUL GOYDOS: I know I'm getting better. I've been scuffling quite severely for the last four months or so with my game, finding ways to play poorly. I've been very good at playing poorly now for the last 10 tournaments or so. Really since the 9. There's two things that are going to stand out right now this year. That's the 9 and the 59. And really since that 9 at Pebble I have not played well. But I thought my putting was getting a little bit better. Last week I putted pretty good, especially on the short putts, inside eight feet a lot of good putts. I thought my game was getting a little bit better also. But today was, you know -- well, today was a nuclear bomb. I don't know where it came from. If I knew that, I wouldn't be able to touch it. I don't know. I don't know where it came from. But I was getting better, but we've gone from, you know, I mean it's gone from climbing a hill in your backyard to being on the moon.

Q. Paul, that first shot was the best ground shot all day, wasn't it?

PAUL GOYDOS: Good question, isn't it? Yeah. I really drove the ball well, maybe hit one bad tee shot. I basically hit most of my irons solid where I was looking. And I don't know what the number's going to be; the feet made in putts has gotta be really scary. I mean it's probably a good week. And then I made two putts on the fringe that are not going to count in that total either. But yeah, it wasn't like I did -- I did every part of the game pretty good, even had a sand save.

Q. Talk about that number, 59.

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah, that's just a mythical number in our game. There's been four I want to say. Two of them now have been when the ball is played up, myself and Mr. Geiberger. I don't really know the circumstances of Chip Beck's 59 in Las Vegas. To me, David Duval's 59 stands out so far from every other one. He shot 59 the last day to win by one. That's just an unbelievable feat that really isn't talked about at the level it probably should be talked about. The irony of that is I had the second best score that day. Shot 64 that day. You'd have to look. I may be mistaken. Obviously it's a very -- it's a low number in our sport that just stands out, and I've had a couple opportunities -- I've had one good opportunity at home this year to shoot 59 with my friends, and did the same thing. Actually needed one birdie on the last four holes and couldn't do it. But it's an iconic number in our game, I don't think there's any question. I'm tickled -- shot 58.

Q. 58 -

PAUL GOYDOS: I don't remember. That's a pretty impressive one, too. I think the same day Rory McIlroy shot 61 in Charlotte. I think that's the same thing. I think he won by -- my understanding, I don't know much about the Ishikawa one. He might have actually been over par for the tournament starting the round. And I want to say 6 or 7-under is leading the tournament after three rounds and the guy shoots 12-under in one round. That's pretty nuts. So I think that one probably deserves a little higher up on the pedestal. I tend to ignore other countries. Probably deserves the same pedestal that Mr. Duval's does, too.

Q. How many now on the PGA Tour?

PAUL GOYDOS: There's been four of them. And again, it's an honor, and I'm thrilled.

Q. Paul, you mentioned having a chance playing with your friends to go 59. Do you think had you come in here with maybe higher expectations from other people perceiving to expect from you, would the way you finished up maybe have been different if there were higher expectations say from people outside focused on you in terms of numbers?

PAUL GOYDOS: I mean hypotheticals. Do two hypotheticals maybe a thetical? (Laughs).

Q. If you were expected to come in as a favorite, could you have finished do you think the way you did?

PAUL GOYDOS: I wouldn't know. I've never come to a tournament as the favorite. (Laughs). I definitely knew I was getting better. I think, again, last week I shot 70, 76, and I didn't play Saturday. I didn't play Sunday. I traveled on Monday. I hit two bags of balls on Tuesday and a couple of putts, maybe an hour and a half of practice. I played the Pro Am yesterday, and I'm not kidding, we putted out, they blew the horn and the arc building began, so I really haven't done much. But I thought my game was getting better. Again, the quantum leap from where I thought it was getting better to to where it went today, I can't explain, but I did think I was trending in the right direction. Hopefully the trend will continue. But that's a tough one.

Q. Is there a shell shock in that today or were you just kind of -

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah, I think there is. I don't think it's four and a half months of shell shock, no. But I think it's 24 hours of shell shock, yes.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

PAUL GOYDOS: Hopefully the opposite. Hopefully it'll spur good play for a while. You know, I would say that, you know, I've always struggled in the spring for whatever reason. I did win at Bay Hill, and that's usually -- Florida I've had some successes, but for some reason April and May, even June have been struggles for me for the most part. In the summer is when I tend to start playing, if I do start playing, it's this time of year. But hopefully I will. I don't know. There's not -- I've won twice on Tour, in '96 at Bay Hill, and the next three or four months I couldn't find a flag. I played horrible. And then in '07 I won at Sony, the first of the year. And thinking I'm a lot smarter now and I'm going to deal with winning a lot better, and I couldn't have played worse. And then I didn't get in the Top-25 the rest of the year after that. Hopefully I'll learn and this will be a catalyst. If you shoot 59, you're playing good. Hopefully I can use that again to maybe get back on a better run of good golf, without having the expectations completely blown out of the river. I think that's part of the problem you have with winning, and again, I can't answer to how a 59 is going to affect me. I can't tell the future, but winning is definitely a struggle with expectations after that. That's the only explanation I can come up with for such poor play for the month after that.

Q. What do you think the rest of the day will be like for you, probably signing some autographs?

PAUL GOYDOS: You know, I don't know. Again, there's only three people that can answer that question. I imagine it's going to be a lot of fun. That's why you play. These are the things that I think are kind of cool.

Q. Did the arc building last night help make the course what you needed?

PAUL GOYDOS: Definitely. Obviously -- I don't think -- I didn't play on Tuesday. I'm hearing the golf course was very firm and very fast, which would make the golf course play shorter, but not necessarily easier. I think, you know, without a question I got my ball in hand was a big benefit. I don't shoot 59 without ball-in-hand, I don't think. But the golf course was -- the base of the golf course was excellent. And I think that -- again, I don't know even that I shoot to score if I'm playing in the afternoon today because the greens are going to get a little beat up from the dampness. Being the second group off had to have been a bit of an advantage, too. I think it was obviously a big part of it, because what we make of golfers as a perfect shape easier in a sense because of softness. And again, I have to thank, again, the grounds crew here. There's some puddles out there, which there's no way there couldn't be. But you really wouldn't have known that it rained as much. I think it rained again last night, too, I want to say until around 1 or 2 in the morning. I heard it at some point in time. But it played perfectly obviously, I thought so.

Q. Going out in the second group helped you as well?

PAUL GOYDOS: I think maybe playing in the 2nd group, I would think so, because the greens are going to be that much better. I think putting has always been a momentum. I make one, I make two, I make three, I make four, I make five. And that's kind of the way it went today. I think all those are contributing factors.

Q. First off, what do you work on on the range this afternoon?

PAUL GOYDOS: (Indiscernible).

Q. You mentioned earlier that you got nervous on 18. Was that the first time that -

PAUL GOYDOS: I'm nervous over every shot. I'm nervous at home playing. So if you're not nervous, then there's something wrong with you. So it's just the level of nervousness, you know. It wasn't too bad on 16 and 17, but 18, the tee shot was trying to make sure you slow down and stay with what you're doing, and then I hit a good tee shot, same with the 7-iron. Those shots are -- your expectation with a tee shot is you've gotta basically -- with a left, there's a 40-yard right fairway there. Nothing easier probably than hitting a 7-iron onto a green that made an area there that's 15 yards wide I gotta hit on. And over a putt you've got four and a quarter inches. To me your level of expectations. Hitting the fairway off the tee wasn't going to be -- no matter how nervous you are, isn't going to be that difficult. Hitting an iron shot on the green and having a putt at it, wasn't going to be hard. Making the putt, that's what's difficult. It kind of built, for lack of a better way of putting it.

And I'm kind of pacing around there and watching how those guys putt out. Cliff had about a 15-footer for birdie, and I'm reading my putt, I'm looking at it and I want it to break a little bit right, which is actually semi towards the back of the green. And I got a little bit of help in the sense that he hit his putt about six feet by. And I didn't think he hit that bad of a putt. It was just quick. And it kind of reinforced the fact that that's the way the slope is going. So that little thing really helps out a lot sometimes when you're putting. The guy who I work with at home, Jamie Mulligan, talks about what I do when I putt my best. That's kind of how he looks at things. And he goes, when you're putting your best, you're not practicing your stroke. You're usually standing around watching. And I did a good job of watching, especially on the last hole, watching Cliff's putt and the way it reacted to the slope kind of reinforced that I'd read it pretty good. Those little things can add up.

Q. Talk about the last putt, Paul. (Indiscernible).

PAUL GOYDOS: You know, I hit the putt. Again, obviously things are going well. Right way, but I was doing everything really well, my rhythm and tempo, and my routine was good. I noticed I hit the putt and I noticed it was six, seven feet three inches. I bet I saw it about halfway there, maybe a little past halfway there and just about when it broke it was going dead in the center. When you're putting poorly, you pick that putt up about six feet from the hole. And the fact that I didn't do that, again, that's the most nervous I've been over a putt, probably. And since I was on auto pilot that's the only thing I could do. I really didn't feel like I was on auto pilot. It felt like when I brought the putter back and made a pretty good stroke, couldn't hit the putt any more solid and the ball couldn't have gone more in the center of the hole with a laser on it. You know, again, it was kind of nothing. It went in and it was like, wow. Maybe I was more stunned that I actually accomplished shooting 59, and I'm sure it will be a bigger deal, like I said, this afternoon, the question about this afternoon and this evening when you start talking to people and your friends and whatnot, it's probably going to sink in more so this afternoon, this evening and tomorrow maybe in the future.

Q. A couple of the players came out to watch you play that last hole.

PAUL GOYDOS: I didn't see them.

Q. Well, obviously, but did that kind of put into perspective what you accomplished?

PAUL GOYDOS: Yes. Absolutely. Again, it's an iconic number. You know, I would have done the same thing if I would have had the opportunity. If I was in there eating lunch and I had an hour and 15 minutes and the guy on the last hole's going to putt for 59, I'm probably going to do the same thing. I think that's one of the great things about golf, too, is we've got 155 guys in the field that are almost excited -- Jay is doing -- Jay Byrd and Cliff were as excited as I was when we made it. And I think that says a lot about the people that play our game.

Q. As a player do you think about shooting 59? You know, you've got a list of goals.

PAUL GOYDOS: I think that is a goal in your career to break 60. If you get to that level, and there's not that many people that get a chance to set that goal, and I've had some close calls, or close call really, but yeah, I would think that would be -- at the end when I look back and I'm not playing anymore, winning on the PGA Tour is a big deal, but individual, I've got 10 hole-in-ones. I've got three double eagles. 59 is one of those things I'm going to look at and say that's pretty cool.

Q. Is that top of the list?

PAUL GOYDOS: Winning is top of the list.

Q. Could you give some clubs and yardages?

MODERATOR: Actually for historical purposes I need it on every single shot.

PAUL GOYDOS: Do you want yardages?

MODERATOR: As close as you can. Obviously we tracked the yardages.

PAUL GOYDOS: Yeah. First off I hit driver and the 9-iron. We had 135 yards, and I hit it about -- I hit a good shot, about 10, 12 feet left of the hole and hit an okay putt, but I didn't read it well and missed it left and made par. 2, I hit driver down the left side of the fairway; I hit 3-wood in the front bunker, and it really wasn't a bad spot. It wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. Hit a pretty good bunker shot out about five feet past the hole, maybe a six and made that right in the center of the hole; good putt, good speed. Again, those are times where early in the round good things happen. That's exactly how I envisioned the putt going in. 3, I probably made my worst swing, I hit a 4-iron and kind of whiffed it over to the right, but I hit so much club and I got up there, birdie short of the hole and two-putted with a tap-in. 4, I hit a really good tee shot up the right side, hit 9-iron to about, I'd say, 15, 18 feet and hit it dead center. Perfect speed. 5 was probably the hole that kind of kept things going. I drove it bad. I drove it right. It was really dumb to drive it right. If you hit it in the left bunker, you can play. You cannot play from the right -- right side of the fairway you can get blocked up and it's really dumb. I lost it right and hit a tree for sure; I heard the bang. We get down there, and I had a pretty good lie in the rough and it had gotten far enough right where I could actually go right of the tree line and knock it up on the middle of the green, which is getting very lucky, and I hit 7-iron from about 160.

That's the other thing. Last year with square grooves I don't know that I could have gotten 7-iron to the green. The flyer helps you. And I couldn't get 8-iron there no matter what. But with the square groove I don't know that I could have gotten 7-iron to the green either. But with the V-grooves I caught a flyer and knocked it on the back part of the green, had a pretty tough putt, knocked it about eight feet behind and made it. Really hit a very poor tee shot, didn't hit a great lag putt, but I think making that putt really kind of kept things going in the right direction. Next hole, I hit 3-wood, 8-iron to about 25 feet on the fringe and made it. Didn't think I made that putt. I actually started walking and I misread it a little bit, and it broke pretty good left the last two feet and went in the right side of the hole.

7, I hit a good 3-iron, two -- front playing right around 220. I hit 3-iron to about 15 feet left of the hole and hit a really good putt there, again, right in the center. 8, hit driver, 4-iron to 30 feet, two-putted, pretty easy two-putt and tap-in. 9, I hit driver, 4-iron to about 25 feet, hit a good putt, just kind of missed it on the left side of the hole and tapped in for par. 4-under 31 is a good score. To be honest with you, I was standing at the 8th fairway right before the British at 29. I think 59 is obviously iconic, but for nine holes 29 is good, too. And I've done that 10 or 15 times in my life. 10 is on a downwind par-5, and on the best day you can actually get there in two. I hit driver, 3-wood and had 107 yards to the hole, and the pin was kind of in the back of the green with the slope there, and that's really pitching wedge, but if I hit pitching wedge, I'm going to fly 110 yards and suck it back 25 feet, so I decided 9-iron, chippy little 9-iron. And I flew that about, I'd say, 15 feet past the hole and came back to about four feet and I made that.

11, I hit a good drive and an 8-iron, had it between clubs and pin's in the back and I landed on the green. I don't want to hit it off the green. You gotta be somewhat smart about things. And I hit probably 20 feet short of the hole, but probably spun back 20 feet, and I made it. Again, I hit this putt, I'm kind of watching. It's up the hill, straight up the hill and I'm like, this is really uphill, and that's really not my strength in my putting in my opinion. But this ball went dead center. Again, just like, wow, 10 feet from the hole I'm kind of going, wow, which was nice. 12, I hit a 4-iron probably about 200 yards to about 15, 18 feet straight down the hill. I couldn't have hit the putt harder than maybe a 2-footer which was just kind of weird because it stayed there. How did the ball stop here if I had to hit it two feet to make it go 15. And that putt went right in the middle.

13, I hit driver, 6-iron to about 25 feet, and that's when I hit that putt, and I didn't really think I hit a great putt. I hit it solid, but I didn't started -- just didn't feel like a great putt. I looked up and I'm watching it, and I'm going, oh, no. This putt went dead center. I thought, this is getting ridiculous. There was a piece of me at that time kind of obviously feels a tad guilty. I mean I am making everything. And again, they're not playing -- Jay Byrd and Cliff aren't playing any worse than me tee to green. I'm taking all the -- every good thing that could possibly happen I was just stealing from them. 14, I hit 3-wood, sand wedge to about six feet, and finally missed that one, but I made that one, too, hit a pretty good putt there. 15, I hit a good driver and a 5-iron and missed the green left, but I hit 5-iron was probably a little too much club. I thought I had to just murder the 6-iron to get there and I thought short's not good here. If you hit the ball 25 feet past the hole here, it's not that bad, that's really where your penalty is, a little bit left and a little bit long and I missed it a little bit left and a little bit long and it stayed up and rolled down the hill and I chipped it to about five feet and made that. I hit a good putt there, and it was like, okay, now we get a little bit of a walk.

One of the things I mentioned is that Cliff Kresge birdied 15. So he gets the tee on the par-3. So I get to see a shot on the par-3, which helps a little bit, too. His birdie there helped me in a sense. I knew what I was going to hit. I didn't think it was a big deal, but again, a little bit of reinforcement is not going to hurt. And I told myself, I need to birdie the last two holes, you shoot 59. You don't get many opportunities. This is not the time to not think about it. This is the time to go do it. Let's see what you can do, at least see if you can -- see what your game kind of responds. I hit an 8-iron, pulled a little bit on the left fringe, but it wasn't at the worst spot. It was probably only 15 feet up the hill. And I thought it was a pretty straight putt. I was kind of aiming maybe left edge, and I pulled it maybe a ball out and it broke more, right in the middle.

17 was -- can be reachable, but I hit a good drive and couldn't get anywhere near it. Hit 4-iron and then a pitching wedge from about 108 yards, and that's the opposite of No. 10. 10 the pin was in the back and I didn't want to spin it. Here the pin was closer to the bunker. Hitting it in the air 15 feet past the hole you can use it to spin and get the ball close or take the bunker out of play, hit the pitching wedge there and spun it back to about 12 feet. And Cliff had hit his ball, again, he had 12' 6". I didn't have to move my coin, but just about. And he hit his putt, and I was just kind of watching. I wasn't really necessarily worrying about it. I want to see how balls are rolling around the holes and watch his ball roll down. When I say that, I'm not one of those guys who looks behind. I'm actually looking for about 90 degrees perpendicular to the line. He's got his back to me, and I'm standing back here, and I can kind of tell by the way it's rolling. And they're both going to go to the right, and I'm like, okay, I went down and looked at it, and I was like, that broke a lot more than it looked. I had just seen what it was doing and I think I hit a very similar putt to what he hit. It looked like it had a chance to miss low, but it had enough speed to hang in there. And then driver, 7-iron from 175 or 74 on 18 and made, like I say, 7' 3" inches, if ShotLink is to be trusted. And again, that putt I couldn't have hit a better putt. Couldn't have gone more in the center.

MODERATOR: Let's do one follow-up.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

PAUL GOYDOS: I would say 7-iron. In these type of conditions where it's pretty steamy, maybe a little bit. I had 67 to the front edge. That is absolutely stretching it to the max, in my opinion. It's one of those situations where I had the exact same yardage again. If the pin were in the back of the green, I probably would have hit a 6-iron.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

PAUL GOYDOS: It's a great event. I mean John Deere is a great sponsor. They've become a pretty big piece of Americana. This is one of those community type events. We have a lot of corporate events now on Tour, and this one is Moline is a great -- Quad City is a great community. Everyone comes here. You go to Whitey's Ice Cream and there's five players in there. It just has a good, solid hometown feel to this event, and I think that's what makes this place very special.

Q. The putter, is that a putter that you'd used for a long time or is it new in the bag?

PAUL GOYDOS: I've used the model now for over two years. I've had a couple of different ones, but for the most part that's the same putter.

Q. What is it?

PAUL GOYDOS: It's a TaylorMade Spider. It's the funky one with all the craziness going on.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

PAUL GOYDOS: I shot 29.

Q. I know that.

MODERATOR: Actually, Paul has been talking long enough.

PAUL GOYDOS: What was the question?

Q. What was the key for you today?

PAUL GOYDOS: You know, I putted real well. Good momentum. I think saving the par on 5 really as I look back was probably the key to keeping the round going. I made a great par on 5 after hitting some different shots and making the full five starting the Back 9. But now I was going nuts at that point. But if I don't make the putt on 5 for par, I probably don't shoot anywhere near 59.

MODERATOR: Thanks a lot, Paul. Good luck tomorrow.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.

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