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July 17, 2010

Billy Joe Tolliver Jack Wagner


THE MODERATOR: Jack Wagner and Billy Joe Tolliver are in the media interview room. We'll go ahead with questions for Jack first.

Q. Jack, I think everybody wants to know why all the fans were calling for Heather and not for you for most of the round today.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Let me answer this. Are you hard of seeing? (Laughter).
JACK WAGNER: No, I mean, I'd probably be calling for her, too, if I was on the other side of the ropes.

Q. What about your round today? You played pretty consistent, but Billy Joe was just lighting it up there.
JACK WAGNER: It was fun to watch. I kind of had to what you would call a flat round of golf. I started off with a couple birdies and then chopped around and made a double bogey and never made any putts, not even close. I was lucky to birdie the par 5s coming in, to at least be in contention still.
Just a flat round of golf. Nothing got going. Real dumb, just a double bogey. You just can't do that in this tournament. So it happened.

Q. How much farther does Billy Joe hit it than everybody else? Especially watching him on 16. I mean, he only has like an 8 or 9-iron into the green.
JACK WAGNER: I think probably on average if I were to hit a great drive and he hits a great drive, he's got to be at least 70 yards passed me. I would say 60 yards, easily.
And he's carrying it. We were just talking. I don't remember him hitting it. He swings in a good position right now. His whole game has confidence. He made all his putts today. Didn't miss any short putts on these greens that are pretty bumpy.
Drove the ball unbelievably so. It was an easy 66 for Billy Joe. When you're playing with a guy that's playing like that, you try to focus on your round and try to knock a putt in there so you can get your own mojo going. Hopefully you can feed off of it.
Like I said, I birdied the two par 5s coming in to be at least be in reaching distance if he doesn't play well tomorrow. If I can get something going, we can have a little bit of a match.

Q. Given Billy's personality, what's it like to play a round of golf with somebody like that?
JACK WAGNER: J.R. too. Jeremy Roenick, they start off early. I birdied one. They hit it really close. I had it about 12 feet and made it and they both missed. They were both threatening my life on 2 tee. Serious; we will be killing you if you play well today. We're bigger and we don't really like actors or you. They made that very clear, and I believed them. So I backed off.

Q. How much do you weigh, Jack?
JACK WAGNER: I lost weight. They said I was 165. I was actually 170. But I think I lost five pounds just to make them happy today.
It's loose. It's fun playing with Billy Joe. It's really loose. Listen, we're golfers. Anytime somebody hits a bad shot, has a bad hole, we get a little quiet. When we've got a roll going, we get a little happier. But it's always been fun playing with Billy Joe. I always look forward when I'm paired with him.

Q. You said you played a flat round of golf. Was it something that -- was that just your game, or was it watching his game progress particularly on the back nine that kind of flattened your game out?
JACK WAGNER: No, it wasn't. Really. I knew Billy Joe was playing good. It wasn't about Billy Joe's game. I just kind of didn't make any putts.
When you don't make any putts, you kind of just -- you know, you float around out there. And the double bogey, as I said, on 6. When that happens, I'm 2-under after five holes. When I make a double bogey like that, it really is hard to get the wind in your sails again. It takes a lot out of you.
So it took a little while, but I kind of hung in there and at least shot even par after I was a couple over.

Q. With the scoring system, can you play more aggressively? Do you feel that way, as far as your game goes?
JACK WAGNER: Absolutely. When I say aggressively, I mean on the greens. I'm not going to change anything I do from tee to green. It's all on the greens in this golf course for me. And that's kind of --
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: They're more aggressive than I am off the tee. You're hitting drivers in spots I would never hit driver. They're more aggressive than I am.
JACK WAGNER: We hit ours like 290 -- 340.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: My caddy tells me, they're hitting driver, why don't you hit one? I'm thinking why ain't I.
JACK WAGNER: Billy Joe will attest to this: When you're aggressive out here, it's about putting I would say more so. Because everybody's going to go for par 5s. We're hitting it long enough, we're all going for them. It's about really kind of putting with confidence.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: And you really have to pick your spots when you can be aggressive. Because the way the greens are -- and actually after the last two days compared to the two days of Pro-Am, the greens have -- they're like night and day in the conditioning that they're in.
But when you're playing this, when you're playing this format, you've got to know and pick your spots when you can be aggressive with the putter, because you don't want a 3-footer coming back for par.
You miss that -- say you're putting a 3-footer for par, are you going to be real aggressive with it and have three feet coming back for bogey? Because you cannot do it. You can go out there and make nine birdies, nine bogeys, still shoot 72, but you've got 27 points. I can go, make 18 straight pars and shoot 72 and I got 18 points.
So bogeys really don't matter. You just can't put yourself in position to make double, like Jack was talking about earlier.
THE MODERATOR: This round today was a new record for the tournament as far as Stableford points for 33. You got Grant Fuhrer's 32 in round two last year, Billy.
Congratulations on that. We were talking to Elway, how the rest of the guys are going to try to catch you tomorrow with an 11-point lead, which is also a record going into the final round. John suggested some late night activity for you.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Let me tell you, these guys, they know how I am. If I can get 33 points, any of those guys on the leaderboard can get 33 points. And it's easy. It's easy out here, if you don't manage your game, to drop 15, 17, 18 points on them. And you do the math. 18 and 33. They go get 18 points, somebody drops 33, that's close to me. They've lapped you. Nothing's settled. Nothing's over.

Q. Jack, what's your strategy for going after him tomorrow?
JACK WAGNER: I guess we'll be paired tomorrow. I imagine so. Listen, it's going to be a loose round of golf. I think we're all happy to be here. Really, it's that thing we look forward to all year round. I told him earlier it's going to be a lot of -- a lot of change. (Laughter) I'm going to come up with some asthma tonight, really kind of a sinus problem, I'm thinking.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I'm too dumb to notice it. I don't know why they're going that route.
JACK WAGNER: Hole 5, I'll be going "Can't you hear me coughing? I'm coughing in your backswing." I just have to putt well. That's just the whole round is going to be about that, or anybody that's in the mid-40s, just has to, we have to shoot somewhere in 67 or 68, I'd imagine, because Billy Joe's playing so well.
I don't see him shooting anything around 80 -- did I say 80, like an 80, 78, 80.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: At least give me 78. Love you too, man.

Q. Rory McElroy had an 80 yesterday at the British Open, so who knows.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I'm not near as good as he is.

Q. Tournament record is 78. Just 20 points away from that. Another good round and you're there. You're usually pretty consistent. It could be a tough day for everybody tomorrow.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I don't know anything about records. They don't really concern me. I just know I want one more point than whoever is behind me.

Q. When you wake up tomorrow morning, do you feel there's going to be a little pressure put on you? Do you feel you'll need to, or are you going to go out there and relax and say "I'm going to play my game"?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Not really. Jack alluded to it earlier. I don't think about what everybody else is doing. Because I've just got to -- because nobody else is hitting my ball but me. I just go out there and hit the ball and then go find it and hit it again.
And on the days like today that the ball's going in the hole -- and let's face facts on it, the difference of my round and Jack's round or Jeremy's round, for that matter, was that I made the putts and Jack and Roenick ran it over the edge.
Both of them, Jack's probably a total of six inches away from shooting 66, 67 himself. Ball just missing a total of, what, let's say six putts this far. A total of it.
And either they go in or they don't go in. Once it leaves the putter I can't control it, he can't control it. Nobody can. They've just got to go in. And we all played well. All three of us played well. The difference was mine went in.
And I got all the par-5s. You've got to get the par 5s. And I got all of them. I think you missed one.
JACK WAGNER: I think I missed one.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: No. 3. And they just go in. I mean, Jack hit it inside of me on the back nine, you know, four or five holes, probably. And I made 3 and he didn't, or 2 or something.
And that's six points, five points, four points, whatever it is. And that's all that it's got to be. If he's making some putts we're sitting here in a role reversal if I don't.
And I enjoy playing with Jack. I was looking forward to the paring last night, because Jack is a very good player. And I like to watch him inside -- Jack inside a hundred yards with a putter in his hands the whole nine yards, the wedge, the putter, he's an exceptional player. And you can learn a lot watching him, the things that he does.
And over the years, playing with him, you know, you see that. I mean, hell, I played with him, God, that was probably 18 years ago, when it was stroke play. It's the most phenomenal round I ever saw. He hit five greens here, five greens and shot 72.
JACK WAGNER: Can I buy you dinner tonight?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Pretty good, I'll never forget it.
JACK WAGNER: We're going on the road together, brother. Thank you.

Q. What was your actual score today? Was it 66?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I shot 66. Made two really bad bogeys. One of them with a sand wedge in my hand and one of them with a spectacular 3-wood I hit on 7. I made up for it. Like I said, I didn't make double on those holes. Especially on 6, when it would have been pretty easy to make a double.
And I got lucky on 7 and poured in a 30-footer for par, after just a horrible swing. And after that, you know, to be honest with you, I didn't miss a shot after 7.

Q. Was that actually your best round anywhere?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: No. I've shot 60 about five times. When the putter is going, I can get it in the hole sometimes. In tournament competition, it's a pretty good round.

Q. Who started the Team Tolliver?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: When I worked in the casino business in Louisiana at the Horseshoe, a guy named Conrad Buchanan from Abilene, Texas, he was one of their casino players. I got to know him and his wife a little bit.
And he didn't tell me anything about it. All of a sudden everybody shows up with the Texas Tech and the Team Tolliver shirts. And he said the Texas Tech stands for Team Tolliver. I don't know if they've got a trademark infringement deal going. I don't know.
But I'll tell you this much, if they don't come out tomorrow and I shoot 80, not only am I kicking your ass, I'm kicking theirs (laughter).

Q. One of them told me you actually got drafted by the Baltimore Orioles for baseball.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I was going to be. They were going to come draft me in the first round. I was going to come out of high school and get drafted in the first round. They had all their private dicks and everybody in town checking to see if I was serious, because I was a pretty good pitcher.
I was ten times the baseball player I ever became a football player. But I just didn't like baseball. I loved football. So they had all the baseball teams had all their private eyes in towns asking questions, is this kid serious and all this other stuff.
They actually called me on draft day, and St. Louis, there was about four other teams that called. And I just told them, you draft me, you're wasting a pick. I'm not coming, because back then in the Southwest Conference you could get more, you could get more being a football player recruit than you could signing -- I ate baloney sandwiches my whole life. I didn't want to eat them on some minor league bus for about ten years.

Q. Could you answer what kind of testament that is as to your overall ability as an athlete, compared to what you're doing today on the golf course?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Don't let the pear-shaped body fool you. (Laughter). There's tremendous athletic ability in here. I've taken the athletic ability and I've packetized it into -- you like that? -- I've packetized it into my golf game and it's starting to come around and as long as we can keep -- we can keep remembering that Jeremy Roenick's coachable, we'll be all right. I got 'em both in.

Q. Has your wife spent any of your winnings yet?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: You know, it's Saturday, right?

Q. She spend any money yet?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I'm not going to even answer that. Because that's like the kiss of death if you answer that, right? Are you putting the horns on me? Do you have money on Jack?

Q. He told us a couple of years after the second round that your wife already spent the money.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Let me tell you something, every time I come out here I'm in the black. That money's spent before it's ever here. So it doesn't matter. I got four kids.

Q. Can the both of you comment about the attendance? Looks like it's way up again this year.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: You know, I remember we were on like 5 or something today and Roenick said, "Man, attendance must be down." "No, look, Jordan's in front of us, Elway's in front of us, all these guys. It's me and you. We got Wags, at least we've got ladies following us. But we're all right. We're doing pretty good."
There's a lot of people out there. And I just feel for the people in the RTO Open, the Reno/Tahoe Open up there that they got bit by the schedule on this deal.
You know, it's not like we're in competition with the PGA TOUR. But if I can go walk around in Reno all day or if I can come stay out here by this beautiful lake and hang around all these wonderful people with American Century and NBC and some guys like Jack, I'm coming up here.
JACK WAGNER: It's nice to see the attendance up, because it's a unique event. It's one-of-a-kind. So I think a lot of people schedule their summer around this for years and years now. So it's a testament to the event. We love playing here, and I think all the -- it's a great sponsor. It's handled well. Everybody here is kind. You don't hear of any bad things happening up here too often in terms of gallery.
So it just turns out to be a nice even family event. You see a lot of couples up here. I think it's a pleasure.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: What he said, I like his answer better.

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