Win Means a Lot to Gainey


The course record-setting, 10-under 60 fired on Sunday by Tommy Gainey to win the McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, Ga., meant more than just nailing down his first PGA Tour title.

It meant taking home $720,000, moving him to 56th on the season's money list. The South Carolinian is now in great shape heading into the season's final event - the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic near Disney World in early November - by being among the top-125 earners and securing his card for 2013.

Gainey is also the first alumnus of the Golf Channel's "Big Break" - the network's reality program that debuted in 2003 - to win on the PGA Tour. The player nicknamed "Two Gloves" for his wearing a golf glove on both hands had already become the first "Big Break" player to earn full Tour status in 2008 after advancing through Q-School.

On Sunday evening after his big victory over veterans David Toms, Jim Furyk and Davis Love III, Gainey met with reporters and talked further about what his maiden title on the PGA Tour meant. Here's what the folksy 37-year-old had to say.

MODERATOR: We'll get started. We'd like to welcome 2012 McGladrey Classic Tommy Gainey into the interview room. If you're going to win a tournament, your first professional tournament on the PGA Tour, that's the way to do it. Just comment on what had to be a magical day.

TOMMY GAINEY: Wow. Really don't know what to say. It's been a struggle all year. Great golf course. You know, I hit it pretty well for the first three days, didn't make many putts, but I tell you what, today putts just went in, and that's why I shot 60. You know, I hit the ball just as good as I did the past three days. I was just able to make some putts, and that's how I shot 60 and that's how I'm sitting here.

MODERATOR: I know you've said this season didn't quite live up to your expectations, but now it does. Just comment on what this does to close out the year.

TOMMY GAINEY: Oh, man. I tell you, you know, you're out here on the PGA Tour. You're playing with the best players in the world. 99 percent of these guys have already won, and won majors, won big tournaments. Now, the only show I can say I've won is the "Big Break." Now I can sit here and say I've gone the McGladrey Classic here at Sea Island, Georgia, and I'm very proud to be in this tournament and very proud to win. And wow, it's been a whirlwind day. I didn't know having 24 putts and shooting 60 would be like this. So I'm pretty stoked about it.

MODERATOR: All right. We'll take questions now.

Q. A long wait to find out. What were some of the things that were going through your mind while you were watching on TV and waiting?

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, you know, you got Hall of Famers, you got future Hall of Famers chasing me, chasing me now. I'm Tommy Gainey. I'm "Two Gloves." I shot 60 today and you got Jim Furyk, Davis Love, III and David Toms; Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers chasing me. I was just looking at my phone replying to text messages. I was just waiting. I mean I was nervous. I ain't going to sit here and tell you I feel I was very nervous because you know, when you got Davis Love, III, Jim Furyk and David Toms coming at you, you might want to pay attention. So I was paying attention, and you know, it just worked out for me. And very proud to be here right now.

Q. Can you give us just the flavor of some of those text messages you were replying to?

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, some of the language I can't really say. (Laughs). Okay. But just all my friends and my family and a lot of fans just texting me and saying, man, congratulations, a great round, even if you win or not, you played one heck of a round today, and hopefully it's going to get you a win. And you know, I waited it out. I was nervous, but I got a win.

Q. I also wanted to ask you, Tommy, when you finished on 18, you had kind of two things going on. You got a shot at 59, which is a pretty special number, and a shot at winning the tournament. How were you processing each one?

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, actually I wasn't thinking about 59. (Laughs). See, all I did all day was just try to make birdies and a lot of birdies because when you're seven shots back, your chances of winning a PGA tournament with the leaders, Davis Love, III and Jim Furyk, it don't bide in your favor, man. It's not in my favor. But I got hot and had a hot putter, and I rode it out. And that's what happened. I'm in this position, and man feels like I'm in a dream. So I'm just waiting for somebody to slap me up side the head or pinch me or something to wake me up.

Q. Tommy, when Jim congratulated you in the scoring area, you thanked him for the talk. Was there a pep talk he gave you this week or something?

TOMMY GAINEY: Not this week. Last year.

Q. Oh, okay. What did he say?

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, we played nine holes together, and he asked to play nine holes with me, and then I was just a messenger sent it to me. Let me tell you, I was very happy to hear that he wants to play nine holes with me because I mean he's won 16 times. To win 16 times out here is unheard of, unless you're Tiger or Phil or Vijay. So I was very happy to hear that. And you know, I played nine holes with him, and he just told me, he said, Tommy, you know, when you were on the mini tours, you were kicking their tail and now you get out here and you struggle a little bit. He said, man, don't change your game. Just keep going at it. He said, you got the game to be out here and to win. Just keep your head up and just keep trying, and sooner or later it's going to happen. And you know, who knows what would have happen if we didn't play nine holes together, or even had a talk. So I mean I appreciate all the help I can get because, you know, I know I'm 37, considered a veteran maybe, but you know, I'm still young when it comes to out here. I'm looking forward to all the help I can get because when you got a player like Jim Furyk or anybody else of that stature that wants to help you, it's definitely in my favor to listen.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

TOMMY GAINEY: I don't remember the tournament, to be honest with you. It's been kind of

Q. (Indiscernible)?

TOMMY GAINEY: PGA Championship. See, it helps to have a good caddie. Not only is he a good caddie, but he's got a good memory.

Q. Was it at all odd getting the trophy from Davis, being that it came down to he was the one chasing you?

TOMMY GAINEY: You know, it was. It was kind of odd. But you know, since you bring up odd, let me tell you something about odd. 2008 2008 everybody knows that that was his 20th if I'm not mistaken, his 20th win. And I was, you know, playing really well at that time because I think I ended up shooting like 63 or 64 that final round. And you know, he hit a tee shot like 16 today, when he rope hooked it in the water. 17 at Disney, he rope hooked it and it stayed up in that rough instead of going in the water, and he chipped out and made a 15 footer for par, and he got it up and down on 18 out of a bunker for par to beat me by one. And that's the first thing he said to me when I seen him and he congratulated me.

It seems kind of odd, doesn't it, because I know he was talking about that time in 2008 when he won, and I think it was his was it the death of his father's anniversary or something like that when he won the 20th that Sunday? So you know, I'm going to just be honest with you, man, when I was growing up, Davis Love, III and Fred Couples were my idols and then Tiger Woods came along. So I mean I'm in awe of him giving me the trophy. I mean what that's odd how it worked out in 2008, that same guy that beat me in his tournament that he's hosting he's handing me the trophy. I mean that's awesome.

MODERATOR: I guess you never picked up on the fact that he didn't wear any glove at all.

TOMMY GAINEY: You know, he's still cool, though. Freddie's still cool.

Q. Tommy, when you first came out on Tour, did you find yourself at all feeling like what you had going on the mini tours, as Jim said, wasn't good enough out here? Did you ever fall into that trap?

TOMMY GAINEY: No question, man. I mean there's a difference in the mini tour golf and the PGA Tour golf. Mini tours, you gotta make a lot of birdies, but you can't make mistakes. Out here, you need to make a lot of birdies, but if you don't, par is not a bad score, and mini tours you need birdies. Out here you need birdies, but par is not a bad score. You gotta be able to accept the fact that par is not a bad score when it comes time, when you're in a bad position and you can't go at the pin, you just gotta hit it out there, take your 20, 25 footer, never know, you might make it and you just gotta accept it.

Q. Can you give us a rundown, certainly not year by year, of the various mini tours you played?

TOMMY GAINEY: I played them all. I played them all. The Tarheels tour, the Grey Goose Gateway Tour, the Hooters Tour, the U.S. Pro Golf Tour, the Teardrop Tour. And you know, the Teardrop Tour was back in the day; I'm talking, you know, like '95, '94, '95 ish. But the rest of the tours, you just look at all the players that played those tours, I mean a lot of them are out here on the PGA Tour. So that just tells you what kind of strength that field had when the Teardrop Tour and the U.S. Pro Tour and Tarheels and Grey Goose Gateway and the Hooters. I mean a lot of good players and there are a lot of players out here that played those past tours.

Q. Where did you make your most money, which tour, and secondly, was there ever a time when you ever thought about quitting?

TOMMY GAINEY: Right. The Grey Goose Gateway Tour is where I made my most money. I made almost 200,000. The second question, yeah, I thought about quitting. You know, just look at 2008 and 2009, that would be two good examples for you, because 2008 I missed like 13 or 14 straight cuts. I ended up making maybe five cuts that year in '08. I had one good showing and that was the last tournament of the year at Disney, the Children's Miracle Network Classic, and you know, I get beat by Davis.

But '09, same thing. I missed you know, everybody knows I like to play a lot of tournaments, because I consider this the best job in the world, bar none. In '09 I think I made like six cuts. So I went from making five cuts in '08 to making like six cuts in '09 and you can back check that, but I'm pretty sure that's about right. So you know, when you go through two streaks like that, the first thing on my mind is, well, am I good enough.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TOMMY GAINEY: Never.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TOMMY GAINEY: No way. A.O. Smith, I mean it was a good company, really good company that I used to work for, but I tell you, man, I love the people there and it's a classic company, glad to be associated with it, but I tell you what, I like playing out here on the PGA Tour too much.

MODERATOR: Getting back to the 59, I know you said you weren't thinking about it. Did it ever cross your mind at all, maybe after the fact, you and your caddie talk about it was a 19 footer for a 59 at all?

TOMMY GAINEY: So it was 19 feet on 18?

MODERATOR: That's what ShotLink said.

TOMMY GAINEY: I thought it was around 12 to 15. What did you think, Mark? Oh, okay. We gotta talk to ShotLink about that. All right. Sounds good. You know, I didn't think anything about 59. Did you?

MARVIN KING: No, just what I told you. (Inaudible).

TOMMY GAINEY: There's a quote for you. (Laughs). Let's make sure we tell them right now. I was trying to make this putt. I do know it was real quick because I'm sure y'all were paying attention to how fast these greens were, especially down grain. And I just knew all I had to do was get it started. It was going to get there, just kind of misread the putt, but that's okay. I'm real happy with that 4. (Laughs).

Q. You said you weren't really thinking that you had too much of a shot starting seven back today. At what point in the round did you think I might have a shot at this thing?

TOMMY GAINEY: At what point in the round? To win this thing? Was when I made the birdie on 14, because that got me to 13 under, and I think that was the lead. After I finished 14, I think that was still the lead, so I was tied with Furyk and Love then. So that was the hole. I mean that was the hole. I was just trying to make birdie, and it went in, and glad to be at 13 under, but I still had four holes to play. And par 5 is eagleable, very eagleable I should say. So I mean I was just trying to get there and trying to hit a good tee shot and see if we can get us an eagle.

Q. What did you do for Smith?

TOMMY GAINEY: A.O. Smith, I used to wrap insulation on water heater tanks.

Q. And that was a good job?

TOMMY GAINEY: It was good. I met a lot of great people there, and I still mess them to this day, but I don't miss scratching all over the place, if you catch my drift (laughs).

Q. (Inaudible)?

TOMMY GAINEY: I'm going to take a rain check on that.

Q. At what point in your life were you working for them, were you doing that?

TOMMY GAINEY: Well, I had two stints. Around '95, '96 I worked for them for about a year and a half, two years. I think that's about right, isn't it, Paul? And then I had a second stint around 2000, and the second stint was about four or five months, and you know, I think everybody knows that's when the economy was starting on the way down, so they had to make some cuts and I was just in the one of the less fortunates that had to be cut. So I was cut. And nothing against them. I mean they were just doing what they thought was right.

But you know, I can say being a part or used to work there at A.O. Smith, I feel like we have a great relationship. They are one of my sponsors, and you know, what I call A.O. Smith and myself, I call family. And definitely great to have them as a sponsor and definitely part of being the A.O. Smith family.

Q. So when you were laid off because of the economy, did you go straight back to the mini tours?

TOMMY GAINEY: Straight back. I went to Charleston. A buddy of mine from my hometown got me to Charleston, said I want you to play with this guy. And this guy's name is Dick Horn. He's one of the best amateur players in the state of South Carolina. I think he's in the Hall of Fame, to be honest with you. I was playing with him, the head pro and Darius Rucker, and that's where I first met Darius in 2000. And we've been friends ever since.

And you know, Dick Horn was very impressed. I played three times on this golf course, Dunes West in Mount Pleasant, in Charleston. The three times I played I shot the first time I shot 64. I made nine birdies, one bogey. The next time I shot like 66, but I made like nine or ten birdies and three or four bogeys or something like that. And then the last time I played I shot like 3 under, three birdies, no bogeys. So he was impressed, and you know, and then you know, I just met the right people and they got the ball rolling, and as we look here today, I've had a lot of help from my friends to be where I'm at, and I definitely appreciate that, because without the help, I'm not sitting here talking to you or anybody else in here for that matter.

Q. Scoring is all that you measure your game out here by anyway, but have you ever heard whispers or heard any comments about your swing and wonder why in the world this guy gets it done?

TOMMY GAINEY: I can give you a good he works for the Golf Channel. I can give you a name right now. Brandel Chamblee. Just ask him what he said. I talked to Brandel earlier. I think he said something like, "looks like he's trying to kill a snake with a garden hose." I believe that's but you might need to talk to Brandel to make sure that's right.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOMMY GAINEY: You know, it's hard to say. I look at it as it's what I've got. It's what I'm working with. I mean I don't need to change it. I mean it works for me. Look at Jim Furyk. How many people do you think tried to change his swing? How about John Daly? I mean he resurrected his career this year, from previous years, because he's played kind of bad the last, what, two or three years, but this year you can see signs of getting better and playing better and that's good to see because it's good for the game.

Q. Bubba.

TOMMY GAINEY: Look at Bubba Watson. Yeah, that's another one. I was getting to him. I mean Bubba just I mean he slashes at it. That's about the only word I can use that would come close, the way he hits it. You know, you look at Tiger, look at his swing now. I mean he's changed it, what, four times. He changed it four times. And he's still winning. So I mean you just I mean and I'm not trying to be funny with Tiger. I mean he's the best ever. I mean you can't argue that fact. Anybody that's good enough to change their swing three or four times and can still win, let me tell you, that's talent.

Q. Have you tried TrackMan?

TOMMY GAINEY: I've been on TrackMan a few times. We don't really have a good relationship. We don't. I mean because it seems like when I got on earlier this year, it just didn't really like me. I mean it was throwing out some bad numbers. But I got on early this week and TrackMan started coming around a little bit. So maybe it starts to like me a little bit now, I hope.

MODERATOR: All right. Anything else? Tommy, congratulations, once again. Thanks a lot.

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


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