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AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP


July 16, 2014


Chad Pfeifer

Rick Rhoden

Steve Schorr

Billy Joe Tolliver


STATELINE, NEVADA

THE MODERATOR:  Welcome to the 2014 American Century Championship Silver Anniversary.  Our guests today:  Mr.Rick Rhoden, Mr.Billy Joe Tolliver, Mr.Chad Pfeifer and Mr.Steve Schorr.
Steve, obviously the big news this year, the Silver Anniversary, is the addition of Annika Sorenstam.¬† With Annika has come an influx of wagers, as we understand.¬† Why don't you take us through the process of you establishing the odds that you made to make her the favorite?¬† What went into the opening line of 2‑to‑1, the change to even money and now beyond as I understand?
STEVE SCHORR:  Right.  Well, when we hear Annika's playing, it kind of shakes us up a little bit.  So we go back and we look.  She's a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.  She was the LPGA player of the year eight times before retiring in 2008.  She had 89 worldwide victories, including 17 on the LPGA, and 10 major championships and 22 million in earnings.
So what we think is:  What are we going to do with Annika?  And it's a decision we kind of toss it around.  And on the positive side, she's a champion golfer.  On the negative side, the Stableford system.  We think that it probably favors the men a little more.  She won't be driving as far as the guys sitting at this table.
So we think about it, and we threw out the number of 2‑to‑1, and a lot of people thought at 2‑to‑1 she was a bargain.¬† So as the betting came in, we lowered the odds.¬† And as of today, we are 12 to win 10.¬† So pretty much all the money is on Annika.¬† From what we've heard so far, she's made two plays.¬† She shot a 71 and a 67 at Edgewood.
The course record on the Stableford system is held by this fellow, at 84.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Greatest player of all time.  (Laughter).
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  What was Annika in, World Golf Hall of what?  Greatest golfer of all time.
STEVE SCHORR:¬† We'll see.¬† So then for the odds, the other guys, I'm going to go over them for you right now. ¬†Like I said, Annika started off at 2‑to‑1.¬† Now she's 12 to win 10.¬† If you bet 120, you win 100, you get back 220.
Billy Joe is getting some bets.¬† He's still 9‑to‑2.¬† And Rick started off at 5‑to‑1, now 7‑to‑1.¬† Jack Wagner started at 7‑to‑1 and Mulder, both still 7‑to‑1.¬† And Roenick has gone from 7‑to‑1 to 10‑to‑1.¬† Rypien 8‑to‑1 to 10‑to‑1.¬† Smoltz 8‑to‑1 to 10‑to‑1.¬† Curry is still 10‑to‑1.¬† And Elway and Dilfer 12‑to‑1 to 15‑to‑1.¬† Chad is at 15.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  What is the field?
STEVE SCHORR:¬† The field:¬† We've got all the guys‑‑ right there is the field.¬† There's 10 guys.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† 10‑to‑1 in the field?
STEVE SCHORR:¬† 10‑to‑1 in the field.¬† But the guys in the field are probably not the ones we think are going to win.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† You media guys and gals, check out Josh Scobee, he's the real deal.¬† He's 10‑to‑1.¬† Jump on it before he changes it.
RICK RHODEN:  Also, these are pretty good.  My first year, I was 21, and they were a little off on that one.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† But you drove it down to like 2‑to‑1.¬† He bet it all.
RICK RHODEN:¬† I was a favorite a lot of times and I didn't play good quite a few times.¬† She's got to be the favorite.¬† I mean, we don't have any of those kind of trophies at our house.¬† I might have an All‑Star team ball or something.¬† But I don't have any major trophies.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  I've got a John Elway autographed jersey.  (Laughter) .
RICK RHODEN:  She never got Mike Schmidt out.  That's the way I look at it.
THE MODERATOR:  What's your overall take on the Annika effect, I should say?  What are you thinking, Rick?
RICK RHODEN:¬† I'm thinking if she gets 70 something points to win like always.¬† If she gets more, then hats off.¬† I think somebody's going to‑‑ she'll be in there obviously.¬† She's not going to rattle like some of our guys the last day.¬† She's probably got a better wedge game than short game than all of us.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Probably.
RICK RHODEN:  Probably.  Even though she hasn't played, you know she's going to show up here ready to play.  She's not going to embarrass herself.  So I expect her to play really good.  But I think we've got some guys here that can, if we play good, some of our guys, it would be just like always.  I don't think anybody's going to run away with it.
THE MODERATOR:¬† If you're in the hunt on Sunday coming down 18 and say you're in the hunt there with Annika, all you guys, are you going to look at this a little bit different than against anybody else, or is it just your game that matters or obviously‑‑
RICK RHODEN:  I'm going to try to get a birdie, whoever I'm playing against.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† My take on it‑‑ and I'm inconsistent.¬† I'm hit or miss.¬† So some days I'm hitting it good, some days I'm not.¬† So I really don't care who they bring in.¬† If Tiger Woods comes in here, Adam Scott, whoever it is.¬† Annika Sorenstam.¬† Doesn't matter.¬† Doesn't change what I have to do.¬† I have to go get one more point than whoever is in the lead at the time.¬† So you just gotta go play your game and see what happens.
I just hope that‑‑ I think she's a great addition this year.¬† There's a lot of guys not here that‑‑ and I think she brings a little vibe to the tournament.
I'm glad she's here.¬† But we do have some guys that can play.¬† And I don't want‑‑ I want her to enjoy her time here and enjoy this event.¬† I don't want all the heat to be just thrust upon her all the time.
It's like John Smoltz, he sent me a text message saying:  Hey, did you see Annika Sorenstam's in the tournament?  And I sent him back a text saying you know what she's doing to her friends right now?  She's texting her friends right now saying:  Dang, Billy Joe Tolliver is in the tournament.  I should think like that.
It doesn't matter.  You gotta go play.  And we'll see how it goes.  And there's no question, you would have to be a blithering idiot not to have respect for her credentials and what's she's done in her arena.
I would be on line with Steve here saying, yes, she's definitely the favorite, the one to go beat.  But I'm not going to be sweating what Annika does.  She don't hit my ball.
RICK RHODEN:  Golf is not like the other sports.  Baseball, I throw the ball; they hit it.  I rely on the guys to catch it.  Golf, if any of us go out and play every day, get 20 something points, 25 points, we have a good shot to win no matter who is playing.  That's what we're concerned with, trying to get that average around 25 points.  If you can do that, you can beat a lot people they can bring up.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Unless she shoots 59 again.  I haven't shot 59.
RICK RHODEN:  Exactly.  Doesn't mean you're going to win.   But if you go shoot 69 every day, you can play with anybody.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  She'll find out.  She'll see that we've got some players here.  Smoltz has played with her in the past, some other guys have.  She knows what she's coming to play.
And she knows there's a little heat on her.  LPGA and all that stuff.  If one of us were happen to win, you can't even beat those washed up athletes, or actor, in Jack's case.
But like I said, I just hope she has a good time.  I'm glad she's here.  I think she's a great addition this year.  I don't know if it's going to continue on.
But I've seen her out here at the tournament.  I guess she lives up at Incline half the year or something.  And it's great that she comes out to support it.  It's great that she's here.
THE MODERATOR:  Chad, you're a great addition to the event this year as well.  How does it feel to be part of this so far from what you've seen?
CHAD PFEIFER:  It's been an amazing experience.  Really excited to be part of it.  Seen it in the past on TV and watching these guys win it.  I'm just excited to be a part of it.  And I'm just going to go out and play my game.  And like they were saying, just get as many points as you can.
But it's been an awesome experience, been able to meet some amazing athletes, movie stars.  And watching these guys growing up, it's a real honor for me to be here.
THE MODERATOR:  Besides the thrill of playing with Billy Joe, who else would you like to play with, do you think, this week?
CHAD PFEIFER:  I think the list of celebrities and all stars, it just goes down the list.  Any one of them would be great to be paired with.
But as I was looking down the list, Jordan, I'm not sure if he's in this year, but it would be fun to play with Annika.  John Elway, I know he's been a huge part of this.  So being able to play with him would be a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR:  Barkley?
CHAD PFEIFER:  I've heard he's a blast to play with.  I wouldn't mind at all to be paired with him.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Pair Annika with Barkley.  Larry Cable the Guy and Barkley.  (Laughter).

Q.¬† Steve, when you set the odds for Annika, did you investigate how much‑‑ she's been retired five years.¬† Did you investigate how much she's been playing?¬† When she's in Incline, does she play up here, too?
STEVE SCHORR:  All I had was that she played this week.  When we tried to investigate it, it's really hard to get information.  That's what made it so hard to set the odds.
So it's just a conversation, and we kind of throw out a number to see how the betting comes.¬† We threw out 2‑to‑1 because these guys are all pretty good golfers, and it was obviously too high.

Q.  Last year, the greens were in great shape compared to other years.  How are they looking this year, Billy Joe and Rick?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  In my opinion, I think the course is in the best shape it's been in since we've been playing.  It's fantastic.
Brad's done a fantastic job with it.  I played Sunday, I believe it was, and I've never seen it in that kind of shape that early in the week.  It's just fantastic right now.
I mean, you still run into a problem late in the day as the poa annua gets to grow during the course of the day, it's supposed to be hotter this year.  It's tough to make putts on Sunday late in the day.
But they've done a fantastic job.  I saw them out rolling them.  It's just in tip top condition as far as I'm concerned.
RICK RHODEN:¬† The course‑‑ I agree, I think it's the best especially tee to green.¬† Fairways are really nice this year.¬† The greens are good.
I think what Billy Joe said, what people don't realize we have 80 guys that average about probably 230 pounds.  By the end of the day, there's a lot of what is like a washboard when you're coming in there trying to make a putt.  That's the way it is for everybody in the group.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  And of those guys, 90 percent of them don't know how to get the ball out of the hole, which I'm sure will drive Annika crazy standing on the through line.  But it is what it is.

Q.  Chad, thank you for your service.  How much golf do you actually play now?  You play every day, every other day, couple times a day?
CHAD PFEIFER:  It's pretty close to every day.  I'm usually out hitting balls, practicing.  I probably practice more than I play.  But I usually play two maybe three times a week.  But that's one of the benefits of being medically retired, I guess.  Getting to play a lot of golf.

Q.  And once again when did you start playing golf?
CHAD PFEIFER:¬† After I lost my leg in 2007, it was actually‑‑ it took a while to get used to the prosthetic.¬† So the end of '07 is when I picked up golf.

Q.¬† Billy Joe or Rick, do you have any advice for a first‑timer here this year in Chad?
RICK RHODEN:  Hit the first shot fast.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Don't stand there long.  And when you get to 17 your first time, just hit it.  Don't wait around.  Have the honors on 17 and put your peg in the ground and go.
RICK RHODEN:  Another thing on the course.  This year it has the highest rough I've seen around here.  I don't know if they got a lot of rough but hitting in the rough this year might cause a lot of problems.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  And Annika is here.  I'm not saying the fix is in.  I couldn't tell you what kind of shape the fairways are in.  I'm a rough man.

Q.  Billy Joe, quarterbacks have had a lot of success this tournament.  What do you attribute that to?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  We're just the best athletes (laughter).  I don't think there's any question.
RICK RHODEN:  And the best looking.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  And the best looking, there's no question.  We attract an attractive gallery.
RICK RHODEN:  And modest.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  Maybe it's just hand/eye coordination you develop over the years.  God gave it to you, whatever it is.  But the only thing I can chalk it up to is we're the best athletes.  I don't think there's any question.
RICK RHODEN:  The reason the quarterbacks and the pitchers and the guys that actually throw something for a living, that motion is very similar in golf, even though it's overhand.  Your body rotates the same way.  And most quarterbacks and pitchers actually play golf pretty well.
STEVE SCHORR:¬† I want you to know we also have a bet:¬† Will a football player win at 8‑to‑5?¬† And the football player is the favorite.¬† Will a baseball player win at 3‑to‑2, with Rick, Mulder and Smoltz?¬† Will a hockey player win 6‑to‑1, with Roenick and Sakic, and all others which include Annika at 3 to win 2.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  And Scobee is a football player.
RICK RHODEN:  Which group won the most?
STEVE SCHORR:  Quarterbacks.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:  No, baseball.  And only one baseball.

Q.  Billy Joe and Rick, what kind of shape is your game like coming into the tournament?
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† I never know.¬† I'm the king of the Pro‑Am.¬† I go out make a ton of birdies in the Pro‑Am because it doesn't matter where I hit it, because I'll just go play their drive if it's bad.¬† I don't know.
I'm hitting it okay.  But when you put your peg in the ground, I've been holding off on the drinking this year.
RICK RHODEN:  So far.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† Over the years, I don't need to be sober to get the drop on these dogs.¬† These hands I'm playing with.¬† But now Annika is in this deal, I kind of have to maybe cut it back to a six‑pack.¬† (Laughter).¬† Now, I don't know how that's going to affect me.¬† So we'll see.

Q.  How about you, Rick, how is your game doing?
RICK RHODEN:¬† It's okay.¬† My game comes and goes.¬† I play in spurts.¬† Hopefully I'll have a good spurt this week.¬† I played good yesterday.¬† Like Billy Joe said, it was just a Pro‑Am, it's easier to hit a shot around a tree when it doesn't mean anything.¬† Something you can do it every time.¬† It's what we call a Bubba ball:¬† Hit a bad one, drop another one, don't have to aim, and you hit it right next to the hole.¬† When it counts, it's a little harder.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† Prime example.¬† Yesterday, on 3, I hit my drive in the right rough over there and that pin is back right.¬† I hit a big high cut up over the trees.¬† Would you do that Friday?¬† Absolutely not.¬† I hit 3‑iron over it.¬† You're going to lay it up.¬† Not going to hit a 3‑iron into those trees unless it's an accident.
RICK RHODEN:  If you do, it goes into the hole, you go that's the way I was playing it, of course.

Q.  Chad, how many times have you played on this course?  Three?
CHAD PFEIFER:  Partial rounds.  Full round yesterday.  And partial round Monday and today.

Q.  Comfortable?  Ready to go?
CHAD PFEIFER:¬† Yeah.¬† It took a while to get used to playing at altitude.¬† My caddie and I have a pretty good idea of what those numbers are going to be now.¬† But, yeah, I've been rolling the ball well.¬† And just like these guys say, golf‑‑ I think all golfers kind of go in spurts.¬† So it's kind of which player shows up on one day.¬† So, yeah, I've been playing good and hopefully I'm not wasting all of them for the weekend.

Q.  Flash report in, Steve.  We just heard this that you've got a special bet that's going to be happening this week here and the British Open, I understand.
STEVE SCHORR:¬† We've got Annika to win here and Tiger Woods to come in the top 10.¬† And if that happens, we have it at 5‑to‑1.¬† If it doesn't happen, 7 to win 1.¬† So we just put that up.
It's a tough one to put up, because we wanted‑‑ we always want to tie the British Open into this event because they're at the same time and it's fun.¬† And Tiger, we talked a lot because we wanted to put Tiger in how is he going to play.¬† So it's a question, we talked about the odds of being anywhere between 5‑to‑1 and 10‑to‑1.¬† And we figured that more would come on the plus side so we made it a little bit lower.¬† But it's going to be a fun bet.

Q.  Chad, I was wondering if you have any aspirations to play professionally?
CHAD PFEIFER:  Yeah, absolutely.  As I picked up golf and started to fall in love with it and started to get better and better, it did become a dream of mine to play at a professional level.  So I'm working towards that.  Hopefully I'll be playing on some mini TOUR events in Phoenix this winter, and then hopefully just grow my game, keep getting better and reach my goal.

Q.  And obviously your backstory would be a huge story, if you were to play professionally.  Does it drive you at all a little bit, or is that not a factor for you that you could be the first amputee to be playing professional golf?
CHAD PFEIFER:¬† Yeah, I realize that.¬† But it's not‑‑ I wouldn't say it's a driving factor.¬† One of my big goals is to just use golf as a platform to help inspire people.¬† I kind of look at it to inspire other disabled veterans coming back with disabilities.
But anyone with disabilities, golf can be a great game to just kind of take their minds off stuff.  So that's kind of a big thing for me is for me to use golf to inspire people.

Q.  Rick, there's a drawback when you play professionally; you might not get invited to the American Century Championship.  Tell us what happened there.
RICK RHODEN:¬† One year I made the‑‑ the first year I didn't get invited to this tournament.¬† I didn't know anything about it.¬† And one year I had status on the Champions TOUR and I didn't get to play.¬† Brodie went through the same thing.¬† And retired.¬† I was fine with that.¬† I understood that.

Q.  Chad, the pressure in the Warrior Open and the amputee tournament, is there real palpable pressure on the final day?  What's that like?
CHAD PFEIFER:  There will be more pressure for me on this tournament, I think, just the crowd size for one.  I mean, those tournaments we played in, the Warrior Open first year had a pretty good crowd come out.  The last two years they've kind of limited the number of people that come out.  But I'll definitely feel the pressure, I know that.  But I look at it as I faced more pressure overseas than I will hitting a tee shot here.
BILLY JOE TOLLIVER:¬† Not to interrupt you, Chad, but I was going to say with the great addition of Chad in this tournament, of course we all hold our manhood cheap in your presence, it's such a great honor to have you here and your service to our country, but pressure‑‑ he's had people shooting at him.¬† I think he'll be able to deal with this deal.
The biggest advice we can give you is you've had people shooting at you, this is golf.  (Laughter).  If you miss a shot, they ain't going to shoot at you.  (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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