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AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP


July 20, 2014


Chad Pfeifer

Mark Rypien


STATELINE, NEVADA

THE MODERATOR:  Let's start off, you guys started off hot, your threesome I think all birdied the first hole if memory serves.  What was it like for you out there in the final round today?
CHAD PFEIFER:  Yeah, I think we all started hot.  I ran into some trouble on the second hole, but then I think 2 and 3 I came back with birdies, so I felt like I wasn't out of it.  Then after that I kind of steadied off and was making some pars.  I think I made a couple bogeys, but it was tough keeping up with these guys.  Him and Roenick were going at it pretty good.  I think he ended up with, what, seven birdies and an eagle on the day?  That's pretty tough to keep up with no matter who you are.
But it was a great time out there.  I had a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed watching great golf.
THE MODERATOR:  It looked pretty good that you were playing pretty good golf, too.  Rip, not a bad finish, eagle, birdie, birdie, that's pretty strong.
MARK RYPIEN:  Yeah, I stayed somewhat focused.  I took a little nap, stretched a little bit, just kind of wondering what we were going to do, and it was kind of weird, we had no idea what was going on.  But I think throughout the whole week, especially the last couple days, I've really been inspired by this guy.  We were able to come out here and do this because of guys like Chad that are able to make sure we have the opportunities to do what we want to do in our country, and I really appreciate that, but more importantly, he's a great golfer, great man.  It really was just fun to kind of see him and the game that he has and the places he's going to go with the game of golf and where it's going to take him.  He got put on the hot coals right here right from the getgo on TV and everything else and he handled the pressure great, and I truly felt he was going to be the one to beat.  After playing with him yesterday and then coming out and hitting the shot at 1 and then double bogeying 2 and then coming back with birdies at 3 and 4, I'm going, this is a guy I'm going to have to beat if I play the way I can play.  I didn't know I'd go on a little birdie run myself and then finish like I did.
But he inspired me, Jeremy and his play, he got going.¬† I knew I had to keep up with the Joneses.¬† It was a great group the last two days, and it was a great week, and I'm glad we got it in and got her done‑‑ get 'er done.

Q.¬† The last few holes does beg the question, the delay was an inconvenience for everyone, but when you came back out the wind had stopped, it was blowing pretty good before then and you responded with a 3‑2‑4 finish.
MARK RYPIEN:  Yeah, I have a disadvantage because once the winter starts in Spokane I like just to kind of hang out.  I throw the clubs away and there's basically three or four months where I don't do anything.  We have a short golf season, six, seven months in Spokane, but if it rains and I need to play golf, I'm going to go out and play golf in the rain.  I'm acclimated to that.  Also as much as I hate playing football in the rain, I had to do it.  You had to go out there and try to hold on to the dang ball and try to get it to your guys.
It was a bit of an advantage just from that standpoint that I've been accustomed to playing in rain and inclement weather in golf and football, and that kind of was the way it was today, it was kind of uncomfortable for everybody, but I felt fine.

Q.  Rip, what were you doing 25 years ago at the end of July after you won that first time?
MARK RYPIEN:  I was getting ready to go to the Redskins to try to see if I could unseat Doug Williams and take the Redskins to great places.

Q.  At what point of your career was that, what year?
MARK RYPIEN:  That was my fourth year.

Q.  So you were still a young player?
MARK RYPIEN:  I was still a young buck, yeah, a little wet behind the ears and came out here and no one had any idea who the heck I was.  It wasn't like I was Dan Marino drafted in the first round or something like that.  I was a guy that was just trying to find a roster spot and find his niche, and one of the things Joe Gibbs said, he said when I saw you win that golf tournament I knew I had a guy when the pressure came down, he might be able to do some good for us.  That was great.  That was a great start.  I remember those days like they were yesterday.
You know, of course I didn't have to beat Chad Pfeifers and Jeremy Roenicks.  It was Frankie Avalon and Tommy Driessen, and nothing against those guys, I love them, but the competition has gotten better, and as you see today, a lot of good golf today.

Q.  Chad, can you sum up the experience in a way you had to compete, you had to greet people, you had to play to the crowd, you met a bunch of guys that you're kind of wowed by?  Is there a way to sort of capture it all in 25 words or less?
CHAD PFEIFER:¬† Just amazing in one word.¬† I really just had a wonderful time.¬† Like you said, it was great to have people come up to me and thank me for my service.¬† Got to meet some great veterans that came out to support.¬† Like Jonathan said earlier, I think over 2,000 former or current military came out, which was awesome, so it was great to have that support, and to meet the guys, I mean‑‑ I was in the players' meeting at the start of the week or middle of the week, and I just kept pinching myself.¬† I mean, there's so many great and legendary athletes that I was sitting with and comedians and Annika, and it was just amazing.¬† I'm truly grateful that I was invited and had the time of my life.

Q.  Chad, you have talked about your professional aspirations in golf.  Did you watch Annika this week?  Did you get a chance to talk to her and maybe take some tips or some advice away from her?
CHAD PFEIFER:  Unfortunately I didn't.  I got to talk with her just a little bit.  We were introduced, and then talked just a little bit as we came off the 18th green and told her she was a legendary LPGA player and it was an honor to meet her, but no, unfortunately I didn't get to pick her brain and get some tips for my playing career.  But it would definitely be a conversation I'd love to have with her at some point.

Q.  Mark, momentum with the eagle at 16 and then your tee shot from 17 was great, and Jeremy went right.  Is that a point where you think I might win this tournament, or is that still too early and do you have to tamp down those feelings?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† Yeah, there's still ten points possible on 18, which is great, and even though when he made a great putt to save bogey, now there's still the eagle, and if I bogey we've got‑‑ there's a lot of scenarios that play out.¬† If he would have doubled there, I think he would have pretty much had just kind of limped on in from there and not even had to finish, but I still wanted to finish well.¬† When you play two good holes coming off a break like that, you don't want to limp in, so to make birdie on the last hole and hit a good‑‑ horrible tee ball but good second shot and good third shot and to make a putt, it was a good way to finish things off.¬† Yeah, it was unfortunate for Jeremy that he kind of limped down the stretch a little bit because he played good golf all week long and very deserving of being up here with us and holding the trophy up just as much as I was able to do it myself.

Q.  I was going to follow up with you whacked the tree on 18 and all that and it lands in the middle of the fairway.
MARK RYPIEN:¬† I hate 18.¬† If that lightning comes down and knocks those trees down on the left‑hand side it would be the best thing to happen.¬† It's the only hole I've got to hit it left, and my ball does not know what left is.

Q.  Mark, what did you hit on 16 for your second shot to the green?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† I hit a 6‑iron.¬† It was 213 and we talked about hitting‑‑ it was cold.¬† It got cold out, like 55.¬† I felt the snow was coming soon.¬† But it got a little chilly, hit balls at the driving range and they weren't carrying very far, so we thought about hitting maybe 5‑iron, and I said, no, I've got a lot of juice and hit a good 6, left it below the hole, and really got a good read from Jeremy's putt, or Jeremy's chip.¬† He chipped it up there and his ball went right by mine.¬† I could see it broke about a cup on the left and hit it where I thought I would.

Q.  Mark, after last year's finish with Billy Joe, did you have any thoughts of that coming into this week and then today, as well?
MARK RYPIEN:  Always.

Q.  When you and Jeremy were tied?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† Always.¬† I looked at the putt I missed yesterday thinking if I just tie and I look back on all those things I could have done, should haves, could haves and would haves, you've got to be in the moment.¬† It didn't really cross my mind, but on the tee box at 18 with a six‑point lead, there's still a fact you can hit a hosel rocket out of bounds on the beach or make double there and him make eagle and you lose the tournament.¬† I still knew I had to finish the hole and play golf, and I wanted to finish it well.

Q.  Chad, at the check presentation ceremony Jonathan Thomas from American Century said he was going to honor the 25th anniversary of your playing here this week, they were going to make a donation to your charity, and I missed the name of that.  What was the name of the charity?
CHAD PFEIFER:  It's Feherty's Troops First Foundation.

Q.  Like David Feherty?
CHAD PFEIFER:  Yeah, David Feherty.  As you may or may not know, David is very proud of his American citizenship that he got a couple years ago now, I think, but he is one of the many that has become an American citizen, and I can tell you firsthand, he really loves the troops, both past, present and future.  He is proud of his citizenship, and he does a lot for the troops.

Q.  Chad, one question I had for you is when you came here this week, did you imagine or envision yourself in the final group on the second day and in the final round of this event?
CHAD PFEIFER:¬† It's one thing that I imagined it, but when it came time for today and even yesterday being in the last group was‑‑ it was pretty special, so I really enjoyed it.¬† I just kind of‑‑ I was out there just trying to play good golf, and I was kind of just along for the ride.¬† I mean, it was an honor to be invited to this, and I played decent golf and I was fortunate enough to be in the last group and just kind of rode the wave.
It was truly spectacular to watch both Mark and Jeremy go at it there for a little bit.  They were battling back and forth, and it was great golf to watch.

Q.  Mark, after regulation last year you were tied for the lead.  Jump ahead to this year, play is suspended, you're tied for the lead, play may not resume, and in the clubhouse here we were wondering do they go back to the end of round 2.  What was going through your mind?  Were you thinking about last year or how it was going to play out?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† Yeah, I was asking many questions because that's one of the thoughts that they contemplated was if it cell was going to sit over here for the rest of the day they would just call it and go back to yesterday's scores.¬† I think being that it was 16 holes in‑‑ if it was nine holes in that might have been the case.¬† They might have said, shut her down, let's go back to yesterday's scores and get people on home and safe.¬† I think safety was the biggest factor.
But unlike last year, I mean, last year there was no waiting around.¬† It was like get off the green, take a deep‑‑ not even a deep breath, grab yourself a glass of water, rush to the tee box because they had like 10 minutes of television left, played a bunch of holes really, really fast, like keystone cops almost, and Billy Joe and I are good at that anyway, we like playing fast, so we were fine, but maybe it was a little bit too fast.¬† Golf is a game you've got to not necessarily play quick but kind of get in your mind as play gets going how to slow things down as you're playing quick.

Q.¬† Also coming back from the break, do you think the time off might have‑‑ just watching you on the tee box of 17, do you think Jeremy might have lost just a little bit of his competitive edge or just a little of his‑‑
MARK RYPIEN:¬† Yeah, I think he was worried more‑‑ and I love Jeremy because I think he was on the tee box at 17 having a little bit to do with trying to get into my head a little bit, not worrying about what he needed to do, and kind of like, go away, go home, go away, Ryp, and I think he lost a little bit of focus maybe on his own.¬† It was all in good fun because him and I are real close friends, and he wants to win bad.¬† He's a competitor.¬† So I think a little bit of that was just like, gosh, rip, come on, can you just dribble one off the tee and give me a chance to win this thing, and I think he just lost a little focus and didn't hit his best shot obviously on 17.

Q.  Ryp, did you manage to place a wager on yourself before this event began?
MARK RYPIEN:¬† I've done it the last five years, and I've said this year‑‑ I've got so many people here, I'm just going to enjoy myself and not put that much pressure on me again.¬† But Mike Flaskey did.¬† He put some money on me.¬† I won't see any of it.¬† I guess I will, Diamond Resorts.¬† They're going to hook me up.
THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, congratulations both.  It's been a pleasure having you here.  Way to go, Ryp, Chad, real pleasure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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