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August 3, 2004

Todd Hamilton


TODD BUDNICK: We would like to welcome out British Open Champion, Todd Hamilton. Your first start since your first major championship victory two weeks ago. Let's talk first about how important it is, that first tournament back. You've picked a great place to come and play.

TODD HAMILTON: I remember playing here about ten years ago. I was playing at the time in Japan, I won a Stableford point system tournament there in '93 and was allowed to play here in 1994. I enjoyed it. It's a beautiful golf course and everybody loves to hit their pitching wedge 160 or 170 yards. It's always nice to do that.

TODD BUDNICK: Have you been out on the course to see it ten years later?

TODD HAMILTON: Yeah, I played, let's see, Sunday. Sunday a few holes and I played today nine holes. I don't remember much about it. I remember the routings of the holes but there's a few new tee boxes from ten years ago when I played. Still a beautiful course, good shape, looking forward to playing.

TODD BUDNICK: I'd like to say that you took two weeks off, but I think you had a pretty busy schedule. Why don't you talk a little about how exciting last two weeks have been.

TODD HAMILTON: I took two weeks off of tournament golf. I think I played six or seven rounds of golf, which for me is unheard of. If I take two days off, I'm ready to kill somebody and my wife wants to get me out of the house. I.

Was very busy doing a lot of media. I went to New York City the day after the Open Championship, had about let's see, they picked me up at 6:45 at my hotel and I think I got home at 11:00 that night. I was being pulled and pushed from all different directions. It was a pain to do all that stuff one after another, but in a roundabout way it was kind of fun to do it because I play golf all the time every day, some days good, some days bad, and I don't get a chance to do that. That was a once in a lifetime deal I think and that was a lot of fun. Even though it was a long day, it was a lot of fun.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's revisit the Championship itself. Have you had time to have it sink in for you?

TODD HAMILTON: You know, I'm still wondering how the Honda Classic ended up the way it ended up.

I always felt my game was decent I felt if I could get out here and maybe contend or have a couple good years something like that, the Honda Classic would happen, but I never dreamed that I would win one tournament let's alone two tournaments my first year as a rookie.

I did have a chance to watch a tape of the final round. What I remembered from playing and what actually I saw on TV didn't match up. My wife commented on the final round=, when I saw all the people and the faces but I didn't see the features on their face they were just blank. The only two people I recognized out of the crowd were my wife and my mother who happened to be over there. I remember looking up at my wife one hole and kind of smiling at her and she commented on it, that it looked like my caddie and were having fun. It just looked like we were the only guys on the golf course playing our practice round and I really felt it felt like a fun day.

The way I had played before that, I was very happy with the position I was in, whether I lost in the back nine or finished 10th or fifth or ended up winning. The way I played, just being in contention and having a chance to do well was enjoyable.

Q. You played quite a few holes, boom, boom, boom, you were totally composed I think through the whole thing as we watched it.

TODD HAMILTON: Funny thing, in the third round, also. I think the pairing on the fourth round was very beneficial, for me anyway. We both kind of maybe take things a little easier than other people. I don't get too uptight usually. His mannerisms and mine are kind of similar. Our clubs off the tee is beneficial, at least off the par 3s iron wise. He hit a lot of drivers off tees, where I hit 4 irons or 3 irons and 5 irons. But having the same pairing that we had the third day I think benefitted me.

Q. Had you played with him previously?

TODD HAMILTON: I played with him in Japan one year at the Dunlop Phoenix probably seven or eight years ago.

Q. Did you see the replay of your daughter and your wife, and talk about the stupid hole thing and a little bit about Letterman's Top 10; what was the list and do you remember any of the Top 10?

TODD HAMILTON: I did see my daughter on that. I actually saw it after the tournament was over. I saw, they had an intro to Golf Central on the Golf Channel and that was the first time I had seen it and I had not even heard about it actually before I saw it there. And I asked my wife about it and she confirmed what it happened. A lot of people thought she said Ernie Els was stupid, and when I saw it, it was "the 18th hole was stupid."

It's funny because my wife made it a point for me to go see her dance recital. I had never seen her practice any of her dancing at all. We bought tickets to go to this for our family and a couple of the neighbors, so we probably had seven or eight people going there and she froze up; she would not even go up on stage. It was a perfect day out for golf so I was not too happy when that happened. (Laughter.)

If anything is organized, she won't do it. But if it's kind of off the cuff, you know, she's at home, she'll start singing to a song or dancing as long as it's kind of made up on her terms. But if it's organized, she won't do it.

What was your other question?

Q. Letterman.

TODD HAMILTON: Letterman. I don't remember all of the Top 10 list. I remember the first one I read off which was No. 10, "easily recognized by middle aged fat guys," which I thought was pretty funny. There was one on there, I get to appear on MTV's Tip My Cart, which was pretty good.

They actually made me go out and practice for probably five or ten minutes. I actually went out on stage, they had a little spotmark off the tape and I went out there and the other guy with cue cards, right underneath the camera and they gave me a list to took at right before I went out there to practice. If I would have gone out there cold and not seen the list, they could not have done the show because I would have been laughing for the hour that it's on. The last one, my wife didn't really understand at first, so I told her to use her imagination; I've been able to fill a lot of divots, if you know what I mean. (Laughter.)

Did you hear the whole ten? One of them was, President bush called, he kept calling me Ernie, but that was still okay. I actually fell asleep, I was so tired, I didn't get to watch it. But I have a tape I'm going to watch some day.

It was a lot of fun, a lot different than playing golf there were probably, I don't know, 300 people in there and I was more nervous doing that than being out in front of 10,000 or 15,000.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TODD HAMILTON: She was. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to meet her. I awe her leave. We were rounding all the kids up, my wife and mother and I just handed to look out of the door of the Green Room, and she walked by, probably you to me away, but I didn't get a very good chance to look at her. (Laughter.) Unfortunately.

Q. Talk about what it's like to have your name thrown around with the Ryder Cup now, and also, any favorite memories or things that you look back on the Ryder Cup as some of your favorites?

TODD HAMILTON: I think it would be an honor to get either accumulate enough points to get on or even get chosen. I think I would feel a little uneasy if I were chosen unless I got into the 11th or 12th spot.

If I were the coach, obviously you get the ten spots automatic. I would go 11 and 12, that way you can't be second guessed unless there was a guy 13 down that was just playing great. But that way you can't second guess him.

And if I made enough points, that would be awesome. If I were 11th or 12th and got chosen, I would gladly accept it. But if for some reason I got chosen outside the Top 12, I'd feel a little uneasy because all the points I accumulated have been in the first seven months of the year, whereas the other guys have played consistently well over two seasons.

Q. But you'd go?

TODD HAMILTON: Yes, I'd go. I enjoy playing match play. I haven't played too much of the alternate shot form but I enjoy it. I think it would be a great honor.

As far as memories of Ryder Cups, it's funny, I've always been in Japan playing and haven't really seen it too much. One thing I remember when they played in Kiawah Island, that golf course, the difficulty of the course along with all of the pressure of playing the Ryder Cup, I felt so bad for all of those guys coming in. I think Mark Calcavecchia had about a three or four hole lead with four holes to go or something, and he ended up halving the match. I'm not sure if it was Colin Montgomerie or not.

I felt so bad for him, because here is a guy that's a world class golfer, he's playing for himself, he's playing for 11 other teammates, he's playing for his coach and for his country and his family and friends. That's a lot of pressure to have put on you. And even though he didn't win his match and he probably should have, you know, that was a lot of pressure to be put onto him, and just to get a half point out of it is pretty amazing. I know he's very upset afterward and he thought that he had lost for the team. But that's a lot of pressure, it's not just you, it's the whole country. It's like the Olympics, the Olympics of golf.

Q. Do you expect if you make the team that there will be even more pressure on you as opposed to what you felt at Troon?

TODD HAMILTON: Oh, probably so. You know, playing for your country, I think people, when people congratulate me for winning the British Open, I don't think it's necessarily, "Way to go Todd Hamilton." I think it's: "Way to go, you're an American. You brought the jug to the United States." They probably wouldn't have known me from Adam at the start of the year. I played golf in Japan for 12 years and I think it's just a matter of I'm an American, played well and brought the jug to the United States, at least for a year.

There would be a ton of pressure, but I put a lot of pressure on myself. There would be more pressure than playing the British Open I think, yeah.

Q. Is the Japan tour that much different from the American tour?

TODD HAMILTON: Yeah, what I played over there, I played for 12 years and we probably had ten guys that were maybe 10 or 15 guys that were world class players. The problem with the Japanese players is they didn't travel very much, so it was hard to get a handle on actually how good they were.

I know Shingo Katayama did well in the PGA in Atlanta, finished fourth or fifth. Toshi Izawa finished fourth in the Masters and those are probably the best finishes in majors of any Japanese player. Aioki finished well, second in a U.S. Open. They have a lot of young players, when I started there in '92, most of the good players were either 35 on up. Now most of them are 25 to 35, most of the good players.

So it's gotten a lot better. But I wish they would travel more often just to see how good they are, play under different conditions, play in the wind and play in altitude, long courses, short courses, whatever. But they just don't travel very much.

Q. Big difference in the tour as far as what you have to do custom wise?

TODD HAMILTON: Not really. The golf courses are very different. Most of the golf courses in Japan are very hilly, actually similar to this one. This is probably one of the more hilly ones we play.

But custom wise, no, there's not as many people watching, I know that. If we had a big tournament, we might get 30,000, 35,000 for the whole week, and it had to be a tournament where Jumbo or Joe or Aioki if he was playing back then, if they were in it. If it was a big tournament such as the Japan Open, Japan PGA, Japan TOUR Championship, or it was easily accessible. A lot of the courses were kind of out in the sticks, so if it was easy to get to, you'd have more people.

But custom wise, not too much different. I remember the first time that I played there, one of the first tournaments, the tee sheets were written in Japanese, except the first initials for the foreign player. So I would have to look for all of the T's, and I could look I could remember kind of the way my name looked but it was still written in Japanese. So I had to learn to figure out how to write my name in Japanese or else be late for a tee time.

Q. You won at the age of 38 and are kind of considered a late bloomer. Do you consider yourself a late bloomer? And the second part of that have question, we've had a history here recently in professional golf of late bloomers winning big, late in their careers, do you have a theory on how that's happened?

TODD HAMILTON: I would say, for the PGA TOUR, I'm a late bloomer. Maybe as a professional golfer, no, because I had success in Japan for 12 years. I don't know why it's happening that you're seeing a lot of older guys do well. Maybe they are feeling comfortable with their lives, not necessarily their golf. A lot of times, at least with me, I'll go from playing poor golf to good golf and I don't feel like I'm doing anything different in my golf swing or my thinking.

You know, maybe one of our children had been sick or something, and it's worrying me and all of a sudden they are well and it takes a lot of pressure, a lot of worrying off your golf game; or if I've got a lot of paperwork to do, maybe receipts I haven't done for six months or something. You get that done, and you feel like you can go out and really work on your golf game.

So a lot of times, it doesn't even have to do with golf. You just mentally feel maybe more energetic.

Q. You played so long and so well in Japan, you won four or five times last year

TODD HAMILTON: Four times, yeah.

Q. But you also tried this tour for seven times.

TODD HAMILTON: Last year was my eighth try.

Q. Did you ever get discouraged and think, "Well, maybe my future is in Japan"?

TODD HAMILTON: I didn't get discouraged to the point where I was thinking about not playing golf. I tried five straight years out of college. I think I made it to the finals maybe twice. And then I didn't try for ten years because I was in Japan, doing well, had some good contracts I wanted to honor over there. The last three years I tried. Two I made it to the finals.

I felt like my game got better and better. And I think just getting my card last year took a lot of weight off my shoulders, because as you mentioned, I wanted to do it for so long. I tried eight times in 17 years. I felt that if I got on here, I could do well, maybe not as quickly as I did. But I think for me, it was to the point where maybe you don't belong there. Maybe if you can't get on there, you're not supposed to be there.

And would I be content playing golf in Japan for rest of my life. I could live with that, make a decent living, as long as they continue to have a golf tour over there and I was welcome to play there, sure I could do that. It would have been difficult and I'd have been disappointed had I not gotten my TOUR card, but I think doing something I enjoy doing and making a living of it, I could live with that, yeah.

Q. Do you like sushi?

TODD HAMILTON: I'm not a big sushi fan believe it or not. A friend of mine took me last year, it's got to be cooked a certain way. It's got to be a certain kind of sushi. I don't just go tear into everything.

Q. What's the most interesting thing you've done with the Claret Jug? And second, your caddie used to be a local caddie here at Castle Pines, how did you meet and hook up with him?

TODD HAMILTON: I'll answer the last one first.

Ron Levin, who is my caddie, he actually caddied for me in the Open Championship in 1992. I was over there, got into the Asian Tour Order of Merit, got an exemption. My mother, my wife and I traveled over there. We were staying at a bed and breakfast. Ron was over, I believe caddying for D.A. Weibring who had to qualify. Well, he didn't get through the qualifying and Ron still wanted to work during the tournament.

There was a young girl that worked at our bed and breakfast who was out one night and met Ron. I don't know if they had dinner or met at a bar or she asked him what he was doing here. He said he was trying to caddie the British Open; his player didn't qualify but he still wanted to caddie in the tournament.

She says, oh, really? We have a player staying at our bed and breakfast where I work who needs a caddie, looking for a caddie. So I was told to look for him in the parking lot of the course, and this was at Muirfield in '92. I ran into him, he ended up caddying for me for the week. I didn't do very well, missed the cut.

We kept in touch over the years. I actually had a guy caddying in Japan the last two years that could not get in because he could not get a Visa. He's from Canada and he was not able to get a Visa to come in here. So for about the first three or four tournaments this year, I had local people or I think a couple weeks I had a guy that actually brought a friend out to one tournament had a local caddie in Hawaii, a friend at Pebble Beach, and then another guy that was a tour caddie that I had at the Buick at Torrey Pines. Ran into Ron, I said: Hey, my guy can't get in the country, you're more than welcome to caddie for me until he can get in, if you like.

He said, "Yeah, I don't really have a regular bag, I'd like to do that. I have to tell the guy that I'm kind of on and off working for, I'll tell him that I'm going to caddie for you until your guy can get in." So he was kind of the right place at the right time.

He's really helped me out though. He's been out here caddying for let's see, he's 34. He says he's caddied for 17 years, whether it be the Champions Tour, ladies tour or the regular tour here. So he really knows what's going on every week. He tells me good places to stay, how to get to all of the tournaments, which tournaments will be good for me to play, things like that. He's been very helpful.

The Jug, I brought it out here, my caddie is from Boulder he wanted me to bring it out to show off to some of his friends. The PGA next week, my father and some of his friend are going to come. That will be the first time he's seen it. I really enjoy obviously it's a great thrill to win it, and I get it for a year, so I'm going to be able to enjoy it more days than some other people.

I enjoy taking it places. Like I probably played four or five different golf courses in the Dallas area before I came out here with friends, and I'd take it into the pro shop and I would say, "Here, you guys, can you hold onto this?" (Laughter.) For five hours, do whatever you want within reason, if you want to call your buddies have them come over, take photos, do what you want. And they really get a kick out of that and I enjoy seeing that.

Like I said, I get it for a whole year, plus I'm going to get a replica, so I'll be able to enjoy that.

But to me, it's like the Stanley Cup. It's a very probably the most recognizable trophy there is in golf. If you just saw a silhouette of it, you would know. If you're any type of golf fan, you would know what that was. It's like the Stanley Cup, it's very recognizable, and you have to put in a lot of hard work and a lot goes into winning that tournament and that trophy.

Q. Where is it?

TODD HAMILTON: It's in my closet at my hotel.

Q. Do they insure it?

TODD HAMILTON: I didn't insure it. I don't know if they do or not. They told me, "Don't check it when you fly. Don't check it." It's a pretty good sized box they have it in, too, yeah.

Q. What hotel are you at?

TODD HAMILTON: (Laughter.) I'm staying in Boulder. (Laughter.)

Q. In that playoff, do you think Ernie had a lot more pressure on him?

TODD HAMILTON: I do. Honestly I do. Throughout the whole day Sunday before the playoff started I thought I was going to win except for one time and that was the putt he had on last hole in regulation to win. I knew it was a difficult putt. I watched some of the telecast before I went to the golf course that morning. I saw, I think it was the Amateur guy that made the cut, Stewart Wilson, I think he had almost the same putt. He either didn't read it well or didn't hit a good putt or both because he missed by quite a bit from 15 feet, so I knew Ernie had a difficult putt. But I thought he was going to make it and I was ready to shake his hand.

I was happy finishing second, if that was the case, because I had played poorly for so long. But when he missed, he looked very dejected. His mannerisms showed that to me and by the way he went to tap in the ball, he just looked like, man, I let a good chance slip right there. I may not have had the advantage in a playoff, but I felt like I maybe had a better chance than I should have.

Q. The expression on his face, did he look any different in the playoff?

TODD HAMILTON: No, he played the same the first two holes, the same way he played in regulation. He hit driver off both the holes. I actually changed my game plan up a little wit bit. I think I hit a 4 or 5 iron off the tee on the first hole. The wind had died down a little bit. The second hole I actually hit driver, whereas I hit 3 or 4 iron in regulation. If anybody changed it, was me. I'm very surprised that we did not make any birdies in those four holes. The first two holes were pretty short playing fairly easy. The second hole, the pin placement was a little tougher than the first hole because the wind was blowing right to left and the pin was on right so it was hard to get to.

It seemed like the whole day, we knew what Mickelson was doing because of the leaderboards. We could not see him that far ahead to see him make putts or chip it close to save par or whatever he was doing, but we knew he was playing well. To me it seemed like there was going to be one shot for Ernie or myself that was great, that was going to be the birdie that made the difference; or, either one of us were going to hit a bad shot and make a bogey, and that was going to be the difference. It happened in the playoff on 17. Ernie missed a shot a little bit left and had a tough up and down. I was very surprised we didn't make any birdies in those eight holes that we had.

Q. Inaudible?

TODD HAMILTON: In regulation, yes, it was pretty windy when we were up on that tee box. I just pushed my tee shot a little bit, got it riding the wind, went over the heavy rough. The lie to me actually looked like it was hittable, at least around the green, maybe not on the green but around it. The grass was dark green, very lush, and right when I got to the ball, the club face just shut and went straight left.

Now, part of that was my doing because I did not want to miss the green to the right because the pin was cut on the right and it would have been a hard up and down.

I knew if I got somewhere left of the pin or left of the green, that I would have a lot better opportunity to make a par. I didn't plan on hitting it into the gallery, though. But I had it a lot better chance on that side than had I been up in the green near the bunker. I think I had a better chance there.

Q. Did you get it up and down?

TODD HAMILTON: In regulation, I didn't. In the playoff, yeah. Actually, the tee shot I hit in regulation on 18 was better than the one I hit in the playoff. I hit it a lot more solid. It's give good thing I mis hit the one in the playoff. Had I hit it better, it would have been in the heavy rough again. I hit it so poorly, it didn't have enough steam to get into the heavy rough.

Q. When you first went over to Asia, if I'm not mistaken there was no such thing as the Nationwide Tour, but subsequently you might have had the opportunity to play on that, so I wondered, looking back, are you better off for not having done that or was that an opportunity that you would have liked to have taken at some point?

TODD HAMILTON: Yeah, I actually played the Asian Tour for five years. My first year was 1988. I'm not sure back then I think it was the Hogan Tour, and I actually played I think I played three or four events in 1990. I don't think I had much success. Just had kind of limited status there.

I think, to be honest, I think going overseas and playing the five years in Asia and the 12 years in Japan, showed me a lot of patience. It showed me a lot, there were a lot different players, a lot more players around the world than probably we would ever think there were. The golf courses were iffy condition wise. Sometimes good shots would turn out bad. Sometimes good shots, the lies turned out poorly.

So I think although I wish I would have got my TOUR card a lot earlier than I did I'm kind of glad that it happened that way because I think I'll appreciate it a lot more rather than just coming out of college, getting my card and winning a few tournaments here and there. I think spending 17 years overseas really makes you appreciate what good things that happened to you.

Q. Since you won, what's the most interesting thing that's happened to you or the meaningful call or note that you've received?

TODD HAMILTON: I was sifting through the mail about a week ago and I probably get 15 or 20 pieces of mail every day now. I looked at this one, it was handwritten, no return address on it. I think the postmark was somewhere in Florida, maybe West Palm or something like that. So I open it up, it was a card about the size of an oversized index card, and embossed on the front of it was the name Jack Nicklaus. And he had taken the time to handwrite a letter to me, signed it, and said: Hey, congratulations, job well done, I'm sure your family and you were very proud of the success you've had, not only this year, but past years, and signed it Jack Nicklaus.

Growing up, he was an idol of mine yeah, he was an idol of mine. He was the one that always seemed to be winning all of the tournaments. I remember watching a tournament, he was five shots down against Grier Jones, I think it was the Jackie Gleason Classic back then. It was funny because I remember the look on Grief Jones' face when Nicklaus birdied the last I think it was of the last five holes. It was just seemed like it was soup human. He wasn't supposed to do it but he did it. I always remember that, he was always the one that was leading the Money List and probably the most famous golfer. Definitely the best golfer that we've ever seen, at least I've ever seen. I know it's hard to rate them from era to era, but until somebody beats his record, as far as I'm concerned, he's the best golfer we have.

Q. And did you tell the North Dakota priest, Jason, who sat next to Jackie on the way over, I understand that Jackie has been a contribution to his church and that you guys are going to Ireland together, can you talk about that?

TODD HAMILTON: I knew she sat by a priest on the plane. I didn't I think she told me she was going to dough mate some money to his church which is a good gesture on her part.

I don't know if he's heading over to Ireland, if that's what you meant. I don't even know if my wife is going to go over there. We have a child that starts school. I think a friend and her mother is going over. There are a lot of little funny anecdotes that happened throughout the week when you look back, it was very ironic what happened.

I walked up the 18th hole on Wednesday at my practice round and they had like a mock leaderboard and a friend of mine actually has a picture of it dated the Wednesday before the tournament with my name atop the leaderboard at 4 under par with some other players it. Was just kind of a mock leaderboard. My caddie and I figured the guy who was in charge of putting that up, his name was Hamilton and he wanted to see his name up at the top of the board.

There was a young kid on the 6th hole in a practice round early in the day on Wednesday, he had a black hat on, with the letters "Hammy" on his hat; a lot of friends call me that at home. We brought him up on the tee box, he sat on my golf bag where you could see my name. His name was actually Tom Hamilton and his friend call him Hammy and he had a hat made up. A friend of mine took a picture of that. And I think some of the golf magazines are trying to get in touch with that kid and get a picture of that photo he that was taken.

A lot of things you look back were pretty ironic and it's funny how things work out that way.

Q. Would you talk about the parallels between and you Brian Watts, and I understand you guys are season ticketholders to the Stars?

TODD HAMILTON: Yes, that's correct. Hopefully they will play this year. It doesn't look very good.

Brian and I, our careers up until this year for me, were very similar. We had a lot of success in Japan. Prior to that, we each one won the Asian Order of Merit which allowed to us play in Japan. He had his TOUR card at least once before that. I had never gotten my card until this year. He probably won 10 or 11 tournaments in the years he spent there, and I spent 12 years, he probably was there for six or seven.

As kind of a side bar to the question I was asked earlier, being content to play in Japan the rest of my life, Brian and I actually sat down one night and discussed that same situation. We both thought we could do that. We would have been disappointed. He actually had gotten his TOUR card before so he had achieved a goal that he probably had as a kid and I had not done that yet. So I would have been disappointed had I not gotten a TOUR card.

But we could have we both thought we could have stayed over there and played even though it would have been tough having we each have three kids now. It would have been difficult for us not seeing them grow up as much as we would like but it was a way to make a good living if we did well and doing something we enjoy doing. Our careers up until this year were very similar.

Q. Did you guys talk about the close call he had and you being able to win; again, that was in a playoff?

TODD HAMILTON: I actually saw him up until this week I saw him briefly this week but I saw him one night for about 30 seconds. There was a party at a golf club that I play at home, they had an anniversary party for the club, and a little get together for myself for the Open victory. I didn't get a chance to see him but for 30 seconds. We kind of hugged each other, he gave me an envelope full of newspaper clippings. I told him I would talk to him as soon as I could; I saw him this week. I know he's been struggling with a bad back. I'm sure he's got the heart and he's got the I know he's got the game. It's just a matter of getting his back fixed and maybe mentally get back to where he was when he played back in, what was it, '98 in the Open Championship.

I remember calling him the night before the final round of that tournament in '98. He seemed very confident, very relaxed, it was about ten o'clock at night. They were just sitting down for dinner, and I thought he was going to do it. He seemed like it was no big deal, like he was going to do it. Had he made a few more putts or Mark O'Meara missed a few more he would have had his name on the Jug, too.

Q. You won a golf tournament in Litchfield, Minnesota when you were 20 years old at the University of Oklahoma, how much do you remember from that experience and what got you to play in that tournament?

TODD HAMILTON: I don't remember much about it. It's funny you bring that up because a friend of my father's lives up in he lives near Litchfield, I can't think of the town, small town, I think he runs a bank up there. He used to run a bank in my home town in Illinois. He invited myself and another friend of mine up there to play. He actually sent me an article that was written probably within the last week or two of me winning the Open Championship and having played up there.

I don't remember much about it. I know it was a long drive from where I was in Illinois up there. We had a good time. We stayed at my father's friend's parents' house and really enjoyed it. It was nice country up there. Other than that, I can't tell you much about it. I'm old. I can't remember back that far.

Q. I know you grew up in a small town in Illinois, too, did that kind of draw you up there, too?

TODD HAMILTON: No. I think it was more my father's friend. He wanted me to come up and play up there. I think we either went up a day early and played with him or stayed a day after and played golf with him. It was just more to go up and see where his parents lived and just to hang out with him.

Q. You said early why the call that when you watch the tape, things didn't match up to what you were feeling in the golf course. Can you expand on that?

TODD HAMILTON: Yeah, when I watch the tape, I was really nervous. (Laughter.)

To be honest with you, I felt very calm on Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, for some reason I felt everything was going to work in my favor, except for the putt that Ernie had on the last hole in regulation, I thought he was going to make it.

Everything seemed as I was playing, seemed to be in 3D. I saw people, I saw their paces but they had no features on their faces. The only two people I recognized were my mother and my wife.

Watching the golf, I was actually nervous. Even though I obviously knew the outcome I was nervous for both Ernie and myself. It was a pressure filled situation and it seemed like one shot was going to be the difference there, and it happened to go my way on the 17th in a playoff.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you very much, Todd.

End of FastScripts.

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