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September 12, 2002

Donnie Hammond


TODD BUDNICK: We have Donnie Hammond, 3-under, 68 today. It looks like the course is playing a little tougher right now than people expected, two years ago it looked like the scores are a little lower. Does that have anything to do with the wind this morning?

DONNIE HAMMOND: Yes, it's was windy most of the day. It was playing tough earlier, it was windy and kind of hard to get it close to the hole. I think that's the main reason for the scores because the greens are soft and, you know, they are fairly slow right now. It had to be the wind.

TODD BUDNICK: Tell us a little about your day, Donnie. Five birdies, two bogeys.

DONNIE HAMMOND: Yes. I started off making a few birdies on the front there. I hit a real good shot there, a 4-iron and made about an eight-footer from behind the hole. Kind of went up one of those thousand bridges they have out here and kind of sloped advantageous for me right down toward the hole which was nice and knocked that in.

8, I birdied it from about five feet. 3-wood, sand wedge there.

9, I hit two good shots there. I hit a good drive. Crosswind. Hitting into the sloping fairway going this way with a left-to-right crosswind and a hook being my worse shot with the driver; I somehow got it in the fairway and pushed a 6-iron about 30 feet right at that time hole and then made about a 20-footer. I threw a little luck in there.

I made a good bogey on 10. I hit it right of the green and chipped it over the green and chipped it up about a foot and made it for bogey.

Then hit in the right rough the next hole which I don't recommend. The next time you guys come here there is a bunch of big trees right there to the right and hit it short of the green, right, chipped it up and made another good bogey, 2-putted. It was down at the bottom of the slope and the pin was all the way at the top. I made a good two putt there.

Then I made a good putt on 15, about a 20-footer down the hill. I caught the hole. Luckily it would have been about eight feet passed and it went right in the middle so that was lucky again.

16, I hit a real good shot in there, a 9-iron about 5 feet, knocked that in. Then almost birdied the last two holes, lipped it out on 17 and 18.

But I was pretty happy with 68 today. It was playing tough in the morning with the winds and with the tough pin positions. It's hard to get it close. It's hard to even see where the pin is to the greens the way they're sloped and, you know, a lot of blind shots out there. So it was tough to get it close.

Q. Donnie, do you find you can play in enough tournaments given your exempt status to stay sharp; is that a problem staying sharp?

DONNIE HAMMOND: Yes, it's been a problem about five years staying sharp. But I have been playing enough to stay sharp. I play a lot when I'm home.

I will get in about 16 tournaments this year so that's enough to keep it together during the year.

Q. What keeps you out here? Obviously you're 45, still quite aways from the Senior Tour?

DONNIE HAMMOND: I keep having one or two tournaments a year that brings me back. It makes -- they think I can play a little. You see something happen one week when you play pretty good and you make some putts and you think maybe you can do that a few more weeks. I enjoy playing. I have played in a lot of pro-ams with a lot of guys that have jobs and I haven't found a whole lot of them that I think I want to do. Although there are a few that I would trade if given the chance.

Q. Like what?

DONNIE HAMMOND: Movie star, rock star.


But overall it's still fun. I still enjoy playing. Trying to stay sharp. I'm trying to stay sharp and try to keep playing until I'm 50. I think it would pay off to be able to keep your -- keep a little close to your game when you turn 50 instead of trying to get away from it and having six or seven years to do something else.

Q. Would you be in favor, they talked on and off about a tour for 40 to 49-year-olds or maybe lower the age of the SENIOR TOUR?

DONNIE HAMMOND: Yes, 40 to 49-year-olds with major championships, the first name starts with Freddie and the last name with Strange. I didn't qualify for that one. But.

Q. Would you like to see the -- do you think they would lower the SENIOR TOUR, lowering it a year or two?

DONNIE HAMMOND: I think it would be successful for the SENIOR TOUR. But you got a lot of guys out there that, you know, you got about 50 guys looking out for each of those 50 guys. They're not looking at the whole picture, I don't think.

Q. Given your exempt status and stuff like that, does seeing what Gene did a couple of weeks ago, does that sort of, you know, give you some motivation?

DONNIE HAMMOND: A little bit. It was fun. Gene is a good friend of mine. It was just a thrill for me to see him win. I guess coming back since like 1989 just to see him win a tournament, I was really thrilled for him. It helps, you know. That's the way the tour has been the last four or five years, anyone can come out of nowhere and win just about any event.

Q. When is the last time you contended in a tournament?

DONNIE HAMMOND: Well, I won a BUY.COM a couple of years ago and on the regular tour, I've had two or three tournaments a year where I have been near the lead maybe on Saturday, Sunday at the Kemper a couple of times, but it's been a while coming down the back nine since I've had a chance.

Q. I heard you tell Todd you haven't been in a media room interview room in how long?

DONNIE HAMMOND: That's none of your business.

TODD BUDNICK: Maybe not up here but on the BUY.COM Tour I saw you quite a bit.

DONNIE HAMMOND: I used to come in there quite a bit on the BUY.COM.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Donnie.

End of FastScripts....

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