August 23, 2001
Q. How long was the 3-iron?
PAUL McGINLEY: 206 yards uphill. Uphill into the wind. Ninth, I drove it in the bunker up in the left. I could only chip it out. Hit a wedge 20 feet, two putts, out in par. Driver and a wedge five feet. 17, driver and an 8-iron five feet.
Q. Overall satisfied with your start?
PAUL McGINLEY: Really good, solid round of golf, yeah. A lot of greens. A lot of fairways. When I did miss a green -- I missed a couple of greens on the back nine in the heavy rough. I chipped it up dead both times. 13 and 15 in the heavy grass, and both times, I chipped it up to a foot.
Q. Pace of play?
PAUL McGINLEY: Lovely. What did we play, three hours? We're both quick players. Once we had nobody in front of us, away we went. I didn't even think we were going fast. It's a pleasure to play golf that week. If it was the last round, as opposed to the first round and we were the back of the field we would have played at least a half an hour quicker.
Q. Mark said he putted terrible. Did you enjoy playing with him?
PAUL McGINLEY: Like I said in the Ryder Cup press conference, it's always nice to play with some Ryder Cup players before The Belfry.
Q. How does this round compare with how you played last year, a lot better?
PAUL McGINLEY: I remember my golf was very good. I putted very poorly. But I putted much better today. Didn't hole everything but hit a lot of good putts. Any putts I had from birdies for a short distance, I holed them. It was a real good round of golf. It's playing really long. A lot of 3- and 4-iron second shots. You know if you miss a fairway, you are not hitting the green in two. I mean, it's a real, real long, tough golf course.
Q. Do you expect really low scores?
PAUL McGINLEY: Not with this cloud cover. With the cloud cover above, the ball is not flying as far. The course was so different in practice than what it was today. So much longer and so much tougher and the scores reflect it. What's the leading score in, 3-under par. Only one guy -- 4-under will probably lead. As opposed to last year. What did Tiger shoot, 61?
Q. I was just going to ask you, what clubs did you not use today?
PAUL McGINLEY: That's a good question. There wasn't one. I hit everything. 5-wood, three I've, 4-iron, 5-iron, 6-iron, 7-iron, 8- -- yeah, everything. 3-wood. Didn't hit a 3-wood. The only time you would have a 3-wood would be the par-5 second, but I hit such a big drive, I was hitting 5-wood in. I hit it to the front of the green and 3-putted.
Q. Is this a tougher 70 than last week's?
PAUL McGINLEY: I think last week's -- I think there was more danger last week, but there was more birdie opportunities, last week, at the same time, you know what I mean. With two par 5s here today, one of them, 16 is nowhere near on in two, so 2 is. So you really only have one place where I'm happy walking off with birdie. Where last week there was certainly two, maybe three par 5s I could get home in last week. I could get home on both of them comfortable.
Q. Would you have taken a 68 today?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, of course you would. 68, I don't care what conditions or how good the weather is or how short the course is playing -- it's a good course. How long is the golf course? Well over 7,000, and it's playing every inch of it. My ball was pitching on the fairway and wasn't rolling a foot on a lot of holes, so it is playing every inch of that.
Q. Could you give an example of some of the longer irons into the par 4s?
PAUL McGINLEY: For example, 4, I've hit as good a drive as I can hit, uphill into the wind. It's gone 275 and I'm left 204 or something, 206. You know, the pin is in the front. The next -- I mean, if I got through my iron shots, you would realize how long it is playing. I mean, first hole, okay, relatively short, and second is relatively short. But you look at the third hole, relatively short because it is downhill. Again, driving a 3-iron, a 6-iron which went over 200 yards because it was downwind. Then you have a driver and a 4-iron. And then you've got a 4-iron par 3 and you've got a drive and 8-iron and I drove it in the bunker, but it would have been driver, 4-iron on 9.
Q. Does it feel like a big week?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it feels like a big week. It will warm up. Competition will warm up very quickly the next few days.
Q. There was talk in Atlanta about 18 and you are talking about a 3-, 4-iron second shot, do you think it is reasonable for you pros to hit --
PAUL McGINLEY: I agree. I'm not disagreeing. There's no question, the golf course is not as fearsome as it was five years ago. I played with Nick Price and he was saying with the new equipment and new golf balls, when they came here first, this golf course was a complete monster. Where between 8- and 10-under par won it year-in, year-out constantly. And you look at last year, Tiger blew the field away with, what, 20-under par, 21-under. That's not because the golf course is playing any differently. It's just the new equipment is hitting the ball so much more farther. But then it's penalizing, too. You've got to hit fairways. You hit it off the fairways today -- that's what happened to Mark today. You miss fairways, you've got to be pitching well from 80 yards, because you're not getting the green.
Q. Will it be difficult not to get ahead of yourself?
PAUL McGINLEY: The golf course is too difficult to get ahead of myself, you know what I mean. It's not a course that you can go all-out and attack. I found myself getting ahead of myself more often on courses that are relatively easy than I do on difficult golf courses, because it grabs your attention. Every hole grabs your attention. First hole looked like a pretty innocuous par 4. But I tell what you, you miss the tee shot, you are in trouble.
Q. Last four holes everybody were talking about last week. This week at Firestone, 15, good par 3; 16, no picnic; 17, over the years a lot of bogeys; and 18, what is your opinion of that final four?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it's not as fearsome as last week, and the reason is there's not so much trouble, like water everywhere last week on the last four holes. But you've got to play a lot of good golf coming down the stretch. There's no question about that.
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