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June 16, 2000

Kirk Triplett


LES UNGER: We appreciate you coming in here. Less windy in here. How about describing conditions for us, first.

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, you know, we got out here at 6:45 to play it this morning and things were pretty soft and calm. We didn't actually start until 8:15. Then all of a sudden, about 11:00, 11:30, the golf course kind of put a new face on. The sun came out, the greens firmed up, and the wind was blowing -- you guys probably know how hard it was blowing. Seemed like 10 to 15 miles an hour to me. Really, it made a difference. A little heavier wind, a colder wind offshore, and it's playing tough. It's not going to get any easier.

LES UNGER: Had a terrific front nine, and then there were a couple of holes I assume you'd like to forget.

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, I don't know about that. One of those was pretty good, all in all. But that's the nature of Pebble, and it always has been, until you guys changed No. 2 to a par-4. You used to try to go out, that first seven holes, sometimes if you were 2- or 3-under after 7 holes, you felt like you left a few there, because you knew a lot of times you're going to play all the way back into the wind after you play 8, 9, and 10. It's always been the kind of golf course where you feel pressure to get off to a good start; and when you do, you know you're going to have a battle coming in.

LES UNGER: 1-under after two rounds. Have you thought about that before you started? I assume that wouldn't be too bad.

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, yeah, I think so. It seems to me the kind of tournament where you don't think about the score so much. Pars are so precious, that you just spend all your energy -- I've just got to par this hole right in front of me, and on we go. Seeing the scores -- I felt like yesterday, when we got to the golf course, I felt like the scores were going to be very good the first day or two. And then the minute that we got conditions like today, I felt like the greens were firm enough, and hard -- and fast enough already that we were going to be right back into the typical U.S. Open situation, where there's hardly any guys breaking par. The guys breaking par are playing great, hitting phenomenal shots and great up-and-downs, and making putts on top of that.

Q. Could you talk about the transformation of the greens from yesterday to today, how much they firmed up?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, I noticed that this morning, first thing out. It was certainly -- we stopped on 14 yesterday -- 14 tee. And our first shot was into 14, which is kind of abnormally hard anyway. And I had hit a pitch wedge that hit over the top of the bunker, and it was almost all the way through that first cut of rough in the pitching area over the green. And I thought maybe that's just 14. But, no, it was that way for our first five holes, for the completion of our first round. So they obviously did something different in preparation today than they did yesterday. So the greens are definitely firmer.

Q. I was going to ask the same question. Did you have a sense that they rolled the greens?

KIRK TRIPLETT: I think they roll them all the time. They've got a guy who likes to do that, back and forth.

Q. Could you briefly go over the events on 9 and 10 for us one more time?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, actually I bogeyed 9. I hit a good drive, just short of the green on 2, which was right where I tried to be, and I don't know what happened. I went to sleep on my chip. I'll get to 10, I know what you're talking about. I bogeyed 9. Walked over to 10; didn't shoot bad. If you shoot 3-under on the front nine, you can't play 8, 9, and 10 under par very often. And so I hit a good drive on 10; I wasn't feeling bad at all. And that's about at the point where I think I noticed where the second shot on 9 and 10, I noticed that the wind had a different feel and was affecting the ball differently, because I hit a shot, I didn't think I hit it that bad. I thought it was going to get on the green; it was 20 yards short. It wasn't even close. I had about 200 yards to that pin, and I think the day before I had probably 165 or 170, and hit a good driver both days. So I should have recognized in that fact that the golf course was playing different. It was playing more typically like Pebble. So I hit a 4-iron. It hit the bank, went down onto the beach. I walked onto the beach. I knew I'd find it in a foot print and wouldn't be able to play it. I was smart enough to pick it up, go up, take my drop. I hit a terrible shot just short of the green. Had 60, 70 feet back to the pin and hit an okay first putt; but it was kind of tough to judge that speed from that distance, because you don't hit very many long putts out here. And then had about a 8- or 10-footer that I put a real good stroke on and made a 6. I actually felt good about making that 6. And I hit some good shots the next couple of holes, had some birdie chances. 12 was playing very, very difficult, and I made a nice up-and-down there. And went over to 13, and hit a good solid drive and about three yards right of the fairway. Just buried about a foot short of the bunker -- just buried it in the rough. And so we got over there, we were looking at it, and marked it, checked it. It was embedded in the ground. So I took relief from that; and as I was dropping it, I got my hand down there, and there was like a tunnel or a trail that was maybe, I don't know, maybe about that big around or so (indicating). And I could stick my hand both directions. I thought this was a burrowing animal deal here. So I called an official. He didn't agree with me. So I said, "I think I'm entitled to a second opinion." He said, "Yes, you certainly are." Another guy came out, and he didn't agree with me. So by that time, I had dropped my ball, and it was in that crevasse, and I couldn't hit it. I mean, it was 12 inches below the surface of the grass. And so I just exhausted my options. My only other option was to take a drop, and that's what I ended up having to do. It was unfortunate to have to take that time to get the ruling. But I thought it was a 50/50 shot on getting relief, and they didn't agree. So I took my drop and made a 6.

Q. So you did incur a penalty there?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Yeah, I had to take -- I couldn't hit it. The ball was in a trough.

Q. And did you think about playing your ball off the beach, and did it literally land in a footprint?

KIRK TRIPLETT: It was in a big, deep footprint. If I had a good lie, I could have played it from down there.

Q. Can you talk just a little bit about the day? It seemed like you guys got the worst of it, having to get up early and wait again, and you only had a half an hour, if I'm correct, between rounds. Your day started about 12 hours ago.

KIRK TRIPLETT: Golf is not that strenuous of an activity. I don't think it's easy out there right now, with the wind blowing, and the way things are going. I don't know what's going on. I haven't seen the scoreboards or anything. But I think as far as the conditions go, and the condition of the golf course, we played in a little bit of fog yesterday, but the conditions were relatively soft for an afternoon. A lot of times, somebody can shoot 4- or 5-under par in the morning, and nobody can break par in the afternoon. We at least had a chance to break par in the afternoon yesterday. We got a reasonably good deal yesterday. But as far as being at the golf course, I mean, I've been at the golf course for 24 hours, basically. I left here to go to dinner, went straight from here to dinner, back to the hotel at about 10:00 and up at 4:00, and straight back here.

Q. How does it feel to be the leader in the clubhouse at the U.S. Open?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Did they write the check based on that? (Laughter.) Is that something we can do, or maybe a partial deal -- split it up, day money or something? It feels great. I love this place, Pebble Beach. And it would just be a dream come true. All I read about Bobby Clampett saying about his round yesterday, he's spent more time here than I have, growing up here and going to school. But if I could pick one course to win a tournament on or be a champion at, this would be the one.

LES UNGER: We appreciate you coming by.

End of FastScripts….

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