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April 10, 2015

Mark O'Meara


Q.テつ Mark O'Meara played a couple of rounds with Tiger Woods, and we asked you about Tiger Woods' game.テつ I apologize, we should have asked you about your game.テつ Beautiful performance the last two days.テつ Two 68s, the first time you've gone sub 70 since 2001.テつ You're playing the weekend for the first time in since 2005.テつ What are your emotions?
MARK O'MEARA:テつ I've been hitting the ball pretty well almost all year.テつ I played the practice rounds Monday and Tuesday with Tiger.テつ Even he commented, like, wow, you're like driving it, man, you're a better driver of the ball than I've ever seen.
Fortunately I had hit the ball well the first two days.テつ I hit a lot of greens yesterday, a lot of good drives.テつ Had a couple of three‑putts.テつ But 1‑over is not a bad score when the course is a little challenging.
Today I felt the pins were a little bit tougher, but I did drive it good again today and I hit a lot of quality iron shots.テつ And I think the big turnaround was I made a good par from off the edge of the green on 11 after I kind of flubbed my chip a little bit.テつ But overall I felt like I played well and I'm happy with the round.

Q.テつ Tiger Woods won when he was 21 years of age.テつ You've seen what Jordan Spieth is doing at the age of 21.テつ Do you see a lot of parallels there?
MARK O'MEARA:テつ I do.テつ Jordan is just such a great individual, too, on top of what he's performed on the golf course.テつ He gained a lot of experience last year certainly contending here and a lot of other tournaments.テつ And he's got off to a fabulous start this year with a win and coming into this red hot, so it doesn't surprise me.
But 14‑under is very, very, very impressive around this golf course.テつ We'll see how me finishes.
But I also know that my boy Tiger is playing pretty well today.テつ So he probably saw my name go up on the board he's like, I can't let the old man beat me.テつ I better play good today.テつ So I'm really happy for him.テつ And hopefully I'll play well on the weekend.

Q.テつ What has Ben Crenshaw meant to the Masters in your opinion?
MARK O'MEARA:テつ It's hard to qualify in words.テつ Ben's meant a lot to every player, to certainly Augusta National.テつ He hoses our dinner now, he took over the baton from Byron Nelson.テつ And Ben is a class act.
So he's going to leave here gracefully, but he'll always be here in heart, and he'll always be coming back to the Masters.テつ I think the patrons will miss him, but I think he's probably doing the right thing.テつ And it's a different golf course now than what he used to play.

Q.テつ Tell me what Ben Crenshaw has meant to Augusta.
MARK O'MEARA:テつ Well, like I said earlier, it's hard to quantify in words.テつ Ben has been known with the two wins he's had here, the emotional win and the second win, hosting the Champions Dinner every year.テつ The players have the utmost respect for Ben Crenshaw.テつ He'll always be a fixture here at Augusta National.

Q.テつ There's a picture in the caddie's trailer, can you explain what that means?
MARK O'MEARA:テつ I think the natural drainage on this property.テつ Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts found this property, a nursery property, everything tends to flow down towards the 12th hole.テつ So because of that (wind noise).

Q.テつ Talk about your round today.
MARK O'MEARA:テつ You know, I was pleased with the way I played yesterday.テつ I played well in the practice rounds with Tiger on Monday and Tuesday, hit some really good shots.テつ I've been playing well this year.
I know I haven't made the cut here in about nine or ten years, but there's times I hit the ball good enough to make the cut but I didn't score well, I didn't putt well.
Yesterday I had two three‑putts and still shot 1‑over.テつ Today I eliminated the three‑putts and I hit a lot of quality shots.テつ And I'm kind of surprised, but I'm not surprised, you know.
I was fortunate way back 17 years ago in '98 at 41 when nobody thought I was going to win the Masters, including probably myself, shot 74, 70, good enough to make the cut on the weekend.テつ And then 68, 67.
So I think experience plays a big factor around Augusta National, kind of playing the course a bunch, realizing you need to respect the golf course and when to maybe be a little more aggressive.テつ But in fairness, even though it's much, much longer than when I won here in '98, the greens are pretty receptive.テつ They're pretty soft.テつ And there's a lot of grass on the golf course.テつ The guys that hit the ball a long way, you can fire in at some of those pins, where in years past you had to really be careful and land the ball fairly well short of the hole and try to chase it up there.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
MARK O'MEARA:テつ You know, I feel like I've been coming on.テつ I probably hit the ball as far now as I did when I played in my time.テつ But I'm a better driver of the golf ball now, and I think maybe a little bit of peace of mind.テつ And certainly being a former champion here and wanting to play well.
You know, you play for your pride, too.テつ And I understand I'm 58, but I still have my health and I can still hit some quality shots out there, so if I putt well, which I've putted pretty well this week, and I've made a lot of key 3‑footers for two‑putts or 4‑footers.テつ So I'm just happy to be playing the weekend, to be honest with you.

Q.テつ You made that putt at 11?
MARK O'MEARA:テつ Yeah, that was huge.テつ Until you go down there, unless you're maybe 25 and you've got nerves of steel, when you're over the green on 11 and you're trying to pitch it and you've got to bump it into the hill, you're trying to be aggressive, but if you're too aggressive you might pitch that thing right in the lake.テつ So I kind of decelerated on it, and didn't hit a very good pitch shot.テつ On the putt obviously I'm trying to lag it down there to make five.テつ Five for me is a good score on 11, to be honest with you.テつ I hit a good drive yesterday and today, and I'm rifling a rescue club in there.テつ You've got a little mud on your ball.テつ I've hit it over on the left many times.テつ That's not a good place to go.

Q.テつ If you looked it up, Jack shot a 4‑under the year he won at 48.テつ So it's not very common.
MARK O'MEARA:テつ Well, no, but I think the competitiveness, the majors, the Masters, it means so much.テつ Certainly being a Masters champion, certainly coming back here, and then, you know, obviously the nod to get in the Hall of Fame this year.テつ There's a lot of things going on in my life, a lot of positive things.テつ So that kind of motivates me and drives me to play better.

Q.テつ You were talking about Tiger, what about Spieth, have you played with him much, have you watched him much?
MARK O'MEARA:テつ I've watched him a ton, I haven't played with Jordan yet.テつ All I know is when he came on the range this week and I saw him, looked over to congratulate him, of course he came over and said, "Hi, Mr. O'Meara."テつ And he's the polite, most respected young man and to see him perform at the level he's performing, he's won at every level.テつ He was a heck of a junior player, a heck of a college player, and he's come on and burst on the scene on Tour.テつ You saw what he did last year here at the Masters.テつ It doesn't surprise me.テつ 14‑under does surprise me a little bit.
When you putt like a 21 year old and you're hitting the ball really well, you know, and like I said, the greens are softer out there.テつ They're not rock hard, so you can be pretty aggressive.テつ And with his length he can still fire at the pins.テつ He's making the putts.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
MARK O'MEARA:テつ You know, listen, obviously it's a big week for them.テつ They've got to play well on the weekend and see what happens Sunday afternoon.テつ It takes a long time to develop one's career.テつ Just because you have a good year, doesn't necessarily develop it.

Q.テつ (Inaudible.)
MARK O'MEARA:テつ It was good to see it go up there.テつ I know Tiger is like 3‑under today.テつ So maybe it's motivating him a little bit out there.テつ Seeing the old man's name up on the board, he's probably, wait a minute, I can't let that guy beat me.

Q.テつ What about what he's doing, though?
MARK O'MEARA:テつ I think it's good.テつ I've told everybody, the press this week, that he seems like in a really good place mentally and physically.テつ Listen, I see more of the old Tiger Woods in my opinion.テつ His pitching Monday and Tuesday, I didn't see any inclination of a guy that's struggling around the greens.テつ What was going on before, I'm not sure.テつ But he certainly looks like he's on his way back.

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