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November 5, 1999

Chris Perry


LEE PATTERSON: Chris, we appreciate you spending some time with us. A nice first two days, a couple of thoughts about that and heading into the weekend.

CHRIS PERRY: It's a pleasure to be here, it's a beautiful place. I've really been looking forward to ending out the year on a good note. I've been playing well all year, and I just haven't won yet. And I'm in position again to -- I know if I play my game and hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, I'm going to have a chance this week. I like the golf course, because it makes you hit different shots off the tees, both left-to-right, right-to-left, and the greens are small, so everybody is going to miss a few greens. And I've always had a pretty good short game. So I'm pretty comfortable on the golf course.

Q. Your final rounds hit a few bumps at Champions, how much momentum do you bring here from that?

CHRIS PERRY: Not so much from that round because it's a different golf course than what we play most of the year. It's a great driving course, but the greens are so massive that your focused on shooting them at the flag. As I look back, you're so concentrated on getting it up to the hole that I think I lost sight of hitting the ball close to the pin, and it's hard to score from 25 feet to -- from my case, 75 feet on Sunday. I enjoyed playing with Tiger, he's very encouraging, it was my first time. He's had a tremendous year, just fabulous. He's a great guy to play with, it was encouraging to me. It's going to be hard to catch him. And I took a chance on -- I believe it was the 13th hole, it was a par-5, hit a driver off there, and I thought if I could make an eagle or birdie and get on a run, I might have a chance. It didn't happen, I didn't hit my irons that well. I played extremely well this year, very consistent. And as I said, really my goals for the year were top-30 and to win a tournament. And then through March I was to make the Ryder Cup team, and came up short there. Now my goals have changed to win by the end of this year. So this is the last chance -- I really would like to start the year again at the Mercedes Championship in Hawaii, that's always a lot of fun. My goals going into next year are to make the Presidents Cup team. In order to do that, they basically go off money, and to make as much money as possible, even if you don't win.

Q. Chris, several players are continuing to have very subtle reminders of Payne Stewart. You're being very visible with your testament this week, with your hat. Can you speak about your decision to do that?

CHRIS PERRY: Well, I brought about ten hats with me, depending on the color codes that I have, I pretty much go with what I have. But I'm not going to let just the one week of the tribute, and that's going to be it. Because he's going to change a lot of peoples lives. I've talked to a lot of players. Fred Funk and I are pretty close and we talked really the whole way from the airport here the other day, and all the way out here, just about the whole situation. It's a tragic thing what happened with Payne. He was very likeable around the world. He was very well-known. He was very friendly to everybody, not only to players. And it was a huge tragedy. And if there's any good that can come out of it, I know he would want us to continue to work hard and look at our own lives and how we can become closer to the Lord in our own way, our own family way, and what can we do for others that's going to help them come to know God. It really has changed -- not so much changed my outlook, but made a lot of people to think about what really is important in life, which is your family and your loved ones and what can you do for others. Yes, golf is very important, that's your job, but there are other things. And your time here is to enjoy it as much as possible. And I'm just -- I'm going to continue, as I said -- I don't know what I'm going to do into next year or what the Tour is maybe going to do. I have my own -- Clear Eyes is my own sponsor and depending on what I do next year, there will be some reminder, maybe not every week. I'm not going to change into knickers, because I think that was his style. But that was a tribute to him, wearing the knickers last week, and most of the guys did.

Q. Chris, you talked about your ambition for next year. Do you think you need to make any technical improvements to realize it?

CHRIS PERRY: I think there's a lot of improvements in my game. I've made tremendous strides since about '93 when I lost my card and had to go back to the qualifying school, didn't make it and played exclusively on the Nike Tour. Basically was sent back to the minor leagues, in baseball terms, you know my father played in the Major Leagues for years. From that time on I worked extremely hard, hired a trainer. Sometimes my ball-striking was a little suspect, and I had trouble with my driver from time to time, but the last three years I've played very consistent. I made a lot of cuts. With a little bit of luck, I probably could have won a couple of times this year. I try to be prepared as possible for every single week that I play. And I believe this is about my 13th top-10 finish this year, but I haven't won. That's what I'm interested in doing. Just like what Tiger said, I come here to win. That's what I tried to do this whole year, I just come up short. I know if I play my game and just get a few more quality shots and continue to make a few putts I'll be there in the end, I hope.

Q. Chris, some European players have talked about wearing knickers the first round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, are you familiar with that?

CHRIS PERRY: I haven't heard that, but I'm sure that something will be done at Pebble, and probably at the U.S. Open. Actually on a personal note, I collect jerseys from hockey, baseball, this and that. And my golf memorabilia is like a flag, which I brought this week for Jose to sign, a Masters flag, posters from the Major Championships. I have a couple of things for Tiger to sign. And I actually brought -- it was in my possession, an original print from Pinehurst No. 2 for Payne to sign last week. I don't know if his family had one. He actually signed the individual tickets for the tournament; Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and they all have a different picture on them. At the PGA he signed all seven days for me. And I gave him one of the groupings. And I plan on taking all of those, because I don't know if Tracey or the family have it, is take those seven-day tickets and then also the original print that I bought, there was only 500 of them made, most of the players signed it and put a little note and we're going to present it to his family sometime in the future, maybe around the U.S. Open time next year. But as far as the tribute to Payne, I had not heard that, but I'm sure something will be done both at Pebble and the U.S. Open, being that he is the champion from last year.

Q. Other than the shirt, was there any weirdness with Jarmo out there today?

CHRIS PERRY: No, it was very pleasant. The only weird thing really that happened other than he hit a couple of funny shots is that on the 5th fairway he says that over in Europe he has a tendency to lift clean and place. And for some reason we were about the same distance, I had turned my back, and the next thing I heard him say is: Oh, no, and I saw he had his ball in his hand. He had marked his ball and picked it up. He goes, you know if that's one shot or two? And I said I don't know, but I think it's one.

Q. That's pretty weird.

CHRIS PERRY: Well, yeah. He ended up knocking it on and making a putt for a par. It was a one-shot penalty. And then he hit a bad tee shot on No. 11. He actually made a few birdies. He was pleasant to play with. I felt bad for the guy, because he said he almost did it the first time, because they do that a lot over here.

Q. Chris, are you feeling more comfortable or are you putting more pressure on yourself?

CHRIS PERRY: I don't put any more pressure on myself. Try just to play the same. You just keep getting there, keep getting there, you have enough chances it will probably happen, which it did in '98 for me. I'm really not a leaderboard watcher. I pretty much play the golf course. Sure you need to know where you stand, as Colin Montgomerie said there's a lot of miles left to go, I think is what he said. I like the golf course. I think it's a straight-hitter's course, you have to have a pretty good short game. And coming in here, we're not as familiar as probably some of the European guys, but right away Hal Sutton and Justin Leonard jumped in my mind as a course that's perfect for them, because I know how straight they are, and how good they are around the greens. And their shot control, ball control as far as distance. If there are two courses completely different it's last week and here. Where you have to hit it 285 to get to a corner and then go in, and you've got greens 65 yards deep. Where here the putting green is the biggest green out here and that's a third of the size of the greens at Champions. So completely different style courses. But I do like it. It's like the old Texas Open, San Antonio course we used to play on Tour.

End of FastScripts...

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