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August 15, 2002

Peter Lonard


JULIUS MASON: Peter Lonard joining us after the first round of the 84th PGA Championship. Some thoughts on your round and we'll go to Q&A, please.

PETER LONARD: Played reasonably well. Hit a few greens early on. Missed a short putt on the second, three feet. Had a long putt on 8, probably about 30-footer to make birdie. Pretty solid pars. Got lucky on 11, chipped in for a par. 14, holed about a 20-footer for birdie. Par 5, 3-putted. 16, hit it to about 15 feet to make birdie. 17, about the same again. Hit one in the fairway trap down 18.

Q. As a rookie, you're making this look awful easy this year. Is this just, you find yourself pinching yourself at the way things have been rolling so far, first time through Q-School, blew through it and no worries all year long?

PETER LONARD: I can't say I've been happy with the way things have gone. I'm probably the oldest rookie on earth, so it's not like I've never played golf before. I've done a pretty long apprenticeship over in Australia and all sorts of things have gone on. Sure, the Tour School was probably a little easier for me because I had my card in Europe. I think, initially, I went to the Tour School just because a friend bet me that I couldn't do it, and all of a sudden, I've got a card and I've got to make a decision one way or the other. So, it was a nice decision. Things started off reasonably well and we just sort of kept rolling, making cuts, and the money is pretty good. So, smiles all around.

Q. I want to know about Ross River fever, is it anything like West Nile and do these mosquitoes out here frighten you to death?

PETER LONARD: No. That was just one of those things. Ross River is a virus that's transmitted, gives you arthritis, hip joints and all that sort of stuff, fatigue, a little bit like glandular fever sort of thing. I got that in '92 and just had a bit of trouble getting rid of it.

Q. At that time, did you think your career was in jeopardy? I know you went for a long while without playing; did you think, at times, maybe it was over?

PETER LONARD: Yeah, I think '92, I caught it, I was playing in Europe. I played most of the year on anti-inflammatory drugs and got through the year and it really knocked me around, end of '92, early '93. I pretty much racked the clubs for a good year, year and a half, I suppose. As I started to improve coming back, I got offered a job and took it, so next thing I know, I'm a club pro.

Q. Would you care to elaborate on this bet that sent you to Q-School last year?

PETER LONARD: I've got a friend, Paul Gow, playing over here, been playing over here for a long time, and saying I should come over here, blah -ty-blah -ty-blah, and just sort of bet me that -- well, they just started ribbing me, thinking I wasn't good enough or something. So, I thought, right, well, I'll come over and give it a go, and it all went all right, so far.

Q. Back to the mosquito thing for a minute. It's sort of amusing to some people, but it's a serious thing, and especially this week, there are a lot of mosquitoes in the air. Does that have any affect on you? Do you have a big can of "Off" in the bag? How does that work?

PETER LONARD: That's one of those things that doesn't really worry me, it's actually surprising since I've had it all of the places that I've played, all around the world, every sort of place has some mosquito virus that scares the hell out of you. So I just -- when I caught it, I had never heard of it before, but it's quite amazing how many people have had it. Doesn't worry me.

Q. Can you talk about how you got started in golf?

PETER LONARD: I started golf when I was about 12 or 13. My parents, neither of them play golf. Around the holidays, my dad took me out for a game of golf because it was too cold to go to the beach, and his only reason for taking me was -- he'd take me as long as I didn't take it up as a sport. Now, I'm a golf pro and he's still getting over it.

Q. I understand that's a story behind that putter, it's actually made in Australia by a friend of yours or something and it weighs about -- maybe the heaviest club on the planet Earth?

PETER LONARD: I wouldn't want to get hit over the head with it. It's called a pendulum, a friend in Australia builds them. I think I got one probably a couple of years ago, fiddled around with it a little bit. I've been using it on and off this year and it's been pretty good at times.

Q. Tell us about your round today, what were the best parts of it, and tell us about the final holes.

PETER LONARD: Well, I thought I hit it pretty good most of the day. It was a bit of a strange round, just on the grounds that when I hit the ball to three or four feet, I seemed to miss it, but then hit one to 20 feet and holed it for birdie. Sort of evened itself out in the end. Probably a little disappointed on 15, where I 3-putted. That's the way it goes. 18, just bogeyed it, stood up there, same as I always would and two waggles and smash it and didn't go straight. Hit it in the bunker. It's actually surprising, on this course, you can actually hit it on the right side or even left side of the fairway, with the pins tucked in the corners, you've still got trees to sort of negotiate. It's something I probably didn't notice in the practice rounds.

Q. How did you recover from the virus?

PETER LONARD: You just sit it out. It's one of those things where they say, well, just sit around and it will go after a period of time.

Q. You seem pretty unflappable. Are you one of those people that are calm on the outside and jumpy on the inside or are you calm on the outside and calm on the inside?

PETER LONARD: I would say I'm calm all the way around. I've had a lot of great things happen to me through the golf industry and all that sort of stuff and I've had a few bad things go. I don't get very excited about much, but I don't get upset about much. I think that's a good way to be sometimes.

Q. Why did your dad not want you to take up golf?

PETER LONARD: He said it was too expensive.

Q. Not in those words.

PETER LONARD: Yeah, exactly the words.

Q. Best and worst thing about being a club pro.

PETER LONARD: Getting to meet a lot of people. Make a lot of friends in the club. And after you've played the Tour for a long time, you get quite used to sort of traveling and not being in the same place all the time, different weeks, being in another place. The club atmosphere was really good and I really enjoyed it. Worst thing was probably opening shop at six o'clock Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Q. Just how long were you a club pro, and because of the club pros in this tournament, does it mean a little bit more to you because of that?

PETER LONARD: Well, yeah. I think as a club pro, probably for two and a half years, I was looking, as far as majors go, it was probably the greatest honor I could have winning the PGA in front of probably all the best pros in the world. Everything I've learned has been through the PGA, the PGA of Australia. It's just a great honor to finish up well and maybe give something back.

Q. As a club pro, you obviously gave lessons to members.


Q. Do you think you have an extremely good understanding of the golf swing and you're able to fix things?

PETER LONARD: Well, I think reasonably -- I'd have a good understanding of my swing, which is probably the only thing that I really need to focus on. I've fixed a few people's swing if you asked them. It's always good to give something back.

JULIUS MASON: Peter Lonard, ladies and gentlemen.

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