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November 10, 2000

Nick Price


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Nick Price into the interview room. He maintains his lead at 9-under, 135. Nick, tell us about your day.

NICK PRICE: Obviously I didn't play as well as I did yesterday, but a totally different golf course today. The wind, I guess, was probably about 20, 25 miles an hour, and a lot cooler as well; which normally, I don't function too well when the temperature gets below that 60 degrees. But I went out and did what I wanted to do today, which was to shoot somewhere around par and just not make too many mistakes. I made a lot of good saves through the first -- probably made three good saves for par on the front nine. And I felt like I was going to get under par a little bit more on the back nine. I played 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 pretty well, then bogeyed 15 and 18, which was a little disappointing. But as I say, today was the kind of day where I really couldn't gain a whole lot, but I could lose an awful lot. Whether I shot 70 or 69 and gone to 12- or 13-under par, that would have been fine. But there's always that chance on a day like today you can shoot 4-, 5-over. This golf course can do that. So, I mean, I'm happy, but a little disappointed I bogeyed two of the last four holes.

Q. How dangerous is this golf course in terms of maintaining your lead?

NICK PRICE: It's so hard to stand on these tees when the wind is blowing the way it is and pick a line and hit it, because it's hard to feel how strong the wind is on a lot of the tees. It's hard to read which direction it's blowing from. On the back nine, it's certainly a lot easier than the front nine: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, you're never quite sure which way the wind is blowing. It's very difficult to feel when it's quartering into you or quartering with you. So you have this little bit of apprehension over your shot there, not knowing whether the ball's going to go downwind or into the wind. On the back nine it's a little easier, because that nine sits a little more where you can see where the wind is, or feel where the wind is. But it's a very -- I don't know how the best way to describe this golf course is. It's kind of like walking a tightrope a lot of the time, because you feel that if you fall off, it's going to take you a long time to get back on again. It's a strange golf course in that respect. You almost get claustrophobic on it on a day like today. I was trying to convince myself to go ahead and make the commitment and keep hitting the ball. I think that's probably why you see such a big difference between guys who play well on this golf course and guys who are playing poorly. Because when you are playing well, the fairways, it doesn't matter how small they are, tidy they are, you have to hit them in there. When you're not playing well and trying to get the ball around, these fairways shrink to , they feel like, half the width that they normally are. The greens are a little more receptive, and there's more grass on them this year. I think that's a big bonus. That may be why the scores -- the guys are shooting a little lower than last year.

Q. What would you change about this course? Or is the list too long?

NICK PRICE: The list is not long at all. They need to change some of these trees. Some of these trees are -- just in the 2nd hole and the 18th hole, I still haven't figured out how to play that. I don't think many people do know how to play that hole. All I know is there's fewer trees on the left side of the fairway than the right side, and I'm aiming down that left rough every day. It potentially could be a great, great golf course. I mean, it just -- it's six holes on you which are -- the 11th tee shot, you can't keep the ball on the fairway there. Some of the greens are just -- the 17th hole, well, I think you should just start all over again, because that hole is -- I mean, I've made pars on that hole and a couple of birdies. I haven't made any 8s or 9s. So I'm not talking with sour grapes here like Tiger and some of those other guys should be. But that's probably the worst green I've ever seen in my life; there's no doubt about it. 15 in Augusta comes close when it gets hard and dry. But I don't want to sound like I'm totally criticizing the golf course. I'd just like to see them make it a great golf course, because potentially it could be. I want to feel that it's -- I want to feel like I'm giving constructive criticism instead of trying to slight this golf course, because I think it's a good golf course. They just need to change a few things.

Q. Talk about Saturday and Sunday.

NICK PRICE: I take it one day at a time. I heard the weather report is going to be much -- calls for much a same day tomorrow for the weekend. It's going to be difficult. I don't think it's going to be easy. For me, the weekend's up to not making a lot of mistakes. That's the most important thing for me. The fewer mistakes I can make, the better off I'll be. But this is a difficult golf course to have a lead on. It really is.

Q. It sounds like overall, considering the conditions today, you're reasonably happy with your round?

NICK PRICE: Yeah, yeah. As I said, I'm a little disappointed I bogeyed two of the last four holes, but I probably would have taken 72 or anywhere around there, anywhere under par, 71, 70 at the beginning of the day. This game has a wonderful way of balancing everything out. I think I made some great saves today, which kept me under par. And I think just the last few holes they kind of caught up with me a little bit.

Q. For you as a player, do you prefer an early start, or do you prefer the latter start?

NICK PRICE: I don't really mind. The greens are holding up well. They're not spiking up too badly, which is normally the one factor that is a negative about playing later on in the day. They held up pretty well today. Sometimes, you know, you have a tough time with the weather. But I think tomorrow they say it's going to get better as the day progresses. The wind may be dropping a little bit later, so that may be a break for us. But I don't mind playing late. In fact, it's always a good sign when you're playing late because that means you're playing well.

Q. (Inaudible).

NICK PRICE: He was trying to ask me what I said to you guys last night, you know, because I think Padraig was back in there listening and went back, and he wanted me to define "unique," which is, I think, the word I used to describe him yesterday. But he's the same. He's got some wonderful tongue-twisters. I'm not going to steal his ammunition, because he has a wonderful way with words. He had a play on words the whole time. He actually tries to make out that he's a bit of a fool, but he isn't; he's very clever.

Q. A player like yourself, who's had a great career, won a lot but hasn't won recently, when you get in a situation like this, do you have the same confidence going into the weekend as you had?

NICK PRICE: No, I wish I did. I wish I did have that confidence. I probably would have won three or four times this year. But confidence is all about -- it's something that builds up from playing well over a period of time. "Why aren't you confident with your putter," some people say. I haven't putted well for five years. I haven't putted poorly, but I haven't putted that well. Now I'm starting to get a little more confidence with my putter. My long game, I've always felt confident in my ability to put the ball on the fairway off the tee and hit good iron shots. But this game is a game of momentum. I think that's what we've seen with Tiger in the last three or four years; he's got on a roll. Mickelson, a lot of the good players, David Duval - you get on a roll and you keep it going. It's trying to get on that roll which is tough. I've sort of been : One foot go, then I fall back, and step forward, fall back a little bit. So I haven't been able to get on that roll. But if you look at the way I've played the last four or five weeks, you see there's been a good buildup to this week. And for last week and the Presidents Cup, I played well. The Buick, I played two pretty good weeks in Japan. So it's building nicely. I just want to try to keep the momentum going through the weekend, then on to Sun City and beyond.

NELSON LUIS: Why don't we go over your card very briefly. No. 2?

NICK PRICE: No. 2, a 3-wood and an 8-iron to about 20 feet. Let's see... 7, driver and a 3-wood just left of the hole. I hit a beautiful pitch shot from about 20 yards, maybe 25 yards short of the pin. Chipped it to about 4 or 5 inches. Then the bogey on 15, I missed it in the bunker with a 1-iron. Hit it out probably - I don't know - 15 feet. And then 18 I drove in the left-hand rough right with my second shot, then pitched up 20, 22 feet. I really didn't have much of a chance there.

Q. What did you do on 17?

NICK PRICE: 17, I hit a driver. Actually hit a really good driver. Pitched in the face of the -- on the right-hand side there's a little bit of a ridge that sits there. I pitched it in and just kicked left. I actually thought I was probably going to have 190, maybe 200 yards to the flag. I got up there, I had 226. I haven't got a club in my bag for that shot, so I just wedged, sand wedged and 2-putted. Nine times out of ten I'm going to play that hole that way unless the pin's back or in a position where I feel I can get a full -- even going to that green with a 4-iron, it's tough for me. I hit the ball on a flatter trajectory than those guys. If I get a 5-iron in my hands, I've got to go at that green. But I have to hit it at 320 off the tee or 330 off the tee, and that's not going to happen too often.

Q. Is that a relatively simple sand wedge shot?

NICK PRICE: Yeah, downwind it's not bad. Into the wind it's hard to judge how much spin you're going to put on the ball. That's the killer on that hole. If you put just a little bit more spin on the ball, it's going to come back 30 feet and go in the water. The way that green is angled, it's just not back on that hole. I think what would really help a lot would be if that back right-hand portion was flatter, so at least you could hit it out there. I mean, you still have a tough 40-foot putt downhill, and you take your chances there. But there's no way to keep the ball on the green into the wind there.

End of FastScripts...

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