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August 2, 1998

Nick Price


DAVE SENKO: Nick, congratulations. Winner in a playoff your second victory here, maybe just share some thoughts on this win and on your round today.

NICK PRICE: You know, I just got to look at the whole year and how things have been going, and I mean I have played pretty solid all year. I won a tournament in South Africa -- in February and had a couple of close shades U.S. Open and Holland last week, but also Hilton Head, I played pretty good and it has been kind of a frustrating year for me. Because I felt like I have played better than where I am on the money list and where all my finishes are. But just nothing has been happening. It has just been a big void and today I went out and I really wanted to win this week. I mean, everything was perfect for me: The course, the way it was set up, the position I was in everyday, I was right in the lead and it was just perfect. And I go out on the first two holes and I bogey the second hole; hit a pretty good sand wedge from about 100 yards over the back of the green; didn't get it up-and-down and Bob Estes goes birdie, birdie, birdie, and I am 4 behind, 3 behind, I think, at that stage. It is just -- that is what has been happening. I just dug my heals. I nearly eagled 3. Hit a great 1-iron to about eight feet behind the hole there and got back to par for the day and just played pretty cautiously until I had a good iron shot on 6 to about seven, eight feet and made that. That kind of turned things around for me a little bit because when things have been getting on a slide for me, invariably I will come back, make a birdie, then make another bogey and then up a little further back and -- but this turns my year around. It turns -- I guess, I made over 800,000 now and it is just -- I felt like if you asked me at the beginning of the year or so -- if you asked me now what I would have made the whole year, I felt like I played to have made that much or certainly to be in the top 20 on the money list - I don't know where I am, but that is how I feel, how well I have played. But I just haven't again been getting results. That is frustrating. That is the worse thing -- you probably saw coming down the stretch, the putts that I was hitting, they just weren't going in. I hit a lot of good ones. I made one on 11 there, but 12, 14, 15, 17, and 18, I hit all good putts there. And the difference between my game now to 1991 through '95 was I was making those. But I am really happy with the way I am playing and obviously with the PGA still to come, you know, I feel like I have got over a big hurdle this week and -- I am very, very happy. Not much I can say.

DAVE SENKO: Real quick, birdies on No. 6 you.

NICK PRICE: 8-iron to about seven feet.


NICK PRICE: 9-iron to about ten feet. 11, I hit a 7-iron to about 22, 23 feet. Eagle on 16, 4-iron to about six or seven feet. I am not very good at judging these.

DAVE SENKO: How far --

NICK PRICE: I had 206 to the front and I think the pin, I had 220 yards.

DAVE SENKO: On 12 birdie.

NICK PRICE: 12, I hit a 9-iron for my second shot to about 25 feet.

DAVE SENKO: Good saves at all come to mind?

NICK PRICE: Two saves, really. One on No. 10, I missed the green left, actually took the wrong club; chipped up about four feet, made that. Then on No. 13, pulled my 9-iron and hit a bunker shot out to about four feet as well, so those were really key saves.

DAVE SENKO: Questions.

Q. Would you like to play a tournament maybe with 18 of those No. 16s? You played that, what, 7-under?

NICK PRICE: I think that is the best I have ever done on any hole, any week, any time in my career to play a hole in 7-under, I mean, I am sure I have doubled my eagle stats for the year because I don't think I made more than two or three the whole year, so to make 3 on one hole in one week, I hit two great 3-woods and really a good 4-iron under the circumstances.

Q. What was it about -- why were you hitting 3-woods the first and 4-iron today?

NICK PRICE: They moved the tee up today. It was into the wind the first two days and today it was downwind and they moved the tee up.

Q. I was going to ask you last year, Greg Norman snuck in the back of the media tent brought you a beer after --

NICK PRICE: Where is it?

Q. He needs to be here today to bring you one. (laughter). Talk a little bit about that putt on 18 in regulation; looked like it was going in?

NICK PRICE: You know, I had a putt similar to that on No. 8 today on the par 3. And the hole was kind of cut in the same -- the one on 8 I hit on the left edge. It broke across the hole sharply. Missed the hole a quite a lot. I look at this putt, I figured it is just outsides the hole, and just wasn't one of the putts that you could stand up there, take it inside the hole and hit it firm because coming downhill, I could have hit it three or four feet by, so I had to kind of die it in. And I hit it just outside the hole. I tell you, a ball out the hole -- it is in the hole, it just -- I couldn't believe it stayed out. But that is what has been happening. I didn't want to go into extra time. My nerves weren't doing too good there (laughs). They weren't doing too good.

Q. Could you refresh our memory on how you won the Million Dollars Tournament last year? Was it similar to this, and also once Jeff hit it in the water on 12, how did your strategy change on that hole?

NICK PRICE: Million dollars I -- I holed a putt from about twelve feet on 18. Ernie had holed it from 35 feet up the hill, holed a phenomenal putt and I holed it from 12 feet to make par because I was 2 ahead playing the last hole. He made birdie. So slightly different circumstance there because there was a lot of pressure on me to make that one. But on 12 today, it is -- it does help a lot when someone is hitting off first and you are hitting second because he can make your decision either way and it is strictly matchplay scenario. Like on 18, when he drove it in the fairway, that shoved all the pressure on me. But when he drove it in the water, I was thinking about hitting 3-wood because the wind was slightly hurting and we had 260 yards to that bunker on the left, and I can't really hit a 3-wood that far into the wind. But when he hit it in the water, I hit 1-iron out to the left. Five yards in on the fairway, left-hand side, because the dumbest thing to do then would be to follow him into the water. So, I hit a good solid 1-iron and 9-iron 25 feet. It is funny, you don't ever want anyone -- you don't ever want to win by someone else's mistake. I mean, it is nice to win any time, but I kind have had a sneaky feeling he was going to make that putt on 12. I read that one just right. I guess I was about due for one that length.

Q. Did you have to fight off mentally when you lipped out on the 18 in regulation, you said a few moments ago: Here we go again. How tough a battle was it when you were going to 12 when you were going for the first playoff hole?

NICK PRICE: Well, you get chances. You get opportunities. And, that was a golden opportunity I had there. And if I had lost in the playoff, on the first hole, I would still be kicking myself, that putt didn't go in. But I got a second chance. You always get the momentum swinging, you know? And the momentum was with me when I had that putt. Then when I hit it in the bunker, it was on Slu. He missed the green. I hit it on. It was in my favor. So you have just -- you know, you don't get many opportunities to win, especially in playoffs. Invariably though, a playoff is not won by someone making a mistake, it is made by someone making a birdie. That is what I wanted to do. I wanted to birdie 18 the first time -- in the playoff and just happy to birdie 12.

Q. Talk about the fairway bunker shot on 18 in the playoff. Also talk about how much, if any, how much quicker did the golf course get from Thursday to today?

NICK PRICE: Second part first. The golf course dried out very quickly. There was phenomenal amount of rain on Tuesday night, I guess, and Wednesday morning because there is still some places out there where it is pretty wet, but it's dried out a lot. That was one factor. Yesterday the greens were starting to firm up a little bit and the ball was starting to release with your approach shots, and I think that is why the scores may have gone up a little bit with also with the wind. The wind helps to take the moisture off the golf course. But I think because we had no wind today, guys took advantage of that and it was a lot easier to choose the right club. But it did change. The bunker shot I hit a 7-iron in regulation play from about 177 yards downwind and you are trying to draw a shot into that hole, so it is going to go a little further. I normally hit my 7-iron about 165 yards and when I got in the bunker there, I either had to hit a smooth 7-iron, 103 or 4 yards further and I then -- I had the regulation play because of the angle. I just tried to hit it out in the right, just aimed just inside the bunker and big thing out the bunker, you just want to hit it cleanly because as long as you advance it up there somewhere, you are going to have a chance. It was slightly on the up-slope which is perfect -- just made, I mean, like I go ahead, and perfect. Went about 184 yards I guess. There is the adrenaline again. Nice to know at 41 I have still got a little bit of adrenaline left in me.

Q. Even though you have won, I think, twice since Squeeky passed away, winning in the U.S. has got to be a little special?

NICK PRICE: I thought about him a couple of times today - what he would have said in certain situations. I still think about him a lot out there. It is hard to have someone work for you for eight years and then you don't -- you don't just sort of suddenly forget about him.

Q. What was name of the tournament you won in South Africa this year?

NICK PRICE: The Di Data. That is like an AT&T Pro-Am. I won it last year too, so. Also significant win for me because I think this is my 40th career victory which is a real milestone for me. I think it is something that I never thought I would get to 40 wins. One more and I catch my age.

Q. You won here in 92 2. Also won the 92 PGA Championship. One shot back in 94; won the PGA Championship. How about this year?

NICK PRICE: Summertime. I love summertime. That golf course is -- I have never played it and I never played Bellerive going in there and I have never played Southern Hills going in there. So, the big thing about golf and winning tournaments is momentum and once you get momentum and you get a little bit of confidence, you know, it just -- sometimes when you go through that drought or that dry spell, when you are not winning - when you feel like you are playing well and suddenly the door opens for you. It is like there is a flood. So that is what happened with me in the past. So, I am just hoping that I can get back and play really well next week or at the PGA Championship and the World Series and also the Sprint. Those are my basically my last three events until THE TOUR Championship. And, I want to win some more. I can turn, what has been, as I say, a very mediocre year into an exceptionally good one if I had a good strong finish to the end of the year. So I am excited. I was excited coming in here and I am excited going out here.

Q. You said you are playing nothing between the Sprint and THE TOUR Championship here?

NICK PRICE: I got to go overseas to the Dunhill Cup in October and then I have got to go to Japan, but we are moving into our house about -- in about three week's time in our new house and so I have taken basically the whole of September off. I might play Canada. I am not 100% sure yet, but I can't let my wife move into a new house on her own. She moved out of the one into the rental house on her own, I am not going to let her move into the new one on her own.

Q. What about World Series now?

NICK PRICE: I got in through Sun City.

Q. You are not playing it?

NICK PRICE: Yeah, play PGA, Sprint, World Series and then I think -- Tour Championship.

Q. Looking ahead to basically a year from now, do you think your schedule will change based on what new tournaments are being created? How will that affect how you set up your calendar year in January?

NICK PRICE: I just got the next year's schedule and it is really tough because there are so many tournaments that I want to play in. So many tournaments that I have played well in the past and that I want to play in. And it is also tough because my kids, you know, they have summer holidays, it is the worst time in the world for them to have holidays for me. I wish they had holidays in December and January. Because, you know, the summertime is our busiest time, so this year has been a real juggling act because I am trying to spend as much time as I can with them, but yet I have got to try and go out there and practice and play as many tournaments as I can. But I have certainly played less this summer than I have played for a long time. I had a couple of two, two-week breaks, one before the U.S. Open and one before I went over to the British Open. Sometimes during the major championships you want to get a little momentum, you want to play a little bit. I think the reason I played well here was because I played well at the U.S. Open and played pretty good at the Western; then I played good at the British and Holland, so there was a bit of momentum built. When you take two weeks off, it is kind of sporadic sometimes, so, it is going to be difficult next year because the three World Championships of Golf, I mean, those are three huge tournaments that I am definitely going to play in. And I know this event is going to June, which is perfect, I think, for everyone, for me in particular because I will come here and go straight to Pinehurst. But the schedule is getting harder and harder; plus my overseas commitment, I have got commitments in Japan with the golf ball and the club company. I have got to go to South Africa, I have got to play a few tournaments out there because if Ernie and David Frost and myself don't play out there, then the sponsors don't want to come to the table. So it is really tough. But this year I think I am on track for about 27, maybe 28 tournaments and next year will be the same. I don't think I will play anymore or any less.

Q. Will you putt the clubs away for a week now or do you plan to practice this week?

NICK PRICE: Probably take five days off. I won't play maybe until the weekend. I have been going at it pretty hard three tournaments in different different countries. Maybe I should do this more often, I don't know. Might be a good thing to do.

DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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