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April 17, 1997

Nick Price


WES SEELEY: 65 for Nick Price. Leads by 1, including the 8th 30 in tournament history on the front.

NICK PRICE: Where do you want me to start?

WES SEELEY: Let us start when it wasn't going so good. Bogeying the first two.

NICK PRICE: I think both the first two, holes 10 and 11, the first, 10th hole, probably from about 35 feet, and then the 11th hole, I knocked it about 20 feet behind the hole and 3-putted that. It was actually strange, because sometimes you get a little wild when that happens. I was just fine. I knew I have been hitting the ball really well and just felt that if I just kept my head together, especially on a windy day like today, that I am always going to make some birdies, because I have been hitting the ball solidly. Then I turned it around. I birdied 13 and 15. And made a good par at 17. In fact, 17th green, I think it was 16 and 17, only two greens I missed today. And, then, 18 I got a bit of a break on 18. I kind of slid my tee shot a little too much. It went across and finished just in bounds there, only about two yards in bounds, and hit it on the green, made 4. Then the back 9, I just really hit the ball solidly. I think I hit every fairway and every green. And the putt on No. 1 was from about twelve feet behind the hole. And, then I 3-putted number 2. I hit on the front edge with a 5-iron, 3-putted that. So was 1-under par after 11 holes with three 3-putts. And, you know, just hung in there. I just kept hitting -- I knew anything around par today was going to be a good score. And, then number 5, I birdied 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Number 5: Just short in 2 and chipped up to about two feet. Number 6: I hit 8-iron to about 10, twelve feet. Number 7: 6-iron to about ten feet. Number 8: Hit 5-iron to about 20 feet behind the hole. And then number 9: I drove in a divot and Hal Sutton was right next to me. He just hit a little 9-iron no way out of a divot that you try and hit a little soft shot. I just hit a pitching wedge and drilled it. Very happy to see it end up about three feet from the hole. So that was a bonus. But, you know, I just felt like today I have been -- I have been playing well since September, October of last year, and today I just put it all together. And, it is a lot of fun when you do that; especially on a tough day like today. I felt like I was in control of my long game. And just as long as I had the patience to wait for the putts to go in, it was fun.

Q. All the other guys on the leaderboard now had the morning tee times before the wind really picked up. Talk about that. And also about maybe the advantages of starting on 10 so that you got 17 and 18 out of the way and didn't have to finish up there.

NICK PRICE: I think 17 and 18, when we played, it was howling. I hit a 4-iron on number 17, and it is hard, because all those -- the -- what are they, hospitality suites are up there, and they kind of shield the wind a little bit. If you get the ball above that, it just goes hard left. I just rocketed this 4-iron underneath everything and just went over the back. But, you know, I was kind of happy to get past 17 and 18 when we did, because I am sure the wind is blowing a little stronger right now. But, hey, when they are strong, they are strong. Blowing at 25, not when we played it, and it is probably around 30 knots now. So not a whole lot of difference in 5 knots of wind when it is that strong. I think the guys this morning obviously had it maybe a little easier. But, you know, I just feel very fortunate that I played a good round this afternoon and shot a low score.

Q. They are calling for more of the same, plus colder. What is that going to do to the course tomorrow?

NICK PRICE: Windy and warm, I don't mind, but cold and windy is very hard. Tomorrow is going to be a good taste of golf, I think. This golf course is -- I don't know, I think -- coming off Augusta, when you pull a 6-iron from 175 yards and you pull it by 3 yards and you end up with a 65-foot putt that even Crenshaw could 4-putt, it is sort of nice to come here, you hit a shot, and a reasonably good shot, and it ends up -- and you got a birdie putt from 20, 25 feet. I don't know, it is going to be tough tomorrow, no doubt about it.

Q. When you got that streak going at the end with the birdies, you have probably been in that situation before. Can you talk about what is going on in your mind when it just starts clicking into place?

NICK PRICE: I started putting well. Holed a couple of good putts on 17, and then I holed a good one on No. 1 for birdie. That kind of got me going. I went right back and 3-putted number 2, but I didn't worry about it too much because I had a tough putt from the front edge of the green. But then you feel like if you hit it within 20 feet, you are going to have a chance. That is what I did when I played so well in '92, 3 and 4, was that I just -- I never had any pressure on myself to hit the ball close. You feel like you can just take all the really difficulty -- the bunkers and maybe a water or whatever it might be around the greens, and hit to the easy side or the percentage side of the hole, and then you got a 20-, 25-footer. When you are putting well, you make birdies. When you are not, you can 3-putt from there. So, managing my game today was really good. And I think I had the wind direction right on, which is difficult to do, because not -- especially on the front 9, all the holes sort of go all over the place, from north, east, northeast, southwest, they go all over the place. And, you really have to know which way the wind -- the direction of the wind. Fortunately, it is blowing hard enough that it is going from one direction. It is not sort of swirly.

Q. You had good rounds here the last days -- the last couple of years. I think you shot 65 the last two years here in the last round. Is it better to get it earlier in the week?

NICK PRICE: Yeah, to be honest with you, when I went out today I was saying just shoot a good solid score so that, you know, I have got a chance to -- you don't want to shoot yourself out of the tournament the first day. I seem to have a habit of doing that. On this golf course I usually shoot 71 or 72 either the first or second day and sort of just make the cut. And, then, the last two years, I have played really well on the weekend. So, I hope it is not a role reversal this year, it is not a --

Q. Is the mind set this week kind of relaxing after last week, considering the tension of the major?

NICK PRICE: Yeah, to me, Augusta, the best way I can describe it, it is like, for me, I feel like I went 15 rounds with Mike Tyson; was swinging the whole time and never got a punch in. (Audience laughter.) To me, it is such a hard golf course. Because I don't hit the ball as far as all these guys do now. I hit the ball on a lower trajectory than most guys. To me, it is just -- I mean, it is so difficult. I don't know. I am going to have to do something really special to ever have a chance of winning around there. It is suited to guys who hit the ball high and who can hit sand wedges into par 5s.

Q. Did you hit the ball high when you shot 63 there?

NICK PRICE: Greens were a little softer that year. Seems like the last five years -- honestly, sometimes you walk on those greens, you are happy you got spikes on because you feel if you had leather sole shoes on, you would slip. Number 2, number 4, number 6 last week, it is brutal. Tiger didn't think so. (Audience laughter.)

Q. Did you feel this coming on? Could you feel --

NICK PRICE: I have been playing good, as I say, like seven, eight months now. I am surprised about shooting 65 today. But, if I had shot 68 or 69, I wouldn't have been surprised because, you know, my game has been good. I think I am on the rebound and if my putting stays solid, which it seems to be doing, you know, hopefully, I am in for a good year.

Q. You putted so well; then you had a problem at TPC. What did you do between there to obviously get it back?

NICK PRICE: Switched putters, mixed it up a little bit. I went from a mallet style putter; went back to a blade style. Just -- I actually putted solidly at Augusta for me. And, you know, to come off those greens and have a solid week the greens, you feel like - I don't know - you feel -- you know, it is nice to get on some greens that don't have, you know, 12-foot of break from 20 feet. And, but, it is just -- I suppose coming off last week, where every hole you sort of - for me anyway - I feel like I am walking on a race razor's edge; and, at any time, I am going to slip off and cut myself to death. It is just so hard. I mean -- and, that is the thing that sometimes I think, with Augusta that is a little unfair. It is just ruling out a lot of players which not all major championships do that. Because, at least, they go on a rotation. But, it is going to be interesting to see what they do there. Because I know they are going to make some changes (Laughter). They don't want guys winning by 12 shots.

Q. What do you take from Tiger's performance? Does it mean something to the rest of the players as a new standard?

NICK PRICE: I think if you look right at the top, what it is going to do for the game of golf, it is -- couldn't have come at a better time, I think. You know, particularly - and don't take this in wrong way - he is an American and the foreigners the last 10, 12, 14 years have been No. 1 in golf for so long. And, the fact that someone like Tiger has come along is just going to do wonders for golf all over the place. I mean, PGA TOUR is renegotiating their television rights this year for next year. I hope I get a piece of that action (Laughs) (Audience Laughter). But, I think it doesn't matter which major championship he played last week, he probably would have won it, but to win it by 12, I don't know, there were a lot of good players who finished second, third and fourth who were playing some very good golf, so, you know, if he wins on a golf course like Shinnecock or some of those other golf courses by 12 shots, then I will be impressed. But, you know, Augusta, it is really well suited to him. I mean, it is probably 4, 5 shots easier for him than it is for me because there are five bunkers he doesn't even look at that I am trying to fiddle it around. Then he is going in with sand wedges and wedges where I am hitting 7- and 8-irons. But, everything that he is doing for golf right now is positive. And, I don't think any player in the locker room or out here feels otherwise.

WES SEELEY: Let me fill in a few of these birdies that 13.

NICK PRICE: 13: I hit 8-iron to about 15 feet.


NICK PRICE: 15: A sand wedge to about 22 feet.

WES SEELEY: The club in on 1.

NICK PRICE: Sand wedge.

WES SEELEY: Anything else for Nick?

Q. Is your mindset any different going into tomorrow because you birdied the last five holes as opposed to --

NICK PRICE: You know, it really depends on the day. I think tomorrow is going to be a very tough morning and you know, I have posted a really good score today. I have got to go out there and try and hold it. If I start playing well, and it keeps going, then I will do it. Really, golf is a shot to shot game. And, my strategy today was good because I played each shot as it came. And, tried to do the very best I could. So, tomorrow I am not going to be thinking too far ahead of myself and just, you know, hit my - trying to hit my first tee shot in the fairway and second shot on the green and take it from there.

Q. Was that divot caused by -- was it caused by Sutton's shot --


Q. Yeah.

NICK PRICE: There was -- it was an old divot that had sand in it.



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