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March 30, 1997

Loren Roberts


WES SEELEY: 70, 74, 67, 69, 280, 8-under par for Loren Roberts, currently tied for second. Should this lead one to believe that your backfield is a lot better?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, yeah, I'm getting a lot better, you know. Somebody mentioned about my numbers have not been that good this year, and the last couple weeks are finally the first couple weeks I felt I can go ahead and swing at it like I really mean it, and I'm just happy to be playing better again.

WES SEELEY: Take us around, these birdies and the bogeys -- birdied two?

LOREN ROBERTS: I birdied the No. 2, hit a sand wedge there to about a foot. And, then I made a birdie at No. 4, hit it in there about 6 feet. Made a birdie there.

WES SEELEY: What did you hit in?

LOREN ROBERTS: I hit an 8-iron there.

WES SEELEY: All right.

LOREN ROBERTS: And, then I hit a 2-iron at 8 to about, I guess, 12 feet, and made that for birdie. And, then I hit a pitching wedge at 12 to about a foot; made a birdie there. And, then I made the only bogey at 15, so....

WES SEELEY: How did that happen?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I just kind of drove it in the first cut to the right there, and I was playing for a flyer, and I didn't get it. It came up a little short of the green. I hit a simple little pitch and just kind of gunned it 6 feet past the hole and missed the putt coming back.

WES SEELEY: Questions for Loren.

Q. Loren, what's it like -- I mean, you're chasing a guy that is way out there; what's it like out there?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, you know, I got -- I got going good early, and I thought, Gosh, if I could get to 10-under par by maybe, you know, 11 or 12, and if he were to happen to make a few bogeys and back up a little bit, you know, you never can tell what is going to happen. But, you know, Steve, when he gets swinging, he swings so good. But when he gets a little confidence in his putter going, he just usually finishes off real well. And, obviously, he's just running away with it. So, the last few holes, really, I was just playing for second place.

Q. How impressive is the lead he has?

LOREN ROBERTS: You know, it's pretty impressive, because today, the golf course did play much harder. I think the low round of the day, I think there was a few 69s today, but the greens firmed up. They tucked the pins away today. There weren't too many flags you could really go at today. You know, we had kind of a west wind today. And, really, that kind of helped us on most of the holes out there, with the exception of the last few. And, then the wind died down for the leaders coming in. So, you know, I thought the golf course played a little harder today, but we did get some help from the direction of the wind, I think.

Q. What does it say about a guy when he goes wire-to-wire against arguably the best field in history - 50 out of the top 50 - and wins by whatever he's going to win by, seven?

LOREN ROBERTS: I think that's pretty good, but if you look at the track record here, it seem like the winner with the exception of maybe Lee Janzen, who was the winner a couple of years ago, the winner usually runs off and hides here. It seems to me if you come here hitting the ball well, the course sets up so you can make birdies here. And if you just stay away from the big mistakes, you know, if you keep the ball out of the water, you can shoot some low scores on this golf course.

Q. Is playing for second not too bad when second is over $300,000?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, yeah, I mean, obviously, we're out here trying to win the tournament. But, you know, when a guy gets to 15-under or 14-under and you have a few holes left to play, what are you going to do, you're 7 or 8 shots behind, obviously, you're not going to be able to catch him. The way I think of it right now is I'm far enough down the road in my career. Right now, I'm playing for Ryder Cup points, and, you know, I was on the team in '95 and, you know, I have a bad taste in my mouth, and I want to get on the team again. That's my goal this year.

Q. Do you have a problem with -- you have three titles and your second place here will be worth more than two of those combined, almost. Is there a problem with that, the distribution of money at this championship?

LOREN ROBERTS: I don't think there's a problem with that. I mean, they give away a lot of money here. I mean, that, in itself, puts pressure on the field. I mean, you don't like to think about money. But, when you have a purse that's that big, obviously that's why you've got the 50 top players in the world here, whether you like it or not, you put up that kind of money, they're going to show up and play. And, the money factor does put a little bit of pressure on you playing out there. You know, this tournament is kind of the tournament of the TOUR. The TOUR's tournament, the players -- you know, I don't want to say own it, but, you know, this is kind of like a tournament that they try to do everything they can to run it the way the players would like it to be run. And, you know, if they want to give a lot of money, I think it's great.

Q. Is there becoming a familiarity with the scores at this point? Last year Fred was the first person to win two titles here. Now, Elk is, you know, back-to-back --

LOREN ROBERTS: Yeah. I think guys are starting to learn this golf course now. You know, they obviously haven't made any changes in the last few years. I happen to think the golf course is very playable. I mean, if you look at my stats, I'm not a long hitter. This year, I haven't done well on the greens in regulation, but you can play this golf course. If you play smart, you can play this golf course. And, I think this is a golf course that can suit anybody's game. It helps if you can hit it a long way for the par 5s, but you can still play the par 5s if you're a shorter hitter because you have so many options. That's what I like about this golf course.

Q. Just one question about Steve. If he putts like he does this week every week, how many tournaments does he win a year?

LOREN ROBERTS: Well, I think that's -- I don't know, that's hard to say. I mean, you know, obviously, he won the PGA. Then he kind of wandered around for a little bit. But, he's such a good ball-striker that when he gets the putter going; gets confidence with the putter, he can hit some really good scores. Once he gets up there, he's not going to fall away. There's enough good players out there. The real key to playing out here is putting. You can be the best ball-striker in the world. If you're hitting it 5 feet every hole and you can't hole them, you're just not going to beat anybody. You have to be able to putt. That's the whole thing out here. Obviously if he can get his putter going, he can win four or five tournaments a year.

Q. How will your set makeup change between the tournament this week and The Masters as far as your club selections, 63 wedges versus a 56?

LOREN ROBERTS: I only carry two wedges. I like to carry a 4-wood and a 2-iron. And, I kind of feel like I ought to be able to hit every wedge shot with just two wedges instead of having a 60. Augusta, I don't think a 60 is a good wedge there because at Augusta, you have so many shots where you have to bump them into the hill. You don't want to be hitting a lot of high lofted shots just because the greens are so fast, and you have to hit a lot of bump shots so I'm not going to change anything in my bag.

Q. How much attention did you pay during the round to what Elkington was doing and at what point did you say forget it?

LOREN ROBERTS: I didn't look really until I made the bogey at 15, you know, and then I kind of looked up and kind of saw where I was, so then I started looking at where Hoch was.

Q. Steve, he has won at Doral, and he's won here now, allegedly. Does that make him a favorite going into Augusta since he's played well there?

LOREN ROBERTS: You know, that's a hard thing to say. There's so much local knowledge involved in Augusta, and believe me, I'm definitely not -- you know, an old-timer at Augusta. I've only been there, I think, four or five times. You know, there's so much local course knowledge there, and they always change the course a little bit here and there, you know, every year. So, you hit the ball high, you've got a chance there. If you hit it long enough, anybody has got a chance there if they do that. But, Augusta, you have to play so smart. You know, there's so many holes, and I think you saw that last year. There's just holes that you just have to bite your tongue and play away from the flag and play smart, take your par and get out of there. And, it's just a matter of being able to have the patience to do that, especially if you're striking the ball good. If you're hitting the ball good sometimes, I think it can almost hurt you a little bit because sometimes you might tend to play a little aggressive play, a shot there that you shouldn't play.

WES SEELEY: Okay. All right. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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