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April 26, 2001

Joey Sindelar


NELSON LUIS: Finished 4-under, great first Day. Obviously good start to your round.

JOEY SINDELAR: It was a good start to the week. How is everybody doing? Nice to be in this interview room. I don't think I have ever been in it. Even the year I won they didn't think I was going to win. I didn't even get on TV and won the tournament that year, came from behind (laughs), so it was a good day for me. It was solid actually. I hit three foul balls out there. You want to go through the holes.


JOEY SINDELAR: By the way, you realize I am not going to be the leader here. You are going to see some nice scores. The course is the absolute best I have ever seen it. As you know, the rough is down. But certainly it's penalizing. I mean the fairway is still a premium. You can still maybe get away with it occasionally in the rough. But I think when the rough is this height you see guys attempt to do things and then instead of just chopping out and working at it they kind of flail it all around the green from where they are. Then they are standing on their head and stuff. So I think the course is just magnificent. The greens are always tough, they are very fast. To be this moist and to be rolling as quickly as they are, by the weekend they will be very speedy. My round today, I started on the front nine and hit a real nice drive and sand wedge in there about twelve feet away, made it. Hit a real-- won't take this long on other holes, nice drive on 2, only had about 210 to the front. I was just in the left rough, kind of chopped it down in front and chipped it six feet by and missed that one. So I thought I was cruising pretty good, stepped up on that third tee, of course, we are the first group out, still got a little sleepies in our eyes and stuff, at least I do. 3 is a tough hole anyway for a tee shot. I got my 1-iron out, took this swing, I must have gone blank. I am fighting a little allergies, light headedness. I am telling you I hit six inches behind this ball off the third tee. The divot ended before my tee (laughs). It went about 75 yards pretty straight, but it didn't get to the fairway. I was quite embarrassed. Guys were kind enough not to laugh at me. Chopped it. I hit a chop, 9-iron, full 9-iron to get to the driving area. I really -- it was worse than any of my Pro-Am partners did on Wednesday for sure. Got my 5. But I was lucky to pad my bounce back stats with a birdie on the next hole, No. 4; which, as you know, can be a pretty tough par 3 when that pin is on the left there. It was very cold, you had to add an extra club for cool air in the morning; wind was just starting to blow a little bit. That was a good comeback, kind of kept the spirits up. I hit 6-iron in there. But the shot on 3 was so bad I couldn't even get mad at it. You had to laugh, it was way beyond mad. So I played steady on through, birdied 6. Real nice 3-wood just around the corner, 9-iron just to give you an idea, I had 130 to the cup and my 9-iron is about a 145 club. I hit a really good 9-iron. Of course it is a little uphill, came up 5 steps short. That 9-iron shot probably played 150 from 130, that time of the morning with the wind kickin and the damp air. Missed a short birdie on 7 easy par on 8. Work-around par on 9. No. 9 is such a good par 5. Especially when the wind is from this direction because if you start missing the fairway, it is a very long hole. 10, when the wind is blowing in that direction it makes 10 a wale of a lot easier. Able to hit 3-wood and pitching wedge to about ten feet behind the pin, made that. Bogeyed 12, now back into the wind on 12 and that is a hard hole without any wind. Pin right in the front, I hit 6-iron into the front bunker and didn't get it up-and-down. My next foul ball on the next hole, I hit a nice 3-wood out around the corner over the hill 235 to the front. I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty good except for that 1-over there earlier on No. 3. I hit 3-wood. I tried to aim it left of the green and you know on that downslope we try to cut it up in the air. It got a bad bounce right off the club. Directly right. And over in those pines, got a good bounce over near the edge of those pines, actually got a birdie out of it. Pin was very accessible. Got away with murder that time. Next hole, 13, the tough par 4, that is a monster today - 14, really good drive and had still had to hit a 4-iron into that back pin. Two guys we were with in the right bunkers, and the 3 of them behind us were in the right bunkers. Stroke average on that hole is going to be up today pretty good. Missed a short birdie putt there. Standard pars. My third and final foul ball tee shot on 16, just blocked it in the right trees, but I had an opening punched it out actually about four feet right behind the hole. Missed it. But I was happy to have made it, but in retrospect good to have a par after a lousy tee shot. 17, easy 7-iron in there about twelve feet away, made that one. 18, kind of a stock par. Except for the three shots that were goofy, it was really a pretty solid day. This golf course required a lot of good shots. The greens are divided such that if you are in the wrong pod, you know, you have got these up-and-over putts, and the greens at this speed it can be give you a headache in a hurry.

Q. You have always had pretty good results here.

JOEY SINDELAR: True and false. One in 1985, I mean you could probably check my record here and make it far more accurate than I am remembering. But actually I don't think I have made 10 cents here since the tournament changed dates for some reason. They grew the rough and of course the greens are different. I don't know why, but I have had a pretty poor playing record here since the change. I think maybe -- I am talking about not even making like 70% of the cuts, I think, since then. But it is a good golf course. If you hit good shots you should be rewarded here. And we are used to it now. Those first three, four years when the greens were new and the turf wasn't in all that stuff, you had to learn how to play it again. I think most of us have done that. Some of the other guys learned a lot quicker than I did, but hopefully this is the start.

Q. Do you like the new setup with the rough -- (inaudible)

JOEY SINDELAR: I do. I thought the rough -- personally I thought the rough was a little carried away the last few years but I was in it quite a bit so that -- and I think maybe it could have been just a tweak deeper, like maybe half inch, the kind of rough that it is going to be Saturday and Sunday as it grows. But I think if it hadn't rained and the greens were firm starting today, it would have been wild. And pay attention on Sunday if we don't get anymore rain. The rough might be short, but boy that ball better land on the front of the green or it is going to be a goner.

Q. What is most of the rough like?

JOEY SINDELAR: Length-wise?

Q. Yes.

JOEY SINDELAR: I don't have a number. Certainly below our new Tour standard rough. I am guessing three inches, I don't know, but forgiving. You can always count on chopping it somewhere. It is just that kind of factor that it is out of control you know, and so many of these greens run away, you run from front to back or at least to the mid-point in the green, they run to the back. So if guys are in the rough you are going to see lots of over-greens and hitting chips and stuff. Don't get me wrong, it's an easier golf course than the last few years. But I think in balance I'd rather see this way. My caddie John told me that Scott Hoch was barking about -- and he does, I mean, and in his defense he likes long rough, but he should, he is one of the straightest best drivers of the golf ball we have ever had. I can see where he would like it a little tougher in the rough. The course -- I mean, the quality of the grass out here is outstanding as good as I have ever ever seen it. It is remarkably dry today for what we just went through.

Q. Obviously pleased?

JOEY SINDELAR: I am pleased, yes. I have been playing well recently, swing feels good, putting is good, just haven't glued it altogether. Like last week, I was one or two over par the first day at Houston, pretty tough course. I knew I had to shoot a couple under. I was 4-under through 13 the second day. On a real tough day made a huge move and you know, within a birdie of leaderboard material or Top-20, you know, on Friday, made an 11 on the 13th hole. I just couldn't get over that one pond for about a half an hour. (Laughs). So it is there. I just hope I can even it out this week and make it. Just continue to hit good shots. That is all you can do, cut my foul balls down to one or zero and make keep -- I made some nice putts today and that makes all the difference. When you can get it -- you know, missing my 4-footer on 16 and then making the 12-footer on 17, you know, that keeps you in the ballgame. So it was fun. I am very pleased, wouldn't want to do it over.

Q. Take there more 68s?

JOEY SINDELAR: Any tournament, any week, yes, I'd take three more and be darn happy. Thank you, you will see some good scores.

NELSON LUIS: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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