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March 19, 1999

Joey Sindelar


JAMIE WILES: Start off going through your round; then we will entertain questions.

JOEY SINDELAR: It was good solid round. Let's see, yesterday was the unusual round actually. I had a triple on No. 2 for my only mishap of the day. I was 3-under going into there. It buried in the front lip; I couldn't get out. I was in my own divot a couple extra times and made a triple. I was hoping to get out with it 1-under, which made today more exciting than shooting a few over. Today a birdie on 2 was a 3-iron, you know, but doesn't go so far here. In the mornings the air is awful heavy. Hit a 3-iron, land by the pin. Went just over the back, and we were all kind of looking at each other starting off this morning wondering, did they water the greens? And as hard as my 3-iron hit on No. 2, we found the answer to that question. They probably had some, and the dew was heavy, but the greens were very firm, even in the morning shift. So it ought to be interesting this afternoon if the wind blows any at all. Let's see. Next birdie was on No. 5. I always -- I usually play an iron off that tee, and I hit 1-iron and pitching wedge to about eight feet. Made that. 6, the par 5, I hit third shot sand wedge in there about six feet away. Got that one. Let's see, is that it for the front?


JOEY SINDELAR: Then 10, I played a 1-iron again and didn't hit that well, and I had to hit a full 7-iron in about 18, 20 feet right of the pin and got that one. 11 was a 1-iron off the tee. And a 7-iron to about eight feet. Got that one. And then 12, let's see, sandwedge in to about two feet. After that, bogeyed on the par 3, 14, front right bunker and just kind of a not-very-good-sand-shot to about ten feet. Almost made it. The cup was looking pretty big to me today, so I thought I had a chance at it. Just skirted by. Good par, you know, almost birdied 15. 16, hit a nice drive. Didn't run much. And I had 1-iron in just over the back, I should have got it up-and-down. I just didn't hit a very good chip shot. Had about a 12-footer left and missed it. 17, I hit a good 3-iron. 17 is a brutal hole today. Back right pin, little bit into the wind. Hit a 3-iron, and it just went over the back edge a little bit. I chipped it close. And 18, I kind of butchered, drive down the right rough, and that is probably the hardest pin out of all the pins, that frontish kind of pin over there, because, you know, left is dead and right is dead, and I tried to hit a 7-iron short left to chip to have about a 45-footer up through there, and normally the ball for us comes out of the rough. This right rough is sticky, you know, actually less than a normal fairway shot. I had a 7-iron. I had 170 to the hole, and I thought it would kind of fluff out of there and I would be just short of green. Actually, caught a flier into the bunker, and I was lucky to get a good lie. Although I still didn't aim at the pin. I played out left because if it gets a trickle, you can slap it right in the water from the left trap. I hit it about twelve feet left and long of the hole. Again, I -- the cup looked big to me today, and I left a lot of putts that were easy to read, and I knocked it in. So it was a good way to end the day. Played with a couple of nice guys. That is always nice. Brent Geiberger, who hits the ball very nice, and he got it to 1-under, and Darren Clarke, who was very nice to play with. He had a tough, tough finish. A nice guy to meet and obviously real good player. It is always fun to have a good pairing.

Q. How come you haven't been in here before? What has taken so long?

JOEY SINDELAR: Isn't it funny? I don't know. I think one time I might have Top-10'd it here a long time ago, but I don't know. I like playing here and I have always thought that, you know, if you play -- this is one of those you-don't-get-away-with-a-lot kind of golf courses, I don't know the reason. But I am glad this year has been good so far.

Q. What did you do on 3, chip it in?

JOEY SINDELAR: 2 I was over the back. I am sorry, yes, it was just over, you know, they kind of have the frog and then that inch and a half stuff. I was in the inch and a half stuff and a little bump-and-run 6-iron from probably 30 feet downhill and it just trickled in. So, that was my Seve imitation for the year.

Q. Did you hear that 3-iron hit on the green back in the fairway?

JOEY SINDELAR: Wow, you almost could. It was -- we like that it way. It drives you batty, but it is nice to play firm greens because you really -- I happen to really like this kind of a combination for golf course setup. Rough playable, you know, the rough isn't brutal, brutal deep like it has been here other years. Playable, but yet if you are in the rough, you catch a flier and you don't land it in just the right spot, it rolls and rolls and you are 60 feet away and you are standing sideways in a bunker over a green. I like this kind of setup a lot.

Q. Anything in particular got you playing well or any change or anything?

JOEY SINDELAR: Ball-striking has been good, really steady the last couple of years and, you know, you get in and out of -- some days you are sharp and some days it is medium but solid -- good and solid for a long time now. I have been working a pretty good amount on my putting. It really showed up today. You know, you make a couple early and that cup gets a little bigger. Who knows, obviously some days you get putts that are more makeable than other days, and that doesn't have anything to do with what you do back in the fairway because on greens this subtle, you don't -- you don't really play that game of leave-it-below-the-hole, leave-it-above-the-hole, but sometimes you just have putts that are double-breakers and some days it is -- they are almost self-correctors. They almost hit it anywhere with any speed and it will get there. Today was a day where I had lots of very readable, makeable putts, and I was able to stroke it where I wanted it. It was fun. As I told the guys over on the other side, it also was one of those days where my average shots turned out good and my good shots turned out very good. Some weeks it just doesn't do that.

Q. You played here a lot of years. Is this the firmest you have seen the greens? Arnold like it that way.

JOEY SINDELAR: They get crusty late in the week, but I think you could -- this is probably -- you know, it is hard to say because he probably gets them just how he wants then. We get one of those storms and it ruins everything. But I don't remember seeing them this firm this early. I mean, I think if the winds would have blown 15 yesterday that would have been unbearable in the afternoon. They were kind of getting wilted a little bit and that is when this course really has some bite in it. So I have seen them sometimes like that, but for the most part, we get those storms that mess it up.

Q. How long do you know Tim Herron?

JOEY SINDELAR: I know Tim casually, not real well. We have been out to dinner like once or twice or something but I like him. I think he is a heck of a nice guy and he is obviously a very talented player, long hitter and a guy who likes to laugh. That is what I like out there. You can -- if he hits one fat, you-can-laugh-at-him-kind-of-a-guy. Not right on the spot, but you get up to the green and --

Q. Behind his back?

JOEY SINDELAR: In front of his back after a couple of minutes. He is a good-natured guy with a lot of game and he is well liked out here.

Q. When was your last really good chance to win, like the last nine holes Sunday when was the last time --

JOEY SINDELAR: I am not sure I have had one in a while. I have had a lot of 15th creeping up to fifth but I haven't been in the hunt for a while and it is due to short game. I am just not as good as the other guys chipping and putting I -- you know, those of you who have known me for a long time know that I grew up on that putting track - the board my dad made - we have been through that 100 million times - got to the point where I had this perfect stroke, but I wasn't -- but then when I got to the course I wasn't putting. I was making a perfect stroke. Late last year it hit me like a ton of bricks, that, you know, I wasn't a guy somewhere on a basketball court shooting a shot with instinct. I was a guy standing at the foul line going okay this is my free throw method, and I come close like nobody's business but the guy who make putts really have that intuitive athletic thing going. It hit me hard like a ton of bricks last fall and it has been real good for me. I notice now from five and six feet I really make a lot more of them in the middle, you know, instead of dripping them in the corners and stuff. It has just been good for me. It has been an exciting little path, and it showed up today.

Q. Are you telling us that you are kind of relaxed a little bit on the course?

JOEY SINDELAR: No, I think you get to a point out here and, you know, after 15 years for me, knowing you have seen it all, you know that the game has just cycles over and over and over again. You get to the point with some things, my question was and I know all the other guys have asked themselves, you know, my putting is this good. I am anywhere between 100th and 140th in putting which is not very good, but I am always in the Top-10 or 15 in greens in regulation. Generally speaking I am not set up to be a Top 5 putter but I should be able to be 30th if I putt reasonably well. Having not achieved that, the question I asked myself is do I need to get better at what I am doing or do I need something to be a little different. For a couple of years, after my hand injury in 1993, I knew I wanted to get better with my putting; needed to get better to be successful and I thought I needed to be better at what I did. So just tried more and more and more. It just -- I wasn't getting better. I was still close, not awful, but not, you know, from six feet and in -- I have always been very good, but I didn't make any of those 8- to 20-footers, that you need to make to have a round like today. So finally I decided that I wasn't -- my when I stood over a putt my vision got too focused on right there instead of over there. A lot of the good teachers-I don't mean to ramble, but it is fun to talk about-that a lot of the good teachers will say that a good putter, once he has looked at the hole once or twice and he looks down he can close his eyes and walk right to the cup. And a person -- a lot of people don't -- who don't have that vision and that imagination in their brain they done -- that is kind of how I was. My flashlights - hate to give you the flashlight thing, the headlight thing like Andy Bean did at Doral. My headlights were pointed three feet each side of the ball instead of at the ball and for the next 20 feet. I wasn't -- and now, with a little more athletic ability and little more feel, I am thinking about this rather than this. I know you can't write that in anything, but --

Q. So you are trusting your instincts?

JOEY SINDELAR: I am using them rather than being so mechanical without knowing I got very mechanical and that is what I think what hurt me.

Q. You still do the putting track?

JOEY SINDELAR: Still do it for my lines. It is wonderful. I use it with a different -- I just make sure that I am concentrating on the putt rather than --

Q. You look beyond the track? You look at both ends of the track you don't go beyond it?

JOEY SINDELAR: That is right, you are done, you are trying to make a perfect stroke and it doesn't do you any good if you don't then go ahead and use it to -- so that's kind of where I have been and where I am and it is fun to see the results.

Q. You say it hit you like a ton of bricks. When did the light go on?

JOEY SINDELAR: I hit my second putt on the last hole at Disney which was No. 9. I was right behind the P.H. Horgan disaster I don't know if you guys talked to him, I was in that group, I watched him birdie that hole. I was so happy for him because I thought he did it. I ran off that green to congratulate him; then of course, he came up short. But after that, what did he make a triple on the par 5 maybe?

Q. Yeah.

JOEY SINDELAR: Then he birdied one of the hardest holes out there and -- but anyway, I was behind him, I hit a good drive, 5-iron in there about 20 feet behind the hole and I had been playing with this on the practice green, you know, this method, and those of who you know me know that I am very, very slow to change. I am very stubborn, and I think that is good because stubborn people don't go backwards, but we also don't go forward as quickly as some people so I decided let us give it a try. And from 20 feet, I just let it flow around; all of a sudden it was like wow, I see -- wham, right in the heart and I just -- last putt of the year, it stuck with me. I will never forget that. It was fun. And my speed has consequently gotten better on putts outside of 20 feet, I am around the hole now where before, you know, I might miss by six feet from on those up-and-over putts on fast greens because I didn't have any feel. I wasn't coming off a screen and -- I needed to be set there and -- so -- anyway..... Enough lecture.

Q. So you got stroke-conscious?

JOEY SINDELAR: I got -- yeah, stroke-conscious instead of putt-conscious, yes. Hanging around with Davis helps me a lot too because he spends a lot of time with -- I think he works with Rotella and they spends a lot of time on -- reaction, you know, the sport psychologists, except from teaching a routine, which can bog things down I think -- the more you can make golf a reaction thing the better you will be, you know. It is when you get stagnant that things aren't -- don't work as well. I know Davis and a lot of the other guys work hard on that. That every year early in the year I play with Davis at Pebble as my pro, I am the "am," you know, we always play together in a particular foursome. That is what he is so good at. As a matter of fact, he actually overdid it - if you talk to him this week - he actually got, I think what Rotella wants him to do is look at the hole as soon as his eyes are back, go. So you don't have that dead time. And he was actually not quite back to the ball and the putter was gone and kind of got too quick on him. It is fun to watch a guy and see -- now he is a great ball-striker; hits a lot of greens finished third in putting last year, that is a deadly combo. So lots to be learned. 15 years later I am still figuring out the simple stuff.

End of FastScripts....

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