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June 7, 1997

Joey Sindelar


JOEY SINDELAR: I'm surprised that a couple earlier guys -- although who did, Shane Bertsch.

WES SEELEY: No, David Sutherland and Dan Forsman both shot 65 --


WES SEELEY: -- this morning, but nothing since.

JOEY SINDELAR: Yeah, it's there. If you can get your ball in the fairway, you know, the greens you're -- if you can convince yourself you're not going to make your normal percentage of the putts here because of the poa annua thing that's going on and have a little bit of patience, I think it can be done.

WES SEELEY: Why don't -- three birdies and that's it.

JOEY SINDELAR: Three birdies and that's it.

WES SEELEY: Why don't you tell us about these three birdies. Start with No. 4.

JOEY SINDELAR: Before I do that, I've played in this tournament since 1984, and I've never been anywhere near the press room. So this is a thrill for me. Three birdies today. Probably a spark to my round. You hear the guys say time and time again that a par is the thing that might be as big a momentum keeper or builder as a birdie, and for me that was on No. 3 today. I kind of didn't hit a very good 3-iron into that front pin on No. 3. It's that long par 3. And my chip, I had kind of one of those big curling chips and left it 10 feet away and made that for par. You know, you hate to think one missed putt could change your attitude for the day, but we're out here enough to know it certainly can. So that was important. Sure enough, followed it with a birdie, about a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 4. So really, two shots in a row, and that really does change the outlook.

WES SEELEY: What did you hit on --

JOEY SINDELAR: 1-iron off the tee and a 5-iron in.

WES SEELEY: Three pars and then a birdie on 8.

JOEY SINDELAR: The only remarkable thing in between, I hit a good drive on 6 and hit a 3-iron in there, and it flew into the pin. Went in the right bunker and missed a 4-footer and got a par. But that's a stroke and a half below my stroke average on that hole. So I'm proud of that par. But, let's see, on 8, driver off the tee and a 6-iron, again, to about 4 feet, and made that one. And then my final birdie was on 11. They used -- as you know, they used the left tee, and I punched an 8-iron in there about a foot away. And that's even my caddy's range. So we were able to scuff that one in. Then the rest of the way in, I was pleased, because I've been out of sync a little bit earlier in the week with my ball-striking and spent a lot of time on it the last couple days. I was in a better slot today, had the ball under control, and it was a nice solid way to play the golf course. This is a course where you better know where your ball is going or you'll have trouble.

WES SEELEY: Questions for Joey?

Q. Are the roughs and the green what's keeping people from scoring any lower -- I mean, we've had a couple 65s, but nobody really made a big move other than Mark, but...

JOEY SINDELAR: Those two things, plus the length that -- both the length of the course is playing, which is attributed to, of course, the water we had early in the week and the cold temperatures, you know, the ball is not going. Finally today, you saw the ball tumbling in the fairways. When we first came to this golf course, even at my distance, you could conceivably reach No. 2 once in a while. And now it's like a driver and a 1-iron and you still have to mid-iron in. But it's finally getting back to that. But the cool air, you know, those three things, all those things together are what's keeping the scores --

Q. Is the wind a factor?

JOEY SINDELAR: Wind became a factor today. It's -- I think it's a nice wind, because if you can battle, you've got two or three holes on each side into it, that would be 7, 8, 9 on the front and 10, 11 and 12 on the back, and 17. And if you can get through those, the wind turns right around and really makes a couple of pretty good par 4s pretty tame. For instance, 15, up and over the hill, you know, I hit a 1-iron off the tee today. Again, my dispersion pattern isn't that great with my longer clubs, so when I saw the chance to hit a 1-iron, I jumped at it. I didn't hit it that great and hit a 7-iron in. When you can attack 15 and 16 that way, and when 18 can be -- I hit a 3-wood and a 9-iron. I should have hit a 3-wood and an 8-iron, but that's what this particular -- is this a north wind today? Probably as cold as it is.

Q. Yeah.

JOEY SINDELAR: I don't know, but it makes this course, I think, easier.

Q. It's as much of a help as anything.

JOEY SINDELAR: I think, yeah. This is a difficult course, though, for wind, because the trees are so tall. They channel the wind the way they want it to go. For instance, No. 9, that wind will be blowing 20 miles an hour left to right. You can see the low clouds going that way. You can see the trees on the left going that way. But it goes over the trees on the left and hits the trees on the right, and it comes back down under. So at the top of your shot, it's left to right. Then down by the pin, it's right to left, and it's kind of what Augusta does, same sort of thing.

Q. So experience pays off?

JOEY SINDELAR: Well, my experience here is not that good, so... But, yeah, you do.

Q. You learn from it?

JOEY SINDELAR: Exactly. You learn from your mistakes on a golf course like this, without question.

Q. Most players come back repeatedly to courses where they play well. Why do you keep coming back?

JOEY SINDELAR: I like Ben. I like the way the people treat us here. Those would be the first two reasons. It's close to home for me, five hours by car, five-and-a-half, maybe. And it's -- you know, the Kemper Open is just one of the tournaments on the TOUR you -- for a Northeasterner, the Kemper Open is -- I don't know the right phrase -- but it's one of the staple tournaments out here, and I can't miss the Kemper. So I keep coming back and getting my hat handed to me.

Q. There's an awful lot of talk about the ninth hole over the years. What is your response to that?

JOEY SINDELAR: Well, they've improved it greatly. It's still an awfully difficult hole. You know, it's one of those holes where you've just got to somehow get a three -- they not only soften the slopes there on the green, but now you can hit it a little bit left of the green and be in a reasonable position to try to get a par out of it. And I -- to me, that's what you've got to do. You know, it's not the greatest golf hole ever invented, but it's tough. And if you're patient and wise, in the end, I think you can just-- you know, that's the way you have to go at it, and hopefully you'll beat some guys who are impatient and make a mistake, but it is better than it was in the beginning, without question.

Q. But you really can't play that hole for 2 very much.

JOEY SINDELAR: When the pin is in the front, we'll see some birdies. Although, tomorrow it's front right, and who knows what the wind. You know, into the wind, you have to put it on safety, because when -- you know, when a ball -- when you're already, I don't know how many feet elevation that is, 40 -- probably four stories worth there, and to a front pin, you're hitting a 9-iron which goes up three or four stories, and that ball is in the air a long time. You know, any curve, a 5-yard curve normal is a 8- or a 10-yard curve on that shot, so into the wind, it's a very, very hard shot if it's a crosswind or downwind. It will be a much easier hole tomorrow. When it's way in the back and you've got to buzz a 6-iron in there, that's when that can really bite you.

Q. Ever since they built this course, they've been trying to figure out who it suits. It's had some good winners like Kite and Brooks. On the other hand, you've got a much better feel here than they ever had. Will this week show what kind of players do well here? I mean, the whole world is here, basically.

JOEY SINDELAR: Absolutely. It's a great field. It's a thrill to see that many good players here. I don't know. I think the formula is probably the same. I mean, if you are a long hitter and you're having a good week, a good under-control ball-striking week, you know, holes like 6 and 13 become yours. You know, because they're just out of reach for the medium-length guys. But, you know, there's only two of them. There's only two par 5s, and I just think it's the guy who's in control of his golf ball this week and makes a few putts. I think this course can suit a lot of players. I just said a whole bunch of nothing.

Q. Is that a compliment to the course? Any length can play it?

JOEY SINDELAR: Yeah, any length TOUR player could play it. I don't know if I would want to be a beginner. It's a pretty tough challenge. There's a lot going on that we never even look at. It's already a busy golf course. There's trouble and sidehill lies and deep rough and snakes everywhere, and we're not looking at a lot of the stuff you guys are looking at. It's a darn tough place, and you're not going to scrape it around this golf course and have a good week.

Q. How about the greens with the poa, is there a sense that that's an equalizer and not a compliment?

JOEY SINDELAR: Well, I -- you know, where I grew up, I thought poa annua was bent grass. I'm from the middle of nowhere and played public courses. I haven't heard. Have they said they're going to let the poa annua go and do the whole -- let it cover the greens? I hope they do. Because except for the time that the seed heads are there, it's a really good putting surface. I don't know how many of you fish. It's like putting on a pickerel out there. The pattern on the green is unbelievable. It's tough right now, but in a year or two, the ones that are fully covered in poa annua are very good, and I --

Q. Which ones are completely covered in?

JOEY SINDELAR: 8 is completely covered.

Q. But most of them have just completely modeled, it's like --

JOEY SINDELAR: Yeah, but that will go away pretty quick. It's tough to read some of those subtle little breaks because you're looking at that pattern. It's like putting on herringbone or something, and it's hard to focus. This is also unusual because aren't these seed heads normally gone by now because the weather is --

Q. Very wet spring.

JOEY SINDELAR: They were gone a month ago or three weeks ago. Have I wasted too much time?

WES SEELEY: No, you're correct because of the cold and the wet.

JOEY SINDELAR: No, I mean, have I wasted too much time keeping these guys here? I thought you were going to gong me like The Gong Show or something. They would let it go. It's a great surface when the seed heads aren't there. I don't know how it handles the heat here in the summer. Nothing else has worked. I hope they give it a whirl.

Q. What about the trick shot on 18, the putt.

JOEY SINDELAR: My putt. You know, I've worked really hard on my putting the last few weeks. For some reason, I had a feel for that. So many putts out here, you're on two planes. It's uphill break and right and downhill break and left. Finally, I got used to it. That one looked normal. It was a about a foot and a half to the right and 6 feet to the left. Luckily that whole last 30 feet was straight down to the cup, and I don't know, for some reason I had a feel for if and it worked. You never know.

Q. Which one are you talking about there, Joe?

JOEY SINDELAR: I had about a 50- or 60-foot birdie putt on the last hole that I knocked up about 4 inches away.

Q. And then did a trick shot for to get it in, right?

JOEY SINDELAR: Oh, you're talking about the tap-in, you mean because I had to stand funny? I didn't realize what you were talking about. I had to straddle Larry Rinker's line is what she's referring to.

WES SEELEY: Okay. Folks.

Q. Can I just ask him one follow-up question that has to go with the green on the 9th again in terms of what you've talked about.

JOEY SINDELAR: You're going to give me a complex about that green on 9.

Q. I'm sorry, I don't mean to. It's just such a subject.


Q. Do you recall how it appears on that, there's several planes on that particular green?

JOEY SINDELAR: Oh, well, they've reduced it, but it's still -- I don't know if you stood and watched today, but if -- the tough part about that pin today, you're playing left of it and then you're going to leave, I mean, we'll take a 30-footer there every time, but it's 30 feet of across and down. And that one doesn't have a lot of poa annua and the bent's faster. I watched two guys ahead of us and then myself and I would bet a lot of guys blasted that putt 4 or 5 feet by today. It was pretty slick. But the green is much more subtle, still has a lot going on, but much more subtle than it used to be. But, yeah, you can definitely get, if you miss that green left, it's when you come up on the green, it's usually from the left side. It's usually breaking left when you come up on the green and then back right once you get to the middle of the green, so it's tough. It kind of blows the circuit breakers in your brain a little bit.

Q. Besides 9 and 12, is there any other hole that ranks up there for blowing circuit breakers on this course? Would they be the two that most guys would say just let me get out of here with par?

JOEY SINDELAR: I think you forgot 6.

Q. Oh, even though it's a par 5?

JOEY SINDELAR: 6 is tough because you -- it's getting better because the zoysia in years past, that lay-up area, I don't know again if you stood out there, some balls hit and spin back. From 90 yards, we're used to really stopping the ball or drawing it right back, and that fairway has some spots in it where you just don't feel you can get backspin on the ball. When you need to make sure you carry the water, but it's only 15 steps deep or you're back through the other side, but that fairway is maturing, and it's becoming better. And enough guys have learned their lesson with that big tree on the right or the water. They're being more patient. The fact that you can lay it up to a more mature, you know, a place where you can count on the lie makes it easier to say, no, I'm not going to go for the green today. I'm going to take my medicine over to the left and get a 4 or 5 instead of a 3 or 9.

Q. But in the past, you might as well blast it because you're taking --

JOEY SINDELAR: It was tough in years past, but it's definitely better now. And the wall end lended a lot of visual, gave a lot of help visually that stone wall across the front. Now it's not just nothing back down into the water. You can see what you're going for, and the bridge is pretty too.

Q. Joey, you don't have enough time to talk about the wrist and the life since then. If you could just --

JOEY SINDELAR: My -- the surgery I had was successful. The healing process of seven months was not. They removed a bone called the hook of the hamate. I don't know if that's a scientific term, but that's what they told me it was called. Except for a couple cortisones a year, it's good. It's not an excuse for anything. Really, all that's lacking for me at this point is confidence. And, you know, it's weeks like this that get me slowly back, and really I feel like I've been there. Tee-to-green, which is what the hand would affect, I'm better now than I ever have been in the last couple years. I just haven't had any weeks where I hit it great and I putted great. I've been hitting it great and putting lousy, then losing my timing on my swing and putting good. If you look at my record this year, I'm making all the cuts by one or two shots or missing by one shot, and I've just kind of been stuck in that little zone, but I have no excuses, and three rounds like this helps me a lot confidencewise.

Q. I'm old enough to remember you doing something obscenely wonderful on the front 9. You were like 8-under after 9 or 6-under?

JOEY SINDELAR: Something like that, yeah.

Q. And it was --

JOEY SINDELAR: Yeah, it was like 7-under after six or 7-under after 7, and then I took care of that on the back 9. Oh, well. It's still golf. Thanks for remembering, though. That was a fun day.


JOEY SINDELAR: Thank you all very much.

End of FastScripts....

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