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March 4, 2003

Andy Bean


JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Andy Bean to the interview room. Andy, thanks for spending a few minutes with us.

ANDY BEAN: Thank you.

JOHN BUSH: Three-time winner here 1977, 1982 and 1986, obviously this as place that is special to you.

ANDY BEAN: Well, what else could you say, being fortunate to win once on a golf course and three times -- it seems like when the wind blows here I seem to play better. Hopefully we will get some starting to blow. The golf course, it's immaculate, they have really done a good job this year. The rough is up, so the score is going to be a little higher than what you would probably see some of the weeks or years past, but I think you are going to see a lot of putts made, a lot of good shots, and hopefully, like I say, I can figure in there somewhere on the weekend.

JOHN BUSH: I would be remiss if I didn't mention obviously next Thursday a milestone there when you turn 50 years old, the following week you will be making your Champions Tour debut at the Toshiba.

ANDY BEAN: I am trying to get in the week before but when you turn 50 on Thursday instead of Wednesday they don't let you play. Us old guys, I said man, I try to get out there. But I wanted to play Bay Hill again and really kind of finish up on Doral and Bay Hill, but that's not to be, so I'm looking forward to that, but I'm really, you know, I'm really trying to be from the present and looking ahead at tomorrow and the next few days and seeing what I could do here because I'm striking the ball well, playing much better than I was last year and just, I look forward to playing.

Q. What is it about this place that appeals to you?

ANDY BEAN: The weather, the wind. It's a golf course that you have to be a good ball-striker most of the time to shoot a good score around this golf course because usually the wind figures into it; especially on the weekends in the afternoons. And obviously a putter is a great equalizer, but I think over the years being able to drive the ball well and in the fairways and hitting a lot of good iron shots, you know, obviously, that's every week, but when the wind starts blowing down here more of a 20 mile an hour plus wind, then the -- you know, your ball striking has to be that much better, and that pretty much fits right into what I've usually done. My iron game has usually been pretty good.

Q. How much is the chance to join the SENIOR TOUR be an energizer for you and how much has your practice routine changed?

ANDY BEAN: Well, it is. I'm certainly going out and practicing more and trying to get ready for that, but I feel that the one big difference is like here when I was playing a lot and playing well, you're able to set up your own schedule. And I think any time you can set up your own schedule, then you are able to prepare better for the tournaments that you do play in. In the last 10 years obviously I haven't played that much. Actually I have just be staying at home and being Dad and I really enjoyed it. And I watched my girls grow up, I got 2 in college now, so I told them it was time for me to go back out and do what I wanted to do and being able to take that next step now and going out and playing the Champions Tour. I think it will be more like when I was playing a full schedule and I was playing my best on the regular TOUR because I'm going to be able to play, the golf courses I want to play and any time you can prepare better for any tournament, you are going to do better in it.

Q. What are you expecting out there, do you feel like a rookie out there?

ANDY BEAN: I hope I'm going to be smarter than I was when I was a rookie here. One good thing is I'm healthy, and pretty strong, and I get the putter going, everything is going to be good. I'm not putting poorly by any means, but if I started making some putts then I'm going to shoot some good numbers because every other part of my game is pretty good.

Q. Because of that family consideration that you were talking about, since you stopped playing a full schedule a number of years --

ANDY BEAN: Part of it is because I didn't play so well and you were forced to but I really made a choice years ago to do that.

Q. You have a little bit longer time between the end of your PGA TOUR period in terms of full-time schedule and beginning of the Champions Tour, those family considerations, did that keep you from getting too impatient?

ANDY BEAN: I think it probably did because someone asked me are you excited to, you know, turn 50 and play the Champions Tour and I went, I'm getting -- I said, hopefully I'm getting up tomorrow and I am going to take every day pretty much the same. I think I'm going to be more excited after I get out there and I'm playing a couple of weeks because then I'm going to be back into that whole mindset again. Right now it's -- I want to play this week. The Champions Tour is a couple of weeks down the road and I want to play good here. I want to go out good any way. Who is to say, I may not be back some other years to play here because I love this golf course and I know when I play well on this golf course I'm going to finish well and it doesn't matter what field I'm in.

Q. You've won this tournament three times. You have a long history with this tournament so you could give us a good perspective on maybe the evolution a little bit and now it has a new sponsor and for someone like you, does it feel different at all? Is there a different aura when you walk around?

ANDY BEAN: You know, everything has changed obviously since the first time I won. In 1977 I came down and I was the first one to tee off and I lead it really from, I guess, the first hole. But the funny thing about that is when I won the golf tournament I think I won $40,000. What is that about 20th place, 25th place now? I mean, my goodness, coming in here, you are playing for $5 million. It really is -- when you look from the first day I stepped on this golf course until now we have had a few different sponsors here with Eastern, Ryder, Genuity and now Ford and the purses obviously have gone up, but everything has changed so much. One thing I think when we played years ago you really played a more Florida-style golf course. The greens were a little grainier. You needed to know how to read the greens. Whereas now they've got them manicured, it's manicured so well that I think the greens are a little softer. I hope they dry them out a little bit more. Dan has got the golf course, like I said, in just great shape. But the fairways are a little softer. I think it was harder years ago to keep the ball in the fairway especially, like I say, when the wind is blowing you have to be that much more precise. And the golf course has gone over different changes over the past, you know, let's see, I was trying to think what year it was, they changed it a little bit because after -- Andrew went through, the golf course really changed, it lost a number of the trees that really trimmed a lot of the fairways and a lot of the holes. And in trimming them, if you get your shots to stray a little bit you are going to be behind them.

But now they've gone back in and put, or actually, let's just take it from Andrew and Ray Floyd came in and redid the golf course. I actually thought his work was, from a player's standpoint, of one week, was very good. Because they wanted it to be harder and it was harder. They brought in more sand and everything. But also it made it more difficult for the other people, the other 51 weeks of the year and it proved to be maybe a little too much. Then they softened that up a little bit so the golf course has gone through many different changes over the years.

Q. I understand that from a player's perspective, but as a fan or as people coming to the tournament, does it feel different to you walking around? Does it look different? Does a new sponsor -- what kind of difference does that really make?

ANDY BEAN: My goodness, with the different sponsors the last few years from Ryder out to Ford you brought in money, you've done things. You just brought so many other things in. My goodness, a spectator, how about the thing that they do with the concert on the green. I mean, you do a lot of things. What does this tournament raise almost $10 million for charities in this area? You are not going to be able to do that without someone like Ford or Ryder having been associated with this tournament. Genuity, Eastern, but obviously, you've got more money coming in with Ford than you had in the past years and I think the -- not only the spectators but the community benefits from this. But Ford, I mean they are a great sponsor and I would look for a long relationship with them.

Q. I have one other question that's about the some of the top top, I don't know, nobody in the top-5 being here, is that something that is just so old and to the golfers they don't like hearing that or is that something that's just a perception among the fans or does it affect anything?

ANDY BEAN: You know, partly I think it's affected more by more of what you all write. You have got a lot of great players here. You really do. Mickelson was going to be here, but I mean -- I don't know did they deliver?

JOHN BUSH: I have not heard.

ANDY BEAN: I know she went to the hospital. What can you do. He was going to play, he's going to go home there. I know Ernie almost came here but when you double his appearance fee to go to Dubai. Are you going to turn down -- they are going to give you a million bucks then they say no, we are going to give you 2, to make sure you go there. Are you going to go there? Yes, you are probably going to go there especially not being a U.S. citizen. I don't know, I think the golf course, when you come down on Sunday afternoon, the guys that are here, they are going to give you a great show. They are going to give the spectators a great show, they are going to give the TV a great show and hopefully the sponsors and everyone else involved it's going to be a great show. To me, that's what you want. I know Tiger is not here. But Vijay, who all -- I don't know.

JOHN BUSH: Mike Weir.

ANDY BEAN: I know Mike Weir is here, he lead everyone on the West Coast. I mean I saw Jack down there on the practice tee. And when you got these guys, David Duval I was talking to him on the practice tee. And when you got these guys here you're going to see a lot of great golf. And grant it, I know you might want to come out and see Tiger Woods play or Ernie play, but they chose not to be here this week, hopefully they will be here next year. I'm sure probably Ernie might be. I don't know about Tiger because I know Ernie likes the golf course. But you know, I think for some of the guys it's a business. This is a business. It's a business. I don't know many businesses that are going to turn down a couple of million dollars for a week. But it is -- in the end, I think everybody at the end of this week you're going to see a lot of great shots. You're going to see a lot of good golf. I don't know who the leader is, I don't know who is going to be on the top of the leader board, but whoever is, he is going to have played some great golf this week and he may even have beat Tiger and Ernie, we won't know.

Q. Andy, on the stretch where you hadn't played a lot of golf in recent years you say I was home watching my daughters grow up, what was a normal week, day for you?

ANDY BEAN: Shoot, get up, take them to school, watch them go to school. I would go practice in the morning. In the afternoons they played volleyball, basketball and soccer and when school got out I went to practices. I watched them practice and whatever game I think I missed like three games of all of the games that they played.

Q. There was some fishing trips in there somewhere, too?

ANDY BEAN: There is some fishing trips but they never got in the way of one of their games.

Q. You also said that if you feel like a rookie now you hope that you're smarter than you were a rookie the first time, but is --

ANDY BEAN: Patience will be a key I think for me, it always is.

Q. It seems like a great opportunity for you to overpower golf course right now on a championship?

ANDY BEAN: Well, from history, the first one to five years that the guys go out there is most, unless you're the exception that's when you are really going to have to make an impact out on the Champions Tour. These next few years I certainly hope that my length will be a factor and will help me because I know I'm going to be able to hit less club into a lot of those holes than those other guys. And my short game is good. I just -- I would like to go out there with a bag that's empty and bring it back with a bag that's full every year of titles. The money will take care of itself as long as you play well and win golf tournaments.

JOHN BUSH: Are you looking forward to some of the friendships that you had back in the '70's and '80's.

ANDY BEAN: I told Jack out there, Jack was on the practice tee just then and I said you're playing better, I love it, because now I don't feel so bad when I kick your rear out there on a practice round. And he looked at me and said you can get a chance. I like sticking the needle in him because he gives it right back. He will not give an inch. As it is with a lot of the guys, I was on doing an outing or a clinic for ATT Wireless up at Fleet, Boston and I saw Chi Chi, but first I saw his wife, I said, you tell Chi Chi, and then I saw him later. I said you tell him he's got to stay out there a little while longer because I want to get some of my money back. We will have fun out there.

Q. Some of the guys that you are going on the SENIOR TOUR with or haven't been on the PGA TOUR for years say that one of the things they miss, just as much as the competition they miss the life, they miss some of things that you are talking about, practice rounds and maybe even pro-ams and different tournaments so -- how much did you enjoy the travel and the life on the TOUR beyond the competition?

ANDY BEAN: You know, it's funny, for me, shoot, if we played all of them in Lakeland it would be fine with me. But obviously, you can't. Because the travel, you know the travel is different than it was when I started after my first Q-School and qualifying for the tour I'm driving and I -- you finally realize I don't want to do this anymore so I got to play better. But the friendships that you made through traveling together, you know, you can't replace that, the times that you made. Airplanes canceled, flights canceled and all, sitting with Watson and Trevino over at in Hawaii at the airport, sitting there forever, and our flight getting canceled and I think we ended up going back to the hotel and flying out the next day or something, but it was -- the travel, I don't know that -- I'm looking forward to going out and playing in the competition and the travel is just part of it for me.

Because I'm really to simple-minded. I go out there and I eat. I enjoy going out and eating with friends. But I'm not going to go to very many places to go out to eat in special restaurants. My life is a little too simple for that. I enjoy my friendships and I enjoy going out there and being with the guys. But I also enjoy the quiet time too and then, there are things that you can do in certain cities, yes, and it's fun, it's a great life. If you are able to stay out there and do that because my goodness, I could have been inside and me being inside behind a desk I would not have been happy. But if that would have been what I had to do then that's what I would have to do to make a living but fortunately I was pleased with the talent that I can go out there and if I work hard enough I think I can stay out there and do quite well doing that. But the traveling part I really don't look forward to all of that. And I think that maybe too after being at home. You get older, you get comfortable, but I will go look forward going out and playing every week and the competition is what's going to keep me going out there. I don't look forward to -- I have been fortunate to travel all over the world in my life. Grand it, there are still new things that I can see and they are really going to surprise me and I am really going to enjoy them when I do that but it's not something that I have to do now but I do want to go out there and play. I want the competition, I want to play and it will be good to go in different cities. I think that will be the neat part of that. Going to compete in different cities that we haven't played in before.

Q. Do you look at this as the end of something or maybe a springboard into something?

ANDY BEAN: I think it's just a continuation. Hopefully I might still play in a few tournaments in different times of the year, but I'm going mainly be on the Champions Tour. I want to support that. I want to do everything that I can do there and to be able to carry on -- it's like the last 10 years I really haven't done much in the game of golf. But I'm still playing well. I'm still strong, and I think I can make an impact out there.

Q. How much of an advantage, if any, do Florida based golfers have in these Florida swing events; does it make any difference or not?

ANDY BEAN: I think it's definitely an advantage. That's one thing I would argue with our field staff at different times about, you know, when we are in Florida, let's play Florida golf courses, because I think to a point whether when you overseed the golf course too much you get golf courses to where everything is alike every week. But when we go up north we are going to be playing on bent grass and the greens are going to be different, the fairways are going to be different. Well, in Florida, down here especially it's predominantly Bermuda grass, we will play Bermuda grass. And the guys that are from this area they have a little bit of an advantage over the guys from the Northeast and when we are up there then they have an advantage and the guys that can overlap and adapt are the ones that are going to come out the best, but I think that we try now to get golf courses in such good shape, in such close maintenance practices -- I don't think they really fit. I think whatever is in that area, you play that golf course. And if you don't like playing in Texas or New Jersey, or you don't like playing wherever then that's your choice. But the golf course, it's in great shape, and you are going to see a lot of putts holed, a lot of good shots, the fairways are and you believe perfect.

JOHN BUSH: Andy, we would like to thank you for spending a few minutes with us. Good luck this week.

ANDY BEAN: Thank you, I appreciate you all. I look forward to seeing you later on this week.

End of FastScripts....

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