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July 15, 2017
THE MODERATOR: We have with us: Mark Mulder, 48 points; Derek Lowe, 45; Mardy Fish, 45; and Chad Pfeifer, 42.
Mark's round today, 26 points. Chad had 23. Mardy Fish had 21. Derek Lowe had 20. But he had two taken away for an improper drop on No. 14, which is unfortunate.
Q. Mark, tell us about your round. Obviously you're in great shape as defending champ to be in the lead.
MARK MULDER: I'm happy with where I'm at. I had a lot of chances today to make a lot of putts. I made some difficult ones. But I also missed some easier ones. Hit some -- it was a decent round. I hit the ball okay. Didn't get in a ton of trouble. Got a couple of good breaks. But for the most part made the putts that I needed to make and I'm happy with where I'm at right now.
Q. How many birdies today for you?
MARK MULDER: I don't even know. Five, I don't know, I don't even keep track of it. I might have had five, I think.
Q. Derek, take us through your round, first round leader. We knew there was some pressure on you, first time you'd been in this position in this event and you held up very, very well.
DEREK LOWE: Yeah, it was an easy front nine, rough back nine. Obviously I illegally dropped on 14. Struggled on 16 and 17. Lucky to make a bogey on 16 and doubled 17. Yeah, this was my first time in this situation. It's exciting. These guys obviously know how to do it and win. So I really look forward to tomorrow.
Q. Mardy, once again you're in the room. And was it putting woes today or what was it today?
MARDY FISH: Pretty much most of the time we can sit here and say that. (Laughter) Missed three inside five feet all for birdie, 16, 17, 18. So, you know, that's where we are.
Q. Chad, I talked to you yesterday after your first round and you were disappointed with your score and thought, hey, I should have made 30 points yesterday. You came pretty close today, played a good round.
CHAD PFEIFER: Yesterday, I was happy with where I was at the end of the day after I played because I didn't play my best. But today actually I got off to a rough start, pulled my shot on 1 and ended up in the drink and got up-and-down to save bogey.
Then I birdied 3 and took a double bogey on 4, which you never want doubles, but you take them, I guess.
But then birdied 6, 7, 8, which was nice, jump started me for the back, and just kind of on cruise control on the back nine. So that was nice. Had a birdie on 16 and had a really nice up-and-down save on 18 to get a point.
Q. You mentioned the other day that some of these guys sitting in the room with you right now are a little bit longer than you are off the tee. So what do you think you need to do tomorrow to stay up or to compete?
CHAD PFEIFER: Just stick to my game, I'm sure that's what these guys will be doing. And that's all I can do. I'm not going to find an extra 40 yards off the tee box overnight. So I just stick to my game, just keep rolling the ball and just hope they keep dropping.
Q. Mark, I think each of the last two years you saved your best round for Sunday. Does that give you more confidence; you came in with confidence?
MARK MULDER: Yeah, the last two years I was down five points both years going into that final round. So this is a little different. But it's not going to change my mindset or my approach. It's not going to be any different.
I'm going to go out there, try to make as many birdies as I possibly can and see what happens. That's just the way I play. I kind of keep my head down. I try not to pay attention to a lot of things that are going on. I'm just focusing from shot to shot. And if I hit a bad shot, I go find it and hit again.
It sounds ridiculous, but it's the truth. It's just the way I try and play the game. And however I finish is how I finish tomorrow.
Q. Sounds like you almost feel more comfortable if you kind of put yourself in a robot mode.
MARK MULDER: It's very true. Yeah, I mean, it's similar to pitching. You give up a homer, what are you going to do about it? The ball is already in the stands. Somebody is celebrating the ball's in their hand.
You hit a ball in the trees, nothing to do about it but go find it and hit a good shot. Luckily today I hit a few in the trees and hit some good shots after those balls in the trees and try to make the most of it.
Q. Mardy and Derek, I think you guys are the ones that are tied for second. What are your thoughts knowing that you're chasing a guy who has won two in a row and he plays his best on Sunday?
MARDY FISH: He said it perfectly that he's been down. So this was actually -- we talked about this before the tournament, that we wanted him to be leading going into the last day. So we have him right where we want him. (Laughter).
DEREK LOWE: No, we know he's going to make birdies. He's been there before. I think obviously this being my first time and he knows how to compete and close down the stretch. So, again, I look forward to being in the arena and see what happens.
Q. What do you think the winning final score is going to be?
MARK MULDER: The winning score?
Q. The winning final score, how many points.
MARK MULDER: What am I at, 47?
Q. 48. You had 31 --
MARK MULDER: I think I won with 82 and I think 74 last year. To me I'd be looking at 75.
MARDY FISH: Mid-70s, somewhere around there.
MARK MULDER: Somebody at the top there is going to put up a 25 to 30 spot. And I just hope it's me. But the reality is that somebody is going to do it. So I would look at 75 or higher would kind of be my goal finishing tomorrow.
Q. I think you were 31 on Sunday last year.
MARK MULDER: I'd like that again. (Laughter).
Q. Mardy? Mid-70s?
MARDY FISH: Yeah.
DEREK LOWE: Yeah.
MARK MULDER: He'll take 40 tomorrow.
CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah.
Q. Chad, you shared a story with me before you teed off this morning about the four and a half months, was it, of your life in this past year, would you like to share it with everyone?
CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah, I had a bulging disk in my back that happened in September, and so I was just on crutches for most of the winter. The Diamond Resorts event that was in Florida in January, you know, I had just gotten up on a prosthetic two days before I went down there.
So my goal down there was just to not injure myself even more. But last month and a half or so I've been able to get back and play and kind of sharpen up my game.
I'm just excited to be here again. Grateful for the opportunity to get invited back. And you look at the field and for a guy that was doing his job one day and got blown up, I'm just thrilled to be here. So I will play my hardest tomorrow and whatever happens happens. But I'll be chasing the guys for sure trying to come after them. But I'm just grateful to be here. So I appreciate it.
Q. What would it mean to each of you, starting with Mark, to win this thing tomorrow. Obviously you've already won it twice, this would be a three-peat, first time in tournament history. Tell us what it means to you besides a big check and a couple of bets at the sporting book.
MARK MULDER: It would be really cool. I've had a lot of people say to me: Do you feel the pressure, do you feel this or that. I don't. I get it more from my kids. My three kids said to me, "Dad, when do we get to go to the golf tournament where we get to run out on the green at the end?"
You only get that if you win. So trust me, I get it from them enough. And throughout the day like, dad, you're in third place, dad, you're in second, get out of here. Get away from me and leave me alone. Yet I want to enjoy it with them. They're out on the tee box with me on 17. I was handing out some bobbleheads to some A's fans, this and that. I was having my oldest son do that.
It's just a great time. I love this experience with my family and to be able to enjoy it with them means a lot.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, it would mean a lot. Competitiveness is what we, most of us, are used to and do and don't get to do anymore.
And so this is what gets our competitive juices going. It's getting a little boring that Mark's winning everything. So we'll try to change that narrative tomorrow.
DEREK LOWE: Yeah, the same as Mardy said. I think you look at here, there's 84, 85 guys that love to compete and have done it at the highest level.
MARDY FISH: I just said that.
DEREK LOWE: That's what I just said. I'm going to repeat you.
What else did you say after that? And we're tired of seeing Mark win.
Again, this is my first experience. I've kind of just fluttered in the middle of the pack over my first four years here. And so for me it would mean a lot to finish it on the last day. And I've learned a lot. But I've got a long way.
CHAD PFEIFER: Yeah, I mean, it would be huge for me. There's a lot of people out there supporting me and rooting me on, which is awesome. But I come to these events, and I'm playing for the wounded veterans and anybody with a disability, because of the opportunity.
I mean, it's pretty cool and it's probably something not a whole lot of people are going to do outside of the celebrities and the MVPs and all stars and stuff.
So it would mean a lot to me but it would be more so, it would be fun to win it for the people I'm playing for.
Q. Derek, you announced your retirement right here three years ago, four years ago.
DEREK LOWE: Four years ago. Did I?
Q. Any special significance to that?
DEREK LOWE: No.
Q. Do you remember it?
DEREK LOWE: Yeah, I do. Yeah. I think someone asked me if I was going to play again. And I said absolutely not. They said are you announcing your retirement at this time, so I just said, yeah.
Q. That might have been us.
So now that you are the two-time defending champion and closest-to-the-hole winner, is there anything that you can't win right now? It feels like it's 2001 in Oakland again.
MARK MULDER: I can't seem to control my kids. I can't beat Mardy in tennis. Even though I don't really have to hit a backhand, I can kind of just hit the ball with either hand. I'm a little weird like that.
But I just, I love this tournament like crazy. I think for a lot of us, it's the Masters, the U.S. Open, it's all wrapped up into one.
And every single one of us comes here to win this tournament. Mardy said it: We don't get to compete anymore. Or at least some of us don't. And for a lot of us this is our one or two times a year when we can compete, and I love every single second of this. I enjoy myself. Don't get me wrong. I'm here to have fun. But I'm also here to do my best.
Q. I think we had our largest flotilla and backup on 17, a real carnival. How does that affect you with your concentration? You're taking free throws and such. What does that do to your game?
MARK MULDER: I don't know if it really affects me. I mean, it's not our livelihood. I think it would be different if I was a TOUR player. But I did sit down in one of the marshal's chairs for ten minutes on the 16th tee, which I probably shouldn't have done. But the fact is I did it.
And whatever. You take a couple of swings, you get loose. 17, I have so much adrenalin on 17 with all the people and the music. I feel like I could hit a wedge from 200 yards.
I mean, that's how much adrenalin is going through my body at the time. So it's kind of hard to control that. And it's taking me a few years to get used to that.
Q. To correct the record, Mark, you had 30 on Sunday and last year 29.
MARK MULDER: I choked last year, I guess. (Laughter).
Q. As far as your kids, after the winner is announced they can still run on the green; it just may be they'll get arrested. (Laughter)
MARK MULDER: You're right. It might look awkward if they run on the green and I don't win. My kids can just take a picture with Chad. (Laughter).
Q. Mark and Derek, I don't know if you remember this kind of stuff, but did you guys ever face each other as starting pitchers?
DEREK LOWE: I don't think so.
MARDY FISH: What? Let's think about it.
MARK MULDER: I don't remember it. I remember --
DEREK LOWE: I would say no. We're going to stick with no.
MARK MULDER: I mean, I remember --
DEREK LOWE: I was in the AL East and he was in the West.
MARK MULDER: I remember him finishing Game 5 in Oakland.
That was one our choke jobs. But it happens. I remember him finishing that game, but for the most part I don't think we started against each other. But if we did, I don't remember it.
Q. About the changing rules that are coming up, we're not going to deal with this for another two years -- and your situation today did not make me do this, by the way -- but a couple of things: In two years, a lost ball, you'll have three minutes instead of five minutes to find it. If we can just go left to right, your right to left, Mark, do you like that rule? Do you agree with it? Disagree with it?
MARK MULDER: I either find my ball in the first few seconds or I'm not going to find it. Let's face it, I either see where it goes and you walk right to that spot and you walk up and find it. If it takes you five minutes to find it, it's probably not very good anyway. So what's really the difference?
I don't think it's going to make a whole lot of difference. I think we've seen MLB try to play speed-up rules and how has that worked out for them? I don't think it's going to change a whole lot.
MARDY FISH: He wants everybody to answer, so keep --
MARK MULDER: My bad. (Laughter).
MARDY FISH: I like it. Golf takes too long.
DEREK LOWE: Ditto.
CHAD PFEIFER: I like it. I mean, it speeds up the pace of play. And I mean, let's face it, the PGA guys aren't having to look for their balls. So it's not going to affect them at all. They have spotters and the crowd is going to see where theirs goes. So speeding up play for average golfers is a good thing.
Q. The other rule that's kind of interesting is, once you get your ball, you have to make a stroke within 40 seconds, again trying to speed it up. Chad, are you in favor or not?
CHAD PFEIFER: I mean, yeah, I guess so. I mean, like I said, speeding up play is always going to be a good thing. But that's kind of opposite for the PGA guys. I mean they're doing that for a living. There's only a select few that take a really long time. But if it's going to speed up average play, sure.
DEREK LOWE: I'm mixed on it. You play in severe, windy conditions and at some point you're going to have to pull the trigger regardless. So I can see it both ways. But I think obviously everyone keeps saying the same thing: Pace of play.
But in baseball, to make someone throw a pitch in 40 seconds, there's going to be a ball, I think it might be a little much.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I am used to a clock in tennis. So 25 seconds and you gotta go. But there are instances where it might take a little bit longer. But I kind of like it.
MARK MULDER: I don't think it's going to make much of a difference. I know for me when, say, today if Mardy or Smoltz hit in front of me, the second they went, I probably hit within ten seconds of them.
I play quick, but obviously, as Chad said, there's select guys on tour that do take longer.
Q. Mardy, has Aaron paid up yet?
MARDY FISH: No, he has not. But I'm not going to win this one, so I think we're probably going to be even. I'm not going to beat him by 43 and a half this time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports