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July 16, 2017
THE MODERATOR: Three in a row, what's the difference in this win?
MARK MULDER: I can't say there's a whole lot of difference. I said to you guys yesterday how much pressure, the comments my kids made leading up to this tournament. They think it's just the tournament where they get to run out on the green.
And it's really cool that I was able to back that up, to be honest with you, because if you think for a second I wasn't nervous about it, I didn't feel the pressure, you're crazy; I did.
But Kenny Overby, a good buddy of mine, my caddie, he kept me right where I needed to be: Just one shot at a time. Don't worry. I missed some short putts, and he said: Don't worry, they're going to fall.
I tried to stay patient. And Derek Lowe and Mardy Fish both played well on the front nine, especially D. Lowe played well. And on the back nine I was able to separate myself a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: Looks like when you dropped that putt on 13 for birdie there was a big sigh of relief from you.
MARK MULDER: It was. You know, man, I missed a short one on 12. But going to 13, it's a hole that I've struggled with at times in past years, and I birdied it last year in the final round and it gave me a little confidence. It was straight uphill. It was straight. I said to my buddy: I've got to hit it hard and firm and straight. And I was able to do that.
And that went in. Listen, anytime you make birdies in this format, it feels good.
Q. Looks like you're the machine now. I mean, three in a row. You're like the next Rick Rhoden of this event. How do these guys stop you, or do they?
MARK MULDER: Play better. (Laughter) I mean, honestly, if I finish second three years in a row, that's the way I'd look at it. That's not to say anything against anyone who finished behind me. It's just if I had that, if I finish second, third, fourth, fifth, whatever it was, I would walk out of this tournament going: You know what, I need to play better. And that's the way it is. That's the truth.
And if they're going to beat me, I'm going to be ready for it. And I hope they do. D. Lowe was someone that maybe no one expected to be there, but, man, he can flat out play.
And, yeah, he didn't hit the shots he wanted to on those last five, six holes. But he's a really good player. There's a lot more good players out here than what people think. I just happened to pull it off today.
Q. You've got a couple guests there, I don't see Xander, you might want to introduce these two.
MARK MULDER: My middle daughter is Tatum and my youngest is Dax. My oldest is out in the tent. I think he was hungry.
He jumped in the lake with my caddie. They had a bet after last season, that if I three-peated, they were going to jump in the lake. As hesitant as my nine-year-old was, he still went in the lake. I give him credit.
But my wife has his shoes and socks in her hands. So he's safe for right now.
Q. You talked about you saved a birdie from the sand on the first part of 5, if I'm not mistaken, birdied the par 3, how big was that for the round?
MARK MULDER: That birdie I made on 8, I had a 7-iron into the green. I was playing for a flyer lie. And I didn't get it. And it plugged in the bunker.
I had a fried egg. And I honestly went into that going: All right, looking at my buddy going, all right, Kenny, let's just make five.
And I came real steep at it, the way you're supposed to. Not that I really know what I'm doing. But the point is I came steep at it. It hopped out. It landed in the rough and kind of killed it and rolled to about six feet and I made it. And that was huge for me. And it was a momentum turner, I think, for Mardy and D. Lowe, too, because they're on the green.
When you're looking at somebody, at least where I was, you kind of go he'll be lucky if he makes par. I was able to come away with a birdie, and that was huge for me today.
Q. How long was that putt?
MARK MULDER: Probably about five, six feet.
Q. You said afterwards, you said to your friend that's the best shot you've ever hit?
MARK MULDER: Absolutely. I walked off the green saying that was one of the best plays that's ever happened. And Kenny said the same thing. He's like "That's the best birdie I've ever seen."
I've had a few other opportunities in this tournament where I've made some good birdies, but I think when you're looking at the situation and the advantage that I had, because I had hit the furthest drive.
D. Lowe was on the front right part of the green and Mardy was in the bunker, and I get a fried egg. I think maybe at that time I was up just a point or two on D. Lowe, whatever it was. To be able to get up-and-down and them not birdie the hole, it was a big momentum swing.
Q. You said before you were happy to back that up because the kids think it's the tournament where they get to run on the green. You mean you didn't want to disappoint them?
MARK MULDER: Without a doubt. They think this is just the norm. My wife and I used to bring them every other year, and then three years ago I won when they were here.
So the next year we looked at each other, we're like: Do we bring the kids again? Because it's a fun tournament. There's stuff at night that we have to go to. There's parties, concerts, whatever it might be.
And luckily enough we have my parents that come with us and they hang out with the kids at night and get them dinner and get them to bed.
So my wife and I are very fortunate that we have that and able to help us out during this tournament. But, honestly, if I hadn't have won three years in a row, we might not have brought them the next year. It might have been just been my wife and I.
Well, now, I'm forced into bringing them every year. (Laughter) Trust me, it's a little bit of a pain because on the Pro-Am days I put two clubs in my bags so they can hit shots on the last few holes and this and that.
And it's a little bit of a grind because I'm trying to get ready for the tournament. They just want to hit tee shots because they want people clapping for them.
But I wouldn't trade it for anything, man. It's awesome to have them here.
Q. I saw you on 17, I thought, nursing a finger on your right hand. Do you mind sharing what happened to you and what you thought, how it might affect the rest of your round?
MARK MULDER: I got a little too giddy during the basketball shooting. And my caddie decides that -- he shot a couple. He made one and then I jumped up and tried to block his shot. And what happens is my finger gets pinched between the rim and the ball.
And it didn't feel so hot. I'm not going to lie. So I was grabbing the towel from him, just trying to hold my hand in the towel so there wasn't blood everywhere. But I think he grabbed the towel and wiped his face off on the next hole. So I'm not sure that was the greatest move.
But the point is, I was fine. It's just an unfortunate thing. I didn't mean for it to happen. And with all the adrenalin that you have on 17, with all the people, I don't think it affected my shot in any way.
Q. You had a little wait on the tee box on 16, you walked to the back of the tee box and stood in the shadows. What were you thinking about?
MARK MULDER: Because I stink on that tee shot. I can't -- I can't for the life of me hit that fairway. And I don't know how to describe it to you guys. Pro-Am days I hit a perfect cut. My normal ball flight with my driver is a cut.
On the Pro-Am days I hit it right around that tree. I have 7-iron into the green. But on tournament days I can't do it to save my life.
I just wanted to get away, wanted to stand back there. My caddie and I had discussed hitting a 3-wood, a rescue, just because.
I hit my driver okay today. So I was actually feeling fine going into that tee shot. But then I hit it off the toe and hit it over the bunker and laid up. And it was fine.
But it's just I never take advantage of that 16th hole. I don't know why -- I have maybe birdied it once or twice in the six or seven years that I've been here. And for the length, as far as I hit the ball, that's unfortunate. Because a lot of these par 5s I can really take advantage of.
Q. First of all, I want to say thank you very much for all of your answers and your patience. Every year the conference calls and everything else, it's really appreciated. So congratulations on your three-peat or natural hat trick, as the hockey fans like to say it. When did you know it was over, when did you know you had it wrapped up or think you had it wrapped up?
MARK MULDER: When I walked off on 17, as nervous as I was, D. Lowe picked up his putt -- and when you're in that moment, I forgot he hit it in the bunker. So I'm just watching him make the par putt, I guess it was, and he 3-putted. So he made double.
I turned to my caddie, Kenny, and I said, "Did he just make double?" Which is obviously -2. And Kenny said, "Yeah, you're up by nine. We're good."
So I kind of had that stroll to 18 where two years ago, the first year I won it, I couldn't think straight. I couldn't understand what was happening. I knew at that time I had a lead and unless somebody, Mardy or Scobee that year made an eagle, I knew I was going to win.
But this year was a little better. I was able to collect my thoughts a little bit and kind of enjoy it. And that's why I hit -- I was going to hit 3-wood off the tee no matter what. Terrible driver that I hit the last couple of years, or the last couple of days, I was going to hit 3-wood no matter what.
And I smoked a good one with a little draw on 18 today. But knowing that you'd won it already, I suppose with a -2 or even if allow or Mardy made an eagle, that you were safe, it was a cool feeling. So you kind of walk up with a big smile on your face and you're able to enjoy it, I guess, a little bit more than normal.
Q. If you win next year, we call it a four-play and we have to make sure we spell four correctly.
MARK MULDER: I don't want to think about that right now.
Q. Couple of things, what do you think of making history here? And if you could think "Tin Cup" with Kevin Costner, ever thought about, hmm, maybe qualifying for the U.S. Open?
MARK MULDER: Nope. Nope. Not a chance. I play with enough TOUR guys. I'm at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, you hear McCord and Kostis and some of those guys on CBS talk about the course I'm at enough with the 15 to 25 TOUR players that we have already.
I probably play more rounds with Chez Reavie, Pat Perez, a couple of them than I guess the others. But having that many TOUR players at the course that I'm at -- I also understand there's a big difference between my game and their game. And whether it's me doing A's games for NBC Sports Bay Area or me sitting at home with my kids, I know what it took to get to the top of baseball and how many pitches I had to throw, and I have no interest in trying to hit that many golf balls to get the top of golf.
Because my wife, first of all, would not like that. And I don't think I have the mentality or the patience to try to work on the game that hard.
Q. What do you think of making history today?
MARK MULDER: Well, it was something that I knew coming into this, I knew nobody had won it three times. And records are made to be broken. And it's clichÃ©, but it's the way it is. And I was very confident. I kept telling my caddie and Kenny kept telling me: Hey, just be patient; they're going to go in.
And we kept trying to make good putts, hit good shots, worry about one shot at a time, and, you know, here I am I ended up winning so it worked out.
Q. Besides running out on the green at 18, what do you and your kids like to do in Tahoe when you're up here?
MARK MULDER: Well, we're not leaving tomorrow. So we're staying here for the next three, four days. And we'll be out on the lake all day tomorrow. We're going to be rafting the Truckee River probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. And in past years my kids, they spent Thursday, the whole day up at the top of the mountain doing the zip line, doing the rock walls, doing just all the activities that they have up there.
And I was only able to be there for about half of it because I was at the 1:00 shotgun. So it's just a great family trip, man.
And in the past I used to come here just for the six or seven days, and I think this year we're making it a little longer. And I think in the future we might even come earlier than Monday like we have in the past and stay a little later and just -- I have no reason to go back to Arizona. It's 115 there. I might as well stay right here in the 85 degrees.
Q. You just picked up $125,000 today. What's your wife going to do with it?
MARK MULDER: [Tatum whispering to dad] Is that good that my seven-year-old has a comment for that?
I don't know, man. We're in the process of building a home, and we're going to start -- we're going to break ground here in the next month or two. So I suppose anything that can go towards that would be great.
But it's not about the money. It's about the friendships here and the guys. Those last one, two, three, four groups, I think, now in all these years I've been paired with each and every one of them at one time or another. And whether you're a Hall of Famer, or you're me, it's really cool to be with these guys and we have a great time these last rounds or two.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports