May 21, 2002
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We're pleased to be joined by Bryce Molder here in the media center at the Memorial Tournament.
You don't have to use a sponsor exemption this.
BRYCE MOLDER: It's kind of nice. I kind of look at it as a freebie, but I guess you can kind of look at it in a couple of ways. More than anything, it's just an opportunity to play. It's such a great tournament. It's just an honor to play in a tournament. I got an exemption through the Jack Nicklaus Award a few years ago after I was a freshman and I was unable to play because NCAA Tournament conflicted the next year. So I'm just really thrilled to be here.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Questions?
Q. So that's not considered a sponsored exemption?
BRYCE MOLDER: No, they have changed the rules in the last year or two. Because they look at it as you played your way in. It's kind of like a top-10. You finish in the top-10 next week, it's not considered one of your limited number of sponsor's invites. And so, it's a -- since I met the criteria which they give every year to the Jack Nicklaus Award winner, that's how it's considered.
Q. And they let you carry it over if you have another year? Since you had a conflict?
BRYCE MOLDER: Well, no, when I was a freshman I couldn't play but I won it last year as a senior and so I get it this year.
Q. Charlie Howell had to go through sort of the same process last year. How much does that weigh on your mind? The pressure of having to make that number or whatever it is?
BRYCE MOLDER: Well, first I want to thank him because if it wasn't for him, the Byron Nelson would have counted against me and probably this week would have counted against me. So I have a little bit more freedom. But knowing he went through it like that, and Matt Kuchar went through it like that, and David Gossett, he came out and won tournament it kind of shows me that it's a very tough way to do it and very few have done it. But at the same time, if you play well at the right time, I feel like I can. I am as good as any of those players, so I feel like I have enough game that if I play well at the right time that I can do that.
Q. What's the number?
BRYCE MOLDER: Well the first number to get to is I think right around $80,000. Which would enable me to play for the rest of the year on sponsor's invites.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You have about 110 left; is that right? Or less than that?
BRYCE MOLDER: I got 120, I think.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: About 120. You made 90 at --
BRYCE MOLDER: I made 112 and then like 45, or something or 48 or something like that.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: At the Byron Nelson.
Q. Next week you're playing?
BRYCE MOLDER: Yes, Kemper Open, yes.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: But if he finishes Top-10, obviously, he's in.
Q. They put a new tee in this year on the practice range and all you young guys are supposed to be able to kill it. I was wondering if you've been able to aim at the wall out there yet or not?
BRYCE MOLDER: Well, I just was trying to keep it on the range. I didn't know there was a new range. I didn't know there was anything to aim at out there, so I'm probably not the right person to ask about that. I don't hit it as far as some of these guys coming out.
Q. Tiger's talked about the wave coming behind him, the young guns. How good that group is. How much has his dominance made you guys better or worked to be better?
BRYCE MOLDER: I think there's just an enormous amount of talent right now between the ages of -- and I don't know if it's kind of outside of this but I would include him. But from about 20 to 25, really 22 to 25. It's unbelievable how many good players in the world there are. And you just have that sometimes.
College golf, it was ridiculous how many seniors came out last year that were so good. And then now it's kind of left to where there aren't as many right now in that crowd. But I would say part of it is just kind of a coincidence. There's just a bunch of talent at once. When you do have guys -- I played against Charles since I was 13. We kind of pushed each other. When I played at school with Matt Kuchar, we pushed each other so I think when you have a group it makes each other better.
As far as Tiger's concerned, I think he, what he's done is, he's just opened the door to where we can get out here and play quicker in tournaments. And kind of get exposed to professional golf a lot quicker. And the work ethic, that came along with him also, which a lot of the guys out here are doing. But I think that's why -- well, I think because of him you find younger players more mature physically and more mature mentally earlier than you would have before.
Q. How about your self personally? It's pretty well determined that him being number one, with all he's done, how do you personally catch him?
BRYCE MOLDER: How do I catch him? I look at it one way, you know, coming into this week I've got -- I don't know how big the field is, but I've got to beat all of them to win the golf tournament and not worry about him. And I'm pretty good about just worrying about myself. And if I continue to get better and better -- that's the only thing I can do is just do everything under my control to get better and better. And that doesn't mean work out all day and hit balls all day for me. I found that that's not the best way for me to play golf. But there are times in the year when I do have to, I really have to hit a lot of balls and practice a lot.
And, but, how do I catch him? Just improve on everything, really. That's what he's continuing to do. You try to make your weaknesses your strong points. I know he hits the ball so far but he's a little bit wild off the tee and he's openly admitted a goal to make driving the ball -- to be the best driver out here. And that's almost an impossible goal for him to hit with how much further he hits it than a lot of guys. But he's trying to make that goal and he knows if he can get near that, then nobody can touch him. So that's one thing I know I'm going to work on is just trying to find my weaknesses and make those better.
Q. Can you talk about the program at Georgia Tech a little bit?
BRYCE MOLDER: It's a fun program to talk about right now. They have -- we were at school, I say we because I got my teammate caddieing for me. We were there at school for four years together and it just seemed to get better and better as we were there. Not necessarily because of us, I don't know if it was because of the coach or the way we were playing or just what it was. Then we left and the next year, this past year, they get better, and start just beating everybody. Which is, it's fun to see.
I don't know -- it's kind of -- I don't know how to explain it. It's kind of gotten to where I know in Arkansas the guys, the young players there, they want to get better and better so they can get recruited by Georgia Tech. That's what guys tell me. And it's not because of the school itself or whatever, but because it's been pretty dominating to have players come from a lot of different areas to come play there. And it's fun to watch them right now.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Couple more questions? I think that's it. Thank you, Bryce.
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