June 25, 2000
LEE PATTERSON: Third win in two years, first two years on Tour, I know that is a
wonderful feeling for you. Maybe if you could best you can share those emotions with us
and then we will open it up for questions.
NOTAH BEGAY III: I think the biggest thing for me is after going through my personal
ordeal earlier in the year, you never know if you are ever going to return back to form.
To be able to get back in contention for me was great and after coming off a great U.S.
Open for me personally last week, I knew I had some momentum going and to be able to pull
it out, especially when it was nip and tuck the last two, three holes is very refreshing
and let me know that I am back to playing good golf again.
Q. What has been the difference from a technical standpoint last few weeks?
NOTAH BEGAY III: It is all putting. My short game and my ball-striking are fairly
consistent. I am making better decisions and just making a few more putts this week. Last
week I didn't make very many putts which just the way it goes sometimes.
Q. I have read both of your first name means "almost there" and
"descending a mountain;" are they the same thing?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Pretty much the same thing. It is and a Navaho name. I think it is
pretty appropriate for golf.
Q. The two wins, do you feel that maybe that experience helped you down the stretch,
those last few holes when there was -- especially those two holes when you went right at
NOTAH BEGAY III: Yeah, there is no question. I knew what was going to happen down the
stretch. You don't have to play as well as you think and you really need to exercise a lot
of pars. I just kept plugging away making easy pars, easy pars and basically just wearing
the course out. I made a great shot on 16 to get a birdie with a two-shot cushion and I
had a two-shot lead and I could afford to make a mistake. When I did, I hit kind of a
loose shot on 17 going into the green, but I plenty of green to work with. I just hit a
bad shot. You can probably attribute a little bit of that to nerves and just bad
execution. To come through on 18 knowing I had to make par and sticking it in there like
that -- that is what you got to do.
Q. What did you hit off the tee on 18?
NOTAH BEGAY III: 2-iron. I played that hole 2-over for the week. It just doesn't set up
for me very well. I just was trying to get in the fairway and I hit my 2-iron good all
Q. If you had come tied, would you still have hit 2-iron?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Yeah. I mean my philosophy is you make them beat; you don't beat
yourself. I was going to make him have to make three to at least go into a Playoff. I
wasn't going to dink one in the water and give away the tournament.
NOTAH BEGAY III: I backed off a lot all day and it is just sometimes I just have
trouble getting my alignment. When I don't have something picked out real clear and
distinct in my mind I can't see the shot, I back off. I just didn't see the shot. It
wasn't really nerves or anything. I just -- I knew I have a tendency to swing a little
right. I knew that I was starting to creep towards the right center of the green and I
couldn't do that because I wanted to leave myself at least a makeable birdie putt, but
still play fairly conservative shot. I just geared it a little bit left and I probably
pulled it just a shade.
Q. What was the distance?
NOTAH BEGAY III: 6-iron, 197 to the hole.
Q. What did you, did you pick up an actual spot?
NOTAH BEGAY III: I picked out, there was some reeds in the lake there about 30 yards in
front of the green. I just took it over those and just hit a little draw.
Q. On No. 16, you hit what looked like a pretty nervey chip there. Do you feel
confident with that? Is that something you practice a lot?
NOTAH BEGAY III: I just -- I play to win and that is the bottomline. I that was the
only shot I had. I needed to make 4 or at least have a putt at 4 and, you know, I wasn't
in it to finish in the Top-10. I was teeing it up Sunday going out there to execute and
win the golf tournament.
Q. How important is it to make a four on 16 at this course?
NOTAH BEGAY III: It is huge because you know those two holes -- chances are you are
going to bogey one of them if not both of them. To have a two-shot cushion lets you make a
mistake which I mean, made all the difference in the world. Now coming down 18 tied, it is
a whole different ballgame; then we are going to have a four-way Playoff. Just allowed me
to be a little more conservative coming down the stretch.
Q. After you hit your shot in there on 18, were you surprised he hit as well he is
getting a putt and you are getting a putt; what did you think?
NOTAH BEGAY III: I wasn't surprised at all. Bob is a very experienced player and he hit
his last iron shot pretty good I think the wind just picked it up on 17 just a shade. I
fully expected him to execute the shot the way he wanted and I expected him to make that
putt. He missed a couple of short ones throughout the day and I just think that he just
didn't quite give it enough speed.
Q. "What do you want to drink" the question you got -- is that the kind of
thing you know you have to endure for a while? Does it hurt at a moment of your crowning
glory here, you have that -- is that something you have to live with?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Yeah, for a year, I mean, it was a mandatory no alcohol, no drug
policy for a year, so I haven't had any problems with it. It is just, you know, get a
little 7-up or something. (laughs).
Q. That for a while will be sort of the issue with you, they think about what you had
to go through this year, and --
NOTAH BEGAY III: I have no problems with it. It is just a part of my life that happened
and you got to accept the good with the bad and I have no problems answering questions in
regards to the situation, and I have no problems personally dealing with it because it
seems like I have come to grips with what I did and I am at peace with myself for it.
Q. To follow with that, how big is this tournament? You have been playing -- you played
better last week, but to come in here and to pull off what you wanted on Sunday and win
the tournament, how big is that as a confidence booster?
NOTAH BEGAY III: It is a confidence booster because I came in Sunday wanting to win the
golf tournament. I wasn't coming in trying to play good, trying to play and see what
happens. I came here to win this morning. To go out there and just -- I just played a
great professional round today, one bogey, three birdies and hit the shots when I had to
hit them and that just -- I guess it is a testament to the fact that I am growing as a
player and maturing, and it just going to help me out the next time I am coming down the
stretch and I need to do something that I have to do.
Q. You say you like the heat. Now you have won here; safe to say we will see you back?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Oh, yeah.
Q. How far was the shot third shot at 16?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Oh, third shot was, I was pin-high right about probably 18, 20 yards
to the flag.
Q. Lob wedge?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Yes. That is the shot that got me out of Albuquerque. (laughs).
LEE PATTERSON: How far was the putt there?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Two and a half feet.
LEE PATTERSON: Then on 18, how far was that?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Five feet.
Q. Having had the success here, you know, you encourage other people now to come here
or how do you deal with more the merrier?
NOTAH BEGAY III: I am just -- I give an honest opinion if someone asked me about FedEx
St. Jude I am going to say it is a great place, good hospitality, nice golf course. I
can't lie about the weather. It is pretty darn hot, but I can only go so far. But
everything else is great about the tournament and I would suggest -- I would suggest to
anybody to give it a shot.
Q. It's got to be pretty good, Stanford Guy wins last week; Stanford Guy wins this
week. Something you got to keep going for a bit?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Yeah, but it is either Casey or I are going to have to keep the streak
next week because Tiger is not playing and then he is playing the Western to defend, so,
we will maybe try and keep it going for the rest of the year. (laughs).
End of FastScripts...