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March 9, 2000

Dudley Hart


NELSON LUIS: Nice afternoon round for yourself. Early morning scores were pretty high. You come in with the first afternoon score of 7-under. Why don't you walk us through your round and birdies and bogeys.

DUDLEY HART: Second hole I hit a good drive down over the left bunker, had a wedge in, hit wedge about 25 feet to the right of the pin, made that for birdie. Birdied 3. I hit 3-iron off the tee in front of the bunkers, hit wedge about 15 feet behind the hole; made that for birdie. 7, I hit 3-wood down the middle of the fairway. Hit a 9-iron to about ten feet, made that for birdie. 9, I hit a good drive down the middle. Hit a 3-wood into the front bunker. Hit a bunker shot about six feet right of the hole, made that for birdie. 10, I hit 3-wood off the tee; hit a wedge to about five feet made that for birdie. 11, made bogey, hit 8-iron, hit a good shot - flew it over the pin into -- hit too much club, went in the back rough; had a tough chip; left it about 10 feet short, missed that for par. Bogey there. Then 13, I hit a good drive up in one of the short bunkers about 30 yards short of the green and hit that bunker shot about six feet, made that for birdie. The par 5, I hit a good drive down the middle, just laid it up, I don't even know what this club is called, just put it in yesterday. It says a one-plus on it. It is whatever it is, 2-iron supposedly, a hot 2-iron, but laid that up with whatever that is, and had an about 60-yard shot, hit it 20 feet past the hole, birdie. Then 17, I hit a 3-wood off the tee, hit a 6-iron to about 15 feet right of the hole, made that for birdie.

Q. Did you feel like you almost gave it right back on 18 or were about to?

DUDLEY HART: Well, I wasn't -- I don't know what I was giving back at this point. It's a tough hole playing into the wind. I am kind of drawing my drives right now so it doesn't -- it is hard for me to hit a cut shot, so I was trying to get a little fancy, hit a low burning cut into the wind, just kind of pulled it into that left trap. Caught a kind of funny lie; hit a bad shot on top of that and you know, it was just-I am standing there about 130 yards to the pin into the wind and just tried to stay patient hit a good shot. I knew I was rolling the ball pretty well; if I gave myself a decent putt at par, at least I'd have a chance at it. Fortunately hit it in there about four feet, made that. It is a tough hole. By far the hardest driving hole on the course, at least for me. Some guys cut the ball; it is a little easier for them -- it sets up for -- so much for a cut shot that if you draw the ball -- I told my caddie I am better off starting it in the right edge of the left edge of the water there and hit my normal shot. I tried to get a little too cute with the drive; ended up almost costing me, but three more days and I wouldn't be the only person bogeying 18 if I had made bogey there.

Q. What does it mean to you to play well in South Florida, your home?

DUDLEY HART: It is nice. There are lot of distractions, a lot of things going on with tickets and family and friends. I think a few years ago I figured out -- I'd like to think that I figured out how to deal with all that and I just basically give all the tickets to my wife and say, you handle it from here and I am not -- somebody calls that I haven't talked to in three years, it is a long lost friend and wants ticket, you give it to them. I try not to get caught up in too much of that stuff and she is great about helping me doing stuff, little things, people call, it is just -- I try to just pretend that I am on the road in a way - sleeping in my own bed, but just go about preparing for the tournament the same way I would if I were on the road. It was just nice today to play a solid round and more importantly to putt a little bit better and to feel more comfortable more than anything with my putter after what I -- last week I probably putted as bad as I putted in a couple of years on Tour. Actually hit the ball real well and pretty discouraging when you are not putting well in -- you don't feel comfortable over it. You feel like every missed shot is, you know, is accentuated even more because if you don't chip it up real close, you don't know if you are going to make it. You don't know how many birdies you can make. It is tough to be real aggressive. But more importantly, I obviously made a lot of putts today, but I felt good over my putter and even some of the putts that I had missed were good putts. It is hard to explain, but I mean, when you know how it should feel and it is not feeling that way it is nice to know that it is getting back to where you want it.

Q. (inaudible)

DUDLEY HART: Some friends and family can't come out until the weekend. They don't get to see you play, but I am a little more disappointed for myself than I am for them not being able to watch me. I never like to play poorly. It doesn't -- never like to play poorly and it doesn't matter where I am whether I am home or on the road. It is just not fun.

Q. Any kind of psychological edge to knowing that you are going to go out in the morning tomorrow and kind of not in the afternoon in the windy conditions?

DUDLEY HART: You never know. We could wake up and it could be howling tomorrow morning. I have been out here practicing enough when I have been home hitting balls and at 7, 8 o'clock in the morning it is blowing 30 miles an hour. I don't know for sure that it is going to be an advantage playing late and then early tomorrow. I could go out tomorrow and it could be beautiful like it was this morning and then at noon it could just start howling and we could get lucky. Sometimes you get lucky with the draws and sometimes you don't. Either way, I played well enough today where if it blows tomorrow morning, just keeps blowing then fine, it is not really an advantage for anybody.

Q. The idea of pretending you are on the road, did you start that the last couple of years and was it because it was hard to play at home?

DUDLEY HART: Yeah, well, I would feel obligated to go up and say hi to everybody. I see somebody while I am playing go, hey -- I didn't want them to think that I was, you know, some arrogant golfer out there trying to be snobby or whatever. I didn't want them to think I was blowing them off. I finally realized that it is more important for me to stay focused on what I am doing and if some of those people don't understand that I don't come up and start shooting the crap with them during my round, they think I am a jerk because of that, I don't think they are really my friends anyway. I figure they will understand and they know I am out here trying to do my job and I will talk to them before or after the round and leave it at that for the most part.

Q. Did you bring everybody over to your house this week?

DUDLEY HART: I had a cookout on Tuesday night, a bunch of players I just try to, you know, have some guys over. I know how who -- it is nice to get out of the restaurant sometimes and just go hang out at someone's house, just a very low key cookout, just a bunch of friends and family.

Q. Back to the putting problem, what was the problem?

DUDLEY HART: I didn't have a whole lot -- my speed was bad with my putts. I didn't have -- I couldn't figure out why I wasn't -- it was hard for me to get the ball to the hole. I know it sounds crazy, a lot of times in putting for me at least, I just concentrate on trying to stay still and hit a solid putt, but I would hit them solid and they were coming up a foot short. Now I am trying make the ball get to the hole, you start slapping at it a little bit and basically what I was doing, I didn't have a whole lot of rhythm to my stroke, which was caused, you know, I always practice on this putting board where I put the ball towards the back of this board to make my backswing short, because I try to exaggerate going through it, to extend towards the hole. What I was doing I got so short that I start popping at it. I didn't have -- then I am manipulating the club face with my hands a little bit and just didn't have any rhythm basically was the main thing. Yesterday, actually, morning I came out early before the Pro-Am to putt and Woody, my caddy and I were messing around. I am going still feels kind of funny, my ball is getting to the hole but they are just kind of dying around the hole. If they don't have any pace, it is going to be hard for them to keep their line. I said, tell me if this looks funny. I just tried -- just sometimes a matter of experimenting, trying something different. We just -- we figured that I was taking it so short that when I made a normal stroke the ball was just barely creeping up to the hole. I just basically tried to lengthen my back stroke to make my transition coming into the ball a lot less severe.

Q. You putted so well last year? Was it a little bit frustrating -- (inaudible) --

DUDLEY HART: Yeah, I didn't putt well on the West Coast either. I didn't try to get too caught up in that because I never really -- I only really played three tournaments, really only played one round in Match Play, so wasn't there very long, and I have never really seemed to putt well on the poa annua. When it gets out like in Pebble and San Diego, when it gets real spongy. I was basically using that as a copout and I came here, the Doral greens were perfect and didn't putt real well. It was definitely discouraging because I felt like I was starting to hit the ball a little bit crisper than I did most of last year and a little bit better control of my ball and not take advantage of it was definitely discouraging because last year I'd go out and hit eleven greens and shoot 3-under, be making -- make a lot of putts. I kind of had a little turnaround for a couple of weeks, but I think that happens to everybody through the course of a year just some weeks you are going to putt better than others. But what I had a hard time with last week was how uncomfortable -- when you are hitting solid putts you feel pretty good -- some days they go in and some days they don't. But I felt awful over the putter last week and I just didn't feel like I was ever going to get the right pace on the ball and if you don't feel like you are going to hit it a good speed and solid putt, it is hard to make yourself believe you are going to make putts sometimes. That is kind of what got me down a little bit last week.

Q. You come from a whole family of instructors,; right? Is that good or bad?

DUDLEY HART: It is good because my sister and my dad and I are all-- my dad taught us to be more of a feel-type player. Not real mechanical. Mark is a little more on the mechanical side, but I think you need that to a certain degree. That is why I think between he and my father, having those two guys as my teachers, it is a good mix because I can go to Mark and work on some more technical things and I can go to my dad and he makes everything sound so simple. He is like just, you know, do this, do that, and he has a certain way of explaining things to me that gets me to visualize more than try to make that perfect swing sometimes.

Q. Does your approach or anything change or tomorrow's round as far as being in the lead?

DUDLEY HART: Not really. I am going to go out there and try to shoot as low as I can again and hopefully roll the ball well and keep the ball in the fairway and, the course isn't playing real long, without any wind, it doesn't play real long, so if you keep the ball in the fairway, the fairways are so good you can give yourself a lot of good birdie opportunities and just try to basically be as aggressive as I can and play smart and try not to change my game plan very much from day-to-day - pretty much set before the tournament starts. I mean, sometimes the weather will change some things a little bit, you have to be a little more conservative on certain shots, but for the most part, I will try to be aggressive.

Q. Playing with John, is that a comfortable pairing for you?

DUDLEY HART: Yeah, John and I are good friends and I like playing with John. He is so loose and I tend to be a little more serious on the course and we kind of laugh at each other a little bit out there sometimes.

Q. Mark Calcavecchia was talking earlier that he would like to see the wind blow because he feels it is more to his advantage when it does. Do you feel that way?

DUDLEY HART: I definitely feel that way. My tendency throughout my career, I think, is to play better on the harder courses, when the scores aren't quite as low. I have definitely played -- I have shot my share of 20-under and 18-under and whatever, in some of these tournaments, but I prefer the harder the course plays is the usually the better it is for me just because I grew up playing in the wind and, you know, I think that is a little bit of an advantage. A lot of guys have played in the wind, but I don't know, I just think when you have to use your imagination and use some feel and hit 5-irons from 140 yards sometimes, I think that helps me out a little bit. Gives me a little bit of an advantage over some guys. Not everybody. There is a lot of guys that can hit those shots but there are some that struggle more than others in wind.

Q. When was the last time you were in the lead after one round, two rounds?

DUDLEY HART: I don't know. Got to look in the book. Could have been last year for all I know. Be honest, I barely remember what I did at Phoenix, so.....

Q. Was your wife out there?

DUDLEY HART: Yeah. I don't know if she is still here, but she was there when I finished. Might be hanging around having a couple of cocktails with all the people.

End of FastScripts...

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