April 24, 1998
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple of thoughts about your round today and heading into the weekend; then we will entertain questions.
DUDLEY HART: Overall, I was pretty pleased with my ball-striking. I have hit the ball well the last two days and yesterday kind of got spotty with my putter. But, today, I didn't make a lot more putts, but I putted a lot better. Everything I hit pretty much had a chance to go in when I looked up and that is always a good feeling. So, I am looking forward to the weekend. If I can keep hitting it in the fairway, which is one of the main keys to playing out here - you hit it in the rough and you are going to have some serious problems.
Q. How many fairways did you miss today?
DUDLEY HART: I missed two fairways. I missed 16 and 18, but they were both in the first cut. So, I could at least get the club on the balls. Yesterday I missed one, so, through two days, I have driven it pretty well and that gives you a chance. At least, when you have your iron in your hand, you have a chance to hit a pretty good shot going in there. If you are hitting it out of the rough, you are generally going to be grinding just trying to make a par out of it.
Q. You are pleased with your two rounds?
DUDLEY HART: Yeah. I mean, overall, I mean, like I said, I hit the ball pretty well. I felt like my irons were a little bit better today. I still hit some squirly (sic) short iron shots which I was struggling with last week a little bit. Missing the green with 9-irons and wedges, a couple of greens like that where you really want to get yourself a good opportunity at birdie, but you always going to hit some shots that you are not happy with. I have just got to try to live with that and move on.
Q. Everybody is talking about how difficult the rough is, but it doesn't seem like anybody is intimidated by it because the ball is striking on the fairways?
DUDLEY HART: That helps driving the ball when you know most of the time it is not going to the rough. If you can fly it in into the fairway, it is usually going to stay. A lot of times, if you are hitting tee shots that are borderline, maybe when it is dry, it is going to run through the fairway. Out here it is going to stay in the fairway most of the time. So even though it plays a little bit longer that way, it actually makes it a little bit easier to hit the fairways.
Q. Are you even scared of it standing on the tee?
DUDLEY HART: No, you can't look at it that way. You try to focus in on a target. You pick out a tree or part of a house or whatever you try to hit your shot. If you start worrying about the rough, and letting that intimidate you, you are going to hit it in fall day long.
LEE PATTERSON: Go over your birdies, I guess, real quick.
DUDLEY HART: Birdies. I birdied 2. I hit a good drive, hit 3-wood about 30 feet. Just short right of the hole in 2. Left it about six inches short going right in the middle. Tapped that in for birdie. On 3, hit 4-wood off the tee, hit a 4-iron to about 25 feet left of the hole, and ran that in for birdie. You want me to do bogeys? Bogeyed 4, I kind of half-duffed a 5-iron into the front bunker; hit it out about six feet. Hit a good putt, just kind of 360ed on me; came back at me and made bogey. 7, I hit a 3-wood off the tee, and 8-iron about six feet behind the hole and made that for 3. And 9, I hit a drive middle of the fairway fat-pull-snapped a 6-iron into the rough and had a miracle kind of -- it was kind of a lucky shot, really. I had an awful lie. I just hacked 8-iron about from 120. It flew over the bunker; ended up about 15 feet and I made that. 15 feet left of the hole, putting up the hole, which is pretty an easy putt; made that for birdie: 11, hit a drive in the fairway. Hit a good, what I thought was a good 7-iron, just was over the back of the green, just in the rough and I about an inch into the rough and I had kind of a gnarly lie and I elected to kind of blade the sand wedge and I was only about 25 feet from the flag and I made that for birdie. Then we are going to 13. I hit 3-wood middle of the fairway on top of the ridge; laid up with a 6-iron and hit a sand wedge about twelve feet left of the hole. Another pretty easy putt straight up the hill and made that. And bogeyed 16, drove it in the first cut of the rough on the left side and I just kind of -- had a pretty decent lie and I just misjudged the wind a little bit. Didn't carry it over the bunker and hit my bunker shot out about eight feet and lipped it out for par. So I made bogey there. Then couple of boring pars on the last two holes.
Q. The Panthers are out of the NHL, who are you pulling for here?
DUDLEY HART: Well, I grew up in Buffalo, so I can still root for the Sabres. I am going to hop on that bandwagon. Good friend of mine is a coach there, too, so kind of helps to root for them.
Q. Do you still have a Panthers' bag?
DUDLEY HART: No, I am not carrying the Panthers' bag anymore.
Q. Did it have anything to do with their play?
DUDLEY HART: No, it didn't have anything to do with their play. It had a lot to do with me building a new house and having bills to play. That is what it had a lot to do with.
Q. How much difference is it, do you figure, stroke-wise and just being able to pick it up and play with it, put it back, basically hit every shot out of as good a conditions as you can make it?
DUDLEY HART: I would say it probably helps a shot or two. I mean it depends. It can help more depending on how often you miss -- if you are missing greens and just short or whatever where you can put the ball in your hand and get it on a perfect lie to hit a chip. Sometimes that can help when you haven't -- It is hard to say exactly, but there is no way we can play the ball down. I mean, as wet -- some of the fairways even -- you know, even some of the drier spots are really wet. I mean, it is just almost impossible to find a dry spot. And, we are just fortunate that we are not driving it into places that we are walking coming up the fairway and coming up to the greens because there are some really, really saturated areas out there.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, some of the tee boxes are all casual water.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, you are standing there and water is coming up over your shoes and, you know, you are just trying to dig into that mud and hope you don't slip around.
Q. Hard to get a drop out of a tee box?
DUDLEY HART: That's right.
Q. Consider yourself a good putter normally?
DUDLEY HART: I think I am a pretty good putter. I am a streaky putter. I usually --
DUDLEY HART: Oh, mudder.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, I mean --
Q. I guess that answers that.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, I think so. I mean, you know, I have always -- I have grown up in Buffalo and in South Florida. I have played with wind and cold and rain and everything and I think that has helped me deal with -- when you have some of these nasty conditions, when the ground is real wet and soft, I am used to that from when I was a kid up in Buffalo, so I don't think that really bothers me too much. You just have to pay attention a little bit more sometimes on your iron game. If you are in a little bit of soggy ground, make sure you don't go down digging after it too much.
Q. Neal said he didn't think you all would take the ball out of your hand all week. Do you think that is probably the case?
DUDLEY HART: Wouldn't?
DUDLEY HART: Yeah, I mean, tomorrow, I don't know how they are -- tomorrow I would be surprised if they -- if we didn't, but I heard it is supposed to be warm tomorrow and if it is 80 degrees like someone just told me tomorrow, then that will probably help the golf course out tremendously. So -- but you never know out here. We may just go out there and leave it where it is. I know they don't like to lift clean and place too much with the TV. I think on the weekend I don't think everybody likes to see us putting it in our hand and cheating out there. (laughter)
Q. They can relate. The average golfer can relate.
DUDLEY HART: Yeah.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?
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