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July 25, 2002

Mike Heinen


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Mike Heinen 8-under, 63 today. The best first round score here at the TPC at Deere Run. Look likes you had just about everything going for you today, Mike, let's start with going through all these birdies beginning with the one on No. 2.

MIKE HEINEN: 2 I hit a 4-iron about 20 feet from the hole and 2-putted for birdie.

3 I hit a 7-iron about 25 feet and made it.

5 I hit an A-wedge about four feet, made it.

7, bogey. On 7 I pulled my tee shot left and hit a tree and kicked in the hazard and I got it up-and-down for bogey.

8 I hit A wedge about twelve feet and made it.

10, I hit it in the right bunker to lay up, hit pitching wedge about twelve feet, made it.

11 I hit a 3-wood off the tee and then I hit an 8-iron about 15 feet left and made it.

14, 4-iron off the tee, and hit the A wedge about four feet, made it.

16, I hit a smooth 8-iron iron about eight feet right of the hole and made it.

17, hit 5-iron middle of the green from 220-ish, and 2-putted.

TODD BUDNICK: Go ahead and give us a few comments on today.

MIKE HEINEN: Hit the ball real well. Just I hit a lot of -- I don't even know how many fairways and greens but hit a lot of them, and just gave myself a lot of opportunities. I had a lot of 10, 12-footers too and probably made most of them. But I feel like I can have left a couple out of there but I made a couple of good putts. It was just a real solid day. I kind of felt in control all day.

TODD BUDNICK: You have been playing both the BUY.COM Tour and the PGA TOUR this year and you have had some really some good starts out there. Is that just -- is it something in your game that clicked this year or is it some confidence from out there?

MIKE HEINEN: I played real well last year; just never could really get it in there. Kept playing on the BUY.COM Tour and finishing -- a lot of Top-10 finishes but finishing 5, 6, 7 , 8 out there. If you don't finish in the top 2, 3 you are not going to make much money. So it was kind of tough because I couldn't really get up on the money also even though I was playing well. And I got -- the few tournaments I got in out here I put so much pressure on myself to play well and I didn't. It was kind of tough but I could see some progress. Went out early this year, played well at a few BUY.COM events actually -- should have won, or had a chance to win two of them. And, you know, it was fun to get out there and get in contention again and get in the hunt. Last year I was in the hunt a lot but I never really finished it off. I'd get in there and 3, 4 back with a round to play or two rounds to play and I'd shoot an even par round on the weekend, didn't do me any good. So this year just kind have been falling into place. I have been shooting some really low rounds and having some good Sundays, and, you know, that's kind of been the difference.

Q. Talking about putting pressure on yourself last year when you got on PGA TOUR events. Is it the same this year or are you taking a different approach?

MIKE HEINEN: Well, I am kind of taking the approach this year, you know, a lot of people tell me I didn't play the BUY.COM Tour because I was doing well on the money list out there and I am going to get in more tournaments. But I started seeing myself getting into tournaments so I just said I am just going to play where I want to play and try to play well and try to win the tournament. So if I win it this week I am set. If I win next week in Omaha on the BUY.COM, I am on Tour next year. So that's kind of my attitude, I just try and play wherever I am playing. I am just trying to win tournaments because I did it last year. You finished 5th, 6th, 7th, you know, 15th, 12th every week out there and you are not just not going to make enough money. Out there that will do well but when you only get 6, 7 starts it's hard to go out there and keep finishing in the Top-10.

Q. What is your exempt status, how are you getting into these?

MIKE HEINEN: Past champion of the Shell Houston Open in '94, so I got in Milwaukee and then B.C. and then here.

Q. Basically your thought process is if you can get into a PGA TOUR event you are going to play in them?

MIKE HEINEN: Pretty much. Usually by the U.S. Open I try to commit to the BUY.COM Tour if I am playing well. That has always been my process in the past and this year I just, you know, I wasn't going to go to Milwaukee and decided last minute I am going because I played real well in Memphis and actually had a chance to you know, well, I think Len Mattiace won Memphis and he was tied with me going into Sunday so I felt like that that was an opportunity for me to go and shoot a round like I did today and win Memphis. When I did that and really played well on Sunday just didn't make any putts. I thought okay, I have got to go out there and just wherever I play just play well. And I wasn't going to go to Milwaukee; decided to go, and then after I went to Milwaukee; then I went to B. C., And I'd always planned to come here. I really like this golf course.

Q. At that time did you think, okay, I have got it going and a lot of guys were just, you know, been off and on --

MIKE HEINEN: It's hard. It has been so long since I have won, you can kind of call back on those memories, but sometimes there are a few spider webs in the way.

Q. Is that kind of what happened then at Memphis?

MIKE HEINEN: On my round you mean?

Q. Yes.

MIKE HEINEN: Not really. I played well. I just -- I think if, you know, a few years after I lost my card, it was just playing bad on the last day. Just not hitting the shots and not being real committed to my shots and my lines, and you know, this year I was real committed, hit a lot of good shots and really played well; just didn't make the putts. And I didn't putt that bad, they just didn't go in. And that happens to everybody out here. And it's just that that was my one chance, you know, I felt like, so I said, well, I gave myself one chance; I didn't do it. But let's you know, let's go play Milwaukee, B.C. and John Deere and see if we can maybe find it. Hopefully this will be the week.

Q. Do you feel it coming back like you are in the groove out here now?

MIKE HEINEN: I have been playing pretty well and it helps that I was in 3 Tour events in a row because when play one event out here and you play two buy.coms, and one out here and you go play two buy.coms, you are running around and you don't know which Tour you are on. And this year it has been a help and my number is a lot better this year so I was actually in Milwaukee before the deadline, I am not showing up here like some guys this week where they are getting in Wednesday because somebody is withdrawing; they are flying all night and getting here Wednesday late and teeing it up blind and didn't know they were going to play in a tournament this week. So I am able to prepare myself, get ready; know which tournament I am going to play in and try to do it that way.

Q. When you know you are capable of winning is that frustrating when you can't just seem to keep it going?

MIKE HEINEN: It's been frustrating the last four years. Just you know, been playing and I just -- I don't feel like I am playing on the Tour I need to be playing on, and a lot of my peers around me are telling me the same thing. I need to be on the PGA TOUR, and I feel that way, so it's just -- but that's what is so great about this sport. Only reason I am not on the PGA TOUR is because I didn't play well. If I go out and play well I will be on the PGA TOUR. So I am the only one that can go and get it done. Nobody can take it away from me if I win this week, and nobody can take Houston away from me, so --

Q. Was it ever a point where you felt like you weren't playing well enough to be on the Tour?

MIKE HEINEN: I think everybody feels like that at one point or another. But no, actually, I struggled a little bit when I first lost my card the first year or two just kind of going from being full exempt on the PGA TOUR to playing buy.coms and not getting in Tour events. It was tough, but you know, I was still young. I was, you know, you go out there and you play the Buy.com Tour and you see guys that are playing on the Ryder Cup team and won 7, 8, ten times and they are playing the Buy.com and you are thinking, man, if these guys can suck it up and play this Tour, I need to do it. And so it's just -- I am glad that the Tour is there. 15 years ago they didn't have that Tour and it was no place for a guy like me to go play. So I am able to go out there and play and haven't -- I played pretty well out there and I made a little bit of money, but kind of just paying the bills, but it's hopefully preparing me for the rest of this week.

End of FastScripts....

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