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July 10, 2019

Mark Mulder

Mardy Fish

Stateline, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Mark Mulder and Mardy Fish.

Q. Mardy, 8-to-1 in the sportsbook. You've been here, this is your sixth time at this event. You've had four top 10s. Mark, you've got a pretty nice record here with three wins in a row, broken last year by Romo. Let's start it off talking about what it feels like to be coming back here after three wins, one year off, you were in the hunt obviously, finishing second. What's it look like for this year?
MARK MULDER: I'm excited. It's nice to be back. I think last year left a little bad taste in my mouth. To be fair, I wasn't playing all that well and Tony played great. He deserved to win.

So just another opportunity, another chance this year. And I plan on doing better than last year.

Q. Mardy, I think a lot of people are looking at you thinking it might be Mardy time.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, if I play this for 10 more years, I'm going to win it at some point. I'm going to say that, whether Mark likes it or not. Whether it's this year or not, we have no idea. But it's good to be back like we said once we get that February email every year to come back, it's pretty special.

Q. Mark, I had mentioned to you you're going off at 3-to-1. Looks like it changed recently in the book. Now 2-to-1. You and Tony are co-favorites?
MARDY FISH: Did you put money on yourself?

Q. That's what we're thinking.
MARK MULDER: My family might have.

Q. Let's talk about you guys, let's talk about other guys as far as competitors. Besides yourselves, each other, who are you fearing? Who do you think is going to be in the hunt on this one?
MARDY FISH: I've got a fun group on Friday with Modano and Roenick, two great golfers, looking forward to that. I've played in the last sort of 10 days or so with Jack Wagner, and he's playing some of the best golf that I've ever seen him play. We played on Monday and he shot -- he was 7-under through 11 holes.

Legit score. So he's playing great. And just sort of the usual suspects. And I think there's one new guy, Williams is his last name. He was the same odds as me. Everyone says he's a great golfer, too. But the first year is tough, man, the first year coming here, not knowing what to expect and everything, it's almost impossible -- we had Annika Sorenstam come and she didn't win. That should tell you about the first-year guys too.

MARK MULDER: I think if Smoltz, obviously Joe Pavelski, he played awesome last year. He was splitting fairways last year. So it was fun to be paired with him in that final group. But obviously John's playing really where and this year he was playing great when he won the Diamond Resorts. I was paired with him the second to last day and that was as good as I'd ever seen him hit the ball. So if he's hitting it that way, he's going to be another one.

Q. Four guys in this tournament played in professional events. Mark you played in the Napa Open and Silverado in October. And Tony has played in a couple of events this year and Smoltz has played in three. Curry played, Steph played in the Ellie Mae Classic last year on the Web.com Tour.
MARDY FISH: Korn Ferry Tour.

MARK MULDER: I thought that was a joke when I saw it.

MARDY FISH: Ferry Korn or --

MARK MULDER: Korn Ferry Tour.

Q. Seems like every year the talent level continues to rise. You've been in the hunt in a lot of different tournaments here and Orlando as well. But for this year, Mark, you said you've been working on your game quite a bit in the offseason. How are you striking it?
MARK MULDER: I'm hitting it well. I'm not a big guy that works on his game. It's much better than last year, let's put it this way. I was hitting this little swipe fade last year that was going nowhere. I've made that adjustment. So I'm hitting the ball back to the way I'm capable of that I have the last handful of years here.

So I'm just excited to kind of get it going, because not trying to redeem myself or anything, it's just that I left here not happy last year. So I'm really excited to get it going.

Q. We've always had your kids running out on the green on 18. I've got to think they were a little unhappy last year, too.
MARK MULDER: They weren't happy about it. The running joke in our family was when do we get to go to that course where we get to run out on the green at the end. Last year they didn't get to. So this year I'll and fix it for them and make things right, but there's a lot of guys who have a say in that.

Q. Mardy, U.S. Davis Cup captain. How did you enjoy that?
MARDY FISH: It's been a blast, putting together the team. It's not just picking the guys and going and playing. It's putting the team together, whether it's the physios and the trainers and doctors and where we're staying and how the prize money is dispersed and stuff, stuff that I didn't know the captains dealt with while I played.

So it's an absolute dream job of mine. Super excited to play when we play in November and be a part of it, and to captain the team. And we've got a great group of guys that -- a big group that we can pick from, that I can pick from, and so look forward to it.

Q. Mark, Tony, John, they play in these professional tournaments, does that give them some sort of advantage in a situation like this?
MARK MULDER: No, I mean, like you said, I played in the Safeway in October and shot 75/74 and played great golf and finished third to last. I was never so thrilled to finish third to last in my life because I was so -- this tournament is a little different because there's a cap. I mean, you can make double bogey and you pick up and move on.

So I think that gives you a little -- you don't want to make double bogeys, but it makes it easier. My biggest fear going into that PGA event was making a 12, but the game getting away from me a little bit to where I couldn't reel it back in to where something bad happens and it just snowballs, and I didn't let that happen. The ball kind of kept it in front of me and I played great.

So I think that can only -- it helps you, but in the long run, I mean, the nerves here, the energy, the atmosphere, it's very different than playing in any of those PGA events. There's very few holes, maybe 16, in Scottsdale, that have the energy that hole 17 has.

I mean, you make that turn you're coming down hole 16 towards the water, and I can't begin to tell you the adrenaline you start to feel already. Every year I tell people this, they don't believe me, that hole is, let's say maybe 170, 180 yards, and I hit pitching wedge pretty much every day because there's no hitting an easy -- I can't take just an easy swing.

Even if you try to, you hit the ball further on hole 17 than I will at any time throughout the year.

Q. I guess if I can clarify real quick, specifically PGA TOUR events, is that maybe different than Web.com or any other of those high-end, maybe, amateur tournaments or anything like that? Does that give them a little bit extra or no?
MARK MULDER: I don't think so. The only thing is experience, getting to play through that pressure. I mean, sure, it can help. But to say that the PGA event that I played in is any different than a Web or anything like that, you're still going to struggle with the grind of it.

MARDY FISH: The only -- it doesn't hurt, but the only thing that prepares you for this week is playing in previous years. There's no way around it.

Q. Mark, you said it yourself, you put some added pressure on yourself during this offseason. Do you feel any more pressure having to start a new streak of three in a row or even further?
MARK MULDER: No, I feel way better about it this year. Coming in, last year I almost felt myself -- coming in it was like I wanted to set a scoring record. I came out to try to prove something last year, which was stupid, and it didn't work.

And I didn't think that that's what was happening, but after the tournament got done, I kind of realized I had a really bad mindset coming in last year. Plus, it didn't help that I wasn't playing well coming in.

So, no, I try to keep things real simple, the same way I kind of pitched. Hit that ball, go find it and hit it again. You can't worry about the results or anything like that; just go and do the best you can and it's just like that.

Q. Last year the theme of the event was the quick, unreadable greens. Is that something you took note of or an adjustment toward heading into this season?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, you try and spend as much time -- I got here Friday. So that's the first time that I've not come Tuesday afternoon. So this is the first time that I've been able to spend some time on the greens, spend some time on the actual greens, not just the practice greens. Like putt around on each green, which I've never done before.

This is the most playing that I've had coming into this event, because I didn't go -- I usually go to Wimbledon for the commentary for ESPN. And I didn't go this year.

So I started playing -- I didn't play probably for three months or so, and then I started back up again couple weeks ago. So should be good to go.

Q. Looking at your scores from last year, you both had a pretty bad Friday.
MARDY FISH: Thank you (laughter).

Q. Yes, compared to what you did Saturday and Sunday. That's why I'm asking you first, what do you think you can do better this year to get away from that 17 you had on that Friday?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, you know, sometimes you put -- I don't know if Mark does this or not -- but you kind of set a number before the week starts. 25 points a day, sort of thing. If you put yourself in the mid-70s, kind of come 16, 17, 18 on Sunday, you're probably in the thick of it to some degree. And, yeah, you get behind the eight-ball when you get 17 points on the first day. So you can't really recover from that.

We're not good enough -- we may be solid golfers but we're not good enough to shoot 8- or 9-under or something like that. It's not going to happen. At least for me.

So getting a good start, getting off to a good start, keeping yourself around 25 points or so, which is a great sort of starting point. You're always nervous that first day, too. You don't really know what to expect. I only play two tournaments a year, which is here and Orlando. And I don't play a ton of golf. So that first day is usually pretty tough for me.

Q. Mark, you had a 16 on Friday. If you had shot a 20, you would have won, given the rest of the scores, if everything else performed the same way with your 31 the second day, you would have had 72 to Romo's 71.
MARK MULDER: Last year I had four points through 15 holes on the first day and ended up finishing eagle, birdie, birdie, so I got myself back into it. I got myself back into it pretty quickly. So if it would have, if I stayed the way it was going, it would have been really bad, would have ended with about seven. So I was pleased to get 16 on that first day last year, and obviously day two got back into it.

So this year I told people last year, you could have given me a 7-iron and a putter and I could have gotten more than 14 points in 15 holes. So this year hopefully that won't happen again.

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