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September 14, 2002

Jeff Sluman


TODD BUDNICK: Welcome Jeff Sluman, 6-under, 65 today brought him to 8-under par. Jeff, it looks like a lot of low rounds today and you took advantage of one of them.

JEFF SLUMAN: Yes, I didn't really think that the course would, you know, have so many low rounds today. I got out here and it was pretty breezy when we started but obviously the greens were receptive to shots and really that's the key out here. Two years ago when we were here it was pretty firm and that -- and it was very hard to get the ball close. Now with the slopes to greens, we have got a few hours, you can hit up high and spin it back or play kind of a bump-up there. So it's not easy certainly, but it's easier than it was two years ago.

TODD BUDNICK: Dan Forsman, we were talking about this earlier, the fact that it is a very difficult course and it really hasn't yielded scores up until today - what do you see is the difference?

JEFF SLUMAN: I just think that, you know, the guys got a little more familiar with how to maybe attack the golf course and like I said, the greens were receptive where you could do that. But this golf course is one of those courses we talked about yesterday in our group that just the greens, and the way the bunkers are and certainly the hole where they've got a cross-bunker doesn't look like much, but it's very well designed and you don't have to have every hole 480 yards par-4 and 650 yards par-5s to make it difficult out there.

It's refreshing to play a golf course like this and it's not really tricked up or anything.

TODD BUDNICK: We'll take some questions.

Q. Jeff, is this as susceptible as maybe this course can get perhaps?

JEFF SLUMAN: You know, probably. I thought it was a little breezy out there. I was actually surprised at the scores. Once you kind of get into your round and a lot of times you look at the score board and you see that there's a lot of guys shooting a low round out there, you say, well, if they are doing it, I can do it. It kind of gets contagious in that respect. But I think it's like you said, it's probably as susceptible as it will be. Tomorrow I guess we're pretty much guaranteed a lot of rain tomorrow. The golf course I think will play even a little more difficult because the greens will -- the greens might be holding almost too well so you're going to have to be -- really be able to hit a lot of different type of shots without a lot of spin on it and it should be an interesting day tomorrow.

Q. Is there any one part of your round, Jeff, that you considered a turning point?

JEFF SLUMAN: Well, I really didn't hit the ball anywhere near as well as I had the previous two days. But when I hit it in the rough today - which is usually a killer out here - not only was I able to, you know, hit it out of the rough but I had some open shots to the pins. And I made birdie on 6 from the rough just in the left rough and I made birdie on 9 driving it just into the right rough. And I birdied 11 just from in the right rough. So when you do that out here, that's a huge bonus. You're not really expecting that certainly your trying to maybe hit a shot on the green, make par and get out of there. So doing that really kind of obviously enhanced my round.

Q. We are seeing a lot of low rounds from guys in there 40s. Is that maybe a coincidence maybe, or maybe your guys --

JEFF SLUMAN: Maybe we're not as bad as everybody thinks. Well, there has been some stories written that there are a lot of guys in there 40s playing well on TOUR and that and I think really it has to do with the fact that they have a lot of experience, they have a lot of patience. There is certainly some things like I can't do physically maybe that I could do when I was 25 or 30. But I'm really not that far away either. I'm not really totally broken down. But you know, you try to keep yourself in good shape out here. I think it's important at my age, any time you get into that mid-40 range, if you want to stay competitive out here you have to play a lot. Your body doesn't respond well to maybe playing a limited type of schedule, 15 or 18 tournaments. I think if you stay out here and you keep playing, you never really lose that competitive edge. So I think that's important and I have done that the last couple of years. I will tell you, I'm tired. But I think it's important to do that and there is a lot of guys out here, Nice Price, Fred Funk, a few other guys Loren Roberts is starting to play well again, getting healthy - Jay Haas. I think from that aspect, just showing experience and that is a big deal out here.

Q. Are you concerned as you get older with burnout? You are one of the ironmen on Tour?

JEFF SLUMAN: I look it, don't I? (Laughter).

Q. Do players ever say: Jeff, how do you do it? How do you get out here --

JEFF SLUMAN: Well, they do. What I have going for me is I still love coming out here every week. I love to compete. I love to play. I love the game of golf. So that's obviously very important to have that, to come out here and compete against these younger guys every week. And being fortunate enough to continue to have success, that's another reason why you want to stay out here.

If I was, you know, playing my best golf and finishing 30th every week, I don't think I would really want to be out here every week.

Q. Jeff, you look on the leader board, there are you guys, the mid-40-guys and the young guys who are trying to breakthrough, is that what kind of makes these fall finish-tournaments interesting?

JEFF SLUMAN: It's only interesting if I'm one of the guys near the lead. But every tournament regardless of, you know, where it is on the schedule. I think you see that a lot and you seen it actually probably more this year than in the past. And obviously Tiger is Tiger and he's going to win a lot of tournaments and that, but even when he is in the field, there is a lot of guys getting closer to challenging him on a weekly basis at times.

Two years ago Hal Sutton at TPC wins there head-to-head. And it's just the nature of the game. But sometimes in the fall some of the guys are taking weeks off and they are going overseas or they are getting ready for the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup in a couple of weeks so I don't think the caliber of play really goes down, but I think some of the younger guys see, you know, maybe some of those guys aren't in the field and they feel maybe this is my week and they get off to a good start and they keep it going. So from that aspect you see younger guys making a bigger push in the fall. A lot of times they are honestly playing for their livelihood, you know, time is running out; they've got to keep their card. It has a wonderful way of making you commit to playing better and practicing.

Q. The same situation with you and THE TOUR Championship -- (Inaudible)

JEFF SLUMAN: I'm No. 30 right now, that's a goal that you want to try and achieve every year to get into the top 30 and play in THE TOUR Championship and obviously try to win golf tournaments. I'm going to have a fairly big push to try to get in. I took two weeks off before this. Actually I played Canada last week. Two weeks before that. I will play next week, take two weeks off and then play out the year.

End of FastScripts....

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