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March 8, 2002

Mike Sposa


MIKE SPOSA: It was a tough day out here, playing 36. And with it being muddy, the mud balls were a problem a few times and trying to figure the wind and which side the mud is going to make the ball fly.

It was difficult a few times, but I putted really well. I went to a new putter this week and I putted great all day. It's a Scotty Cameron, it's actually similar to what Brad Faxon uses, just with a different nozzle with the same kind of a head, and it feels good.

Q. Was it exhausting playing so many holes?

MIKE SPOSA: No, it really wasn't too bad. The weather was fine. It got a little hot around three, four o'clock, but the wind kept it bearable. I had a great group. Grant and I are good buddies, so made it go by easier. And the pace of play was pretty good. I'm surprised we played in under four and a half this morning and right around four and a half this afternoon.

Q. Did you play 36 today?

MIKE SPOSA: I played every hole -- those two guys hit their tee shot yesterday, and I was on the tee and when they blew the horn. So I played every hole today, twice.

We do 36 holes a few times a year, whether it's the U.S. Open qualifier or if you run into a tournament that has some bad weather and you've got to play catch up. So, you know, I was in pretty good shape.

Q. Is there a comfort factor being at home?

MIKE SPOSA: Well, I mean, this is -- I don't know, what the fifth time I've been here or something like that. It's definitely more comfortable for me than it used to be. My buddies come out and they are pulling for me real hard. My family is pulling for me.

And I'm comfortable on this golf course, and I'm comfortable on these greens. So I definitely think I'm putting less pressure on myself than I did the first year I was year. It was like every I lived or died by every shot, I wanted to do good so bad. But I feel good.

I drove it in the left bunker came out on the lip and was in the heavy rough, in a divot so basically had nothing. I tried to just hit a wedge out and it kind of skulled out of there, ran through the next bunker on the downslope of the rough; and then probably hit the best shot of the day. I hit a 9-iron 148 out of a downhill, it was a decent lie, but a lie that was sitting halfway up; so it could either jump or come out soft. And then the water is right there and the wind is going that way. So I was pretty happy just to have a putt from 18, 20 feet for par, after the second-shot fiasco. The only bogey of the day turned out to be not such a bad bogey.

One of those, you don't know if you ever gain momentum from a bogey, but something that definitely didn't kill it.

Q. What do you do now to recover from playing 36 holes? Do you do anything differently?

MIKE SPOSA: We just heard the first tee time is going to be around 1:00 or 1:30. I'll have a late sleep-in. I have some buddies and family coming over; so we're going to cook out tonight, relax, have a couple of beers and play with the kids.

Q. The confidence you gained last year being in the hunt, how will that help you this weekend?

MIKE SPOSA: I think it helps me, to the fact of having played good here has positive images for me. It's not like this is the first time I've ever played good here, so I have things to draw back on.

I've been in the hunt enough times now, but, you know, it's time for me to move on and step up and see if I can't make something happen. It's so early, and there's guys that have to play 18 holes tomorrow to complete the second round. So I'm sure what's leading will still be leading, but it will be more bunched with 9s and 8s. So I'm good in good shape with two rounds to go.

Q. Are you glad you got your two round in today and not have to go tomorrow?

MIKE SPOSA: Yeah. The weather was fine today. I was surprised at how dry the course was, compared to what we had. We all know how poor the drainage is in south Florida on these golf courses, so it was definitely playable. We didn't have to play the ball up the second round. They did a great job getting it ready overnight.

Q. For the casual golf fan, what's a bigger factor in lift, clean and place, getting your hands on the ball to place it, or getting the mud off the ball?

MIKE SPOSA: When you get real wet conditions, you know, getting the mud off the ball.

But sometimes when we play lift, clean and place when the course is not bad, just because of weather that might be coming in so it kind of protects them. And in that case, for me, I think that having the perfect lie all the time and especially around the greens, if you short-side yourself a little bit and got a perfect lie every time and you are chipping it, you're not going to make any bogeys.

Q. Sometimes you can go from rough to fairway.

MIKE SPOSA: Exactly. Or work vice versa.

So there's nothing bad moving the ball. It's good getting mud off it and it's good getting a good lie. They are both good.

Q. The first pro event you ever saw, was it this tournament?

MIKE SPOSA: No. The first thing I ever did as a pro?

Q. The first event you ever saw?

MIKE SPOSA: Oh, yes. We, carrying signs like these guys when I was nine and ten years old.

Q. How many years did you do that?

MIKE SPOSA: Ever since I was five. So I've seen this tournament since I was five years old, whether it be Inverrary, Heron Bay, Eagle Trace, Weston Hills, I've seen all of them every nearly every year, except when I was at college.

Q. Must make it special to be on the leaderboard in this tournament.

MIKE SPOSA: Oh, yeah, this has definitely got a lot of value to me playing good at home. Probably the week you get a first win -- kind of early talking about that, but that would be.

Also, I caddied once or twice in the Wednesday Pro-Am, but never for a TOUR player, though.

End of FastScripts....

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