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June 7, 1997

Mike Springer


WES SEELEY: Mike Springer, 68, 70, 67, 205 is 8-under par and alone in second through -- at this point. Tell us about how your day progressed.

MIKE SPRINGER: I didn't hit a very good tee shot off the first hole today. It was a little left. A long way in. Managed to 8-iron it out just short of the green. Hit a shot up in there out of the thick rough again to about 12 feet, and I made that putt. So that was nice. Because this week, going into today, I hadn't made a lot of putts. So it was very nice making putts today. Second hole, I birdied. I hit a 6-iron for my third shot about 8 feet. Made a little downhill slider. Next hole, I bogeyed. Hit a 2-iron just left off the green there about pin-high. Chipped it up about 7 or 8 feet and missed it. Parred the fourth hole, hit a good putt there and missed it. On the 5th hole, birdied there. Hit a wedge there, actually a foot from the hole. Ended up about 12 feet short. Made birdie. Then the next hole, I hit a driver and a 4-iron. Landed in the green and rolled in the back bunker and pitched it out to a couple feet, and I made it. And then -- let's see, 7. 7, I hit a poor drive to the right. Just took a 6-iron out short of the green left and chipped it up about 4 feet and made that. And then 8, I drove it in the left-hand bunker off the tee. Had to play just short right of the green there. Chipped it up about 12 feet and missed it. Let's see, 9, hit a 6-iron down the hill there 25 feet, parred the hole. Next hole, hit a good tee ball off the tee there and was just a little bit center of the fairway maybe. It was caught left and had to play a little right. Left myself kind of a long putt, 35 feet. Made par there. Next hole, hit a good 7-iron at the pin. Ended up being 20-feet long. I made par there. Next hole, I made a great par. Hit my drive just a little left off the tee. It was in the rough. Didn't have that great of a lie. Pulled the 4-iron left of the green, made a great pitch over the hump to about 4 feet. Made par there. Next hole hit was kind of a three-shot par 5 for me. A little breeze in our face. A little driver down there, laid it up there and hit a wedge in there about 20 feet and made it.

WES SEELEY: That's 13?

MIKE SPRINGER: That's 13. 14, it was just a 2-iron off there and had the same yardage that I had the first round which was 83 yards and -- 83 to 85 yards off the zoysia fairways. Pretty nice for me right there, and I hit that shot about a couple feet. 14 --

WES SEELEY: That was 14.

MIKE SPRINGER: 15, hit a good drive off the tee, and a wedge, just short, a little bit left, just on the fringe and out. Had about a 15-footer. I made that putt. It was like a little double-breaker, and it was a good putt. 16. 16 kind of surprised me. I had a little downhill lie, downhill side hill lie 150 to the hole, 138 -- 140 to the front. Should have been a pretty -- I hit a 9-iron right at it. It was a good shot. It came up short and kind of came back down the hill a little bit. I had to chip it up about 3 feet, made par. 17, hit a good 4-iron into 17 just a little left. Ended up just slightly off the green. Two-putted there for par. And then 18, I drove it in the right bunker off the tee. Hit it actually pretty good. 6-iron in there and ended up, shit, 35 feet from the hole. Made a good two-putt there.

WES SEELEY: 67. Questions?

Q. It doesn't look like your normal right-down-the-fairway chip and close round. You had a lot of -- you weren't in the fairway all the time. Was it a rough round?


Q. Yeah.

MIKE SPRINGER: Well, yeah, that's what I said. Today, I think the first round I missed two fairways. And yesterday I missed one fairway. And I think the first day I missed two greens, maybe three greens. And then yesterday I missed about three greens. So I got more out of today's round than the first two days. So that kind of makes you happy, although I'd feel a little better if I drove it like I did yesterday. So we'll see what happens. I've been hitting the ball pretty well. So my main concern was trying to make a few putts. And today, I finally made a few putts, so that was nice.

Q. Let's talk about your position tomorrow. Looks like you'll be --

MIKE SPRINGER: Well, let's start off the first tee I guess about three back. And hopefully I make three quick birdies, then we can be even. I don't know. You know, I've been working hard on my game to get in this position, so it will be exciting tomorrow to go out and see if my revised golf swing will be good. Get to test it tomorrow, first day.

Q. Three weeks ago, though, you were tied for the lead going into the last round of The Dominion on the Nike Tour and then things didn't connect.

MIKE SPRINGER: Actually, played pretty good there. Hit 13 greens that last round, missed it seven times from 5 to 7 feet. Shot 4-over. Made my first birdie on the last hole. I've been struggling with my putter a little bit. So it was kind of one of those days where I actually drove the ball fairly well. I think I missed three fairways that day and hit a bunch of good shots into the greens, and just didn't get the ball as close as I did the day before when I had shot 64. I hit a lot of good shots, drove it through the wind a couple times. And instead of having it 12 feet for birdie, I'm just off the green 20 feet. And, you know, so I feel like sometimes those aren't the good opportunities that you have for birdie, like when you're 12 feet from the hole. And, yes, I haven't broke 76 on Sunday yet this year, but we'll see what happens tomorrow. Usually my Sunday scoring average on tour has been pretty good. And for some reason, it hasn't been very good this year. Some day, it's going to have to change.

Q. There was some good -- there was some good Sundays in '94. What's the difference between you then and now? And is the swing change a big part of that difference between now and then?

MIKE SPRINGER: Well, I mean, in '94 when I was playing, I was hitting the ball really well for the first half of the year. The second half of the year wasn't very good. I don't look at it as far as -- you know, obviously Sunday is pay day, and I've played well on Sundays. The problem is I haven't had a lot of opportunities to play on Sunday this year. I think this will be my sixth Sunday I've played. This is, I think, my ninth event. And I've played two Nike events this year. So this will be, I think -- I think it will be my fifth or sixth Sunday, so it's hard to say. Sometimes you just don't play or perform as well as you like. Just keep plugging along, play your one shot at a time, play your golf course and take what it gives you and back off on some holes and some pins out there. Just play as smart as you can and hopefully -- you know, the whole name of the game out there is you have to be able to make some putts out there to score. It's too tough to go around and hit it absolutely perfect on every hole and miss every putt and shoot 2- or 3-under par. Obviously you have to make some putts to play well. That's more what I'm focused on right now. I've been spending a good two, three months, probably 80 percent of my time on the putting green. So I'd like to get my putter nice and comfortable and start rolling the ball on the line I'm looking at. Sometimes when you're out there playing and you're struggling with your putter, you're not always hitting the ball on the line that you're looking at. So, therefore, how are you going to make the putt? You know, it's going to be very difficult to make the putt unless you misread it. But not too many times you misread the putt out there. Usually you have a pretty good line. I think the whole idea is just to try to keep it on line. That's what I'm working on right now.

Q. Was there an injury back after '94 that set you back at all?

MIKE SPRINGER: No injuries. Yeah, I had brain cramps.

Q. Are you on a sponsor's exemption this week?


Q. Can you talk about that, the importance, obviously, of playing well and maybe not needing one for -- I mean --

MIKE SPRINGER: Well, this is the first year I've played on tour where I have been an exempt member. So I've written for exemptions for most of all of the tournaments, and I think this is the third or fourth exemption I've gotten this year. I've gotten in off my number four or five times, which is the school plus two. Yeah, it's very important to get in. I mean, this is what I do for a living, so it's very important to get into the tournaments to be able to perform and feed my two little kids.

Q. The field is really tough this week. Why do you think you got the exemption here?

MIKE SPRINGER: Because I'm a hell of a guy.

Q. Have you been a good supporter of the tournament in the past?

MIKE SPRINGER: I've played the tournament I think every year on tour except for one. I don't think I played it in '93 or sometime. I didn't play it sometime. But it was more because I was hurt than not wanting to play. I stayed with a friend that I met my first year here, a friend by the name of John Johnson, has great hospitality and lives on the 12th hole. So I only have to fight the traffic for about 50 yards. It's just great.

Q. I just wondered if the tournament had been loyal to you because you had been loyal to it. Sometimes that happens.

MIKE SPRINGER: I don't know. I've known Ben for a while. He's a nice guy and, you know, I needed a spot, and it was great. He gave me the spot early, you know, January. So it was nice to be able to plan and make some arrangements and some of the stuff that, you know, when you're trying to qualify for the Open, which I missed on Tuesday, so, you know, it was nice. It's nice knowing you can set a little bit of a schedule. I've been playing all year, don't know when I'm getting in. Flying out on Wednesdays, teeing it up, no practice rounds and stuff like that. It's been tough. I think the second half of the year will go a little smoother. I should get in some more tournaments. I'm not sure how many times the full school's gotten in. About four times this year.

WES SEELEY: About that, yes.

MIKE SPRINGER: So, the TOUR has kind of planned it where the full school is supposed to be getting in about 20. So I'm two behind that school. So I would expect to be getting in at 20 also. So it should be a good second half of the season as far as getting in. We'll see.

Q. Have there been any injuries at all over the course of the past year? I know Ben mentioned something about an injury.

MIKE SPRINGER: A couple years ago, I got hurt in '93 and took off probably two months and then another month and a half. But I got on top of the problem. The problem is when you practice and do the things that you do out here, it takes a wear and tear on your body. So I started working with chiropractors and getting adjustments in my arms and wrists and elbows and stuff like that. Ever since I've been on top of that, I haven't had a problem. Since about the -- this happened since about the middle of '93. I haven't had any problems.

Q. So you've had your best years on the tour since then?

MIKE SPRINGER: My best year on the tour was in 1994, yeah. Last year was not a bad year for me. I made 13 cuts and I missed 11 cuts by a shot. Missed my card by a few thousand dollars. Just all kinds of places where I lost my exempt status last year, but... So it's been -- you know, the last two years has not been a -- hasn't been, you know, very fun and exciting. You know, it's been tough, you know. But I made a commitment to myself a few years back that I wanted to become a better ball-striker, and that's what I'm looking forward to, coming to win every day. It just matters how many putts you make. And I think that's where the best players on tour -- I think that's what it boils down to in them. You've got guys consistently year in and year out, good ball-strikers, you know, the top 15, top 10 on tour in greens and regulation and fairways hit and total driving. I mean, I think those stats are big. I think if you get in the fairway on every hole, you're just playing 18 par 3s. So that's pretty good. Most of the time you hit it in the fairway, you have a very good lie and very good chance to score.

Q. You mentioned your chiropractor doing things to help your wrists, your elbows and your arms. I don't know much about chiropractors. Do they adjust your back in such ways?

MIKE SPRINGER: Oh, yeah. Well, no, they adjust your arm and your wrist and your elbow, yeah. What happens is your bones slightly move a little bit, and if you don't stay on top of the problem, your muscles readapt and grow a different way, and a lot of times, they're pressing against nerves in your arm, and that's, a lot of times, what causes the problem.

WES SEELEY: Okay. Until tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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