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June 21, 1998

Payne Stewart


PAYNE STEWART: The birdies won't take long. The bogeys will, though. We'll go through the card. Four, I hit a horrible tee shot. I took my medicine, chipped out of the rough, hit 6-iron to about 12, 15 feet and two putts for bogey. 7, hit what I thought was a pretty good wedge shot and took one hop and got on the second tier. Now it was a very, very quick putt coming down the hill and went about 6 feet past the hole, and I didn't -- I hit a bad putt coming back. The first putt was probably 20, 25 feet. 12, I hit the fairway, but I was in the bunker. I was right in the middle of a sand divot, and didn't play a very good shot. I think I had the right club, but I needed to play, obviously, further left into the green, and it came off a little bit right and went in the bunker, and I didn't get it up-and-down. 13, I hit a good looking 5-iron, went right at it. Obviously, the wrong club, because it went over the green. And I had one of those Olympic Club lies there, and came out to about 15 feet and two putts. 14, I hit a 3-wood, 9-iron to about 15 feet and made it for my only birdie of the day. 16, I drove it through the fairway into the rough with a 3-wood, caught a semi-lie, got a 5-iron on it, got it down there in position, and got a little quick with the 7-iron and came up in the bunker. And didn't get it up-and-down, made six. I had 161 to the front and the pin was on 12, so 173. And then par, par.

Q. How long was the par-putt on 12?

PAYNE STEWART: Par-putt on 12 was about ten feet.

Q. And on 16?


LES UNGER: That tee shot which wound up in the bunker, in the middle of the fairway, did you get any feeling that maybe this wasn't meant to be.

PAYNE STEWART: Well, I sat up here yesterday and told you all that if I go out and play good enough, played Payne Stewart's game that he'd been playing for three days, that I'd be standing here with the trophy. And I didn't do that. But first off, you've got to give Lee Janzen all the credit in the world. He was in the third to the last group and goes out and shoots 68. There's nobody in contention in the golf tournament that shot under par except for Lee Janzen. So he deserves to be the champion today. He played a good enough round of golf today to win the golf tournament. And as it all boils down -- I think Olympic Club really won, because there was one person even par for the tournament. So, I think this golf course stood up to the test of being an Open Championship.

Q. Payne, are you annoyed at the sand divot on 12, or the ruling that you were slow?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, let's say -- I've been a proponent against these sand divots to start with. In my opinion, and I spoke out about this at the -- at our players' meeting on Tour, that if they're going to come out and physically try to repair something, in my opinion that's ground-under-repair. You put this sand in these divots, in my opinion that's ground-under-repair. But the USGA and the PGA TOUR don't see it like that. Now, Tom Meeks came up to me after I played that shot and said: You just got a bad time. That didn't sit real well, because I was, at that time -- here I am trying to figure out what to do with this sand divot, and what kind of shot to play, and after I played it into the bunker, he said: You've got a bad time. That's one bad time. And I said: What happens if I get another one? And he said: You get a one-stroke penalty. And I said: Thank you very much. And Tom Lehman got a bad time on the next tee, and he came up and told him. As the rules of golf were, I guess we were out of position with the group in front of us, so that's when they start focusing on timing us, and I guess I got a bad time. I've always been a slow player, though.

Q. Can you just tell us, first of all, if they didn't replace -- is it easier just to have a normal divot without anything, and also how often does that happen where you hit a perfect fairway shot; can you put a number on it, one in a hundred, one in two hundred?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, I'd like to see them stay unfilled. And then if it's a hole, it's a hole. You know what is going to happen. When they fill them with sand, you don't know how deep that sand is. Was that a thin line before that was in there, was it deep? You don't know if there's a quarter-inch of sand, or what's underneath that ball. I'd like to see them change the rules, stand up and show some -- if they're going to repair that, that's ground-under-repair. I don't like the spike-mark rule. I think sooner or later we need to wake up to the fact that that's an unfair rule, also. I can fix when your ball hit on the green, but I can't fix where you walk, and if you go (indicating), across the green, that's my bad luck. So how often it happens? Where you get in a situation where balls accumulate in certain areas, it happens frequently, but I've had three or four this year on Tour.

Q. Payne, do you think you should get a drop from that?

PAYNE STEWART: I do, I do. If you drive the ball in the fairway, and you're in a sand divot where they've come in and intentionally put sand in there to replace it, I feel that you should be able to call the official over and say: I'm in a divot, I should get a drop.

Q. Payne, can you put percentages on how much of it was Lee Janzen winning, how much of it was the course just challenging, and how much was it you not being able to perhaps do what you wanted to do?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, let me just show you something, right here. Now, I hit six fairways today in regulation. Lee Janzen hit 12. I hit nine greens in regulation, Lee Janzen hit 14. Bingo. That's why I didn't win the golf tournament.

Q. If there was any one shot that you'd like back in this one-shot tournament, would it be the third on 16, and whatever that shot might be, could you talk about it?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, I might go back to the first day, you never know. Since we can't do that, that's kind of unrealistic, to go back and say one shot, well, just because of the 16th hole you picked that one out, just because it's three holes to go. How about give me the tee shot on 4 again? That's kind of an impertinent question.

Q. Tom said on TV that he got off to a bad start and neither one of you seemed to get any kind of momentum going. You said earlier that you needed to play like you did the first three days. Did you just not have the same feeling today, or what -- what was wrong with your game?

PAYNE STEWART: I didn't feel any different out there. In this situation, in the pressure your swing tightens up and loosens up, whichever it may be, I just didn't hit enough good golf shots. I didn't feel bad today. I felt pretty decent with the putter. Of course, in this situation you're going to be -- if you're not nervous, then you're not human. And I felt that I dealt with all that pretty well. Even though I wasn't hitting the ball the best I could have today, I still gave myself a chance to get in a playoff on the last hole. But that's water under the bridge.

Q. Over the four days, do you think you got as much out of those four rounds you had in terms of ball-striking?

PAYNE STEWART: In terms of ball-striking, I'd say today was the worst round of ball-striking of the four days, when it probably needed to be the best -- it didn't even need to be the best, but it needed to be better.

Q. Payne, this course has a reputation as a graveyard of champions. How long is it going to take you to get over this one?

PAYNE STEWART: It won't take me very long at all. I've got to do an outing tomorrow. I've got to go get on a plane here in just a second. And I spoke about this yesterday, it's not going to change my life. Yeah, I'm disappointed that I didn't win. But I didn't play good enough to win. So life goes on. I'm still Payne Stewart, and when I walk out that door, I'll try again this week at the Western Open. I'll be there.

Q. Your thought process walking up 18 knowing you needed a birdie there, just if you could kind of walk us through what was going through your head?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, I finally hit it in that fairway. It was the first time all week. And I told my caddy, I said: Wouldn't this be something if you held this shot for two? And I thought I hit it -- I hit a good shot. I had to give myself an opportunity to make birdie. I had 105 up the hill, into the wind. I couldn't get sand wedge there, so I choked a pitching wedge down, and I thought I played a pretty good shot in there to give myself an opportunity to make a birdie, because that's what I had to do.

Q. Payne, could you talk about the golf course and how it stood up this week, and in your opinion was it fair?

PAYNE STEWART: I think the golf course was fair, except for the -- I still think they need to really concentrate on that back left pin on 18. I think that that's boarding on ridiculous, if they're going to have the greens this hard and fast. If they choose to slow the greens up then that pin is fair, but that's not going to happen at this tournament. So, I think the golf course is every bit championship caliber, because, like I said earlier, one person in the whole tournament shot even par for the week.

Q. Payne, contrary to earlier years in your career, after a disappointment, A, you're in here talking to us, and B, you're being admirably philosophical about the disappointment. Can you elicit the depth of the disappointment, or maybe how you see this is going to affect your legacy?

PAYNE STEWART: My legacy? I never knew I had one. By golly, what is my legacy? And then I'll know if it's going to effect it or not. What have we been done, 40 minutes? And you want to say how this is going to affect me? I'm still going to be able to sleep tonight. Like I said, yes, I'm disappointed. I haven't had a chance to talk to my wife on the phone. There's some disappointments, but I think the reason why I'm in here, and the reason why you're viewing me differently, is I think that I've matured and I understand what this job is about. I understand what playing golf for a living is all about, and how I'm supposed to handle myself, and that's what I'm doing. I really feel that I've got a better grip on it than I've had in previous years. And that's why I don't think I'm going to let it affect me. I'm going to take the positive things out of this tournament, and when I get to the British Open, I'm going to use all those to hopefully get myself in a position to win that golf tournament.

Q. Payne, at what point did you feel yourself in a position of danger in terms of losing the tournament?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, that 7-iron on 16 didn't help. I really felt that I needed to -- I needed to make par on that hole. And I gave myself the opportunity after driving it through the fairway, I hit a good shot, and then hit a bad shot. So that hurt.

Q. Payne, nice effort. Two things, just talk a little bit about the putt at 18. And then also describe for those of us uninitiated to these kind of circumstances how thick the pressure is out there on Sunday in this kind of circumstance?

PAYNE STEWART: The putt on 18, there were two things that needed, it either needed to be higher or it needed to be harder. But I felt that the line I chose was the proper line. Obviously, I didn't have the proper speed, and those are the key elements in putting, you have to have the proper speed with the proper line. Now, the tension out there in this situation -- that's what we do this for. That's what motivates us. The people that deal with that situation and deal with this pressure are the ones that become successful out of it. I felt that I handled myself very well out there today, and I tried to deal with everything that was going on. I just came up one short.

Q. Are you thinking about getting some bananas?

PAYNE STEWART: Lee told me he had a couple of bananas in his locker, but it just wouldn't be the same.

Q. Payne, you said yesterday that you're going to go out today and play like Payne Stewart, and that's all you could do. Were you playing like Payne Stewart out there?

PAYNE STEWART: I sure was trying. Obviously, the Payne Stewart that I was hoping would show up, didn't show up today. So I did everything the same way that I've been doing it for three days. And today it just was a little bit off. And in the game of golf a little bit can be just enough.

Q. Just getting back to 12, when were you aware that it had landed in a divot, were you just walking up to the ball? What was your reaction, is it an immediate buzz kill?

PAYNE STEWART: No. As I was walking up the fairway, I was walking up the left side, and I looked over there, and I said: Well, you've got to deal with it. You've got to take the good with the bad. And I was fortunate this week, and got some nice lies in the rough, and here I am. I've got to deal with a not-so-nice lie in the fairway.

Q. Payne, at what point today, did you realize that Lee was making a move, and how did you feel at that point when you'd bogeyed a few holes, and he was starting to come a little bit closer?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, the first time I really noticed it was when I went to the 10th green and saw that he was one-under par. And he was through 11 or 12. And then at that stage you could kind of feel who was playing good, who wasn't playing good. Who was going to get it going, and who wasn't going to get it going. And Lee finished it off. He finished it off. He -- I don't know what he birdied, 12 or 13. And then made all pars coming in. Congratulations. That was the first time that I saw -- really took a notice of what was going on on the leaderboard.

Q. Payne, how long was that putt on 18, and did you ever get a feeling walking up that maybe this green owes me one after what happened on Friday?

PAYNE STEWART: I'd say it was probably 20 feet. And it didn't owe me anything. I just wasn't smart enough on Friday to keep the ball below the hole.

Q. Payne, I was out there today, and I heard that on the 12th tee you were warned about slow play before being given a bad time; is that correct?

PAYNE STEWART: That is not correct. I was not told that we were out of position on the 12th tee.

Q. In your mind how big of a putt was that on 18, as far as pressure goes, as opposed to ones you've had in the past. And secondly, you talked green-side about going through the same routine, and that's how you deal with the pressure. But how hard is that to do in a situation like that?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, how hard is it to do? That's why I practice, and I work at different things. I've been doing this for 17, 18 years, and you build in your mental blocks to be able to deal with the pressure through repetition in your practice and your performance. And that's what I go through every time I got ready to hit a putt, I did the same thing. And each putt meant something. Each putt was just as important as it was the first day. The putt on the first hole meant as much as that putt on 18, it was just a different situation, how people view it. But in the realm of the golf tournament it's a total amount of strokes.

Q. Payne, still on 18, you've put yourself in position, now as you're walking up the fairway, to the putt that you've got to make, what kind of thoughts are you having then?

PAYNE STEWART: Well, I just told myself, you have to make this putt so you can play tomorrow and have a chance to win the tournament, because you didn't get it done up until this point, you need to make this putt. So I wasn't going to leave it short, and like I said before, I thought I chose the right line at the right pace, and it was just a little bit off.

Q. Payne, Lee Janzen is the only thing that stands between you and three Open championships. I was wondering if you were going to start using a Lee Janzen dart board anytime soon?

PAYNE STEWART: I guess I bring the best out in Lee Janzen.

End of FastScripts....

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