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September 16, 2004

Mark Brooks


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Mark, we thought we'd bring you in since you're the low early Texan.


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Just sort of talk about your round. We looked it up, your best starting round in a while, I guess?

MARK BROOKS: Yeah, I've had back trouble all year and broken ribs and a little bit of everything going on, but I've played a little better the last couple weeks. Actually the last three weeks I started figuring it out I guess would be the word.

I played okay today. I mean, I didn't do anything particularly good, but I guess I'll go through them.

10, I drove it in the rough and didn't catch a very good lie, couldn't reach the green, just about a 12-footer for par.

Then 14, I didn't hit a very good second shot and kind of pitched it in from 70 feet, something like that.

Then actually I hit a good shot on 18 to about six feet and missed it, a five- or six-footer.

And then I went to 1 and hit it about three feet and missed it. So those were two bad misses.

No. 3, par 3, I hit it about five feet, made a putt there.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: What did you hit?

MARK BROOKS: I hit a 4-iron.

No. 6, I hit an 8-iron and made about a 12-, 14-footer.

7 is the roller coaster hole, laid up, hit a sand wedge about 12 feet, made that.

Then actually I made a good save on 8, just hit a horrible 3-wood in the right junk, pitched it out in the fairway and got up-and-down from about 80 yards.

You know, really, no ifs, ands or buts, but I hit two good shots on 18, and then I went to 1, and missing those was not good, so 3 was a good turnaround.

Q. You mentioned back problems and broken ribs. What was that from?

MARK BROOKS: Back just kind of comes and goes, and the ribs are kind of a mystery, stress fractures, so they don't know whether it was sneezing or hitting balls, which would be pretty unusual, but it's possible. That knocked me out for about six, seven weeks.

Q. When did that happen?

MARK BROOKS: Oh, right after the Open.

Q. Was it something that -- was it gradual?

MARK BROOKS: No, it kind of came on one day and then stayed on. It really took about four weeks before it felt better. You know, it was just kind of the same for about four weeks because I really didn't know what it was until they did a scan and found them because X-rays weren't showing them.

Q. That must be kind of maddening.

MARK BROOKS: Well, I figured it was the intercostals; I thought I had torn some muscles in there. I've done it before in the front, and they're basically just a broken rib. There's nothing they do for them really, just say you've got to wait.

Q. Earlier today Jim McGovern was in here and said he was in a car accident where his neck and shoulder were banged up, and he said the heat was actually a blessing for him because it kept him loose. When it's hot like this does it help you to stretch out?

MARK BROOKS: I would say generally yes. Of course, they say the hotter it is, the more you swell, so if your disks are swelling up, that's not good.

You know, for the other aches and pains, yeah, the heat is good.

Q. Tell me about the course. What was the course like out there? How is it playing? How has it changed over the years?

MARK BROOKS: I suspect you're going to see some pretty good scores this afternoon, too. The wind doesn't look like it's going to blow. If you hit it in the fairway, there's a lot of birdie holes here, always have been. There's enough holes to make you stumble here, but, you know, 10 used to be an easy 5 par, relatively easy 4. It wasn't an easy 4, but you weren't going to easily make worse than 5 unless you hit a bad tee shot.

I think that's -- 5 I certainly can see being a 4 par. I mean, it's pretty rare -- from where we play it now, it's rare it plays more than mid-iron into a strong wind. But I think 10 has changed the scoring here as much as anything.

Q. I'm just curious about as far as just the maturation of the course, kind of what you're thinking.

MARK BROOKS: The rough is not particularly bad, but it's there. You get flyers, which honestly is kind of a welcome relief, that you're not taking a sand wedge or a wedge and hacking it out every time. I mean, we've been in that quite a bit lately. You know, whatever you want to call it. They call it four-inch, but it's right off the fairway -- like last week it was six inches-plus right off the fairway, so you were better off if you missed the fairway about 30 yards.

Here you lose control of your ball a little bit. I drove it like in the left rough on 9 there. It's a wedge shot but it's pretty dicey to get it inside 20 feet even. I think it's nice. You can advance the ball, you don't have to chip it out. You know, you make different kind of bogeys because you run it over -- it goes over the green and you get a tough up-and-down. They're probably more frustrating because you feel like you had a decent lie, I should have been able to make par here, but next thing you know you run through and you're in the nasty stuff -- around the greens you can kind of get either a good lie or a bad lie.

Q. You mentioned earlier that you kind of felt like you were maybe figuring something out or kind of --

MARK BROOKS: Just being able to play more than a few tournaments in a row without having pain issues where you end up trying to figure out how to swing without having to quit. I mean, I don't feel like I've played probably six tournaments this year where I didn't have some physical issue.

Q. How were the conditions out there today? It's supposed to be a pretty toasty --

MARK BROOKS: It's sticky. It's pretty good for scoring. There's not much wind. The greens are holding fine. They're not hard at all.

Q. The heat, is it any kind of impact?

MARK BROOKS: I don't think for most of us. I mean, we're used to it. It would be nice to wear shorts, I will say that. I mean, it's kind of stupid out there -- you know, it's 80 percent humidity, going to be 97 today, and you're running around out there in pants.

Q. Do you think the PGA TOUR will ever --

MARK BROOKS: I think we look foolish to be honest with you. I really do think we look silly. Guys' pants get wet and soaked and it's nasty.

Q. Do you think the PGA TOUR will ever let you wear shorts?

MARK BROOKS: Someday. Somebody will. It will take like a health issue or something. I guarantee you're cooler, though. There's no doubt about it.

Q. Maybe there's just some legs they don't want on display.

MARK BROOKS: I'm sure they're afraid of somebody abusing and coming out there looking silly. I mean, I guess that's the problem. Some guys show might up in a Speedo and a tank top (laughter).

Q. There's a few we wouldn't want that to happen.

MARK BROOKS: That's true. If the guys would self-police, which is kind of the way it goes -- I mean, I'll tell you what. I see stuff out there now that looks way worse than if we were wearing shorts. There was some guy in front of us today, he had the hot pink going with the black or navy shirt. I mean, if he wasn't sweating --

Q. Aaron Baddeley was wearing a black shirt today with lime green pants.

MARK BROOKS: This was hot pink. I don't know who was right in front of me, but it was easy to keep up with the group in front of us because you could see him from -- we were on the first tee, they were on the green. It was 680 yards away and it looked like a neon sign down there.

Q. The pitch-in eagle on 14 was you said 70, 80 feet maybe?

MARK BROOKS: It was like ten yards off the green on the right.

Q. Did you know when you hit it?

MARK BROOKS: I hit a good pitch and thought it was going to roll up there a foot from the hole, and it just kind of kept rolling and rolled right in. That was a good break.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay, Mark, thanks very much. Good luck.

MARK BROOKS: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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