June 18, 2001
RAND JERRIS: We're now joined by Mark Brooks. Mark, 2-over par round of 72 today. Congratulations on your fine play throughout the championship. Maybe you could start off by talking a little bit, just some general comments about the round and perhaps what you thought may have been some key moments in the round today.
MARK BROOKS: General comments. I was in the rough too much. And where I was it was thick. The fifth hole is the only hole I hit a 3-wood off the tee in the right rough, and actually pulled that one in the left rough. So those two lies were the only two lies I had all day in the rough that I could actually play. I mean, play and get it up to the green. So all that talk about this rough being a lot kinder and gentler and shorter. And a lot of flyers, I didn't catch today, and that's partly due to the fact that they hadn't mowed it in ten days. It's not all just bad luck. I hit it in the rough, and I hadn't been hitting it in the rough too many times, but I've been able to advance it all week. And I witnessed a lot of guys hitting balls on greens out of the rough this week, and not too many guys could have put it on the greens from where I put it on. Mainly 7, 9 and 10, those were the key holes, maybe even 12. I caught such a thick lie I couldn't even attempt it. And at that point I would have, had I had a decent lie. But that's -- as far as the turnaround, obviously it was the stretch from, really, I guess you back up and include 6 in it, 6 through 10 was probably the big deal. And he had a real good shot on 6, probably 6 or 8 feet and made birdie. And I actually hit a great first putt on 6 from about 30 feet, kind of grazed the edge, and he made a good putt there. And then that's when I started putting it in the rough. And he makes two birdies on, I guess, 9 and 10. And that was the big turnaround. Two holes in a row is a four-shot swing. And now he's putting it on cruise. And he did -- I will comment, he did birdie 10 out of the rough. That's the way it goes.
RAND JERRIS: Maybe you could take a moment or two and run quickly through birdies and bogeys.
MARK BROOKS: I don't know. You saw it all, we were out there four hours. I birdied No. 3 with a 9-iron to whatever, four feet, five feet. Bogeyed No. 7, says it right here. I didn't have 189, I don't think, but whatever. I hit a 3-iron off the tee in the right rough, and I hacked a wedge down there and luckily got it to ten or 12 feet there with a lob wedge. And No. 9 I was not quite stymied, but might as well have been. Left rough. Hit a 3-wood off the tee. I tried a shot, I tried to get in there and make something up, but it didn't come off.
Q. Was that a bare lie, there?
MARK BROOKS: It was against the tree. I didn't have a swing, that was the problem there.
Q. It just scooted along the ground there, did it?
MARK BROOKS: Which shot are we referring to?
Q. On 9, when you were trying --
MARK BROOKS: I was trying to chop down on it and hit a big low hook. And I hit it fat and it came out about 20 feet, a little duffer shot. I had a couple of those today. But it's fair to say that wasn't a great break. A lot of places that ball could have finished over there where people walk and have a shot. And it would have taken a miracle to get the ball up in front of the green from where I was. It was deflating. And he makes a great putt there. And I hit a bad tee shot on 10 and I put it in the right rough, after he put it in the left rough, and he makes 3 and I make 5, and there you go. He didn't put it in the fairway, that's the bottom line. And I just hit a bad shot. And like I said, front pin, he's in the left rough and hit a great shot and it stops up there. And I had to hit a lob wedge sideways. Tiger might have been able to get it on the green, but he'd have had to do one of those wild swing deals.
Q. Mark, you were tied for third all week in fairways hit. And today you only hit seven. Any thoughts on what happened with your swing?
MARK BROOKS: I already covered it. No, nothing happened with my swing.
Q. Mark, given all you've been through the last few years, is there more a bittersweet feeling today than a total disappointment kind of thing?
MARK BROOKS: Say it again. I was still shocked from the last question. Go ahead.
Q. Given what you've been through the last few years, is there more a bittersweet feeling of what you've been through today?
MARK BROOKS: No, I don't know. I mean J.L. Lewis said it the other day, I've been in contention at a few of these things. It still is just a golf tournament. So it's not that big a deal. It's important while you're out there, but it's not going to change my life one way or another, if I'd won or lost. My family and doing things right are the most important things. It would have been nice to win, and I'll try to win again. I'll try to win at Lytham.
Q. Mark, back to No. 9, did you consider at all just going out sideways there?
MARK BROOKS: I had enough of a chance at a swing that it was worth going there. And I've hit weirder shots that turned out good like that, but it wasn't much of a swing.
Q. Mark, were you trying to run your shot at 12, your second shot, down there as far--?
MARK BROOKS: I wasn't trying to hit it down that far, no.
Q. What kind of yardage were you aiming for?
MARK BROOKS: I was trying to leave it like 70 yards.
Q. Mark, does it feel like you lost this tournament twice?
MARK BROOKS: No, not really. I'm more disappointed at bogeying 18 yesterday than what happened today, to be honest with you. Golf is a funny game, and I played some pretty decent golf the first six holes and could easily have had a sizable lead at that juncture and didn't. And then again we've already gone over what happened 7 through 10, and I did it to myself. And he didn't have to birdie two of those holes, but he did, and that was the difference.
Q. Talking about on 18 yesterday, did you reflect on the putt last night or watch any of the highlight shows?
MARK BROOKS: I saw it a couple of times, and actually it looked pretty good about halfway there. I thought I hit a pretty decent looking putt. You could tell the green was definitely slower, the way those putts acted compared to some of the other holes.
Q. Mark, I think human nature being what it is, a guy misses a two-footer to win the U.S. Open, he's got to come back tomorrow, a lot of people think the advantage really swung to you big time. Did you feel that? Did you feel like you had been given such an opportunity that the edge was yours to start out with today?
MARK BROOKS: I said it yesterday, and this morning, if we'd have gone out to some kind of other playoff format I think that probably would have been true. Whether it was a three or four hole playoff or sudden death playoff, I think you could have said it, but not as much time elapsed. And then he made some great saves -- really his first three holes -- and I think put most of that to rest. So, he made his putts early, because that's what you're going to question is, has your stroke disappeared on you and obviously it hadn't, because he made a lot of putts the first six holes.
Q. Mark, could you talk about how Retief was able to hang onto the lead throughout the week, and he got in front with you and he was able to hang on. Can you comment on that on how composed he was?
MARK BROOKS: You know, he hit a lot of good shots, he made a lot of birdies for the week, and the key to him winning -- we played Saturday -- the key to winning this golf tournament was he got up-and-down a lot. And he got out of some sticky situations, really both times. So I'm not going to call it luck. You make your own luck. But sometimes it works out that way, and sometimes it doesn't. There were more than two of us that could have been in this playoff. And again, everybody saw it, it was probably six or seven guys with a good shot. I got two good breaks on the backside with two marginal, if not poor -- one really poor tee shot, and parred both holes, I could have been a couple of shots worse, no question.
RAND JERRIS: Mark, thank you very much for your time.
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