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June 29, 2000

Mark Brooks


LEE PATTERSON: Wonderful start to the week. Maybe just a couple thoughts about your round today and then we'll open it up for questions.

MARK BROOKS: Well, actually our whole group played good. Hit a lot of good shots. Davis kind of got it started, he made four in a row on the back nine. Kirk played about all day. Actually ended up 6-under, Kirk did. He played really good. Everybody drove it pretty good. We weren't in the rough too many times. I'd have to think about it, but I don't remember anybody being in it. So, maybe it was -- probably twice, for the whole day, because it's thick if you get out in it. But as far as conditions, you know, wind -- hardly any wind. I mean zero, virtually zero. Greens held good, and they rolled good. So you get those condition, you get three guys hit hitting it in the fairway; you get guys hitting good scores.

Q. Do you find greens more true this time than the year before?

MARK BROOKS: Are they truer now? I don't know. Maybe a little bit. Seemed like there's a little more grass this year. I think there's more of the bentgrass. I think the weather has been relatively conducive for growing grass. Certainly, for growing the rough, it has been. I don't know, there's a lot of poa annua. I don't try to overanalyze what the grass conditions. I mean, the greens are fine. They have got a lot of poa annua on them, and they are going to continue to have more and more. So maybe the more poa annua they get, the better they will play. There's nothing wrong with poa annua. It's just when you have when you have the mix, bad mix, maybe 25% poa, it's bad. When it gets more, actually -- you can actually roll the ball on poa annua fine, as long as it's mowed and not real late in the day.

Q. Can you talk a little about the last couple years, Mark? You won your major a couple years ago; would you have hoped things had gone better or had gone the way you would have hoped?

MARK BROOKS: The whole time hasn't gone the way I would have hoped. I probably had about a year and a half I didn't -- you know I struggled a lot with everything, my game and clubs. I was starting to play and all kind of stuff. You know, I struggled a loot with my swing, which I have at different times in my career. I've gone through bad stretches plenty of times. I feel like I've just kind of been in a bad stretch for a few weeks now. So I got to working on something over the weekend. It seems to have paid off. Really, I hit two bad shots, two really bad shots today. The rest of them were all acceptable, I guess, would be the term I would use. I didn't hit every shot, you know, real solid and perfect, but my misses were a lot better today.

Q. What was it you worked on?

MARK BROOKS: I just got my posture off. You know, it's probably been building. Probably been going on for, you know, who knows, five six weeks. I had a pretty good stretch through most of Texas, and probably started hitting it funny around Colonial and Memorial time. If you're still scoring good, you hate to start messing with it much, if you're scoring okay. So it took maybe going to the Open and not hitting good. Actually, I drove it great, but hit my irons terrible. And last week, I just, you know started hitting a bunch of right shots. And so it was kind of the -- this time, it took maybe two or three weeks, as opposed to six months to figure out that something needs to be changed.

Q. So you missed the cut at Memphis?

MARK BROOKS: I missed the cut by a shot or two.

Q. And then you went home and worked on it?

MARK BROOKS: Actually, I wasn't too far from here. I had to go to Cape Cod for a deal on Monday; so I just went up early and practiced for a couple days.

Q. Is there a reason you've been so loyal to this tournament?

MARK BROOKS: I don't know, I think it's probably a number of things. I've had some good tournaments here. Besides winning, I mean, I don't know -- it wasn't last year. Maybe the year before last, '98, the first -- I actually had a pretty good tournament, and it had been a long time since I had done much. And something kind of -- this really kind of started -- this tournament two years ago kind of started my turnaround, coming out of the slump. I don't know, I finished 12th or 15th. But I had a good tournament, and I kind of got it going. And I don't even remember what I shot last year, but probably missed the cut, I don't know. Of course, I won my first tournament here, which was a big deal -- but it was a big deal for me.

Q. I can remember you saying, "I'm going to win again," which you did. Not this tournament, but you said: "I won this one and I'm going to win again."

MARK BROOKS: Took a while.

Q. You were full of yourself 12 years ago.

MARK BROOKS: Well, I'll not anymore. (Laughter.) I'm still full of it, but I'm not full of myself, that's for sure. You know that old story about going to the pen house and back; I've been in and out many times. It isn't all that great. Somewhere just below, but ...

Q. Can you address, briefly, the frustration that is golf, often? How frustrating, I mean, the low points? It tears your guts out from time to time, I imagine.

MARK BROOKS: I think early in your career -- I can only speak for myself, but if you've only been out a handful of years. It's maybe harder to accept or handle and you start to hit the panic button quicker. And that's the hardest -- probably the hardest thing for guys to -- or it was for me, anyways; taking time off, and being able to make the adjustments or changes. Usually, they seem like big changes, but if you'll take off a couple of weeks, you can usually have them pretty well implemented and ready to go in two and a half weeks, because you still don't start until the following Thursday. A guy misses the cut, is sick of it, doesn't really play for three weeks, he'll take some time off. But doing that and not hitting the panic button, you know, is pretty hard to do. I mean, guys study the money list. They don't think they do, but they keep staring at it, and they look at it, and whatever day comes they are at their home, somehow that page stays in the house for a few weeks or a week. That's a bad thing.

Q. When you have an exemption for ten years after winning the major, does that take some of the pressure off?

MARK BROOKS: There's no doubt it takes off some of the pressure, but, I mean, I put enough pressure on myself just from a pride standpoint of playing well. I mean, it's what I do for a living.

Q. Did that make the stretch after the PGA any more disappointing, that you had seemed to be going upward --

MARK BROOKS: I was frustrated and felt -- I felt bad for the company that put enough trust or faith in my game to give me a nice contract. And it turned out it didn't work out for either one of us. They were great about letting me out. It was this tournament two years ago was the first time I played without the clubs. So that was frustrating, not only not playing well, but also, you know, somebody that did something good for you and it just didn't work out. That was disappointing as well. But I had spun myself into such a hole swing-wise that I couldn't get out of it. I don't know, my big thing right now is all these guys talking about how hard they work. I just -- it has not set well with me. It doesn't ring well. Doesn't ring through for me. A guy works hard, that's fine, but there's people that make $20,000 a year that actually do work hard. They go in a coal mine at 4:00 AM and come out at 7:00 at night. I mean, hitting a bunch of golf balls and working out in a posh gym and getting a massage and taking a whirlpool and going home and driving your nice car back to your nice house, it just doesn't -- work hard is fine. You can use it, but don't over-emphasize it, you know. Other people work hard, and it does a lot of things to you, both mentally and physically. And usually we're getting better both mentally and physically when we work hard, as opposed to saying, I had to work hard, but I had to work correctly.

Q. Is Cleveland now the club of choice?

MARK BROOKS: For me? Absolutely.

Q. And you started with them when?

MARK BROOKS: I guess this will be my second year. Year and a half.

Q. Do you think a lot of the athletes lose that focus once they are successful of exactly what hard work is?

MARK BROOKS: No. Just my point is that I get a little bit offended hearing a guy and his coach or teacher -- I hear it a lot from a lot of guys: "Why did you play good?" "Because I've worked so hard the last two weeks." Man, people have worked 30 years and can't hardly retire. So it's keep it in perspective, you know. That's what I'm talking about. But no, they haven't lost their -- I don't believe that. I mean, in general, generation, I probably -- my age, I'm almost 40. So I'm kind of on the end of the, you know, maybe a generation behind me or 10 or 15 years behind me, things changed. Public schools, political environment, a lot of things changed. We were disciplined in athletics. I had baseball bats sawed in half put on my butt when we acted up. And we did all the -- we were not limited in time. Like in college, of course, golf team, you weren't doing much, but they worked out a lot. They would practice forever and now they work 20 hours a week maximum. That happened to the group behind me. Five to six years behind me, it's a different mindset. And I still keep up with college coaches and stuff. They have the one or two kids, usually or a handful, at best, that go work on their own. The rest of them kind of do what the team -- whatever the team hours are on, they do that, and then they go do their own thing. But work ethics changed, certainly, but I think it's a generational thing. Military; now it's all voluntary.

KIRK TRIPLETT: Are you running for office?

MARK BROOKS: No. I could. Which office, though? They are asking deep questions today. He's a philosopher back there.

Q. Do you still harbor the grand dream of another major, making the Ryder Cup team? Do you still dream like that?

MARK BROOKS: I mean, I don't know about dream like that. I realize that -- you just have to play good. That's the bottom line: If you play good, then a lot of that stuff comes.

Q. But that's not part of your plan or anything like this?

MARK BROOKS: I don't have a grand plan, really, as far as outcomes. Kind of uncontrollable. I mean, when I hang them up, I want to know that I -- at least, I tried 110%, and didn't give up.

Q. When you could have?

MARK BROOKS: Sure. But any round, you'd like to say any round, but there's rounds you get out of it, and, you know, you don't maybe put 100% into every single shot. But there are things I would have done differently 18 years out here, certainly. But when it's all said and done, I mean, to know that you went out there and tried every day, so you can look yourself in the mirror when you're shaving. And there's a lot of guys out here that can't do that.

Q. That you worked really hard on, right?

MARK BROOKS: I didn't say worked really hard. (Laughter.) Perservered. I birdied 15, four feet. Hit a sand wedge about four feet. 16, I putted it in from off the fringe, probably 40 feet. 17, probably a 15-footer. 2, probably a 15-footer. 6, I hit a pitching wedge about two feet. 7, I made another about 15-footer. Hiccup was a nasty pull hook on 8. Should have gone over the fence.

Q. What club was that with?

MARK BROOKS: 4-iron. Really, I made a good save on 18. Hit a bad second shot from the fairway. Made probably a 12-footer for par. Other than that ...

Q. It hit the fence on 8?

MARK BROOKS: No. I'm sure it hit the trees. It wasn't looking good going off there.

Q. So if the trees weren't there?

MARK BROOKS: It might have been at least to the fence.

End of FastScripts...

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