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October 23, 1996

Mark Brooks


MARK BROOKS: Well, I just played yesterday. It will make it easier to hit the fairways. The main thing is going to be if we get some wind. And I'm sure we probably will over the next four days. The greens are probably a little softer than most people would expect. But if it stays like this, stays nice and dry and breezy for a couple of days it will be a good, strong test as it always is. It was wet in most of the low spots. It will dry out pretty fast here. The Oklahoma clay dries out pretty quick.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: I don't know about that. You do have to hit -- you've got to really curve the ball both ways, I think it's predominantly a right to left golf course. There's more draw shots that need to be played on this golf course than the average.

Q. Will you talk about the year you had and the fact that you're the logical choice for the Player of the Year?

MARK BROOKS: What do I think about it? I'm very pleased with my year. I think more than anything I'm pleased how I played well at times through the whole year. It hasn't been any kind of -- any streaks to speak of. I really had one low point and got out the west coast in early April and then kind of got out of that pretty quick. But for the most part I've had a good stretch the entire year. I think I've missed like five or six cuts, and even the cuts I've missed have been very narrow. I think I've missed four or five cuts by a shot. And in today's world out here I think it's also a barometer, the fact that I didn't completely blow up and miss the cut by 12 shots. I think it has to be considered. You have to play decently on today's TOUR to just make the cut. You have to play decent golf, I don't care who you are.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: Is it an incentive?

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: What is the first year, 540? That's a pretty good incentive. We play a long year. Our first purse sizes vary. And they actually vary tremendously from as low as the million dollar purse to the three million dollar purse. Where a guy plays does make a difference as far as the money in the end. It's just like trying to use a stroke average. You've got to look at where the guy has played, how much they played. It's a very difficult thing to use as the sole barometer, stroke average or money titles. A guy may have missed a cut at a difficult golf course and another guy may have made the cut and played two more rounds, so he played four rounds on a difficult golf course. It may have happened several times - where a guy didn't play versus where a guy has played has a tremendous bearing on stroke average in my opinion.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: I personally use -- the money is not as big an issue to me as consistent play and certainly your stroke average is a barometer that you can use and compare it year to year. I don't even know where I am. I'm like probably like 15th in stroke average, top 20. I've played a lot of tournaments. I think this will be my 29th tournament this year on our TOUR, which would include the British Open. And you can use different things. I didn't play well at the Masters. I never have played well there. And then I had three pretty good majors in a row. And the weakest was at the U.S. Open and actually got more of in contention on Saturday. I shot 30 on the front 9 at Oakland Hills on Saturday morning. And got within probably a shot of the lead at one point. I don't know where I finished, 15th or 16th. And then I had a pretty good British Open and obviously finished it out right. The way I assess my year, it was a lot more consistent than I had been over the last four or five years, six years, and I probably have to go all the way back to 1992 to a year I had as consistent a play throughout the year. And I didn't win a golf tournament in 1992, but that was certainly one of my most consistent years. If I remember correctly, Nick Price is the only guy that had more top-10s than I had that year. And he won, I think, four or five times that year.

Q. What are your thoughts playing as much as you do and how does it work for you?

MARK BROOKS: I really can't speak for any of the other guys. I don't think 28 or 29 golf tournaments is excessive. A lot of these guys, tournament lists, all you see is PGA TOUR, US PGA Tours totals with the Major British Open included, there are a number of other events these people play in around the world, so their yearly total is probably going to be a lot more similar to mine than it appears on the front end. I played in the World Matchplay last week. That's the only event I've played outside the U.S. TOUR this year. So if you go dig, some guys may show 21, 22, 23 tournaments, they may have played 30 tournaments, playing all over the world. I played all my golf except one event on this TOUR. And so I think it's deceiving to see a total number of events these guys have played, because all it shows, the number shows, is the money on our TOUR and the number of tournaments they've played on our TOUR. So I think personally that's a little bit deceiving. In fact, I don't know why guys play only 18 to 20 events. I don't know what they do the other 30 weeks of the year.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: Well, I like to play golf. And everything I do revolves around golf, our new management company, things I do on and off the golf course, basically relates to golf. So I like the game and I'd rather be playing in a golf tournament than sitting around doing nothing. I chose 15 years ago to decide to try to play -- to play this game for a living and it took me four or five years to get to a reasonable level where it was fairly stable out here. And I think I've continued to improve. You can use whatever barometer you want, stroke, stroke average. I know I was a better player than I was five or six years ago and a lot of that's experience. Some of it I'm sure is confidence in having some success.

Q. Have demands grown quite a bit on your time?

MARK BROOKS: Oh, a little bit. The demands have grown, I think it's how you deal with the demands. And I think I've done reasonably well so far. But the important part is how you handle it. Sometimes you do well; sometimes you don't. But it hasn't been unreasonable. Yes, I mean the phone's rang more. I'm sure if you won the first major of the year it would be more hectic than winning the last major of the year with only two or three weeks of golf left. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of events at the end of the year on the off-season that will be fun to take the family and have some good vacation time. But other than that, the opportunities maybe changed a little bit, and certainly better opportunities, but it's not dramatically changed my life or anything. Sleep and practice is probably a little more difficult.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: I'm going out there this afternoon. Our guys have been up here. I haven't been up here in several months, and from what I hear, it looks pretty good. It's come a long way in the last couple of months. They played it, actually, I guess, last Thursday and the reports I got were good, so I'm going to go make sure today that they are good. But I've heard nothing but good things. The last two or three months they came a long way.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: Well, Lincoln, Brooks, Baine is the name of our management company and we really just started in earnest in January, so we've got -- I've set modest, but ambitious goals to grow the company. We're not going to grow it too fast. There are a lot of opportunities that we are assessing at the present. We'll make some significant moves in 1997. And a lot of things change, a lot of contracts and management decisions are made during the off season, which is basically November, December and January across the country. I think in a few years we'll be a good sized, profitable management company. As far as the design is concerned, I don't want to really do more than one golf course a year, because I actually do it with my partner and we do everything one house, so I'm not a name that goes on -- I'm not a consultant. I'm not a design consultant, if that makes sense to you. I actually do the routing, the design, my partner and I both.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: We didn't build this golf course. I probably made four or five trips up here, but you can't count the number of trips the other people have made. My other partner alone was up here 12 times in like a three-week period. Those are just some of the operational details, and we just go out on our golf operations, and it's just -- we manage a couple other golf courses in

Fort Worth, but we've had those for several years. This is a much larger venture. The hardest part is to find the right people. And we're not going so far as we don't have enough people. But we're more than capable of handling something Battle Creek and it's going to open next spring. The golf course wasn't ready this fall. They've got a little tighter growing season here, and we want to have a clubhouse out there before we open.

Q. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how the life at the tournament has changed with Tiger Woods on board since the end of August.

MARK BROOKS: It really hasn't changed for me other than he's done awfully well. I guess the scariest thing is somebody overheard somebody in the locker room saying he hasn't even shot his A game yet. I'll be really honest with you, I've only played one or two tournaments where he was there. One was Vegas; you're on a lot of different golf courses. And I might have been somewhere else he played, maybe Canada. So I've only been at a couple of other events. His gallery sizes are obviously very large, and it would be similar to when John Daly came -- after he won the PGA. There was an extra five or ten thousand people out there on following one particular hole, most of them in one group. And he's played nothing short of phenomenal at this point. And if he's got an A game that he hasn't shown yet, then we're probably all in trouble. He obviously possesses a lot of physical skills. He's probably been more groomed than any other 20 year old that's ever attempted to play out here from a somewhat mature age of 12 or 13, then he's had a sole focus and that was to play the PGA TOUR. Any weight training, anything he's done, has been towards playing golf for a living. And I think he'd be hard pressed to find anybody else that got into that position until they were probably out of high school. There may be a few more now, even Phil Mickelson, I don't think he participated in any other sports seriously, past a pretty young age. But most of the rest of us messed around with football, basketball, baseball; finally went to college on a scholarship or not and our golf games developed when we were in our early 20's, late teens and early 20's. And the majority of guys have had to serve an apprenticeship time and you certainly get guys that are five and ten years older than I am, with very few exceptions, there was an apprenticeship time served out here just learning the ropes and traveling and getting used to the low scores and the different golf courses and the hotels and eating on the road. There were a lot more things to learn than a few of these younger guys have had to learn. It's kind of like -- honestly they have an advantage, a lot of it is done for them. Tiger may never fly commercial aircraft again in his life, I don't know. So he may not have to deal with packing and losing luggage and not getting your clubs for two or three days. It's a different world. But I know when I came out Willy Woods was probably the best -- there's no question Willy was the best player out of my senior class in college. And I know he signed some -- at that time some nice contracts, nice enough contracts that he didn't have to have sponsors to play the TOUR. It's an issue. People may want to avoid it or duck it or not want to talk about it. I'm telling you, if somebody handed you enough money to be comfortable the rest of your life it would probably make a four-footer a little bit easier. It has nothing to do with the level of love of the game or passion of the game, it's a pure, simple fact. Most people probably perform better in their jobs if they could totally be relieved of their financial burdens. I'm happy for him. I think it's great. If you try to sense a jealousy or anything, no, it's not that, it's a fact that we started in a different world. The Brad Faxons, the Willy Woods, even a go-getter like Scott Verplank, he had at that time wonderful contracts. He had won the U.S. Amateur. He had won NCAA. I still didn't play like Scott Verplank. He had one of the greatest amateur records ever. Certainly in the last 50 years he's in the top-5, just his pure amateur record was outstanding. And he probably had enough to go on for a few years, maybe. Believe me, there is financial pressure there. Guys do well, they develop a certain life-style that they're used to and that's going to be based on how they play, whether they can maintain that or not. And there's a tremendous difference. A guy gets off to a bad start, he's having a first six months of the year, there's a lot different pressure there. When you have to perform for financial reasons versus historical reasons, those are two completely different kinds of pressure. And they're going to build on Tiger. He's gotten off to the kind of start -- the expectations that are going to be placed on him are going to be tremendous. I heard Nicklaus say he ought to win at least ten Masters. Yeah, he could. He could win 25 Masters. He could win every Masters he plays the rest of his life. It's unlikely. And if he in fact brings in his A game, and starts winning every week, then I think the rest of us TOUR players will probably have to work a little harder and maybe it will raise the level of our games a little bit. He's go for the sport, provided he handles the things like I think he will, he receives the proper advice. He's got some pretty touchy issues he's going to have to deal with pretty immediately. He's going to get the support of the players. He's a nice, well mannered, courteous young man right now and he's just immediately been put into a different category. It's like your neighbor that made $25,000 all their life and mow their own yard, they just won the lottery, the hundred million dollar lottery. You're not going to look at your neighbor exactly the same way you did the day before he won the lottery. You might want to go mow their lawn and get paid, I don't know.

Q. What are the touchy issues?

MARK BROOKS: What are the touchy issues? You know them better than I do.

Q. What do you think the greatest danger for him is?

MARK BROOKS: The greatest danger? You talk about there's no way he can have burnout. I think burnout is definitely one of the dangers. And burnout meaning the expectations are set so high by everyone surrounding him, media, even his own little inner group, that the potential to setting such lofty goals that they are unreasonable to attain, I think, could lead to a lot of pressure.

Q. Do you have your own bodyguard?

MARK BROOKS: Do I? No, sir, I do not. Although I've got some friends around that are about Lee's size. With have the handgun law in Texas and I don't own a handgun, if that gives you an idea. I just try to drive a fast car. I'd rather get away than fight.

Q. It seems like one of the things that Tiger has is an incredible hunger to win. A lot of the guys on TOUR have that. And a lot of guys on TOUR don't seem to have that (inaudible.) It seems like maybe that (inaudible)?

MARK BROOKS: I think he's good.

Q. He's raised the bar and maybe they're going to have to raise their bar, too?

MARK BROOKS: He's raised the bar in September and October at the end of the year. And his scoring average is phenomenal. But you also have to look at where he's played. And the new year starts and we're playing the Sawgrasses and the Pebble Beaches, we're playing Riviera this year, there's going to be some different types of golf courses that we'll have to play, that he obviously can play well and will play well. But I predict he's not going to play great every week, and he'll bring his B or C game every once in a while. He'll have to deal with a little up-and-down, too. Maybe his up-and-down will be different than everyone else's. I'm just going to tell you, I mean, I hope he appreciates the part of the mountain that he's on right now, I know he can climb to a much higher mountains, but I hope that he appreciates the mountain he's on. I think it would be a grave error to think that he's still in the valley. He's had a tremendous run, and at a time of year that there's other factors involved with other players. It's not that guys are happy that have made only 355 and gone home, they're frustrated. They're figuring out to regroup, make some changes. It's a tough part of the season. It's a tough part of scheduling for guys. They couldn't quite get into this tournament with -- even with a win, so they may have decided to take an extra week off. Most of the guys out here that you would consider veterans don't look at it each year as such a singular, important part of the year. It's a lot longer term outlook than that. And it took me several years to understand that perspective. And so you play bad for five or six weeks in the year. In the course of a 20 year career, it's not going to be that big a hicky. It's going to be when did you play well. You're going to remember -- hopefully you'll remember the times you played really well and won or came close to winning, as opposed to the times you had a five or six week stretch and you were frustrated and said you weren't putting well or whatever happened. You'll remember your close misses, as well. You'll remember your own disasters and cull that. Those tend to be about as vivid and usually you learn more from them than you do when you win.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK BROOKS: I think it shouldn't be that much of a barometer, that's the gist of what I'm trying to say. I mean, he's going to be out here a long time. Whether he finishes first or 30th this week will not have a tremendous bearing on his career, it's how he plays over the next five to ten years, and specifically how he handles the next probably six to 12 months. I think there's going to be -- it's going to have a tremendous bearing and be very instrumental on how he's viewed and how he's accepted by his peers and the public. It's not what's happened up to now, it's what he does from now on. And honestly whether he finishes first or 30th this week shouldn't make any difference in the course of his career. I'm sure it's real important, he's obviously playing well, he's playing and scoring as well, if not better, than anybody in this field coming in here. That's not always an advantage to be the favorite. This probably would not be a golf course that you would favor him on, but he's got the kind of game he can play well anywhere. He's going to play a lot of different types of golf courses, and he's got the game, he can play any golf course. But one example, this is a par-70 golf course. There are two par 5s, one of them is very difficult to reach in two, which is the 5th hole and the other one is No. 13, it's got a pond down in front, it's over a hill, if it's downwind, as when we play here in the summer, everybody reaches the 13th hole. So the scoring here will be slightly different than it's been for him on several of the other events; the driver and the 9-iron to the par 5 and a two putt and it's a birdie. He's going to get eight opportunities here to do that. There are no drivable four pars on this golf course, for example. So it's a little different type of test than he's encountered most of the weeks. And I'm not predicting gloom or doom, I'm just saying this is a different kind of golf course. It's an old, traditional golf course that makes you earn what you get and you're not going to make a lot of birdies out of the trees around this place. These greens have -- certainly if they dry out they've got a lot of slope, a lot of undulation. You can have the ball 15 to 18 feet from the hole here a lot and not have a good birdie putt. So this golf course is very strategic in design and the playing characteristics, there's a lot of strategy involved here. This is not -- you can't just beat this golf course to death with power and length and strength. This golf course has to be finessed. And if you look at the past winners here I think you would find that would hold particularly true, Raymond Floyd, Hubert Green, you go back, Tommy Bolt I believe won here and he was a tremendous driver of the golf ball. But then you had to drive it probably a little more because of the length. The ball is going a little further than it did in 1959. There's a lot more finesse type of golf course, even though it's a big golf course.

Q. Does it more suit your game?

MARK BROOKS: It more suits my game than some golf courses do, certainly. It's designed by the same mind that designed Colonial in Fort Worth where I play. There are significant differences in the golf course in the fact that the terrain is a lot difference. Colonial is a much wider golf course. Colonial you almost rarely get real uneven lies, and here you almost never get real level lies. From a strategic standpoint they are very similar. Both par-70s. Both give up good scores when guys play well, but can also be tremendously frustrating in the fact that they're clay golf courses. They make you earn your birdies.

End of FastScripts....

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