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October 20, 2005

Mark Calcavecchia


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thanks, Mark, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Funai Classic. Another good start, and rolling along after that victory in Canada. Why don't you just talk about the day.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: All right. We played the Palm Course, which I haven't played the Magnolia yet. I know it's quite a bit longer and harder. We're seeing some low scores around the Palm. I needed to shoot a good score today, and I did. I played well, got a great break on one hole. I just snap hooked a drive on No. 7, par 5, into the hazard. I mean, it was dead left. I hit a tree and it popped out on the front edge of the fairway about 100 yards off the tee. I laid up with a 3 iron and hit a sand wedge about three feet and made a 4. It should have been a 6 or who knows what. I'm sure I would have had to drop.

So that was kind of how my day went. I made a couple nice putts and hit some good shots, as well. Just that one bad drive, and overall it was a good, solid round.

Q. Fair to say it started turning around a little bit for you maybe here last year when you were outside the Top 125 and hadn't been here in ten years, and I think you were 4th here?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think I tied for 6th.

Q. That kind of got you in the safe zone, and since then you've been playing with house money?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I was injured most of last year and struggling, the same old story. I came here, wanted to finish in the Top 125. If I didn't I had the Career Money List to fall back on. The pride in me wants to believe I can finish in the Top 125. I hadn't been here in 20 years at this tournament, and I had a good tournament. Yeah, it was a nice confidence booster. It's been a long time since I had a good tournament, and I got over the hump a little bit, and this year I started off playing great and then had a three or four month lull there in the middle, and I don't know where then I won the Canadian Open and it was a great year.

I was looking forward to coming here. It's a different situation for me this year. I'm playing to get in the TOUR Championship instead of keeping my card, so that's a little nicer, definitely a little less pressure, I think. I don't know, I didn't feel pressure today because of that, but that's even if I hadn't played good here last year, I would have been here this year because I am 27th, so you need to play to finish in that Top 30.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: We'll go through your round. You started on No. 10, made birdie on 11.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Made a great up and down on 11. I buried a 5 wood in the front bunker, and it was just really buried, horrendous lie, and I dug it out about 12 feet behind the hole and made that.

And then bad shot on the par 3 right of the green in the rough and chipped in from about 50 feet with a 9 iron.

13, made about a 15 footer with a sand wedge out of the left rough, 15 feet, made that.

15, hit a real nice 8 iron in there, good drive, little 8 iron about five feet, made that.

1, hit a 5 wood pin high in the back right trap over there and had a real easy bunker shot and blasted out to about four feet past the hole and made that.

4, good drive, nice pitching wedge about ten feet, made that.

I already talked about 7.

Then 8 was my best iron of the day, 5 iron about seven feet from the hole, right at it, made that.

Q. Did you happen to go to the meeting last week in Vegas?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I actually skipped Vegas for the first time in my career that I was eligible for it. My blackjack playing has been bad. I figure by not playing there, I probably save myself 50 grand. I guess I shouldn't say that. Not that much, but you know what I mean. It's just pitiful, so I decided to stay away from there.

Q. You feel like you know about some of the variables on the Tour schedule that's being floated for '07 to offer an opinion?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Not really. I mean, I have a couple of opinions, but I

Q. Are you willing to express your opinions?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't think like some of these guys do. There's nothing wrong with the Tour, there's nothing wrong with our schedule, and there's nothing wrong with the amount of tournaments we have. You know, play if you want to play and don't play if you don't want to play. We have enough majors and World Golf Championship events for all the big shots to play against each other, and that's fine with me.

I mean, I know there are a lot of guys out here that need a lot of tournaments. The top guys want to chop some tournaments out and limit the schedule.

Q. (Inaudible).

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Not really, whatever happens happens. I've always been a guy, throughout my whole career, I don't want try to rub anybody the wrong way or complain or throw a stink. However it is, it is. However many tournaments we have, that's great, or if we have less, I really don't care, either. I'm pretty much going to play the same amount.

Q. (Inaudible).

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I guess essentially there will be a few that won't be hanging around. Basically from what I've heard which is a shame. I really don't know which ones they are, but some are tournaments that I always go to. It would be a shame for that particular community when the tournament has been there for however many years to all of a sudden not have one. It would be kind of a bummer.

Q. (Inaudible).

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't think anything about the PGA TOUR is broken. I think we have the best sports league in the world.

Q. Were the injuries the main difference from last year.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah. Well, I still do that. It's hard to say. It's just the nature of the game with me. I'm a pretty happy guy when I'm playing well, and when I'm not, I don't really enjoy myself a whole lot out there. I just can't smile and have a good time shooting 73s and 74s. Everybody loves Fred Couples, but he was miserable today, plus he was sick. I felt real bad for him today. He was really sick. I didn't think he was going to make it. Yeah, he just wanted to be anywhere but on the course. I'm kind of the same way. Freddie and I are very similar in that respect.

You know, last year I didn't putt very good at any stretch last year, and obviously I putted very good for two days in Canada, and I putted great today. I'm having some stretches where I'm making some putts. You've got to make putts out here, otherwise you can forget it.

Q. The only over par round was the day you got married; were you beating yourself up that day?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, I wasn't beating myself up. I wasn't bitching a lot. I was trying as hard as I could, but I was just useless, but I stunk. I couldn't play any worse. Everybody was like, oh, your mind is not into it, you're getting married tonight. I said, no, I can't use that as an excuse. I was ready to play. It was just one of those things.

Q. What has Brenda meant for you in terms of your game? I've read a couple stories where (inaudible) if you're getting too down on yourself?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: She has a really nice way of doing it, too. That's the great thing. She's just so sweet. I'll be bitching or complaining, and I'll say, "my back is killing me, I'm not going to make it past the 9th hole," and she's like, "yes, you are. You can't walk off the course. You're a professional. You've got to gut it out, come on." Just a nice way of saying it. Then other times she gets a little more forceful. Not like she's bitching at me. It's a pep talk. You know, "come on, honey, I love you." It's got a little force to it, just play like you know how and get your head out of your ass and whatever.

After she talks to me or something, I told her, I want to look for her, I like talking to her once or twice during the round, especially when things aren't going well. Then I walk to the next tee, and it's like, okay, she's with me, I can turn it around and then we'll both be happy, and that's kind of the way I think.

Q. I don't know if it was in Canada or what, but was there a time when you were thinking about making a plane reservation to get home?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That was Milwaukee. I was six shots out of the cut with 13 holes to go, and my back was killing me. I was 3 over for the day at Brown Deer Park, and the next thing I know I played the next 13 holes 9 under after her little pep talk. I wanted to get the 4:30 flight out, get back to Phoenix. I was looking for a pay phone, anything. I was looking for the PGA TOUR travel. That's when she said you can't all your cousins are here and your family is here, and they came to see you play golf, so start playing golf like you know how is basically what she said.

Again, just another lesson to myself that even when I get down, I know I can shoot a 29 or 30 on any nine holes in the world. Sometimes it seems pretty hopeless, but it's still possible.

Q. What would it mean to you if you were to make the TOUR Championship this year?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I mean, it wouldn't be that big a deal. You know, I played in the thing 10 or 11 years in a row, whatever it was. I was just always a Top 30 player. That was just a spot I was used to being. Now I haven't been there for three years. I figured eventually I'd get back there if I felt decent enough.

You know, I won't say it was a goal at the start of the year, but now I'd love to be there. I'm playing hard to try to get there. But other than that, that's about all. It's not any patting myself on the back, great job, you're in the Top 30 on the Money List, big deal.

Q. Q school finals are going to be here in December. Off the top of my head


Q. Well, not at this course, Orange County National right outside of town. You went through that at age 20 after you left Florida. What were your experiences there? Was it as bad as you heard and did you have any personal horrific tales of woe that you had to endure?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I had no vision of making it. I was right out of two and a half years of college, I had been playing the mini Tours for five months. I thought, well, I'll enter this thing. Matter of factly, made it to the third round, I was right in the hunt I was so far out of it mentally, to think that I could actually make it on the PGA TOUR, me and three buddies had about ten pitchers of beer. I had a massive hangover on the fourth round. Back then it was only a four rounder. Not to mention I got stuck in a traffic jam and overslept. I ripped into the parking lot, drove up to the 1st tee on the Palm Course. It was here, the Palm Course was the final. Parking lot was right there, jumped out, put my shoes on, went to the tee and shot 68 and made it by one.

Q. You just never know.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It's awful. Then they told me I had to hang around for two days and go to this ridiculous school thing. I called my parents and said, "I don't have any idea what just happened. I guess I'm on the Tour. What do I do now?" I was out of my comfort zone. I honestly didn't even think I wanted to be there.

Q. Were you the youngest guy

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Until Ty Tryon qualified, I think I was the youngest guy to make it on the Tour.

Q. What year was that?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That was the summer of '81, or spring. They had two schools then. They had two schools for a few years there.

Actually I was just telling Fred Couples today on 16, there was a par 3 and the back tee wasn't there yet. It was a 9 iron, downwind, and the pin was sort of on the back side of the green, and there's a beach off the left side of the green. I hit it over there with a 9 iron, which is that way, and I made it from there out of the sand and weeds and hacked it out of there. It must have been a 40 yard bunker shot and I somehow parred the last two holes. I holed it from the beach. There's a palm tree, you can't even see it, I was right next to that, 25 years ago. It's like a beach bunker over there.

End of FastScripts.

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