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August 16, 2002

Mark Calcavecchia


JULIUS MASON: Mark, if you would not mind going through your day today, we'll go through the hole-by-hole and we'll go to Q&A, please.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: All right. Started on No. 10 and hit an 8-iron from 180 yards to about two feet and made that. 12th hole, good drive and a nice 6-iron to about eight feet and made that. Next hole, I 3-putted from 40 feet, putted the first one ten feet by, down the hill. 15, great drive and hit a soft 3-wood just left of the green, like an inch into the heavy stuff, but I was ONLY about 30 feet from the hole and chipped it in for eagle, which was nice. Next hole, good 1-iron off the tee. 8-iron to about two feet. Made that for birdie. 18, great drive and a hard 8-iron to about 15 feet and made that for birdie. Then I started getting a little sloppy. Fourth hole, almost shanked a 6-iron and rolled it into the front bunker, had no shot. Blasted that out 20 feet long and made a bogey. Came right back on the next hole and hit a nice, high 7-iron about 166 yards that ended up about 18 inches right behind the hole so that one must have just, like, rolled right over the lip. It was a tough pin on that hole today, so that was a good birdie. Then I had a 3-iron to the seventh hole, perfect yardage, perfect everything, except for my swing. And just got stuck and hit it way right of the green-side trap on the downslope on the rough. From there, I thought I hit a hell of a shot just to get it on the green, 50 feet long, right of the hole, and 3-putted. Then I came right back and hit a 6-iron on No. 8 that flew one inch right of the hole and ended up about three feet. So then back on the good swing again. Then I come right back with a yanked drive on No. 9, which is the first drive in two days I've hit left. It actually kind of surprised me. But anyway, I was basically dead over there, but actually hit a hell of a shot just to get backup by the bleachers. Didn't do a very good job on my free drop, ended up with a horrible lie and made a bogey.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Mark. Questions, folks.

Q. Can you talk about what's been going on with you lately? You withdrew last week -- or a couple weeks ago from The INTERNATIONAL and didn't play real well in the British. Have you been hurt?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Actually, my mom called the Tour because she was wondering why I withdrew. I didn't withdraw. It was one of those goofy things and they corrected it. I did manage to shoot an 80 and a 75 from negative 11 points. I don't know, I signed my card and everything. I thought I must have -- obviously, I didn't take time to add it up because it didn't matter. So, I just assumed that I signed the wrong score card. I thought it should have been a DQ. I played all holes at The INTERNATIONAL. I just stunk. The British Open, things were going well until I made a double and a triple in success there when I was frostbitten on Saturday, so that took care of that. To answer your question, in a nutshell, I'm historically not a great summer player for some reason. I usually do okay through April and then seem to go on about a three-month vacation. Why, I don't know. I wish I could tell you. My interest level has been there. I've thrown in some pretty hard work last week, which I probably need to do more of. But just got lazy, basically. Honestly, I'm just kind of waiting for this Ryder Cup gig to happen, and I've been going through a little bit of stress about that because of the way I've been playing. I know I'll be fine once I get over there, but certainly, a dose of confidence would not do me any harm, and I'm getting there.

Q. What would it mean for you to win a major at this stage of your career, win another major?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, obviously, as great as that would be, I haven't thought a whole lot about it. Last year, actually, gave me confidence, having a couple of fourths, fourth here and fourth at the Masters, that I could get close. You know, there's a long way to go yet. But it would -- I wouldn't say cap off my career. I wouldn't all of a sudden go into a shell and retire if I won. Just did whatever, but I've got nothing else to do but play golf. It would be great, but I would still like to think that I've got a lot of years of great golf left.

Q. How important was the eagle on 15, and how did that catapult the rest of your round?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It was important. I got off to a great start, but I 3-putted the 13th hole, the par 3. I knew 15 was birdieable, and there are some birdie holes out there and I wanted to make sure that I at least birdied the hole. When I saw where my ball was, I had a real easy chip, all I had to do was get on the rough, hit it on a downslope and just feed itself to the hole. It came out of the rough just perfect, and when it went in, I was a surprised. It was nice. But you have to just get right back and regroup and get your mind back on 16, because you can make anything on that hole. I stayed aggressive and hit an 8-iron in there, two feet from the hole there. Sometimes I get on those little birdie-eagle-par-birdie stretches, and next thing you know, you pick up four or five strokes in a hurry, and that's what I did.

Q. Can you talk about yesterday afternoon, you had to play in more of the wind, and there wasn't much this morning when you played. How much difference was that, and how did it affect your round today?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I think we had the best of the weather, for sure. I know it was pretty tough all day, obviously, because there were not that many low scores, but then to be the last group to finish in the dark was nice, so we didn't have to come out and play one hole this morning. And it actually laid down a little bit the last four holes yesterday, so 16 was not impossible or really hard like it was earlier in the day. That was good. And then, this morning, really, Justin had a great round. It was very playable, or possible to shoot a really good score if you played great. There were some good rounds this morning. It was great to have that situation. Now I've got my 36 in. I don't know what's going to happen this afternoon with the weather. If the storm comes in, these guys might be here until dark and have to finish. But I'm glad I'm kind of sitting here right now.

Q. Are you the streakiest player on the Tour, and why are you so streaky?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I probably am, but I'm also streaky bad, which isn't good. I'm emotional, I'm aggressive. When I'm swinging good, I just go right at it, which also works on a lot of occasions when the ball is going the direction I want it to go, I aim at everything and I can make a lot of birdies and get on one of those rolls. On the other hand, that probably backfires a little bit when I'm not swinging good because I just have a hard time aiming in the middle of the greens on certain situations, especially when you're 2-over par. I'm like, what the hell, I'm swinging bad, but I need to make birdies. I've got to aim at the pin. It's just my nature. But the good news is, I've gotten on enough good streaks to be also, streakily, one of the most consistent players in the Top-30 out here. Thank God there's enough good streaks in there to offset the bad ones.

Q. You mentioned the Ryder Cup a minute ago. I'm just curious on two things: A, how you would define or describe pressure in the Ryder Cup, coming from someone whose been who has been in that situation and, two, everybody has talked about how these matches might have a different atmosphere because of 9/11, do you think that will affect the pressure?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Not really. You know, it's something that we do need to keep in mind while we're playing the matches, but once you get over there and you get in the heat of battle and personal pride sets in, the 'ol US-of-A and that sort of thing, playing for your country, there's going to be lots of pressure. I think the crowd will be great. I think the matches will be great, and I think the golf will be great. But pressure-wise, to me, it's probably as intense as it gets. As far as the way I handle it, it will probably be just as intense as if 9/11 wouldn't have happened. You know, that needs to be remembered, obviously -- but I think the matches will be intense and I think the crowd will totally be into it.

Q. You mentioned about having some stress about the Ryder Cup coming up because of how you were playing. What's it been like, you were so eager to get back, what's it been like to have to wait another whole year to experience that?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, last year, I had a good PGA, finished fourth and really felt like I was playing good and getting all excited about the Ryder Cup and whatnot. Then 9/11, and I talked to Curtis a little bit about that, and he was -- when he was driving across country and I was driving across country, we were on the cell phone, and as bad as we felt about the whole deal, I felt bad for Curtis that he had to wait a whole other year to go through the same questions that he just spent the last two years going through. So, it's been tough on everybody. You know, we are going to play at the end of September -- I don't know if I can say it's been a long wait or whatever, but I was joking around with one of my buddies the other day, and he asked me about the Ryder Cup, and I said, "Shoot, the way I'm playing, I'll be riding pine until Sunday. I might as well just fly over there on Sunday and get ready for my singles match." That was a threat Curtis made to me last year at the PGA. He said, "You'd better get off your butt and start playing good, otherwise you'll be riding the pine." I thought about that this year, too, it's time for me to start playing good.

Q. You said you've been working hard on your game and waiting for the Ryder Cup. Are you at a point in life where you need something big to motivate you to work on your game, and the rest of the stuff in between becomes a little routine?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, not really. I do need motivation, but playing bad, sooner or later I get to a point where I just can't take it anymore. I know what I have to do. I have to lose a little bit of weight and I have to do this and I have to do that. Then you say, okay, I'm going to work out at least four days next week, and next thing you know, the whole week goes by and you haven't done a thing. I know what I have to do. It's just a question of doing it. I do need, sometimes, some motivation and reasons to accomplish things. I'm tired of playing bad. I played in practice all but one day last week, and that's hard to do in Phoenix, Arizona, 113 out every day.

Q. What do you think of this golf course, and how can a 7,360-yard course be a position course, with the way it looks on the leaderboard with Lenny Leonard and Furyk?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: You know, it's probably the shortest 7,360 yards in golf. The par 5s, a couple of them are 600-something. I think a lot of the yards you come up with on this golf course is par-5 yards. Some of the other 460-yard par 4s are playing either downwind or short. You know, you don't have to drive it every hole. There's, like, nine driver holes and 1-iron holes and 3-wood holes, so, very important to hit the fairway. The rough is thick, but it's not horrendously thick like the U.S. Open type thick or that type of rough. It's a good golf course. There's enough doglegs out here where you've got to pick your line and like the second hole, you've got to hit it over that fairway bunker which looks like it's way left, but it's not. So, you just have to know where to go. I think it is kind of a position golf course.

Q. Yesterday, obviously, you were out in the fairway stretching out your back and you said earlier you did some exercising last week and knocked it out of joint a little bit. How did it feel today compared to yesterday?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Better today than yesterday. Yesterday it hurt, kind of almost flinching-type hurt. But got away with it. Got up early this morning. Actually, last night, just laid on the floor with my feet up on the couch and just relaxed all of the muscles and slept good. Got up real early and stretched it. I think it's like sometimes you sleep on a bad pillow in a strange hotel and get a kink in your neck. It rains for the first three holes and I made another kind of scrappy swing off the fourth tee yesterday and got stuck, laid the club down behind me, and I don't know what I did but I tried to save it with my hands and I just, like, pinched it. It's tender, but it's not -- it's quite a bit better today than it was yesterday, so I don't anticipate really having any problems with it over the weekend.

Q. What kind of reaction have you had from other players on that Golf Digest interview you did, and are there times you regret being so candid?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I've had unbelievable reaction from it. Every player that's come up and said something to me thought it was great, really thought it was -- they like it because I kind of tell it like it is or whatever. Phil, I apologized to Phil. You know, Phil is cool with it. I just, you know, he said, "Maybe you shouldn't have said a few of the things you said." I said, "I know, I apologize, it just kind of came out." He goes, "I understand, I've been there. You get kind of get put in some spots sometimes by you guys that make things a little uncomfortable." But Phil and I are good friends and we're fine. But as far as everybody else goes, everybody really enjoyed the article. People in airports, all across the country, have said they thought it was a great article. So, I think Jamie, overall, did a great job. I haven't talked to Tiger about it, but he probably didn't even read it. Phil is cool with it and we talked about it. Yeah, there are times I regret what I say, but I think all of the articles I've done in my career, most of them have turned out really good, and I think that's what people like to read, instead of a lot of the usual BS that you hear from athletes.

JULIUS MASON: Mark Calcavecchia. Thanks, Mark.

End of FastScripts...

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