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April 28, 2002

Mark Calcavecchia


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Mark, for joining us. Pretty tough conditions out there. Rocco played pretty well. Why don't you just make a couple of comments on the day and then we'll go into some questions.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Thanks. It was a very tough day. You know, the wind was okay, but honestly -- and this isn't an excuse, but all that pollen flying around almost killed me on the front nine. I mean, literally, snot was dripping down my nose. I don't know how you want to phrase that. I sneezed like 8 times on the seventh hole. My eyes were so fogged over from sneezing and watering and itching, I couldn't hardly see. I can honestly say that bothered me today, all the way up to 16, when it eased up a little bit. And then it would kind of fly down your throat and gag you. Everybody was coughing and hacking out there. It was tough. My eyes feel like I've been awake all night.

Aside from all those excuses, Rocco played good. He drove it great. And thre three fairways he missed he made three pars and a birdie and he made some great par saves. So I thought he drove great and putted great. Me, on the other hand, same story, all over the place. Made some great saves. The only difference really between today and the last two days I probably had three or four more putts. I just didn't make as many putts as I've been making. I missed three six- or seven-footers on the front nine. I hit all three of them the way I wanted to. I wasn't seeing the line like I was the last three days, really that was the difference.

Q. How do you feel about the week overall?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Any time you have a chance to win and you don't, it's a little disappointing. It won't take me long to get over that. I have to look at it like you know, the way I hit it, to finish second alone was a minor miracle, honestly. I did not deserve to win the tournament. That doesn't mean I wouldn't have taken it if I would have. There have been some tournaments won where the guys didn't really deserve it, but I would have gladly accepted the trophy. The better player won this week and today. I will look at it that way and sit back and say I made a bunch of miraculous saves around the greens and finishing second isn't too bad.

Q. How big a swing was number 5?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: We both hit bad tee shots. That was huge, five and six and seven, really from that point on he was in the driver's sit. I hit a solid three wood and I didn't cut it and it went through the fairway. It wasn't in that bad of a spot. He flared a four wood way up in the air and it drifted way right. I thought he would be in the junk over there and really he was in a pretty good spot on some bare dirt with a clear shot to the pin. That was a two shot swing. And then he birdied the next hole, made a nice putt after a good sand wedge. Then I yanked by tee ball into the trees on 7. That's when I had my sneezing attack. I was struggling on there on 7 and 8. And really from that point on -- you know then he had the four-shot lead and I goofed up and didn't birdie 9. I hit a good putt there that didn't break right. And really I think the end of the match was when Rocco got up and down from right of the greenside trap on 10 making that 25-footer. I thought I hit a pretty good shot. I thought I would be on the fringe about 15 feet from the hole, turns out it was in the next cut of rough. I still thought I could chip it in and get a two-shot swing there and get back into the thing. And I didn't chip it in and he drained the putt. And then I just duck hooked a 3 wood off the next tee and made a bogey and he made par, and from then on I was pretty much toast.

Q. Did you know about the putting record when you were out there?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. I never thought of it all day. I was aware I didn't have many putts. I read in the paper or somebody told me I had 67 putts through three days, and then I kind of went back and thought, How can that be, and I thought all the greens and the fringes and I must have putted 10 times in four days from an inch off the green. It's luck obviously. I did putt great all week. I won't deny that. But to miss as many greens as I did is almost impossible on top of that. Hey, a record is a record, right.

Q. Is this the best putting tournament you've had, given the record or have you had better ones?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It's hard to say. At Phoenix last year when I shot 28 under. I putted great, but I hit every iron shot right at the flag. Obviously to make birdies you have to do some pretty nifty putting. It seemed like I putted better this week because they were all for par, unfortunately, or most of them. Those are just as important as birdie putts. A putt is a putt, and a lot of those great pars I made, those nice 8 -, 10-footers for pars really kept my round going, which enabled me to keep some momentum and shoot a decent score. Probably seems like I putted better this week than I did in Phoenix.

Q. Talk about the improvement in your putting over the last few years.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I went to the claw a couple of years ago at the TPC and putted good immediately after that. It was like a night-and-day turnaround for me. I putted pretty good for the most part the last year. I had a little bit of a dry spell there in the summer. But then this year, really didn't putt very well at all, at least in my opinion, and that's why I tried the belly claw and I thought I was on to something there at the TPC with an open stance. I talking to Paul Azinger about it and it felt pretty good, but I actually got worse with it the more I putted with it. I thought it would be the other way around. I thought I would get more comfortable with it, and I actually got shakier with it. So after I four-jacked 15 at the Masters to miss the cut, that was it for the belly claw. I was done with it and went back to the conventional claw.

End of FastScripts....

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