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April 26, 2002

Mark Calcavecchia


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Mark, for joining us. A good solid day out there today and it looks like you maintain your position. Why don't you talk about your round and maybe the weekend.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Okay, Joan. Thanks. It was a little bit of an adventure out there for me. I didn't hit enough fairways. The rough here will eventually get to you. And again, when you don't hit the fairways, you're not going to give yourself an opportunity to hit an iron shot anywhere near the hole, or near the green for that matter to make birdies. I got away with some great pars again today. My putting is phenomenal, so if I can get on the green a little bit faster, I'm going to make some birdies.

I hit a great drive on the last hole so I'm onto something. I'm real curious to go to the range here and see if I can work it out. I think my timing was just a little bit off today. Maybe my arm swing was faster than my lower body wanted to go, and my timing was just off. I'm going to work on that a little bit. And as far as the weekend goes, I think I expect to drive it better and be there Sunday afternoon. As I said, I'm putting great, so I'm optimistic and looking forward to that.

Q. The conditions out there today. You got a little bit of a break. The afternoon guys yesterday played in more wind.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: There's no doubt we got clearly the weather break. That happens almost every week. It hardly ever evens out where the scores average exactly the same in both halves of the draw. But I can also tell you. I was on the wrong end of the weather for about six straight weeks earlier in the year, so that all evens itself out by the end of the year. No doubt you're right about that, and it was great out there this afternoon. Very little wind. And I know it was tough yesterday afternoon, so we got lucky there.

Q. (Inaudible)

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, I don't really don't. You hear it every week, do you like your position, or whatever. And sure, it's always best to be in the lead. But I may not be in the lead. Robert Gamez is playing great on the back nine. Honestly, I didn't even think about where I was in relation to the leader board pretty much the whole last 10 or 11 holes. After I chipped in for eagle on 15, then I was all of a sudden in a very aggressive mode again to try to get as many under as I could, and then I started hitting it all over the place and from that point on I was just concerned with making the lowest score I could make on every hole and I didn't know what everyone else was shooting, honestly. It was a grind, but I played smart and got away with a few things. I'm definitely in a great spot.

Q. Is it just a matter you were a little fast or was there something wrong with your swing?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't think there was something wrong with my swing. I think my lower body today was a little slow. In other words, I'm just trying to match up my arm swing with my lower body, and I think I was kind of sliding and sagging with my legs and my hips and not really clearing aggressively like I should have been. And honestly, I think that's the only thing I was really doing wrong today. I was kind of aware of it, but some days even if you know what you want to do, your mind is telling you what to do, you just can't physically do it. For what reason, I don't know. I really still feel like my swing is in a good position. I just need to just maybe time things a little bit better over the weekend and I think I'll be able to do that.

Q. Mark, if you'll allow me, the old Mark Calcavecchia, when things started slipping away, would get so mad at himself sometimes he couldn't bring it back like you've been bringing it back. Is this a more patient Mark Calcavecchia we're talking to?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. I shot 79 -- well, I'm not even going to mention the 86 at the TPC because I was completely physically injured where I couldn't even walk. The Masters, I kept telling myself to hang in there, bogey bogey, bogey. I kept missing putts, creek, raised creek, bogey, the next hole, double bogey. Sometimes I get going on a downward spiral just as fast as I can make 5 birdies in a row. That's the way I play golf. That's my nature. When things aren't going my way, I just can't get fired up to concentrate hard enough to make good shots.

On the other hand, today, I'm actually having fun out there. I'm enthusiastic out there. I need to play well. I have got a lot of things coming up. The Ryder Cup in September, and I've got to get myself in better shape, still working on my foot. So there is no need for me to have an explosion out there and lose my attitude and get mad for no reason. So I'm going to -- I'm very mentally actually sound this week.

Q. How would you compare the two rounds between yesterday and today?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: My short game was somewhere, but I definitely hit it better yesterday. I had a lot more birdie chances yesterday. I made seven birdies yesterday, two birdies and an eagle today. I had a couple of other pretty easy makeable birdie putts that I ended up missing, but I just didn't have that many chances to roll in any birdie putts. I was basically struggling for pars a lot of the time. Eventually that may or may not catch up to you. So far it hasn't. That's why I just need to hit a little bit better, hit more fairways, and obviously I'll be able to hit mere greens from the fairway and make more birdies.

Q. Is that your target this weekend?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Definitely. I'm not being greedy, I'm not expecting to go out and hit every fairway or even 12 or 13. That would be nice, but if I can pick off 10 fairways a day on Saturday and Sunday, I'm sure that I'll shoot some good scores if I can do that.

Q. What does it say out there for the competition now. With a guy like Gamez who is firing away?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: He's still a heck of a player. Everybody goes through tough times in their career and he's been having a tough time for the last five or six years. That doesn't mean he can't play. Confidence is an amazing thing. Robert still -- he hasn't changed his aggression. When I've seen him play, he's firing at the pin. So just with the caliber players we have on tour today, pretty near everyone can win.

Phil Tataurangi, who knew Phil was going to play good this week. He fired a 92 here a couple of years ago, granted he was so injured he couldn't hit it, but you don't expect Phil to come out of nowhere. He went through the Tour School and he's played great golf this year. So in any given week anybody can do it. That's our slogan: These guys are good. And they're all good.

Q. Is this your week?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I'm not thinking about it yet. I'll let you know in about 48 hours from now.

Q. When did you go back to the normal putting style?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Last week after I got done with the pro am at Hilton Head, I just -- you know, the belly thing was -- I tried it two or three months ago and it didn't feel great and I tried it again at the TPC and I really opened my stance and I thought I was on to something and putted good the first three days, and then it all went south when my foot got hurt on Sunday. And I took it to The Masters and I just couldn't deal with it on those greens. More than anything, it's just not me. I don't know whether my belly is too big to use it or what. I mean, I've got a big ol' belly button. I plug it in there. It just ain't me. So I thought, I did okay. I've got to suck it up and go back to the regular claw. At Hilton Head, Wednesday after the pro am, I practice putted with it and said, okay, I'm going back with this.

Q. You hear about that on tour, being self-conscious, about the way they look?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, not at all. You know, it doesn't bother me. I've never been afraid to try things, whether it's that or a long putter. I'll do what it takes to get the job done as best I can, no matter how it looks. I've never been a fashion stud, you know. I'm not too worried about how I look.

Q. Is that one of your original putters?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It's a copy of an old one. Oddly enough it's a brand new putter. I sent my old putter, the one I used in the late '80s, it's an extremely light putter but back then I didn't have the yips so I could use it. It still looked good to me, so I asked the guys at Ping, can you make me a putter that looks exactly like this one. They took it, found a chunk of brass, made a mold of my old putter and made this putter for me and gave it to me at The Masters, and I brought it out and used it on Sunday at Hilton Head. So it's going well. I love it.

Q. It's heavier?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yes, it's like E2. It's very heavy and that's the weight. I like heavy putters.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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