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April 25, 2002

Mark Calcavecchia


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: I'd like to welcome Mark Calcavecchia 65, he's 7-under par thus far and current leader in the club house. Get us started a little bit on how it went today and maybe about your expectations for the week.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Thanks, Joel. Anyway, it was obviously a great score today. I wasn't expecting it, to tell you the truth, although I did play well, my last nine holes, and last week down in Hilton Head and shot 30 and went from about 50th to 10th in nine holes, that's hard to do. Stayed down in Hilton Head, played golf Monday and Tuesday, just played a lot of golf and I feel I'm putting well.

Today, I made 7 birdies and no bogeys, and I really honestly think the key to my hole round and 9, 10 and 11, I could have made a couple of doubles and a bogey in those holes and made 3 miraculous pars, I felt great getting to the 12th tee, so I was hoping to really shoot 3 or 4 under and get a little run and make 5 in a row was nice. That's the way I play sometimes. I never know when 5 in a row are coming. It doesn't happen very often but it's fun when it does.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Can you go through your round.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 1st hole I drive, 9-iron 10 feet and made that for birdie. Parred all the way around, missed a couple of short birdie putts on 2 and 7 and 6, and 8 is a hard Par 3 and hit a good 4-iron to the back of the green, about 20 feet to the hole and chipped it down the hole and chipped in for birdie from off the green.

Q. 13 through 17?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 13, 5 off the tee, and 5-wood over the green, chipped up to about two feet with an L wedge.

14 I hit a good drive and hard sand wedge to 15 feet and made that for birdie.

15 I laid up, good drive and laid up with a 7 iron to a pitching wedge; yardage that was good and actually pulled it a little bit about 20 feet left of the hole, but I made that for birdie.

16 I hit a great drive and hard wedge to about 6 feet, made that for birdie and 17 I hit a 7 iron to about four feet, made that for birdie.

Q. Can you go back to 9, 10 and 11, what happened on those holes and how you saved par?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. 9, for some reason I tried to hit a hook off the tee and tow-snap-hooked it, and a little creek slash ditch down there and was in the hazard under a rock, so had to hit a penalty drop, and hit semi outside ways and a rope snap hook and I just prayed I would end up in the fairway, I hit a miraculous shot, 3 limbs by about an inch, I got into the fairway just short of that bunker down there, and had a hard L wedge in there about 3 feet and made it for par. I was looking at seven there. I was just somehow trying to figure out how to make it stick. So that was a bonus.

10, I hit it in the left rough, then I hit it in the right bunker and hit a bad bunker shot by about eight feet by and made that down the hill.

No. 11 I was going to hit a nice sliding driver around the corner and came over the top of it and yanked it. It went into the Pine trees clearly heading out of bounds, through into the Pine trees out of there damn nearby the 8th tee and ended up in the Pine trees in the Pine straw. Then I hit another sweeping duck hook out of there and ended up getting the back of the back trap with no shot and then I just fanned my L wedge open as far as I could and hit this unbelievable bunker shot and landed just a couple of inches over the deep stuff, trickled through the next cut, trickled through the fringe and rolled down a foot from the hole. I could stand out there the rest of day and not hit it that close. It was 3 really unbelievable pars and then I hit a good shot on 12 and resettled back down and got going after that.

Q. Can you ever remember 3 holes like that where you saved something like that?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Not really in a row. Sometimes in the course of a round you might make a couple of lucky pars in a row where I was just completely out of sorts. What was weird, I never missed a shot the first eight holes, and then I hit a hook, there used to be in-course OB over in the fairway, but there's not any more. It was ugly and then I just never hit a shot for 3 holes. To make 3 pars was getting away with 3 to 5 shots, and then again I never missed a shot the last 7 holes. It was a lucky little stretch for me.

Q. So you had 11 putts in the last 11 holes?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I did. I had 23 for the day and I had 12 putts after 7 holes and then started with a chip in on eight. The only two putt I had the rest of the day was on 12. I one-putted 10, 11 and 13 through 18, and nine. 11 putts the last 11 holes. A lot of good things can happen when that kind of thing happens to you, it's pretty hard to screw up from there.

Q. (Inaudible) ?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I couldn't walk, basically. To make a long story short, I've got a bad heel problem with my foot, plantar fasciitis, I've got a bone spur and a torn tendon and I have got tendinitis in my ankle, so I had the fitness guys tape it up every day, and Saturday night when I took the tape off, they didn't put an underlisting under your foot and I ripped a chunk of flesh off the bottom of my foot right under my little toe. It was gross. And not to mention I couldn't even walk on it, let alone, I couldn't get off my right side. I walked the whole day on the inside of my foot and for the next 5 days after that, the pain in my shin and knee were unbelievable, because when you favor something, had I not been in the fifth or sixth place or whatever I was, I wouldn't even have played honestly. I couldn't walk. I was still hanging in there trying to. I birdied 10 and to go back to 5 over, trying to shoot somewhere in the 76, 77, 78 range, and I just couldn't hit it. It was ugly.

Q. No problems now?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: The flesh is all healed. My heel still hurts. I've got issues with my left foot. I did a lot of work on it, I've got orthotics, after my round in Hilton Head, I went to and bought Footjoy tennis shoes with soft spikes and played in those Monday and Tuesday. They actually felt pretty good. I haven't got the nerve to pull them out on tour here, for the grief I may incur for doing that. My heel is actually getting better, which is good. It's not killing me at the end of each day like it has been, so hopefully it will just gradually work itself out.

Q. Mark, does this course suit your game, do you think?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think it does, because No. 1, you have to drive the ball well here, I'm generally a pretty good driver of the ball. I've always been in the top 15, 20 players in total driving on the tour. I think the shots on the greens require a higher spinning shot, you know there are so many little areas where there are downslopes with not much green where you have to put a lot of spin on it and bring it in there high with a fade and that definitely suits my game. So yeah, I mean, as much as anybody, I really do. It's one of the reasons I keep coming back here. The course is phenomenal shape this year. The fairways are the best I've ever seen them, and we've got Scott Hoch to thank for the eight inch rough.

Q. He withdrew.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Did he tee it up today?

Q. No.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I know he's having trouble with his eyes, that's too bad. I remember him bitching about the lack of rough last year. We all have Scott to thank for this U.S.-Open-type-stuff we're hacking out of this week.

Q. Mark, what do you think about the changes on No. 2, the Par 5?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I liked it better before, actually, because it was kind of an exciting hole. You have got to absolutely bomb a couple to get there now, and before, you know, I thought it might have been a little more exciting for the fans if you hit a great drive you can hit a long iron or a 5-wood or something and maybe make an eagle and now some of the longer players can still get there in 2 but I hit a great drive and hit 268 to the front and tried to hit a 3 wood to get it down there because the pin was in front, hit it in the right rough 30 yards short of the green, I didn't get a birdie, but I don't see the point of it, honestly. I don't like it.

Q. Has your short game improved recently? It seemed that saved you today.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It's just been average. It was phenomenal today, but it hasn't been that great. I started putting pretty good last week in Hilton Head. I went to my regular clog grip, got rid of the belly button thing. And really putted great Sunday at Hilton Head, played a couple of rounds of golf Monday and Tuesday, and putted good those days, so I felt my putting was coming around and yesterday putted well, so I think I'm getting into a groove with my putting again, so that will always help.

End of FastScripts....

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