home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 18, 2001

Mark Calcavecchia


JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We are at the third round at the 83rd PGA Championship, and Mark Calcavecchia has fired a 66 today. Mark, if you would not mind giving us some opening thoughts on your round, we'll go through the card and we'll go to Q&A please.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Okay. Obviously, it was a good score for me. I finally made some putts, which was a difference. The first two days, I hit 15 greens each of the first two days -- actually the first day, I hit 15 greens and two par 5s in two and had 35 putts and shot 1-over. So that's pretty desperate. It was a little better yesterday. Then today I finally started on the seventh hole on, you know, I just kept searching and I finally came up with something that helped a lot, like keeping my head still, which is a pretty basic rule of putting. Without really noticing, I was watching the putter go back with my eyes, so I just tried to stare at the back of the ball and hit it and that seemed to make the difference. It was nice to roll a few in, but 66 was a good score for me today.

JULIUS MASON: Would you mind just going through the card quickly.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Okay. I parred the first five. Missed a couple of easy 6-foot birdie putts. One of them was on 4 and one of them was on 5. I bogeyed 6. I hit it in the left trees and hacked that in the front bunker, blasted out about eight feet and missed that. But then I finally made a putt on 7. I hit a 6-iron about 15 feet right of the hole and made that. Hit a good putt and made it, so that was nice. Then parred 8. 9, I missed a 10-footer for birdie, but I hit a great putt. So I was like -- even though I missed the putt, I picked up a little confidence heading to the back nine. My goal was to shoot 5-under. I thought I could do it. Two good shots on 10. I hit a 9-iron about eight feet below the hole and made that. Again, a confidence-builder for me. 12, I birdied, after a bad drive way right. Punched out short. Laid up, hit a sand wedge about 15 feet and made that. Birdied No. 14. Good drive, 7-iron about 15 feet behind the hole and I made that. Birdied 15. I hit a pretty hard 3-iron about -- really good shot -- about 15 feet right of the hole and I made that. Then made a great par on 16 from the short left of the green in the mouth there. I hacked that out. Flopped that out about 10 or 12 feet past the hole and had a straight downhill right-to-lefter and I made that for par. Really hit two good slots on 17 and 18. Had a couple of 2-putts, but I managed to 2-putt, so it was good.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Mark. Questions folks, please.

Q. With a 64 the first day and a 63 yesterday, I think a lot of us thought there would be another low score. Is there one? Is the course changing at all?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It's changing a little bit. Although it is playing shorter because the fairways are firming up, the greens are quite a bit faster today. I notice that on the putting green this morning right off the bat on the first green, so they are syringing a little bit out there. They are firming up. There's a little bit of breeze. You know, the last couple of holes, 15 is not too bad today. Although it is 243, it is downwind, so it is a 3-iron, and the pin is all the way back. So unless you completely miss one you should be able to get it over the water. But 16, 17 and 18 are playing very difficult. You know, I don't see any 63s or 64s out there today, really. I noticed a couple guys shot 4-under. Brian Gay is having a good day I noticed. You never know, there might be one, but as a whole I think the scores will be higher today than they were the first two days.

Q. A two-part question, if you'll allow me. No. 1, what about the wind, which is the first time you've had any wind out there; and pin placements, say, for the last five or six holes, the way the greens are holding up, going to be a little tougher on some of the guys up front, maybe giving them a chance to back up to your minus five?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I noticed yesterday, really basically yesterday morning, I shot 2-under and I went from 72nd to 44th place. It seems a little tougher today and I shot two shots better than I did yesterday. So I should pick up some good rounds. I don't know how far I'm going to be behind or what place I'm going to be in, but I'm going the right direction. I'm betting better every day. The pins are tough. Like I said, the greens are quite a bit faster than they have been. And the pins on 16, 17 and 18 are tough. You know, I just really, really hit a real hard drive on 18. I still had 223 to the hole. Chris Riley, who is not short, probably had 240. So it doesn't matter where the pin is when you've got 240 over water; it's a tough shot. I think there is a little bit of breeze, which there has not been the first two days. Granted it's not much. It's a club here or there, but it's something that you have to pay attention to.

Q. Where things stand right now it looks like you are pretty definite for the Ryder Cup and it's been a while since you've been there. Could you share some thoughts about going back to that competition?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, it's been a goal of mine from the start. Really, it's been a goal of mine since '91 once I reevaluated what happened there and came close in '95. Faxon shot 63 the last day to pass me by one point. So that hurt. But anyway, yeah, I've been talking to Curtis a little bit about it, and a lot of guys are playing good here, that need to. It's really pretty amazing. From 11 on down, a lot of guys are playing some good golf. Curtis was kidding me a couple of days ago, he says, "You'd better kick it in gear. You might have six guys pass you this week." I don't know if that's possible, but you know, I played good today, and I'm just -- I'll be looking forward to it big time. I have thought about it and thought about what I need to do heading into the Matches, you know, as far as working out, getting in a little bit better shape, losing a few pounds, getting my mental game going, talking to the right people to get myself every opportunity to play the best I can over there. It's going to be very important for me.

Q. You were talking about you went back to reevaluate what happened in '91. How did you evaluate and what did you come up with?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Just in a nutshell, the three Ryder Cups I have played in, '87, '89, and '91, I honestly didn't have any fun in any of them. It's fun to win your matches, and believe it or not in the Presidents Cup I had more fun when we got shellacked down in Australia than at the Ryder Cup, because it's all a mindset. We lost in '87. We tied in '89, which was the same as a loss; about four of five of us hit it in the water on the last hole. We won at Kiawah, but, you know -- what I mean was I just took it way too personal. I thought it was like -- I felt like the weight of everything was on me, when, in fact, it's just a game. You go out and do your best. You've got 11 of the best players in the world as your teammates and one player does not win or lose a Ryder Cup. I felt like when I got done in '91, I just knew it was going to come down to the wire and I just knew my finish was going to cost us a Ryder Cup, and that's when I had a hard time. So I won't -- I won't fall for that again no matter what happens. I will enjoy myself over there.

Q. When was that, that you reevaluated was it soon after, and did you let that affect your game for any length of time?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, it didn't affect me at all. Matter of fact, the next week, I went to play in the Texas Open at San Antonio and not one single player, you know, gave me some sort of backhanded like "Nice finish" or -- you know, everybody just said, "Great playing." They congratulated me. I did go 2-1-1. I won my two alternate matches with Payne and I tied with Monty and I lost with Corey. But the week before the Ryder Cup I shot a pair of 77s in Milwaukee, which is like shooting a 83s anywhere else. So I didn't have any game, so 2-1-1 was not bad. I think a lot of people helped me look at it that way. And I got a ton of letters, and not honestly one bad thing from anybody. So I got over it in a real big hurry. And I finished I think fifth at the Texas Open the next week. So I went right back and played some good golf. You know, it was right after that, in that week where I just kind of said -- man, I just freaked out for no reason. I've got to lighten up. You go out, you try your hardest, you do the best you can do, and that's what I'm going to do this year. I've got -- like I said, I've got 11 teammates that can pick up the slack for me.

Q. Did you find the Ryder Cup to be too pressurized generally, just too much of an intense atmosphere, just for everybody, not just yourself?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yes and no. I mean, there is more pressure in that event than anything else, but also, I just think because the whole word is watching, as opposed to when you go and play in the Buick Open up there in Flint, Michigan. Me and my mom and my brother and my sister are about the only two that really give a crap. So you go from the whole world to four people, it's a little bigger stage. But on the other note, you know, there is also the pressure within, because you want to win. You want to play great. I never want to play bad, obviously, no matter where you are playing, but in that situation, because you do have 11 teammates and their wives and families and everybody involved, you know, plus the entire country, that's real pressure there.

Q. A lot of people seem to think that you lost that match because the way you ended, and you halved the match; and you have a guy like Justin two years ago who halved his match and he's looked at as one of the heroes. Can you talk about the dichotomy of the perceptions there?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, it is kind of weird the way it turns out that way. Justin was 4-down I think after 10 or 11? I was 4-up, and he ended up losing the last hole, but the putt on 17 got him 1-up, which was the half a point we needed. And I was 4-up with four to go. I went the wrong way and he went the right way. Granted, we both halved our matches and they did go down to the wire. I never really thought of that, Greg, how that works out that way. The other thing a lot of people don't realize is I actually hit great shots on 16 and 18. It was a terrible wind for me. It was howling in left-to-right and that's not my favorite wind. It's my least favorite. I actually hit shots into 16 and 18 too good, it too low and it too solid so went over the green and I was dead. Not like I completely fell apart, but the way it worked out, I just lost the last four holes and I didn't handle it very well.

Q. Not do belabor this too much, but do you recall playing pretty well to get to 4-up? I mean, were you -- were you, I don't know how much you remember, but is it something that's very clear still?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Oh, yes, it's real clear. I can pretty much remember what happened on every single hole, although it's ten years ago. I was 5-under after nine. I think I shot -- I think I shot 5-under on the front. We both hit perfect drives on 10 and then Monty buries it in the bunker on 10 so I kind of hit it a little long over the back right of the green and then he drained his bunker shot, so now I'm 4-up and he birdied 11 and then I'm 3-up and then we tied three holes and I won 14, the par 3, to go back to 4-up. Then I hit one about 100 yards right on 15 out in the ocean, so that was the end of that hole; made about an 8. I think he won with a double or something. It was ugly. It's not like Monty exactly pured it the last four or five holes either. He tripled 14. I think he bogeyed 15. He parred 16. He doubled 17. He played the last five about 5-over and won them all. Anyway, I hit that shot just over the green on 16 and was in a sand -- it wasn't sand, but it was like a footprint, a buried lie where everybody walks over the green; Kiawah is all sand dunes and crap. And the famous 2-iron on 17 after Monty already flared one in the water. The reason I did that is I didn't think it was enough club and I just got out so far head of it, I smothered it. I was so far ahead of it, I was trying to hit it low, hard and left; I must have been over here and I just hit a diver in the water. We both dropped. Hit it on the green. He missed. I putted up about two feet. Had that for the win. Yanked that. So there we were on 18. I remember Ray Floyd, he was trying to pump me up, and, "Great drive, Calc," I smoked one right down the middle, hit a tee iron right to a place I could not get up up-and-down. So that was it. I do remember it well. (Laughter.)

JULIUS MASON: Not bad. (Laughs). Questions, folks?

Q. Was the pressure you felt over any of those shots anymore than what you might have felt in winning the British Open in '89?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I'd say. So I mean, I didn't miss that 2-footer because I was calm, let's put it that way. You know, go through different waves of pressure. I'm standing out there on 18 fairway today waiting for the group to putt out, and a little pressure builds up because obviously you don't want to hit a bad shot. Then all of a sudden it was time to go and I just got back to business. I got back into my concentration. So you go through different levels of pressure. But in the British Open, I remember the only time I really got super nervous was on the 72nd hole where I knew I needed a birdie to have any chance because Norman was already in and a massive wave of pressure crept in and I backed off the shot. And I just said, "There's no way around it. If you want to win this tournament, you have to hit this thing close." Just changed my mindset from seeing nothing to stiffing it and I hit it three feet. I got nervous for a second there, but other than that, I was very relaxed in the playoff. I didn't even know it was a four-hole playoff until Wayne Grady got done and I was like, "What's the first playoff hole?" And they go, "You're going to 1." "1?" I said, "It's a driver and a chip par 4. What kind of playoff hole is that?" "And then, 2 and then 17, 18." I didn't know it was a four-hole playoff. That's how out in space I was. No, I think the Ryder Cup is more pressure. I think that most -- I can't speak for the other 11 guys. But in my case, I'm probably more nervous in that event than I will be tomorrow or any other tournament.

Q. Is it a function of perspective or time or maturity or what is it that has given you this new angle that you are not going to let that happen to you again?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Probably maturity. Lessons learned. I'm not the smartest guy on the planet, but I do pay attention to the way things go sometimes. Events are enough up-and-downs in my life to kind of realize I've got to start learning from them. That was a lesson I learned. You know, I just got way too overhyped, you know. It was crazy. And that doesn't mean, you know if something happens out there, I'm not going to speak negatively or anything. If something goes the wrong way that doesn't mean I'm not going to be pissed or upset or down for a little while, but I'm not going to freak out, basically and what I'm trying to say. I'm going to look at Tiger or Phil or whoever my partner is and tell them they have to step it up a little.

Q. How close is your career to being complete and what will it take for you to feel like you have a complete career?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Actually, staying alive probably would be a good start. You know I'm a long ways from done. I'm going to win more tournaments. I've love to win another major. I'm going to be on another Ryder Cup team. I've got a lot of stuff left in me. I do have to do a better job of keeping myself in better shape. The older I get, I notice the worse I feel, which I think is pretty obvious. Everybody goes through that. I've got a bad heel. My back is not great. I've got plantar fasciitis in my heel. I have one short of cortisone in it. I have a boot cast I sleep in that keeps my calf flexed and my heel flexed. I have to make adjustments and do things to keep myself going. Hopefully, that will go away eventually, but if not -- I mean, I may not even feel my foot at Ryder Cup I'll have so much cortisone in it. But I'm far from being complete as far as my career goes.

Q. How long have you been sleeping with the boot?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I started in Hartford. I saw the trainer for UCONN, the Huskies. He gave me one there and I sent it back, and then went to the foot specialist in Phoenix and he gave me one and kind of checked my foot out and said: "Wear this at night, it will help." I do the plaster cast they do on your feet for the orthotics where they take the cast send it in and give you these homemade orthotics I wear in my tennis shoes. The actual lift is too severe to wear in my golf shoes. It would just hurt too much. Actually, right now, I have stuff that you buy at the Footlocker and put in there which are not severe, so I'm trying to make a lot of -- do the best that I can with my feet. But, you know walking around out there with sore feet is no fun. I can go 36, though, Curtis. I'll tough it out. (Laughter.)

JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Mark.


End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297