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March 11, 2001

Mark Calcavecchia


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Mark Calcavecchia for joining us for a few minutes. Interesting day out there. You had a chance to tie it up. Why don't you just talk about your emotions coming off of 18 this afternoon.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I got a little bit -- I'm obviously pretty disappointed right now, but, you know, I missed -- I goofed up. I had my chance. Between 13, 14, 16 and 18, you know -- and I double bogeyed 6. I'm not going to say Jesper didn't deserve to win, but I certainly look at it as I kind of blew it. But -- and that's a big but, looking at it the other way, to accomplish what I just did this week, you know, coming off the knee surgery, I think, is a pretty impressive accomplishment. It just doesn't feel like it right now.

Q. This is the sixth tournament this year where it's either a one-shot victory or a playoff and there have been a lot of interesting things happening this year. Tiger hasn't won, but it seems like everybody is providing a pretty good story every week. Has everybody's game elevated that much to where it is still exciting even if he's not playing or even if he isn't winning?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Oh, sure. This was an exciting tournament. Whether Tiger isn't playing or not -- he only plays 19 or 20 tournaments a year; so there are another 22 or 23 without him. Pretty exciting golf. If he was here this week he might have won or he might have finished 20th. Just because he isn't playing doesn't mean there isn't good golf going on. Yeah, the guys are good out here. The scores are getting better. They are getting lower. You know the whole score story. But everybody -- this is the height of golf, I think, in terms of how good everybody is worldwide.

Q. Can you go over what happened on 18?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I hit two perfect shots and made a bogey. I'm still in a state of shock. I just hid a 205-yard 4-iron into a 20-mile-an-hour wind. It must have just literally died and I walked off the green and I noticed the flag wasn't blowing very hard I didn't take into consideration the stands might have been blocking some wind out on the green. It was whiffing pretty hard out on the fairway; and just a three-quarter 4-iron and it could have been my best iron shot of the week, a perfect swing. It just wasn't 205 yards. The only problem was I had 176. And I had a fairly bad break by having the thing end up right on the edge of the fringe, the first 20 feet of the putt, the first 25 feet of the putt. And in order to get my putt close, I had to miss the fringe by about six inches or less, and so I was really focused on hitting you know, the first 25 feet of the putt, making sure I didn't pull it into the fringe or push it. And I hit it right dead where I wanted to. I just forgot how long of a putt I had, evidently. I thought it would be pretty fast once it got over the hill, and, you know, I just left it 12 feet short; it was probably closer to 15 feet short. If I had been a foot or two to the left where I didn't have to worry about the fringe, I obviously would have got it a lot closer, because then my only thought would have been distance. And the second putt I hit was as good as a could hit a putt. It just because breaking right in there and just did he sighed to straighten out it. Might even have went a little right at the end. Caught a piece of the hole and didn't go.

Q. What's more frustrating: To hit a good shot and make a bogey or if you had snapped it?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I suppose if I had hit a shitty shot and flied one over the pond or something and lost the tournament that way, then I would probably be a little more depressed. But my swing held up. It's been holding up. I can hit the golf ball. I can handle tough situations. So, you know, I hit a good shot and I hit a good putt when I had to. They are equally frustrating at this point, but I'm glad I hit a good shot. At least I didn't lose it you know, by coming over the top, smothering over one or something.

Q. Any moral victory at all, a tournament you didn't know you were going to play in until Tuesday or Wednesday?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, maybe tomorrow I will or later tonight. Right now, you know, I'm still in a little bit of a state of shock. But, you know, it was -- I'll realize it was a pretty good accomplishment to do what I did -- and you know, I'm either better than I think I am or I was just lucky this week. But I really played pretty good all week. You know, like I said, it's disappointing now, but you know, what did I tie for second with Geoff Ogilvy? If you had asked me on Thursday morning, I would have taken a tie for 62nd. So that's pretty good. It's just frustrating to lose that way.

Q. Was the wind much of a factor out there? It seemed like when it started picking up in the afternoon that nobody could maintain?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well it was tough. It was tough for me. 14, 15 and 16 are -- you know, the wind was in straight left-to-right and that's my worst wind, being a fader of the ball. I hit a bad second shot on 14, trying to fight the wind, I overfought it and kind of popped it up in the bunker. I was dead, as opposed to if I had fired it up, went out in the right rough; I would have been chipping across the green into the wind and I would have had a chance to birdie. 16, I didn't trust my read. I had my chances. It was definitely tough. The pins were pretty tricky the last five or six holes, and, you know, it was windy. But that's good. I mean, that's the way this course is designed to be played. The good thing about it is if you play great and make putts, you can still shoot a great score even if it is windy; and if you don't, you won't. It was good today.

Q. Can you take us through 6?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, again, in left-to-right, my least favorite wind, and I tried to fight the wind and I ripped one, just yanked it into the fairway bunker. It rolled right up through the bunker right onto the face of the lip it. Wasn't in the bunker, but it was hanging in the rough in the lip, and I could get a club on it. And I tried to hit a 3-iron out of there and I caught it pretty solid, but the wind got it way right and then I had another terrible lie right at the green of the rough, from what I thought was actually a pretty easy chip. And I just -- it was like I hit it with a head cover on. The grass got between my ball and the club and it just didn't come out of the rough. Plopped out of the bunker, still in the rough, and then I hit a bad chip about six feet short. I actually hit a good putt there and misread it, didn't birdie. So, that hurt. I mean, I wasn't done yet and I certainly didn't give up by my stretch, but that did kind of slow my mode down. That kind of hurt.

Q. It seem like a long wait on the 18th fairway. Did that add to the tension?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, not really. My caddy and I were talking. You know, he was kind of thinking 5, and I'm thinking, well, if I just kind of -- I told him on No. 15 that I had 200 to the front and killed a 2-iron and it flew 195, and we are in the same sort of wind. So if I hit just a nice little 4-iron, it should go about 180, 185 and I'll have a 15-, 20-footer, and I just poured the thing. What can I say? I was shocked it went that far. I still can't believe it. But, again, I got up to the green and the wind wasn't blowing on the green. I didn't factor in the potential of the grandstands blocking out some wind up by the green.

Q. Are you going to play next week?


Q. How close are you -- when do you think you're going to be back to healthy 100%?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I'm going to take it easy for a couple of days. Got tired at the end again. I had a few stretches where it hurt a little bit. I actually walked to the 11th tee and I made a strange step, and I caught a jolt of pain there, but it was definitely better today than it was the next three days. I think by next Thursday I should be -- I would say today I'm probably 70%. I should be close to 90, 95%, I would hope, by Thursday. I'll still wear the brace and I'll work it out pretty hard the next two or three days. With some rest, I should feel read really good on Thursday.

End of FastScripts....

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