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March 10, 2001

Mark Calcavecchia


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Mark Calcavecchia for joining us. Great round today. You've been hanging around there on the leaderboard all week and you've put yourself into position going into tomorrow. If you could make a few comments on that, and then we'll have some questions.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Obviously, I'm really happy with how I've managed to get it around the last few days. Jesper has kind of separated himself from me, picking up two shots on the last two holes on me, and that's a big difference. Instead of only being one behind; I'm three behind. That's a nice little extra cush. Short for cushion, of course. You know, it's going to be tough running him down, but you never know. I don't know what the weather is going to be, whether it is going to be fairly windy or not. All I can do is go out and -- you know, just keep playing the way I'm playing and hope the putts go in; and if they do, I might have a shot.

Q. What better conditions would suit you?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Actually, I think the best shot I would have would be about a 30-mile-an-hour wind, up, and really windy where some strange things could happen. You know, if it is fairly calm, you know, the greens are so good and Jesper is playing good and all that. Like I was saying, with Joe Durant, going into the last round of the Hope, it's not like Joe is all of the going to stop hitting good shots and stop making putts. It just doesn't happen these days, unless you get on a super, super hard course, and we're not on a super hard, hard course. You know, he's going to go out and make some birdies and make some putts and probably play a good round of golf. So that extra couple of shots is big. One shot is nothing, but three -- three could be a little tougher. But that doesn't certainly mean I don't think I have a chance. I'll make him sweat a little.

Q. How is the knee holding up?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Pretty good. It was actually a little sore in the first seven or eight holes and then it got pretty good on the back. Of course, maybe making six birdies in a nine-hole stretch or whatever I did helped a little. But at the end of the day, it's just really tiring. It's like you never really appreciate how good you feel until you're sick. It's the same with walking. You don't realize how easy it is to walk the 18 holes until you have a knee that's killing you. It's a tough walk. Every time my left foot is sitting around, it hurts. But I get there and I recover and just completely blocking it out when I hit the shot; I'm able to hit good shots.

Q. Is this going to be a Willis Reed (ph) story?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. I don't think it will be that dramatic. But, I mean even -- I'm surprised, too, to tell you the truth. I totally didn't expect to be playing this well. Not to mention, you know, I've got a bad knee; I didn't hit a golf ball for 16 straight days. I played 36 homes of golf out of a cart in 40-mile-an-hour wind and just slapping it all over the place, and like I'm supposed to be ready to play in a tournament? But that's what I had and you know, it worked out for me. I don't know what to say. I can't explain it.

Q. Practice overrated?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think excessive practice is overrated. You know, I quite honestly, guys go out and shoot 64 or 65 and then they go to the range. I don't understand that. You know, unless you have two bunker shots and you chunked one or you chunked one out of the bunker and you still shot 64, I might go and hit bunker shots for ten minutes ; but guys go to the range and hit balls for an hour and a half. That's just my opinion. Some guys think that they have to practice for an hour, hour and a half every day to play well. That's their mental thinking. I practice if I need to.

Q. You were saying on TV that in a case like this, you're just trying to stay out of your own way; is that it?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Sort of. By that, I meant the scores I've been shooting, I'm not like thinking about it beforehand. I'm not plotting ahead; I'm not plotting behind. It's just a one shot at a time thing. Although, I'm not like thinking that when I'm out there, but I'm just really putting what's just happened behind me and completely forgetting about it. It's like the other day when I 3-putted the second hole, which was my 11th hole of the day, I had completely forgotten about it by the time I walked off the green. I don't know where I all of the sudden developed this kind of mental thinking, because I've always been pretty emotional and a little mentally unstable on the course. And this year, it's like -- just been really playing, just having fun.

Q. 7 got you going?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, 7 was my first birdie. I made about a 15-footer. I shot the sand wedge back too far, but I made a nice putt. I had some nice putts before that but they just didn't go in. Then I birdied 9 from eight feet. I kind of hit a bad bunker shot, kind of chunked it a little bit and it rolled too far. Chunk-and-roll, but I made that. Then I hit a great shot into 10 about eight feet and made that for a birdie. Great shot into 11, about six feet. Made that for birdie. Great shot into 13, sand wedge to a foot. 14, hit it just short of the green, three feet short made that for birdie. 16, I hit it into the left bunker, had a real easy shot, blasted that out to a foot and tapped in for birdie. Then I hit the dreaded, ran into gas shot, the duck hook. That hole has not treated me very well. It's just kind of -- everything in my lower back, I just stop instead of my hands -- (inaudible) -- and obviously you can't stop in the middle of the swing and it went straight left. I was just happy to par 18 after that.

Q. Have you and Jesper, how much have you guys played together and have you had any memorable duels or battles on the golf course?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: We've played together a little bit. Not much. I think last time I played with him was in Greensboro last year. I shot 65 the last round on a pretty windy day and played great. So, remind him of that, will you? "Mark said last time you played together he shot 65 in Greensboro." He'll go, "Oh, yeah." (Flips cap up). He's a good guy. Last year we flew on the charter together from Atlanta to the thing in Valderrama together. His kids were on the plane and very well behaved. He's a very interesting guy, actually. You've got to be pretty cool to wear those kind of clothes. The sick thing is he actually looks okay, in them, you know. Do you know what I would look like if I put on that getup? It would be a joke. I wouldn't get out of the car. (Laughter.) I wouldn't get out of car for 50,000 bucks. Wouldn't do it.

Q. When you looked on the electronic leaderboard coming in, were you looking to see how many guys were up there?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I was trying to see where Jesper made his birdies on the front nine, just to see where he got going, too. I kind of know where he birdied on the back, but just looking at the hole by hole, seeing who is there. There were a lot of good rounds today. A strange day. It was nice. Breeze came up and then it was nice again then it got pretty tough on last couple holes. You know. We got done and that was good.

Q. What about John Daly, what do you think of him?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Between this course and St. Andrew, you couldn't draw up two better golf courses for him. We played in Tucson and he's actually hitting the ball a lot better, a lot straighter. He's got a driver that he hits well; that he doesn't snap up every other shot, you know. He's snapped up for so long, he tries to hit everything so long, but he tries to hit everything stiff enough or whatever it is. But he hit the ball really well in Tucson, and I could tell he was going to start playing a lot better golf. You know, love to see him continue to play well.

Q. How much time will you spend picking out your clothing for tomorrow?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Probably about somewhere between five and eight seconds. That will be about it.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thanks, Mark.

End of FastScripts....

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