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February 14, 2001

Mark Calcavecchia


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Mark Calcavecchia who finished with an 8-under 64 today playing at La Quinta. Why don't we quickly go over your round, telling us why where you posted your birdies?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No bogeys. Eight birdies. I started on No. 10. Hit an 8-iron in there about seven feet and made that for birdie. I birdied No. 11. I hit the green in two and 2-putted from 40 feet. Tapped in for birdie there. Made all pars until 17. I hit another 8-iron about 10 feet, made that for birdie. Then I birdied No. 18. I hit a 9-iron to about five feet. Made that one for birdie. Then I parred all the way through, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 were all pars and No. 6 the par 5 I hit on in two and 2-putted from 30 feet. Got that one in for birdie. No. 7, the par 3, I hit an 8-iron about 20 feet left of the hole and made that for birdie. Then on No. 8, I hit an 8-iron into that green about eight feet and made that for birdie. Then No. 9, I hit a 9-iron in there about a foot and tapped that in for birdie.

Q. Mark, does this look like it could be one of those 35-under years?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I don't know. I know the weather forecast is awful good, and the scores -- I'm sitting here in the locker room looking at the TV. You know, there's all kind of guys 8-under and 7-under and 6-under. You know, I've got to believe that we are going to have to get into the 30s to win this tournament, unless some vicious breeze comes up. 8-under is a great start, especially here at La Quinta, but you can't -- you can't think about trying to get that many under. You've just kind of got to let it happen. I did another good job of doing that today. I just was patient and I just, you know, it wasn't like I got up on No. 6 and said, "I have to birdie the last four." It just happened. I think that's what I've been doing so well lately.

Q. At Pebble, you came in, you were telling us that you were hitting the ball well and you had shot that great score at Phoenix; you had a bad first round, never got a chance to talk to you. What happened in the few days between Phoenix and the first round of Pebble?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Just entirely the greens. I had 35 putts the first day at Pebble. Literally I hit one bad shot on the Thursday and made -- I shot 76 after a two-group wait on No. 5, I hit a 5-iron out into the ocean, virtually shanked it and made a double-bogey. Then No. 8 over there, I hit just a blunt driver like I always do. I hit a sprinkler head or something and it went straight over the fairway into the ocean. Then I shot back into the green and I three-jacked, and next thing you know I'm 4-over. Other than that I made nothing. I don't know whether I was tired or what, but I didn't play bad tee-to-green. I putted horrendous for 23 holes and after that I was fine.

Q. What's the secret of playing this tournament well? Just get as many birdies as you can?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Pretty much. Obviously, the first thing you look to is the par 5's. I birdied two of the four par 5s today which, you know, is probably the worst you should do. Obviously, it is important to play the par 5's here on all four courses, and then after that, it's just making sure you don't fire a couple into the houses and, you know, not hit it out of bounds and just, you know, just use your short irons and be really aggressive.

Q. Despite Pebble, is this the best stretch of golf you've played in your career or is there another time?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, that's a good question. You know, the stretch I had -- I won two tournaments in '88, and three tournaments the first six months of'89, so I won five tournaments there, and in really, a seven-month period, Bank of Boston, Australian Open, Phoenix, L.A., and British Open. I'm going to have to give that the best stretch. Just the year is starting -- this is only my fourth tournament of the year. Ask me that question in six or seven months and I'll be able to give you a little better answer.

Q. What's the game plan with a five-day tournament, just stay in the hunt or try to make a move on Thursday or Friday?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: You know, everybody is spread out all over the place. There's no leaderboard watching going on here the first four days. It's just a birdie-fest and, you know, just stay aggressive. I'm hitting my short irons so good and putting so good that, you know, just want to go out there and make as many birdies as I can and add them up after four days and see where we stand on Sunday.

Q. Do you find one course in the rotation appreciably more difficult than the others?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: You know, I kind of think this course, La Quinta, is the hardest of the four tee-to-green, but the greens are basically flat and perfect. I actually think you might see the highest scoring average this week at Bermuda Dunes. The greens there are pretty firm and not in as good of shape as they usually are and have some funky undulations in them. My guess would be that Indian Wells would be the easiest, followed by PGA West, La Quinta, Bermuda Dunes being the hardest. That's my opening guess.

Q. That said, you're going to play twice at PGA West this week. Any particular challenges or anything that makes it stand out, good or bad, easier or tougher?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, it's a good course. There's probably four or five holes that are, you know, very difficult there and dangerous and you've just got to make sure you par those, such as No. 9, No. 10. Keep it out of the canal over there on the back nine. No. 5 is a very difficult par 3, No. 7. You par those four or five hard holes, and after that, you know, the par 5's -- three of the four are reachable. A couple of short par 3s, some very short par 4s. After that, you know, I'm -- especially when the weather is like today with no wind, you look at David Duval shooting 59 there a few years ago, that course, you can get it going out there.

Q. With the bad weather yesterday, how much did you practice and how do you prepare for four courses?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Actually, I came over here Sunday night. I was anxious to play because I had the short week at Pebble and I didn't touch a club until last Friday. I was anxious to play on Monday and Tuesday. I played 18 holes and hit some balls on Bermuda Dunes on Monday. Yesterday, you know, we were going to give it a shot. I woke up early and it was raining and pretty nasty out. I thought there might not be any golf played and then it stopped raining at about 7:00 and we came out here at about a quarter to 9:00 and it really wasn't bad at all. Pretty lucky that the weather turned good. And I played La Quinta yesterday, all 18 holes, and hit some balls afterwards. That was it. I have not been out to PGA West or Indian Wells yet, but those courses don't change and I'll see them when I get there.

Q. What difference does it make to get off to a good start as far as taking the perfect pressure off for the rest of the year?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That's been two and a half weeks ago already, Phoenix, and I am off to a great start. But I put pressure on myself every day to play well. You know, whether you win last week or two weeks ago, this is a different week, different tournament, and my son motivates me to play well and I want to have a big year. There's still pressure to play well. I'm just really trying to forge ahead and, you know, stay positive and let it rip.

NELSON LUIS: Thanks a lot. Good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts....

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