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September 15, 2000

Mark Calcavecchia


NELSON LUIS: All right. Mark, welcome, coming in at 8-under for a two-day score of 134. Nice day for you out there today.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It was a good day. I played really good today, much better than yesterday. I guess I have got to start off and thank the guys in the fitness trailer. I thought I pulled a muscle in my, shall we say, butt, posterior section, whatever you want to call it, and it was killing me yesterday coming in and I was pretty Sore this morning. But the guys worked on me really well there. I was thrilled I felt as good as I did. I was a little worried coming out to the course this morning that I would be a little down physically, but really felt good, and on top of that, I started hitting it great. I think the main difference today was the driver was a lot better. I went back to my Ping driver and drove it a lot better and hit a lot of good irons, too. You know, it was not easy out there. The wind was blowing pretty hard especially the first nine holes, and mellowed out a little bit, but with these greens and the wind, I'm actually surprised the scores are as good as they are.

Q. You played well this year, are you disappointed you haven't broken through for a win and how much would it mean to win this week?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It would mean a lot. I've had a couple of real good chances. I think I've had seven or eight Top-10s, I'm not sure. So I've played some really good golf and thought I was going to do it at the Hartford and Notah was out of his mind there -- no, I just got beat there. He made a lot of putts and he made one on the last hole to beat me. Vancouver, I thought I had a shot, but Sabbatini started making 20-footers on the last couple holes. But, that's good for them. That's what they are aiming at is the hole. I'm just trying to hang in there. I'm obviously in shape after a couple days and really feeling comfortable with my swing. A long way to go yet. This course can jump up and grab you in a hurry. A couple of crooked drives and a couple of iron shots that end up in the wrong spot, you're going to 3-putt and you can get going south in a hurry. So, should be a fun weekend, though.

Q. Does it get frustrating when you're playing well but for whatever reason, like you said somebody else is making more putts on Sunday or whatever, do you just tell yourself, I'm playing well, it's going to happen?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, it's frustrating. Hartford really hurt. I wasn't that bummed out after Vancouver -- well, actually I was. (Laughter.) I got out of the press room and I thought I was going to finish second for sure and I find out Grant Waite drops in a 40-footer on the last hole and made a putt on 17 too, and I'm like, gee, I just went from second to third here talking to you guys. You know I've had a lot of seconds in my career. I don't know whether it is just bad luck or what it is. I think other than Norman, I've had more seconds than anybody in the 90s, and I've already had a couple this year. Second is okay, but it's just not first, and a disappointing finish there. But I bounce back from those things in a hurry, and what comes around goes around. Maybe I'll make a 30-footer on the last hole to win this week. You've just got to keep going.

Q. What are your thoughts about Waynesborough?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I've always been a fan of this type of course. It is a grind to play because you have to be so sharp with your irons. And you've got to drive it good, too. You can't get around this course by not hitting it very good. You've got to have your swing with you, but, you know, obviously the most important thing is to position your irons, your second shots on the greens where you can have a realistic shot of making a putt. And when you don't, then you're just in full-fledged defensive mode for your putt, just trying to somehow lag it down the hill so you can make the next one. It has got a lot of very interesting holes. I'd say this course has a lot of character, and it's a great change of pace, but you know, if we had a weekly diet of a course like this where the greens were this severe, you'd see a lot more gray hairs out here.

Q. You played strong the last five holes, three birdies, did that have anything to do with the wind dying down a little bit? Did you find it easier to get it close?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: A little bit. I just happened to make a couple putts. The par 5, the wind was still blowing pretty good. And at No. 5 I hit two good woods just at the front of the green and a 40-yard L-wedge in there about four feet. The next hole, that is when I really noticed the wind dying, No. 6, and again I hit a good little 9-iron in there about 12 feet and made that. Then I made a great putt. My caddy, who is from here by the way, he actually grew up -- his name is Bill Poore, he grew up caddying here. He knows the course. No. 8, I had about a 20-footer above the hole breaking about two feet right-to-left, and he says, "If you roll it over that ball mark that you can see about four feet short of the hole, you'll make it." And this thing rolled right over the center of this ball mark, and it just went right in the middle. I was like, "Wow, what a read." So I've got to give him credit for that one. It was a good finish. 9, that's one of the hardest holes I've ever seen. Parring that hole was good. I was happy with my finish.

Q. Is your caddy -- he just grew up here or is he a full-time Waynesborough caddy?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, he grew up here and he still lives here. I think he lives over there -- Downington. He's retired. I brought him out of retirement. This is his first tournament of the year. He had been on TOUR for probably 14, 15 years. Caddied for Paul Azinger a lot in the 80s, in the Ryder Cups with Paul. He worked for Scott Hoch for four or five years. He worked for Stewart Cink for a couple years, and then basically midway through last year he more or less had just had enough.

Q. And you knew him and knew he lived here?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: He called me up two months ago and he said "Cal, do you have anybody for Philly?" And I said, "No," and at that time I was not sure if I was going to play. And he said, "Well, if you play I'd love to caddy for you. I grew up on that course." He says, "I know the course like the back of my hand." I said, "If I play, you're in." It's as simple as that.

Q. When you said you were not sure if you were going to play two months ago, what changed your mind?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, finishing second at Hartford and having a couple more good tournaments since then. Obviously, now, I need to finish in the Top-30 on the money list to get in that TOUR Championship, which is always a good one to play in. You know, scheduling, also. This is my fifth week in a row. I am tired, but if I didn't play here, I really wasn't planning on playing again until Las Vegas, which is four weeks off, and right now, I'm planning on three weeks off. What it amounts to is if I didn't play here I'd talk myself into playing at Kingsmill, and I didn't want to do that. So I thought I'd play here, take my three weeks off and then head up to Vegas.

Q. What do you do to recharge in those three weeks off?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Sleep a lot. Get up, take the kids to school, come home, take a two-hour nap. That's all the recharging you need. I won't touch a club for nine, ten, 11 days at least. And then I will just relax and try to get my body in a little bit better shape, do some workouts. Again, when the kids are in school, it's nice because you have six or seven free hours to do what you need to do, and whether it be work out a little bit or, you know, just, again, rest, go see a movie, just getting away from the game is really what you need to do.

Q. You said you changed drivers back to the Ping this week; what had you been hitting?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I had a Taylor Made that I hit great last week, and I just didn't -- I lost my confidence in it yesterday. I hit two or three drives straight left, and I never do that. When I start hitting it left, then that just freaks me out. Then I'm just holding on and I can't swing that at all. So I got my nice Ping back and I'm hitting that left-to-right slider every hole. I drove it good today.

NELSON LUIS: We've already covered a couple of holes. Why don't we quickly just go over the rest.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I started on 10. 3-putted that one. Made a bogey. Came right back on 11, hit a good drive and a 6-iron about a foot. Almost made it. I tapped that in for birdie. 15, I hit my best drive of the day there, way down there smashed a 3-wood on the green about 30 feet and 2-putted for birdie. 18, I hit a good drive just on the edge of the left rough, the first cut. Hit a 2-iron just short of the green, and I chipped up about three feet above the hole and snuck that one in for birdie. That was about it. And then I birdied 5, 6 and 8.

Q. In a tournament like this, you're at the top of the leaderboard and you look at the rest of the leaderboard, is it more comforting to say that, "Hey, I'm the biggest name up here"?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't, I don't think that way. Really, you can shoot that theory right out the window at Vancouver. I thought, "Well, I'm duking it out with Chris Riley and Rory Sabbatini. These guys ought to fall apart any second." (Shakes head). Didn't happen. You can shoot that theory right out the window. Maybe my experience will come into a little bit more, but, then again, maybe it won't. You know, it's the old saying, when you're pencilled in to win, you're going to win. This week it might be Chris DiMarco or it might be Frank Lickliter or me. Shoot, anybody within -- even 4-under par or better still has got a shot to win this thing, I think. Scott Hoch, Dudley Hart, a lot of good players are right around -- well, they are all good out here, but still wide open.

Q. Speaking of Chris, could you go over the who-taught-who the putting stroke?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, my grip is different than his. I noticed how he gripped the putter. I was -- first couple two three months of the year, searching. I was cross, regular, split hand. I was trying pretty much everything. I didn't get the yips cross-handed, but I just never made anything. Friday at the TPC in Jacksonville, I don't know what struck me, but I just tucked my hand under the putter, kinked my wrist this way. Five minutes before I teed off, I got up on the first hole and tried it, a little unsure of what was going on. I drained a 30-footer. Next hole, I made a 15-footer, and next one, I made a 10-footer and that was it. I found a new grip. And quite honestly, it has been a career-reviver for me. Last year I was 150th on the Tour or something in putting and the same the year before. Through March I was about 173rd and now I'm like 59th or something. That is one statistic that doesn't lie. That's not misleading. Driving distance and sand saves and thing like that, but putts per green in regulation and total putts, that one doesn't lie. And you're not going to find anybody in the Top-30 on the money list that's up in the 100s putting, I can guarantee you.

Q. Does it take it back straighter, through straighter, what about it?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't think about it. People ask me: Do you use your left hand or right hand or what do you think about it. That's pretty much the whole key to the thing is I think about making the putt. I forgot all the mechanical stuff that you worry about when you're putting bad. And it just goes back. People say it wavers around. I used to have a bit of a loop in my stroke. I don't do that anymore. I catch all my putts really solid. I don't know, I'm not -- I don't want to get too scientific with it and break it down and figure out why it works, but it does. When you start seeing putts go in, that's the only result. That's the only thing you need to see.

Q. DiMarco says you owe him 10 percent.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: (Laughs) Forget it. He's out. He putts really well, too, by the way. Some of the guys that tried it on the putting green, some guys are really good with it and some guys can't even take it back at all. Jay Haas has the most incredible looking stroke you've ever seen with that grip. His regular stroke is petty pure, too, but he's just awesome with it. Phil Blackmar tried it the other day and he nearly missed the whole ball. I don't think Phil will be trying that one out. But some guys try it and hit the ball pretty good.

End of FastScripts....

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