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July 1, 2000

Mark Calcavecchia


LEE PATTERSON: Another good, solid day today. Maybe just a couple thoughts about this round and then we head into tomorrow.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It was a good day. I hit it -- my swing was really good on the range, which I felt good about. You know, I knew that I was going to hit a lot of good shots today. And just got off to a great start on the first couple holes, making birdies there, and that kind of set the tone. And then I had that good little stretch from 6, 7 and 8, birdies there; that was what I call "get-over-the-hump" birdies. And then on the back, I didn't play as good as I'd liked. I hit a couple out to the right. Really, my biggest mistake was I should have hit a hard 8-iron on 17. Any other day of the year, you know, and then today and tomorrow, it was -- it was the right club, but considering the circumstances, I guess that wasn't a good time to try to hit one easy and I just tried to hit an easy 7-iron into 17. And although it actually flew pin-high, because I hit it so far right, it hit the downslope and I made bogey. I probably should have went ahead and ripped an 8-iron there. But anyway, I feel very confident. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Be playing with Notah again and he's playing good. Kirk is playing good. I've got to -- Eddie is playing good. These guys are good out here, the old PGA TOUR slogan, so I've got to stay aggressive. My main thought for tomorrow, just concentrate. And, you know, I'm making five, six, seven birdies a day. Hopefully, tomorrow if I make another five, hopefully barring any horrendous mistakes, will be good. I'm just after birdies again.

Q. Do you think taking those three weeks off helped you coming into this tournament?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't know about that. What it has done is every time you take a fairly extended break, you kind of reinvigorate your enthusiasm for the game. I said the other day, I don't know how Ted Tryba and some of these other guys, Dana Quigley, play 108 weeks in a row. It's hard to do. I guess you've really got to love the game of golf to play every week. But in my case, I love to get away from it, and when I do get away from it, I don't play at all. And then when I come back, I'm excited to play. And that's basically what happened here. You know, it's historically been a good spot for me. The break did me good. Always helps my attitude. My concentration has been very good. Of course it doesn't hurt when you make a lot of putts, either. Never been a guy who won a golf tournament without putting good, I'll tell you that right now, and I like the way I'm putting.

Q. What are you doing during the break?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Very little. Went to Idaho a couple times. Hung out in the lake. Played with the kids. Went swimming a lot. Water park, movies, you know. Bowled a lot. Forgot to mention that the other day. My bowling game is in tremendous shape, actually. (Laughter.) Last time I went bowling, I think I threw a 706 series, matter of fact, 267 in there. What can I say, multi-talented. (Laughter.) I will say I'm the second-best bowler on the TOUR. Ken Green, he can flat out-bowl anybody out here. Of course, the way he's been playing golf, he's got a lot of time. (Laughter.) It's been two weeks in the last two years. Carries 210 averages in both of them like nothing. Maybe that's what happened to his back; throwing that 16-pound ball too often. But he's got to do some sit-ups or something. I don't know what his problem is. We need Greeny back out here. I need somebody to give a hard time to again.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the putting grip? Where did you find it and when did you find it?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I observed Chris DiMarco over the years with his grip. Never really thought about it much. You know, it's -- it's been written, and just look at my statistics: My putting has been killing me last four or five years, going everywhere. Cross-handed to split-handed, eyes closed, the whole thing. I don't want to get involved in all that. I don't know, on Friday at TPC back in March, five minutes before I went to the first tee, I just fought my hand under this way. Chris is more out here this way, and I'm kind of more under here, and I got on the 1st hole and made a 25-footer. On the 2nd hole I made a 10-footer for par. Really putted good that day, never trying it before. You know, my friends had tried it and they -- a lot of guys can't even get it back; they are waving it around and they look at me like I'm a nut, so whatever works. I just think for some reason, fundamentally, really, I'm a lot smoother. Butchy has noticed that. Even Tiger at the Memorial when he saw me for the first time using it he says, "Man, your putter is not flailing around, you're much calmer looking with it." And that's basically what it does for me, just really enables me to stay smoother and calmer. I think my tempo is better with it. It's been -- really, I've actually putted pretty good since I went with it.

Q. Do you like coming back here to Hartford every year? I know you have one of the longer streaks than any of the players here.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I do. It's like Dave Stockton Junior always plays well here. I always play well here. You just see it happen a lot. Certain courses, every year, with different players, they play well on in the same places every year. I overheard him say he just sees things well here, "it just fits my eye." There's a couple drives I don't like. Like 18, the big tree kind of sitting there, with my cut, you know, it's a hard-driving hole for me, but I've played the hole well. So almost every hole out here, really suits my shot shape and, you know, the greens, every year, year-in, year-out, wherever you go, sometimes you get frustrated the same set of greens. And other times you seem to read the same greens well every year, and I seem to do well in these greens. Same with Milwaukee; I always do well there. I kind of wish Milwaukee was next week, but I'll be ready to get there, too.

Q. Were you aware of what Kirk was doing?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I was kind of waiting for him to run out of holes. I thought when he got to 11-under, he had to be done. And he got to 12, I said, he's got to be done now. And then he got to 13, I went, what is he doing out there? Yeah, I saw what he was doing. He's had a phenomenal year, he really has. And that's great for him. You know, he's a good guy. But, yeah, I saw that.

Q. Did that make you keep going?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, sure. I wanted to shoot a 61 of my own. I thought, well, I'll show him. He thinks he'll make up ground on me; I'll shoot a 61 and match him. I was really, mentally staying aggressive. You know, it just so happens I didn't make any birdies there in the last four or five, and I threw in a bogey on 17, but I'm certainly not going to think about that and be upset that I didn't birdie 15 and not make a bogey and shoot 62. You can't ever say that. I'm tickled to be where I am.

Q. Do you feel comfortable going into tomorrow, as comfortable as you can?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Sure. It's only three, but, again, whether it's 's two, one, three, four, I know I'm playing well enough to make some birdies out there, and I have to -- you know, I'm not going to be bunting it around trying to get in the fairway and get it on the green and 2-putt and be happy. You know, the course is in such good shape and the weather is so good that guys are going to -- guys are going to make birdies out there. Notah Begay could go out there tomorrow and shoot a 62 just like that. I hope he doesn't, but, you know. Again, I just want to forget about him and Kirk and everybody else and just treat it like I treated the last three days and stay aggressive and hit good shots; I'll be okay.

Q. You came up to 15 with a five-shot lead. You know, did the thought ever come to you that maybe you could put this away today?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It did, yeah. I wouldn't say the thought came into me about putting it away, but the thought came to me. I knew I had a five-shot lead at one point, and I thought, well, that's pretty good. But hit a good drive on 15 and birdie the hole. Again, I was singled out on that hole. And I didn't; I cut it off right of the green with that back right pin placement, is not good. You know, and then I came right back and I hit a good shot at 16. But I had a real big breaker that I didn't want to hit too hard and blow it four or five feet by. But, yeah, I was trying to pad my lead. I definitely wasn't happy -- well, I was happy, but, I mean, I wasn't satisfied with five. I wanted to press on, is what I'm trying to say. I was still being in the aggressive frame of mind. Again, it just didn't quite pan out to where I made birdies.

Q. Does it make it easier knowing you have to go low tomorrow? Does it take defensive right out of your mind?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It really doesn't matter to me. You know, I probably wouldn't be that upset if the wind started blowing 30 miles an hour tomorrow either, or whether it blows 1. Either way, it doesn't matter, you know. If the course suddenly becomes very difficult, which I doubt will happen because the weather is so nice. But knowing that I have to still continue to play good and be aggressive is probably good for me, as opposed to -- like I said, I'm not good at bumping around and hoping to make par golf.

LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you just go over the details of your birdies for us real quick.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Got to have to a great start on one. Good drive, 9-iron about 12 feet. Made that for birdie par. No. 2 I made a miraculous birdie, actually. I hit it in the left rough over there by the bunker. I had a terrible lie, and all I was trying to do was get it on the front right side of the green and roll it up on the right side of the green, which is exactly what I did. I tapped in about a 40-footer there, straight down the hill. It was beautiful. I've got to say so myself. It went right in the middle. Perfect speed. It was in. It just looked good the hole way. I was like, wow. Birdied 6. Good drive. Hit 3-wood on the front of the green and 2-putted from 60 feet. No. 7, good drive, beautifully 8-iron about four feet. Made that for birdie. 8, I hit a nice 5-iron in there 20 feet right of the hole. Made that. 11, I hit a great shot, hard 8-iron, what I should have hit on 17, but I didn't. I hit a hard 8-iron on 11, in there about four feet, made that. 13, yanked my drive a little. Didn't fade. Fairway bunker. Laid up, hit a sand wedge in there about 10 feet. Made that for birdie. And that was it for the birdies. And then the bogey on 17, a 7-iron right of the green, putted it up the hill and missed.

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