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June 30, 2000

Mark Calcavecchia


LEE PATTERSON: Appreciate you joining us. Nice round today, and good position heading into the weekend. Maybe just a couple thoughts about that, and we'll open it up for questions.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I played really good the last couple days. I didn't have that many really good expectations coming into the week, because I haven't played in a month, literally. After I missed qualifying for the U.S. Open, I played one round of golf before I got here, and I took my -- I got in town Saturday night actually and got my daughter into camp; I'm going to go visit her this afternoon, northwest of Hartford. Dan Baker called me up and said, "You probably don't want to do this, but do you want to play Monday?" And I'm like, "Monday?" I didn't really know what I was going to do, but I wasn't expecting to play in the Pro-Am. I thought to myself, got a new driver, played one round of golf in the last 24 days or whatever it is. I thought the work will be good for me. And really I hit some balls before that and practiced afterwards, and had a great day of practice on Monday, and actually played pretty good in the Pro-Am. And I knew going on that I was going to have a fairly good -- my swing would be okay. But to play as well as I had was a little surprising. But, you know, it's just a good place for me; so it seems to bring out the best in me.

Q. Was it just disappointment about not making the Open?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, I just -- I don't go to Kemper. I got tired of Westchester after a couple years. I missed the U.S. Open. And Memphis I haven't been to in years, either. So it was just that actually I had planned on going to Westchester if I missed qualifying for the Open, and I just said the heck with it. I just really didn't feel like playing cross-country again and I just stayed home. And went to Idaho twice, Cubby's 50th birthday party was a heck of a time, and I came home and took the kids, our neighbors in Phoenix own a cabin up on Priest Lake, which is northern, northern Idaho, 20 miles from Canada up there, just a really beautiful spot. And went up there for five days, jet-skied, looked for bears. Contemplated trying to weight-board but the water was too cold; it's 58 degrees and I knew I would spend most of the time in it. After wiping out in the jet skis, a couple times that was a good shock to the system. We had a lot of fun, just things like that. And last week, I was home; it rained a lot. It was monsoon season, which is kind of neat. So basically I just saw a lot of movies, hung out with the kids; it was a lot of fun.

Q. So you didn't touch a club at all?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. I played Saturday morning before I left. We left Saturday afternoon and flew in here late Saturday night so I could get her checked in Sunday. We teed off at 5:00 AM at Awatuki (phonetic) Country Club, which is like Cromwell Muni, I don't know if there is such a thing; greens rolling at about a 3 on the Stimpmeter. Teed off at 5:00 AM and got done at 8:15. And that was the extent of my golf for three weeks. And got on a plane and flew out here.

Q. All new clubs or just the driver?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Just my driver. Ping had sent it to me. I told them -- I had been using a 7.0 degree driver with a Fujikura shaft, and it's called a Pro 95 and my drives have been fading too much. It's pretty stiff. I've been driving it okay, but I'm tired of looking at that 25-yard slice every time, especially with a left-to-right wind and trees up the left. It's really hard for me to hit straight. So I said I need something either a little less stiff or a little more hooked or do something. So they sent me two drivers, and I went out and hit one of them, which I'm using here, and just drove it great. They said it has a little more torque, which for some reason and I don't understand graphite clubs at all, helped straighten out my ball flight a little bit. I'm still hitting my fade. I've only missed two or three fairways in two days and driving it great, but it's definitely easier to hit straighter. That was the only club that I want to use Monday again and see how I drove it. I drove it real good Monday in the Pro-Am. Just practiced on Tuesday didn't play any holes. And then the Pro-Am Wednesday, again played pretty good. And, you know, last two days has been pretty confident. I can actually say that, in pretty much all aspects of my game.

Q. When is the last time you took off that many days?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Every December, end of November. I don't play at all in December. Maybe a Pro-Am here or there in Phoenix. In fact, I think this year, I had a seven- out of eight-week stretch off, and it was off. I think I went probably, you know, same sort of thing, one round of golf every two or three weeks, just for something to do. My buddies talked me into it or something.

Q. Thinking back to the first time you came here how has your approach to the game changed over the years? ?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: What year did Tim Norris win here, in 1982? First year I was here, I was in the last group with him and Ray Floyd. And basically he was petrified, which doesn't happen today too often when the young guys get in the last group, and they may or may not win, but they are not as petrified as I'm sure I was. I've always had a lot of ability/God-given talent, that sort of thing, but you know, I just don't really panic now like I used to, is basically my approach. I pretty much figure all you can do is go out there and take a deep breath, put your maximum concentration on it and hit it. It's either going to work out or it doesn't. I don't live and die with winning golf tournaments. Granted, I haven't had too many chances to win lately. Although, I have had five Top-10s this year, which is kind of hard to believe, without really having a chance to win, but, you know, I don't know, I'm just pretty relaxed out there currently.

Q. Have where you are overall priorities in life changed, including golf over that time?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, yeah. To be honest with you, I just turned 40 a couple weeks ago, and you know, there's just something about that number that you stop and think about how many guys over 40 are threatening the winner's circle, and there's not too many, Hal and Lehman and a few others. But, you know, my career is, at least competitively is probably slowing down. So, you know, I look to other things. I just really enjoy doing things with my kids. And I know you hear that, everybody says the same thing, but it basically is the truth. When you're not with them, you miss them, and it's just -- it was easy for me to stay home a month. When we were up in northern Idaho, they had a TV, but they had this little goofy satellite thing that didn't get NBC, and I never watched a shot of the U.S. Open, and I never really wanted to. I got the update of what was going on, and I said, "Wow, that must have been tough," except for Tiger, obviously. But I don't miss it when I'm not playing it. But yet, when I got here, I played in the Monday Pro-Am because I wanted to; I wanted to play. I wanted to -- I'm here, I don't want to go out there and hack it around and not play good. I'm really concentrating well, and, you know, I guess you could say I'm rested.

Q. You've had a lot of very good moments here. You've also had some anguishing moments here. What do you think about when you think about this tournament over the years for you?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: A lot of people have come up to me and said: "How many times have you won here?" And I say: "No, I never have." Same with Milwaukee. Same, here and Milwaukee, I have a lot of the same type records where I've had a lot of Top-5 type things and chances to win, and haven't quite done it yet, but I just enjoy playing here. Aside from Phoenix, these are probably some of the biggest crowds we see all year, other than majors or whatnot. But the fans love the golf here. The weather has usually always been really good. Haven't had anything really disastrous happen here throughout the years. My sister lives here and I get to see my nieces. There's a lot of good things. I spent a couple years in Danbury, as Bruce knows, hanging out with Granny and the boys, and really got to almost feel like I was a transplanted Northeasterner so I just -- even the course before they changed it, I had good success on it. So I just like playing here.

Q. Where does your sister live and what was this camp?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: My sister lives in Canton, which is off Route 177 northwest of Hartford.

Q. What's her name?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Her name is Barbara Curvano. And our friends in Florida, their daughter went to this camp for like six straight years when she was a little girl, and then they closed the camp for six years and now she's a counselor at it. That's how we heard about it, because Brittany is friends with this girl; she's a counselor, and that's how we heard of it. It's called the Delaware Outdoor Activity Camp. And it's just outside of Winsted. Exciting place, I might add. Wow. But it was really beautiful. Pretty country. I guess she's just having a blast. I talked to her twice since last Sunday and I guess she's just having a great time.

Q. Usual summer camp?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: There's like four sessions. It goes for two months. You can go for two months, six weeks, four weeks or two weeks, I guess, and we thought two weeks would be plenty for her.

Q. How old is she?


Q. So you'll be sticking around for a couple weeks?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah. She's going to stay all next week and then Cheryl is coming to pick her up a week from Sunday. I'm heading back to Arizona Sunday night. And one of the reasons I'm going to go see her, as it turns out, I'll be home all next week. She'll be here in camp, and next Sunday, I fly back to Providence to play in the CBS thing; so we'll be criss-crossing-in-the-air type thing. And then I go to Milwaukee and the British; so I don't see her for three weeks and three days, which I've never gone more than two weeks without seeing either one of my kids, and that will be a first. So I want to go see her today for the rest of the day. I'm driving up there this afternoon. Only about an hour, not bad at all.

Q. What do you think you have to shoot tomorrow to put yourself in the last group on Sunday?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I'm kind of liking these scores I'm shooting, you know, 65s and 64s, 66s, anything in that range. I think the weather is going to be good. So I'm not really thinking of like picking a number. I'm just really wanting to -- to go out and just keep making some birdies and kind of stay on the roll I'm on. That's it. I really didn't notice the board too much. Got on a nice roll on the front and was in my own little world, and when I looked at the board on 12, Notah Begay was like 11-under. I thought I was doing pretty good at 9( -under). It's like so much for feeling pretty good about your game. You've just got to stay aggressive out here. You know, try to limit your mistakes and keep driving it in the fairway. I'm hitting enough good iron shots and putting good. That's basically my plan is just keep driving it good and hitting at the hole and making birdies.

Q. So you do look at the scoreboard on a regular basis?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I do, whether I'm leading or struggling to make the cut or in the middle of the field. I'll look at the scoreboard to see what guys are shooting, and oh, wow, somebody barely made the cut and there he is on the leaderboard. Half the time, you can't help not looking at them; they are clicking right off the side of the green. Yeah, I know what's going on out there usually.

Q. Is the course playing as benign as it did yesterday?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Real similar. Real similar, I think. Yesterday, there was some wind in the afternoon. Kind of like it is now. Out of a totally different direction today, know, because 13 was completely unreachable yesterday afternoon, and today I hit a driver and 2-iron on it. It's totally opposite direction, but it's about the same. It's coming up a little bit in the afternoon, but it's still -- the fairways are still good, and the greens are perfect and they are still pretty receptive. I wouldn't call them firm yet. I think the scores will still be good in the afternoon.

Q. Have you ever taken off this much time and played this good?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That could be a good question. I probably would say no. Not that I can recall.

Q. You said you periodically take time off, but it usually takes a little while?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, usually kind of jump right into the action, and, you know, don't play as good. So I would say no to that question.

Q. All parts of your game do you feel on top of?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Everything is right there. Nothing is perfect, as it rarely is in golf. But I'd say the best way to describe my game right now is I really have no weaknesses. I would classify every aspect of my game, from my driving to my 3-wood to long irons, middle, short irons -- I haven't been in a bunker yet, so I don't know how my bunker game is, but I've only missed three or four greens, and I've chipped in once and up-and-down the others. So my chipping is good. I'm real happy with my putting.

Q. When a ballplayer gets into a groove, they say they see the ball better, everything is sharper, decisions are easier to make. Same thing hold true when you're in this groove like right now for you?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Without a doubt. Everything just kind of happens. You see less trouble. Like on 18, you know, that's a pretty tough pin, and I just -- once I made up my mind what I was going to hit, I just grabbed the thing and just fired it. I don't know whether -- I almost quick-hit it, but the wind, everything just happened perfect. It's like the wind was in, and all of the sudden it switched a little left-to-right. I was between a 5- and 6-iron. Next thing I know I just grabbed a 6(-iron), couple looks and I fired it. Just never left the pin. So, yeah, to answer your question, yeah, that's basically that's going on. The hole is looking pretty big, and I just -- I've always said when I play my best, I just have one swing thought, one or two. And I've got about two going right now, and they are both -- one of them is a setup swing thought and the other is first two feet of my backswing. And then I just -- then I'm just hitting it. Working pretty good.

LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you go over those birdies for us. Birdie on 2?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Birdie on 2. Drove it right in the middle of a great big divot. I just gouged straight down on an L-wedge and kind of rolled it just right of the bunker. Down over the bunker about 25 feet short of the hole and made that. So that was nice. Then I birdied 6. I hit four perfect shots. L-wedge in there about 10 feet behind the hole and I made that. 7, I hit a bad drive in the right fairway bunker. Kind of hit a good shot out, but it just caught the right, off the right front of the green, and I was only about 15 feet from the hole, missed a couple inches off the green, and I chipped it in, very easy chip. Birdie there. 8, I hit a great 4-iron about six feet. Made that for birdie. 12, I goofed up there mentally. Played the wrong shot into the green, left it short, and then 3-putted. Came back on 13. Good drive, 2-iron just off the left edge of the green. Chipped up about 10 feet short. Wasn't a very good chip, but I made the putt for birdie. 15, I hit a real good drive in the swale, just short of the green. Chipped it up about six feet short which was a pretty good chip. Made the putt for birdie. And then 18, perfect drive, perfect 6-iron about five feet and made that for birdie.

Q. 15 is a fun hole, isn't it?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 15 is a great little hole. It really is. I've noticed over the years, almost everybody now there hits driver, except the shorter hitters, and you've got to hit a driver there, at least I think you do. I do, anyway. But everybody, you know, that's a great little hole it, really is. A lot of character to it.

Q. A lot of holes like that on the TOUR?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Very few. Very few. Not enough.

Q. Do one or two come to mind?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 17, TPC of Scottsdale, very similar. Nasty green. Lake on the left. That back pin placement is real tough. If you play it off to the right, you can hit it in the water, you can hit it in the bunker. The front right pin there, if you hit it off to the right, you have to chip; so that hole is very similar to 15 here, about the closest they could come. Similar lengths, too. 10 at Westchester is a great, great hole. Drivable par 4.

Q. What do you like about those kind of holes?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Just the options they give you. Risk-reward. If you hit a driver and a great shot, you've got a shot at making eagle or birdie, but if you don't, you've got a shot at making a 4, 5, 6, whatever. I've made plenty of 6s on No. 10 at Westchester, I'll tell you that. Get down in that forest, back when I used to hit the big hook. I've goofed up No. 17 in Scottsdale enough times, too. So they are good little holes. They are fun, you know.

End of FastScripts....

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