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April 23, 2000

Mark Calcavecchia


MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I started out pretty good. It was a nice day. I knew the first couple of holes were important, because one was just a driver and a 9-iron downwind, and 2 was reachable. I got off to a good start. I hung in there and just hit some bad shots in the middle of the round and then made a couple of good pars. And then I birdied 13. That was the first time I did that this week. Then I hit it close. So it was nice. It's been a while. It hasn't been the best of stretches for me, so it's nice to play a good round.

Q. If you haven't been here in a while, did you change the approach?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: The only reason I've been here -- I've had good tournaments in the past. But being from Florida, I always play a lot on the West Coast. I play all of Florida. I'm usually in The Masters. And I won in Atlanta. The only reason I haven't been here is strictly schedule, after The Masters. And this year I didn't play in The Masters, which is the reason why I'm here. So it's just purely schedule. I'll have to make a return appearance next year.

Q. You seemed to be able to put a string of birdies together.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I had my moments. I've always been like that, though. I'm a streak I player, I've always said that. And I've actually got a new putting grip now. And I really hit a lot of good putts this week, and it's encouraging, and then you put some good shots on top of it.

Q. Did you ever have did you have a better stretch on the back 9 in Augusta?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That was my best stretch. There's only one other stretch, and that also came in Georgia, at the Sarazen. I had a 15-hole stretch, 13-under in between the first round and the second round. But at Augusta, the back 9 there, started shooting 29. Six of them were tap-ins, so that was kind of fun.

Q. Were the conditions today more favorable?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, it's a little calmer now than it was. There was a little bit of breeze early, that was kind of hard to read in the trees on the front 9. It seems to be dying down and as good of golf as you can get.

Q. What part of the day today did you allow yourself to start thinking ahead?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I knew if I had a good finish, after I birdied 15, maybe birdied the last three or the last four, I could have a good tournament. But Hal is 13-under. Both par-5s are playing pretty easy, and it's perfect out there now. You never know. I'm just happy I had a good day. I'm taking next week off, and I'm going to do four tournaments in a row. So this is a good confidence booster for me.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, this new putting grip I'm using is kind of a modified Chris DiMarco. And I actually putted okay in Atlanta, but I was just hitting it all over the place, and I missed the cut. So I didn't let that discourage me, and took a couple of weeks off, and just kept with it, and I played with my buddies. It gave me a little faith in my putting, which is really all I need. I'm pretty good tee-to-green. Usually, I'm up in greens on total driving. So if I can get some putts to go in, I'll be in good shape.

Q. You'll also take a pretty good check away from here today.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I need that. We all need it. But that's nice. Can't forget about that. I'm happy about that, too. He's a tough player, obviously got a lot of confidence. That's what he's playing on is pure confidence. And you win the TPC and all these other tournaments he's won in the last 36 months, he's had a great stretch. I played to him Sunday at the Honda. He's just such a great driver of the ball. I know he said this week he hasn't been driving it that great, but I look for him to hit the fairways in the back 9 when he needs to.

Q. You mentioned that it's nice that you're having kind of a rough stretch. Was there a certain lowest point for you, sort of you're on the way up after?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Playing bad is just the low point, missing cuts. I missed the cut at TPC; I missed the cut in Atlanta. I came here, and I was borderline making the cut on Friday. I haven't missed three cuts in a row since about 1986, so I didn't want to start now. And playing bad is no fun out here. You get run over in a hurry and you get forgotten about and nobody cares about you. But playing good makes up for it. I knew I wasn't done. I knew I'd play good eventually. And you have to wait for the good times, I guess.

Q. Now that you've played well, here are you superstitious at all? Would it make you want to come back here more?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Probably. The only reason I haven't been here is because I play all the Florida tournaments and Atlanta and Augusta, and it's just nothing else but a great time for a three- or four-week break. Last year I took a month off. I haven't been to Hilton Head in eight years, either. This always follows that. I haven't been to Houston in who knows how long. It's always a great time for a big break. Kind of like a winter break in April, so to speak. So hopefully I'll have to see if I can't accommodate my schedule a little better, so I can come back again next year.

Q. Did making the birdie at 15 after the lie you drew off the tee sort of get you going a little bit?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, that was a great birdie. I just hit a 9-iron, swung as hard as I could out of the rough, and still had to hit a hard 8-iron into the green. And I hit it in there two feet, and I felt like I kind of got away with one there. I wasn't really expecting that. Tough pin placement over there, and I hit it in close. And a couple of good shots and a nice putt at 16, and I hit it three feet at 17. All of a sudden I had a pretty makable one on 18. I didn't make a very good putt, but at least the good news is that, if I would have hit a good putt, I would have missed it, because I thought it was dead straight, and I pulled it a little, and it broke three or four inches left, anyway. So it sure would have been nice to make that. I would have thought I had a little bit of a chance. You still never know. But I'm not going to think about that putt on the last hole at all. I actually made a lot of good putts this week.

End of FastScripts….

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