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March 5, 1998

Mark Calcavecchia


LEE PATTERSON: A couple of thoughts about your round today and then we'll answer any questions.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I hit it pretty good. Took last week off and I really took it off, I didn't touch a club until Tuesday. And went skiing one day, the whole deal. So I got myself back into the Florida home Tuesday, and some things kind of hit me all of a sudden out of nowhere. I worked with Butch Harmon the week before I went to Tucson, although I was working on what he was trying to tell me to do, it was hard to play in a tournament that soon after and work on it at the same time, I didn't know whether to concentrate on it or play by feel. It seemed to kick into effect the last couple of days, I hit the ball real nice, so it was encouraging.

Q. Anything specific you were working on?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, my right knee was -- on my backswing was going back, and my right hip was riding high. And my backswing was going up instead of low, and naturally one thing leads to another. Thus I wasn't hitting it too good. But I seemed -- I was kind of locking my right knee and getting off to a nice slow backswing, and that's about all I'm thinking about, just locking my right knee, and just start off slow, and just rip at it from there.

Q. Mark, talk a little about the course, how it's playing. Are you surprised there aren't more lower scores?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, usually almost always even when the wind comes up a little bit, somebody will shoot a six or seven under, but it was really only calm for three holes, four holes for us this morning, and then it kicked up pretty good. The fifth hole of the day I hit a 7-iron about 200 yards on 14. So there was some wind. And the rest of the day it stayed pretty much constant. As I said earlier downstairs, the course is better this year, for sure. The changes have helped. But I always thought the thing that made this one of the best courses that we played on the PGA TOUR through all the years was the way it was, it was extremely playable in strong wind, which you can get down here. We played some rounds out here where it blew 25, 30, 35 miles an hour, and if you played, you could shoot a decent score, because there were places to miss it, bail out areas, so to speak, and that's why I always enjoyed this course, is the challenge in the wind. Now if it gets really windy it's going to be really tough, because as I said, there's less places to miss it, due to the bunkering and whatnot. It's tough. It's tougher. They achieved their goal. And I didn't like it last year. I probably had a bad attitude coming into the tournament once I saw the course on Wednesday. Of course I've got too much respect for Raymond to tell him what I thought. I think a lot of guys did. But I came back this year with a much better attitude and even if the changes weren't that significant, I was determined to kind of get back and play well here at the Doral again.

Q. Did he make that many changes?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Not really. Nothing drastically noticeable, other than taking out the right fairway bunkers on 18. And the greens on 3, and they've got some rough there so your ball won't go in the water. Same with 8. So it's not a whole lot different, really. But it's a little bit better.

Q. Did you get on 8 in two today?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, I hit my driver as good as I could, and had about 245 to the front. So I would have needed about 225 into that type of wind to go for it. And laid up and made par. And then we had about a 25-minute wait on the 9th tee, which didn't help any, there were three groups on that hole. And I was in between a 4-iron and 5-iron the whole time. I was standing there for 25, shall I hit a 4, shall I hit a 5. I hit a 5 and hit it good right in the front bunker. It needed to fly another two feet and it would have got on the green. I busted out about five feet behind the hole and missed it, the two bogeys I made, I hit two really good iron shots, so one of them buried right on the face of the bunker on four, and I didn't up-and-down on 9. But I did hit a lot of good shots today.

Q. Was the wind blowing from the southeast, Mark?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Which way is that?

Q. I have no idea.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, that's about right. If it is straight that way. I'll buy that.

Q. That makes the playing in 18 and whatnot and 9 that much harder?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 8 and 9, 17 and 18, which is the wind I think this course plays its best at, when the wind is coming this way when 8 and 9 and 17 and 18 are downwind, it makes those holes very -- or a whole lot easier. 8 is reachable. The 9th hole can be an 8-iron. And 18 is a driver, 9-iron hole. And 1 is still reachable, 2 is still short. The holes that go that way (indicating), are still fairly easy. So this is definitely the toughest wind on this course.

Q. What did you hit into 18 today?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: A driver and a 4-iron in the front right bunker, and I should hit a driver and 3-iron. And yesterday I hit a driver and 9-iron back on the edge, 30 yards further than where I hit my driver and 4-iron today.

Q. Does this course favor a slightly different player than it used to?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I think it does, actually. I think this course used to favor a longer player, a guy that just drove it good. You still always had to drive it good here, because some of the par-5s, depending on the way the wind was going. And I asked Steve Elkington about why he thought he played so good here last year, and he said he was very conservative off the tees. Last year when you did hit it in the fairway bunker, it seemed like the ball, because they were new, always sat down about a third of the ball was actually partially buried or a quarter of the ball. So you had to try to almost skull them out of the fairway bunkers. And the three fairway bunkers I had today the ball was sitting perfectly. I figured that might happen. That also makes it easier. But I still think this course right now favors a very good driver of the ball. And I just think you have to use your head off the tees.

Q. Straighter rather than longer type hitter?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think so. I think it's going more to the straighter type player than the bomber.

Q. What kind of driver do you use?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I've got a Bridgestone driver, it is identical to the one I've been using the last three years. I've used some Titleist drivers this year, I've been hopping around a little bit. But I've used the same putter now for six months, which has to be a career record for me or close to it.

Q. Is it the same putter as the Vancouver putter you had?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Identical to it. That was Jeff Maggert's putter I used the last two rounds. And then I had four putters made up identical to Jeff's putter, 34 inches, same grip, same everything.

Q. You've had a lot of good finishes here, what would it mean for you to win, being so close to home and just your family and all that down here?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It would be more special, but I've always said whether I win in Vancouver, which is about as far from home as you can get or Boston, which I've won at or wherever, winning is still great. It's still everybody's dream, everybody's goal. And it would be extra special to finally win this tournament after I guess my 18th executive event or 17th, probably. So I've been here a lot, and I'll probably keep playing here as long as I'm physically able. So maybe one day -- maybe one day I'll squeak one in here.

Q. You're close with Billy Mayfair, did you talk, what was your reaction to his victory?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: We watched it on TV at home, obviously, and we were rooting for him. When he won, we knew it would take him 10 or 15 minutes to get to the press room and we tried to call over there, and we got welcome to Valencia Country Club, press 1 for the pro shop, press 2 for tournament parking. So we never got through, and we left a message. And I saw him yesterday and gave him a hug and told him way to go. So it was good. I was happy for him. I won't say he was surprised, but I guarantee you the way he's played the last two years that will erase a lot of confidence that he had from '95. It doesn't take long to think you're probably never going to win again or may never win again. And I don't think Billy wandered over there feeling like he was going to win. But again confidence is a funny thing. When you open up at 65, because I played with him the first two rounds in Tucson, and didn't notice anything spectacular, but he played pretty steady, but usually that's his game. He didn't make any putts. And then he goes over there and made a few putts and got the job done, so I was happy for him.

Q. How was it to win twice with the Sarazen later on?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Again, it's the old doubt in your head type thing, just when you think you've kind of lost it, so to speak, or you're struggling or you can't hit a wedge like 30 feet or you can't putt it in within three feet, it's like, How am I ever going to win again? You feel like you've got the yips sometimes. And it's always gratifying, to say, "Hey, I can still do it." I wanted to make the putt on the last hole, the 5-footer, obviously, and you never like to bogey the last hole. But I stood over it, I was positive. And I actually hit it where I aimed it, it didn't go in. That's not going to bum me out the rest of the day. The same sort of thing as far as that's what you need to do to say, I can still think that way and have what it takes to win tournaments.

Q. Is that putter from the old days or is it a new putter?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, it's an old new one, yeah. Gary Hart had these heads in a drawer and it's in beautiful shape, just stuck a shaft in it and got a little bit darker the last six months from using it, but having as much as -- probably the farthest I've tossed it is from me to you, to the bag, and I've been gentle.

Q. You say you have three more like it?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah. Which could inevitably end up killing me. Well, I've had enough of this one. But, no, the other three are nice, but this one feels a little better.

Q. Didn't you compile a lot of second and thirds before winning last year, was that frustrating or did you feel good about that, being close?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Sometimes they are frustrating. If you have a chance to win and don't, that's frustrating, but then again on other times you might shoot a good last or play good on the weekend and shoot 67 or something on Sunday, to move up to finish second. And then you feel good about it. So it depends entirely on the situation. There have been times when I've been enthralled to finish second and times I feel terrible about finishing second. It all depends on how you get there, really. Started on 10 and hit a sand wedge in there about 8 feet and made that for birdie. Parred 11. 12, I hit it in the left fairway bunker and then I hit that on the next left fairway bunker up there, and then I hit an 8-iron on the green about 30 feet and made it. So sand-to-sand to green-to-birdie, so that was nice. I was kind of surprised. And then just parred all the rest of the holes that side. Then I hit a good drive on 1 downwind, I had a 6-iron in, should have had 5, and made that one for eagle. Parred 2. Parred 3. Fourth hole, I hit it right at the pin and buried right directly under the lip. And I managed to hack that one out about 15 feet short and missed, so I bogeyed that hole. Then on 5, I hit a good drive and 9-iron in there about three feet, made that.

Q. What did you hit on 4?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I hit a 6-iron on 4, so if it would have flown another foot it would have been about 15 foot of the hole. 7, I hit a great drive and hit another wedge in there about 12 feet, made that. Then parred 8 and missed a 5-footer from parring 9, bogeyed 9.

End of FastScripts....

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