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March 27, 1997

Mark Calcavecchia


WES SEELEY: 36, 31, 67. 57-under-par, Mark Calcavecchia. Tell us about your day.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Seemed like a long time since I made a par. Tell you that. 10th hole is my last par. Yeah, just kind of got going crazy on the back 9. I figured I had couple of par 5s walking back to the 11th tee. Thought, okay, I got a couple of par 5s. 12 short, maybe shoot 2-, 3-under. Hang in there. Just kind of went crazy there for a while and turned out to be a good score. Little disappointed in my 6-iron in the last hole, but, you know, it happens. I hit a good drive, which is the majority of the problems on that hole, and I just chunked a 6-iron and made a bogey. But, I hit a good putt. But, I made a good bogey. Just, first day overall, pretty happy with the score.

WES SEELEY: Can you take us around, starting with birdie on 2.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Birdied 2. Drove it in the rough. I had to hit 9-iron. Hit another 9-iron in there about 3 feet. Made that for birdie. Drove it in the water on 5, which is not good. Way right, and cropped over there and hit it up short left of the green, chipped that about 20 feet by, but made 20-footer for bogey. So that was -- that was nice. Sometimes that feels almost like making a birdie, standing there in the double-bogey and you make a 20-footer for bogey. You go, "Heck, that was only a bogey. That is not so bad." And felt good about that. Parred all the way around through 10. And then 11th hole, I hit 3-wood just short left of the green and had a pretty easy chip and actually hit the hole on the chip and went 3 feet by. So I made that for birdie. 12th hole, hit good drive and pitching wedge to about 3 feet. Again, made that for birdie. 13th hole, 6-iron, down to about 15 feet, made that for birdie. 14, bad drive -- wasn't bad drive, just in the right rough, and I probably should have just hacked it down the fairway, but I tried to put all I had into it and get it to the green and came out left and ended up in between the bunkers, and I had a bad lie, so I made a bogey there. 15 was lucky. I didn't hit a very good 5-iron into the green. Down there, about 40 feet short right of the hole in the swell. I made that one right in the middle. 16, I just hit my best drive of the day. Hit a nice little 3-iron into the green, nice high fade; landed inside the middle of the green; caught the ridge; rolled down the hill down to about 12 feet. Made that for eagle. 17, I hit a nice little 8-iron, hit just behind the right of the hole, spun back about 12 feet short of the hole. Made that for birdie. And then on 18, I hit good drive, and then just hit the 6-iron fat. Actually, hit a good chip and good putt. I saw the replay of my putt, and it was - I hit it right where I aimed it. I just misread it. It was a 7-footer, only played it left edge, and I saw it started right-to-left edge, and it just broke a little more than I thought.

Q. Did you say that putt on 15 was 40 feet?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Probably pretty close to 40 feet.

WES SEELEY: Questions, folks.

Q. Would you say the rough is maybe not quite a one stroke penalty, I mean, is it very severe?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That is a pretty good assumption. I basically -- no matter where you hit it on any hole in the rough, if you hit it in the rough, I can't see you hitting it more than 120 yards out of there. Maybe 140 at the most. The shots that I hit out of the rough yesterday, couple of drives I hit in the rough, I had to wedge out. Today, I hit it in the rough three times and hit 9-iron -- two 9-irons and 7-iron out of the rough. Probably should have hit three 9-irons out of the rough. So, you know, it is okay to have heavy rough. The course is in such awesome shape, but it is a little thick for my taste. I know they want to, you know, put the premium, like the USGA-type thing, but the premium on driving the ball in the fairway, and if you miss -- if you hit a bad drive, you should make a bogey, that sort of thing. But, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody blows their back or their shoulder out this week trying to lash it out of that stuff. It is no fun, really. I am leery of it because I have seen it done before hacking it out of high rough. When I took that swing out of that rough on 14, just kind of thought to myself, not really worth it because I felt the muscles in my back tighten up a little bit. So....

Q. Was that the 7-iron?


Q. Mark, did you feel a good round coming on or was there something that happened during the rounds that really got you cranked and focused?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I told Butch Harmon on the range this morning -- he had just got there with Tiger. I was just leaving, and I worked with him the last couple of days. He said, "How are you feeling?" I said, "I feel great." What we worked on -- at Bay Hill, I was playing terrible, and Doral and Honda worked pretty good with him at Bay Hill and shot 67 the last round at Bay Hill and played better. And then, couple of good days of practice here and 67 today. So, I am hitting -- I am definitely hitting it better. And, you know, you never really know -- sometimes you go to the course, not necessarily this one, because it is such a hard course - or can be - but, you know, easier golf courses, sometimes you get on a roll. You just know you are going to go out and shoot, you know, low scores. Here, you know, you can hit a few bad drives or hit it in the water on 17 and maybe not shoot a very good score. But, I wouldn't say I was confident, but I was, you know, fairly -- I had fairly good idea that I was going to play decent or play good. My wife said last night, she said, "I know you are going to play good," so there you have it.

Q. Would you compare the rough here now to the rough here in previous years? How is it?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I have never seen it this thick or high. I don't think there is any comparison. I think this is, by far, the worst the rough has ever been here that I can remember anyway.

Q. I would assume the fairways are still soft enough that any ball that hits the rough is maybe one hop; it is not rolling through the fairway into the rougher; is that right?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. You are right about that. If your ball flies a yard from the rough, -- I drive it pretty high anyway. I'd say 95 percent of my drives or however many that is that I hit, I hit probably 11 fairways. Of 11 fairways I hit, I'd say average length my ball rolls is probably 8 inches backwards. Everyone of my drives suck back. Payne Stewart was driving it lower, so he got a little bit of roll. My high floater hits over by the edge of the rough; it is going to plug, and it will probably be that way tomorrow still, even if it doesn't rain.

Q. What about if it stays like this through the rest of the week, it is so soft that there is no way it can dry out?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: The greens will dry out first. They will be the first. If they don't put any water on those and it stays nice and sunny, they will get nice and glossy and fast. And, I can't see them getting firm by the end of the week. But, I think the fairways are still -- even through Sunday, even if it stays sunny, they are still going to be fairly soft the rest of the week.

Q. How long have you been working with Butch?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I have worked with Butch three years now. Started working with him two weeks after The Masters in 1994. Not full-time. Not like I drop in every other week with him. But it is great, you know, when he is with Tiger as much as he is because he comes to a lot of tournaments. That is the best opportunity for me to work with him as opposed to flying to Houston where he lives which I have done also on occasion. But it is nice to work at the tournaments where he is at. So, it saves me a trip.

Q. Are you playing Houston?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. Well, no I am not playing Houston, but he has got the Pro Am on Monday at River Oaks. What I am going to do is fly to Houston like Sunday, practice Sunday afternoon play the Pro Am; then practice Tuesday with him; then fly to Atlanta for the next tournament.

Q. Mark, was it something in particular that you guys straightened out in your swing or setup?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, it is really pretty simple. I just got to picking the club up to abruptly and from that point -- and I got real lazy with my legs and when that happens I hit it both directions. So I just, you know, just trying to get good extension off the ball and then just hit the damn thing just once I get off to a good start, I can go on as hard as I want and that is what he likes. That is what he wants me to do. He wants me to be able to get in a position where I can just pound it as hard as I can and not worry about hitting it left. That is when I play my best. That is sort of almost where I am at.

Q. Do you talk with him much at all about playing Augusta?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. I never have.

Q. Do you talk with him about playing about anything than the actual mechanics of the swing?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, I don't sit there and talk strategy or certain ways I should play holes. I think I am smart enough to figure that out on my own. I have played enough golf here and Augusta to know what I want to do on the holes. It is just a question of doing it. That is where he comes into play. He might see something out on the golf course if he is out watching or doing TV or whatever he is doing, you know, that he will talk to me about afterwards like "Calc, I thought that was a bad play, hitting driver off of a certain hole" instead of: "Why not just hit an iron down there," that sort of thing; I will think about it. But, for the most part, he is just gets me ready to play. And lets me go from there.

WES SEELEY: Anything else?

End of FastScripts....

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