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March 29, 1996

Mark Calcavecchia


WES SEELEY: 67, 68, 135, nine under par and two off the lead for Mark Calcavecchia. General thoughts on how these first two days have gone.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: They have gone well. I have only made two bogeys all week, and they were both on par fives. My tee to green game has been real good. Been putting a little inconsistent. Sometimes I feel good over a putter and over the putt; sometimes I don't. So that -- I was just telling somebody else outside that my main goal over the weekend is getting more comfortable with my putter because I think tee to green I am pretty much right on schedule, and if I can get my putter to just feel good more often -- it is not like it feels bad all the time. It is just really weird. I guess I just either know I am going to hit a good putt or I am not. I can't get out of that. So -- but I am happy to be at 9-under, that is for sure. A good score. Weather has been cooperative, playing conditions are good for low scoring. I guess the cut is looking like 1-under. That is pretty low out here, I will tell you.

WES SEELEY: Take us around the birdies and bogeys.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: All right. Parred 1. I birdied 2. Hit a good drive with a 2-iron about a foot short of the green, and chipped it with a pitching wedge up to about a foot. Tapped it in for birdie. Then I had three or four real good chances for birdies the rest of the front 9. I missed a 4-footer on 4. Had about a 15-footer on 6, 15-footer on 7, about 8-footer on 8. So I was a little frustrated with that. And then I hit a good drive on 11, and I thought okay, well, you are hanging in there, good. And I had just the perfect fade 3-wood, and I was looking to hit it on the green and maybe make an eagle or birdie, and just hit it straight right in the middle of the lake. And dropped a wedge on the green about 20 feet and 2-putted for bogey. Walking over the 12th tee I had said, okay, just, you know, couple of short holes left out here, 16 is birdie, I believe, just make two or three birdies somehow and you will be in good shape. And came out at 12, hit a good sand wedge in there about ten feet left of the hole, and made that, which was the first putt I had made. I just kept my head still the whole time and actually listened to that one go in; which is hard to get yourself to do. I birdied 12. 13, I hit 7-iron; just missed the hill by about three feet, so I had about a 30-foot putt, and all I had to do was nudge it just to get it rolling down the hill. And sure enough, I made it; which was a surprise, but that was nice. Then I killed the driver on 14; hit a pitching wedge to about two feet, made that for birdie. Parred 15. Then 16 I got lucky, overhooked my tee shot. It missed all the trees. I think it landed on the cart path a couple of times, and I only had 162 yards to the front of the green and 192 to the hole, and I had a good lie over there in the pine needles. And I hit a 5-iron, but it ended up in the left bunker. I had an awkward stance, but was able to climb in there and dig it out; good bunker shot to about five feet; made that for birdie. And then made a couple of fairly easy pars on the last two holes; which is good any time, let alone when you are playing good.

Q. Did the changing weather conditions - a little warm and eventually got chilly - bother you at all or --

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It was a little -- my hands actually got a little bit cold on the 16th green before I putted, so I just blew in my hands. But, yeah, very strange weather for Florida. I wasn't expecting that at all. Larry Mize was getting pretty cold. Neither one of us thought about bringing a sweater out on the course today. We thought it was going to be 80 degrees and mostly sunny. Yeah, it was a little cold. But didn't really bother me. The wind didn't howl or blow hard at all. There was some wind, but it really wasn't much of a factor. Overall, it was really conducive to good scoring, the weather was.

Q. Anything you look back on this year; the times you have been in contention, is there a common thread to why you haven't won any of those?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, the three top 10s I have had this year: I shot 62 the last round, Phoenix; finished fourth, so I came out of nowhere there. Then San Diego I started making 40-footers on Sunday, and I was hitting it horrible for some reason, and all of a sudden I was tied for the lead. And it was an awkward feeling because I hadn't had a good shot the whole front 9, and shot 4-under, so naturally my swing didn't hold up. In fact, it got worse,. And I am shooting 1-over on the back. So, that was -- you know, as it turns out, Davis ended up 18 or 19-under anyway. I had to shoot 4-under or 3-under in the back to tie him anyway, but it was just one of those things where I didn't have my swing and then on at Bay Hill, I finished fourth, but I played the last 6 holes the -- 7 holes 6-under. That was another situation where I came out of nowhere, but I hadn't really entered Sunday within a shot or two of the lead with a legit chance of winning this year, so we are only halfway there, so I'd like to obviously play good; come out play good tomorrow and tee it up Sunday with a chance to, you know, chance to win.

Q. Do you feel like you are getting in a groove?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I feel like I am getting in a groove with my swing. Just feel very comfortable with it; to the point where I don't think it is going to change. I don't expect to wake up tomorrow and go out on the range and, you know, get the chunks or something. So yeah, I think I am confident. I am scoring fairly well. Certainly nothing wrong with 9 under and yeah, I'd love to get stuck on 67 and 8s. Those are good numbers to shoot in golf day in, day out, that is for sure. You make a lot of money; win a lot of tournaments with those numbers.

Q. What is your take on the last three weeks first timers winning?


Q. Your take on the last three weeks where first-time winners have won out here.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think it is great; played with Scott McCarron this week and he just didn't have it. It is very hard to win. I mean to play the week after you win, and I told him I remember the first time when I won, I was just out of it and he didn't play well at all and it is kind of understandable, but it is just -- every year the level of play out here gets better and better and you know, the young guys, they are just coming out and they are good. The NIKE TOUR has been great; all the other mini tours and Asian Tours and South African Tours that these guys come from, they get through the TOUR school and they are ready to go. So -- not that I am an old guy or anything yet. I am only 35. I tell you what, I have to stay on top of my game to compete with these young guys.

Q. Do you think there is enough -- I don't know how -- if you have looked at the leader board, but you and Fuzzy and Corey, there is a lot of established players up there. Do you think Saturday is going to be a little bit of a test or do you think these guys will do a good job of holding up over the weekend?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, nothing surprises me anymore. I know some of the other guys have said the same thing basically true out here, but you know, this is a pretty special golf tournament, so I think maybe you know, by the end of the week you might see, hopefully myself included, the veteran-type players like Fuzzy and Corey and Vijah Singh or whoever these guys are. Tommy Tolles is playing great and he might just go out tomorrow and shoot 67, you never know. Or he might not. So you just have to wait and see, but anything is possible. I am not expecting some of these younger guys that are up there doing well like Tommy and whatnot to go backwards.

Q. The purse is already kind of staggering before. What did you think of the increase in bumping up the first prize to 630?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I thought it was pretty neat. I liked it. Well, when we had the players meeting in here some of the guys are going, well, are we going to move the tournament back to May or up to February, what are we going to do and I almost -- I am sitting back there in the corner. I am silent when it comes to these type things. I just listen, but I almost jumped in and said, look, guys we are playing for $3.5 million, who the hell cares when we are playing. I'd tee it up in Minneapolis this week for $3.5 million in a snow suit, you know. I don't care when we play. This is perfect. Just keep it where it is at. So I think it is great. I am not real picky in terms of scheduling. I am just you know, biggest gripe I have with the TOUR sometimes we play some courses that are in bad shape. That, I can't really understand, but you know like a few things that happened last year, basically, I really don't have any gripes other than biggest problem I have is with myself. If I can handle myself, I usually do all right.

Q. Would you rather see the course stay this receptive over the weekend or toughen up a little bit?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: From what I understand, I don't think it is going to toughen up because I think we are going to get some more rain this weekend, but I think hard and fast conditions are probably an advantage to a player who is good around the greens because you got to miss greens when the wind is blowing and the greens are hard; you are going to hit iron shots and they are going to land on the green and then they are going to roll off; then you got to know what you are doing with your sand wedge. I think that is an advantage to a player who is good around the greens such as a Corey Pavin, or a Phil Mickelson, or myself, you know, when I am chipping well. But you know, on the other hand, when you know you can fly it straight at the hole, if you are swinging well, that is good too, because you can get in a groove and just take dead aim at it.

Q. You get a sense this will go to May, this tournament?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Evidently, not until at least after 1998. I think Tim said with the television deal that they have, they are set until 1998 and then they are looking into the possibility of moving it back, but again, if they do, that is fine. If they don't, that is fine. I am not real worried about it either way.

Q. You feel like it is a matter of time for you to put some good rounds up this year and seemed like you are getting closer all the time? You are here talking to us about it this year.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I am feeling good about it. I think I have learned that I need to just stay a little calmer when things don't go well and it seems like at Bay Hill, on Sunday, I 3-putted four of the first seven greens. I teed off on Sunday three shots behind the lead, you know, is very much -- no, I was four shots behind the lead. That is a realistic shot of winning and all of a sudden I 3-putt four of the first seven greens and then I just hung in there and I am shooting 69 with that unbelievable finish I had and you know, something like that, it kind of sticks in my mind for a while, that if things don't go well right off the bat, you just keep hanging in there and it will pan out in the end. I will get rewarded in the end for it. Yeah, to answer your question, something good is going to happen here. I feel good physically and I think I got three great tournaments here and it is good to be playing one right off the bat here; Atlanta, the one I am defending next week, and the Masters so, I'd love to -- this is a great time of year for me to start playing well, that is for sure.



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