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March 30, 2000

Jean Van De Velde


LEE PATTERSON: Excellent start to today and to the week, actually. Maybe just a couple comments about that; then we will open it up for questions.

JEAN VAN de VELDE: I thought starting the week when I saw the course I was thinking: Well, it is going to be pretty hard out here, especially on Tuesday when it was really blowing. I thought, well, that is going to be terrible. Then this morning the conditions were very good and I had a good look at the course on Tuesday and on Wednesday and really, I thought that if you can manage to keep the ball in play and hit the right section of the green you might have a chance to roll a couple of putts in. That is pretty much what I did today.

LEE PATTERSON: Very good. Any questions?

Q. 13, take us through that.

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Well, the pin was at the front like 13 on I think, and (inaudible) from the left. It was like 290 from the front edge from the tee box. I thought, well, either hit a short 3-iron and leave yourself a full shot or you can try to go for it and be aggressive. I selected to go for it, but I just -- I went -- my finished up to straight. Then I went a little bit down the left and I had that very tough chip, I just had to it in the bank and jump up and release on the green. So I took a pretty good margin of error, but I probably didn't hit it hard enough. It just hit the bank and on the second bounce it stopped just like two feet away from the green, but I mean, I was on the flat there and then I had like a 30-footer, and I said, well, this is going to be very quick. I just managed to just land it exactly where I wanted and it trickled down all the way. I was straight down. Then it went -- disappeared in the hole. That is a bonus.

Q. You have got a reputation obviously as a very brave, bold player. Are you going to --

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Very brave and what?

Q. Sort of bold player, you go for a lot of shots. Are you going to change your style at all next week at Augusta?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Well, as I said last week for example, the course was extremely difficult and it is not that I played badly, I had terrible course management, I think, because I played like -- I missed the cut but out of the two days which you played like eight par 5s, four in the first; four in the second and out of these eight par 5s, three times I went with an iron for the green with a 2- or 3-iron -- I mean, 6-irons. So only twice I had to lay up and out of these eight holes I played 4-over, so I sat down and I thought: Well, there is something wrong here. But I mean, here, some of the targets are so small, you just -- for me, you are always at the limit where most of the time I can go for them, but if you miss them, I mean, you are in such trouble that you better think about it twice. So I didn't think about it twice last week, but I am definitely going to think about it from now on. And a hole like No. 4 today I could have probably sneaked my 3-wood on the green. I know I could have hit it on, but I didn't try because the target was so small. I had about 10 yards to hit the shot in from 260, so, you know, I am not going to play conservative but I am going to try to manage my course a little better.

Q. (inaudible)

JEAN VAN de VELDE: About next week, all I know about the course is what I have seen on TV, so I can tell you probably on Monday evening what I am going to try to do.

Q. You have been here a few months now playing. What are your impressions of playing golf in the United States so far?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: I am really enjoying it. I am really enjoying the courses we are playing, the facilities and, you know, the lifestyle as well. There is only one thing pretty tough for me that I know none of the courses so there are some that I like better than others and at the same time, it is very hard to try to analyze a course very well out of one or two practice rounds. So like last week, I said I made some stupid mistakes and I have made a few over the weeks and at the end it is pretty costly, but you know, be better next year, I guess I will know a lot more -- I will know all the courses I want to play on pretty much and then you can probably get -- try to expect -- if you can expect something in this game -- but try to play the course differently -- not differently but hit with another eye, like you have got a few rounds behind you and now you know what to do on it. That is what is missing a little bit.

Q. You were saying the other day that you wanted to play because you didn't want to really get there too early and think too much about Augusta and you can play this kind of on the way. Your expectations probably were not that great then this week, probably just trying to get your game back where you felt good about it and go into there feeling more confident next week?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Yeah, well, you know, a lot of people told me that here the greens are pretty much, I mean, Augusta they might be a little quicker but some of the slopes here are pretty severe so if you can get your putting stroke here, you know, sort it out, you will probably be a good help. I just committed to play here because as I said, I played -- didn't play that bad last week, but the course management, I mean, altogether was pretty poor. I didn't want to sit down somewhere and practice and probably look in the wrong direction. So I said: Well, you got to commit to the tournament and you are going to play and try to play in tournament conditions and you see from there. It is not that I am tired or whatever, so you know, sit only my second, third week since I had a week off. At the same time I am not building any pressure and I am normally having two or three practice rounds next week, one on Monday and one on Tuesday for sure, so should be good.

Q. The beard, is Bridgette not in town?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Bridgette is not in town and the pillow is not complaining. I was a bit lazy. I woke up to early this morning. I couldn't find the mirror.

Q. No new fashion statement here then?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Probably not. Be gone soon.

Q. How long after the British Open last year do you start to think about that you qualified at The Masters?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: From the Sunday evening I knew I was in The Masters because -- (inaudible) the first hole in the Open last year was the first time that the first hole was qualifying to play in The Masters, so I knew as I finished -- as I finished the round, as everything was finished, some guy said: Well, at least, I mean, you are going to be in The Masters next year. So from that Sunday night I knew and I was pretty pleased, very pleased.

Q. What kind of reaction have you got from the crowds in the U.S.? Do you feel some sympathy coming from them about what happened in the British towards you?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: A lot of people are really, you know, they pretty -- try to make me feel like home. They are very encouraging and they (inaudible). I had one little problem last week (inaudible) before -- I think the guy was escorted out of the course, I don't know, I didn't do it myself, but you know, that is the first time really that anything happened, so it has been very good. Very good.

Q. What happened?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Well, I walked from the 13th to the 14th a guy went on and abused me a little bit with language and talking about French people, whatever, so -- I am not going to go into details, but I had my head up my backside at that stage and I was plenty over and I didn't -- not that I reacted badly but I didn't think that was appropriate. It is like -- it is not something that would cross my mind, you know, you can give a hard time to anyone, you know, with abusive language. I was -- I was pretty upset and I called the referee and to be honest, the guy looked a bit drunk, so I said: Listen, I don't want to run into any trouble and I don't want to punch him either, so I am going to have him removed a bit. I was a bit hot blooded at that stage.

LEE PATTERSON: Go over your other birdies for us the one on 2 and --

JEAN VAN de VELDE: On 2 I hit a 9-iron to about twelve feet, carried up the hill, went straight in the middle. On 4 I hit it to about 15 feet, 18 feet, made it. On 6, I hit it to ten feet past the hole - a good putt there, like this, and then what did I birdie after that?


JEAN VAN de VELDE: Hit 3-wood and 6-iron to about 15 feet. I chipped in there and on 16, well, 16 I hit 6-iron to 30 feet and made it. So that was -- 16 was good. That is it.

Q. You had said, I think, at Doral you were a little surprised at how low the cuts were here. Are you getting a little more used to that knowing that you got to go out and fire some numbers because it is a fast pace?

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Yeah, I was very surprised. Really one factor that helps that if you know the courses, then you play differently. Always very hard to discover a course and sometimes you go: Geez, how am I going to play here. When you get to play it, it plays sometimes not easier, but when you know a course very well, you can find your way around. You know where to go; where not to go; where to miss; where not to miss. So, yeah, I am a bit surprised. When the weather is very good it is like the guys are playing darts here and we only play darts in pubs in England, not on golf courses, so it is a bit amazing. I have to say - where was it, Bay Hill, I mean, the cut went down two or three shots, went from 1-over on the first day to 1- or 2-under on the second day. So it is a lot of strokes. It is not one shot. Two or three, that is a hell of a difference within a couple of days, within a day. So I think when they are in form here they shoot low numbers, that is it. You got shoot low. These guys are good.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? Thank you. Sir.

JEAN VAN de VELDE: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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