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June 19, 2005

Stewart Cink


Q. (Inaudible).

STEWART CINK: Well, I hit the ball in play a little bit more. And I really putted well today. I made some putts. And got a few good breaks out there. When I missed the fairways, I was in the bunker or some trampled down grass. I really didn't have any lies today where I had to hack it out. Sometimes that makes a big difference, between a round of 1 under par and maybe 2 or 3 over.

Q. Anything different about the golf course today versus the first three days?

STEWART CINK: This, I would have to say, is the most consistently set up course that I've ever played for four straight rounds, especially in a tournament like this, where they make so much the press and the players, everybody makes such a big deal about the golf course. It's been exactly the same every day. The greens are not any harder or softer than they were, the rough is not any deeper than it was, it's just hard. It's been hard all week. It's hard right now.

Q. Third hole you had a 3 putt?

STEWART CINK: Yeah, I hit it about I'm sorry, what?

Q. You had quite a streak going.

STEWART CINK: Somebody reminded me a couple of days ago that I had a streak going. I don't care about that kind of streak. That doesn't mean anything, because the stats are misleading, when you talk about a ball being an inch off the green. To me that's a putt. I've 3 putted off the green a couple of times like that. More importantly to me, I was kind of disappointed in the 3 putt that helped me make bogey. The third hole is probably the easiest par 4 on the course. I did hit in the rough there and had a pretty tough lie, but was able to get it on the green, but to then throw the shot away

Q. Is this the toughest you've faced in terms of putting?

STEWART CINK: Not that difficult at all. They're not scary fast. Augusta is a lot scarier than here, when you have your ball on the green. The problem with these greens is when you miss a little bit, you roll off the edge, then that's when it becomes scary.

Q. (Inaudible).

STEWART CINK: Well, 15 is a really treacherous one. There's a false front on the green that's very steep and it's about 12 yards from the front. And the pin is about 12 and a half yards on the green. Where the false front starts it peters out, and the pin is on the down slope. It's a yard over the false front and on the down slope.

And that green is that might be the most demanding par 3 I've ever seen, as far as just requiring a precise, well struck iron shot. You can't get away with anything there. I hit a decent shot there, hits the fringe and rolls back 8 yards in the fairway. It's I think me and Ian Poulter made two pars there, and I think we could sell those to somebody in the later groups.

Q. You played with Retief in Southern Hills on the final days. What makes him so good at the U.S. Open, and why has he had so much success here at The Open rather than other majors?

STEWART CINK: The Open requires such patience and composure, and I think those he's probably the leader in the field in those two categories. He never gets flustered. He makes bogey double and comes back with three in the last four birdies. He never lost his composure. A lot of guys would have had a train wreck, going bogey, double, leading the U.S. Open. But not Retief Goosen.

That's what keeps him in the mix in every U.S. Open, and as far as why he's not done better in other majors, he's finished pretty high in The Masters a couple of times, he hasn't won yet, but I don't think it's long until he does. And I've seen very few players that are more capable of winning more majors than Retief Goosen at this point.

Q. Why is it he goes about his business and other people make comments about the course being the way it is? He just goes out and beats the course and wins the championship?

STEWART CINK: He's executing his shots well, and that helps. If you can stand on the tee and feel confident that you're going to put it in the fairway like he is, then it's going to help you're not going to want to badger the course too much, because from the fairway it's not that bad.

That's part of his game plan not to let the course get the better of him, because it's easy to do out there. It's easy to let the course the setup, get yourself in a bad attitude situation. And it goes south quick. And Retief Goosen has his his composure is up there with the best of them and he won't let it go south.

Q. As a putter, how do you evaluate his putting? Is it a big part of his game?

STEWART CINK: It is. It's a big part of every game. When you reach the top 50 in the world, you're a good putter. I don't think there's very many average or poor putters in that list. And Retief is a solid putter. He's been in the heat a lot. He's proved himself on many different stages, and the U.S. Open seems to be one of his favorites.

Q. What do you think about this course, in the rotation, and why?

STEWART CINK: I think it's a great course. I don't see why the U.S. Open wasn't here for all those years, anyway. It's an unbelievable test. They don't have to make it extremely tricked up to challenge everybody. Obviously, look at the scoring. The greens are not the hardest and fastest we've seen. There's no rough around the greens. It's a great golf course.

I'm glad I don't have to play here for another five or six or whatever years, because this place leaves you mentally worn out. I'm glad to get in with my round today and head for home.

Q. That 3 putt aside, that was pretty amazing to go around here three rounds do you have a particular

STEWART CINK: If you really think about it, it's not that amazing, because these greens are not that small, when you look at them on a map. But when you put the speed up to the point that we're playing the U.S. Open here, and the area where the ball will stay on the green, these are some of the smallest greens we play all year.

It's not like you have a lot of 50 foots out here. If you hit it on the green, you're almost guarranteed to be within 25 feet of the hole. Going through here without any 3 putts until the third hole today is really not that amazing. I'd be surprised if I wasn't the only guy.

Q. Where were you on the third hole?

STEWART CINK: I was in the rough and then I made a good shot to the green. I hit it about pin high right about 40 feet from the hole. The pin placement there is really dangerous today, up on the back left. And I had about a six foot break. I hit it too hard. In fact, if I had hit it about another foot, I might have given myself for a 2 putt, because I would have been in the bunker, because it almost rolled off.

Q. Overall, do you think this has been a fair and good test?

STEWART CINK: I think going back over the last ten U.S. Opens that I've played in, I think it's probably the best, because it leaves no room for any kind of you're not getting away with anything on Pinehurst No. 2. You have to execute your shots. You have to plan your shots well. And you have to make some par putts and a few birdies in there. To me, it's the ultimate place for the U.S. Open now. And I hope they don't come back too often, because I haven't played it too well.

Q. (Inaudible).

STEWART CINK: I don't know when it's going to be. It was five years since the last one, so I'm just guessing on that one.

Q. It takes you five years to get over it?

STEWART CINK: Yeah, maybe I'll forget by then, some of the scars.

Q. Are you going to play Westchester next week?

STEWART CINK: I'm not playing.

Q. When will you play next?


Q. Does it take a while to get over the experience of an Open?

STEWART CINK: Actually, I would like to play next week. I can't play because a friend of mine is getting married. But I would like to play next week, because I've always liked to play the week after the majors. It seems easy. And going from here to anywhere is going to be easy. Somebody is going to light it up next week, because they're so happy to be out of Pinehurst.

Q. (Inaudible).

STEWART CINK: I'm not really the right guy to ask, I only saw him hit a few shots on TV. He made the cut here. He's won a lot of college tournaments. Obviously, he's done a lot in the Amateur ranks. But getting out here is a different story, and getting comfortable. I think he'll be fine, he's got a lot of talent, but, again, that's all I can really say. He's obviously got a lot of talent.

Q. Rocco had a good tournament after switching from the long putter to the short putter. Does that mean anything?

STEWART CINK: Whatever feels good, and whatever you feel like you can get the job done with here. Rocco may not have wanted to use the long putter, because some putts you have to hit too long. I have a belly putter, and they became dislodged, I took like a three quarter swing.

Q. The trend now, or the rage, is putters that have alignment things on them. What do you think of those?

STEWART CINK: What do you mean by "alignment things"?

Q. The way they're made, they're made with alignment aides built into them.

STEWART CINK: You mean like the Seymour. I don't really experiment too much I'm not up on my new putter technology.

Q. If you go to a shop and look at putters, you'll see a lot of them there, and they're just really odd shaped putters, they're not what you would have thought you'd see. They're not like Phil Mickelson's type putter.

STEWART CINK: Like a traditional look? Putter technology has taken a little bit they're borrowing from the driver technology. They're trying to move the weight back away from the ball and down low in the putter, just like they are with the driver, to help get the ball rolling a certain way.

I don't know how it works in a putter, but I think they're trying to sell more putters. The one I use doesn't have any alignment, except the line on the top, like most traditional putters, and I like it just fine. I use a Never Compromise something or other.

Q. Three quarter length?

STEWART CINK: Length of the shaft? It's like 47 inches, it's a belly putter.

Q. How long have you been using a belly putter?

STEWART CINK: I've been using it for almost three years.

Q. It worked pretty well last year?

STEWART CINK: It worked well the last couple of years. This year it's not the putter. I've been fighting it a little bit. But when I say I'm fighting it and I'm finishing in 15th, 8th, 20th in the putter stats a lot of weeks, that's not really fighting it, that's just me being greedy.

Q. This week Tiger has led in greens in regulation and distance off the tee, but he's last in putting. He had a hundred putts going into today's round.

STEWART CINK: That's misleading. When you hit it on the green, you're going to have a lot of 2 putts, and when you miss the greens, you're going to have a lot more 1 putts. It's misleading. You have to look more at the guy the greens in regulation, the putts you have on the greens in regulation, that would be more telling.

Q. (Inaudible).

STEWART CINK: No, look at the guys who look at the average the greens in regulation putting average. So when you hit the green, then take the average. Then that's the more telling stat. This total putts is just you can't go by it at all.

End of FastScripts.

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