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June 29, 1995

Tom Weiskopf


LES UNGER: Tom, a nice round; four birdies and what happened on 18? Got you there.

TOM WEISKOPF: Well, I drove it in the right rough, and I had an impossible lie and didn't even get it out of the rough. I wanted to get my second shot about 50 yards and put my third shot on the green about 30 feet from the hole and 2-putted.

LES UNGER: How about just giving us a rundown of those 4 birdies.

TOM WEISKOPF: Well, let us see. My first birdie came at the short par 4 which is number 5. I hit a driver and a 9-iron about 15 feet. My next birdie came at number 6. I hit a driver; played a second shot with 1-iron, pulled it to the left and unfortunately hit a lady in the head, split her head open; the ball bounced back toward the green in the rough by the bunkers. I pitched that up about a foot from the hole, made birdie there. And then number 9, I hit a driver, a 5-iron to 9-iron to three feet; made that for birdie. Birdied number 10. Hit driver 1-iron just short of the green, left fringe. Pitched that up about 2 feet. I hit all the fairways on the greens through 15.

LES UNGER: Birdie on 11?

TOM WEISKOPF: Yeah, I am sorry. I keep forgetting that. I hit all the fairways; all the greens through the first 15 holes and missed the fairway at 16 and 18 and missed those two greens. 16 -- but I was on the fringe and putted up about six inches, so tactfully I played exactly the way I wanted to through those first 15 holes. Had a lot of birdie opportunities, but I really didn't putt very aggressively, just because you know, there is a little bit of fear out there just trying to make it from two and a half feet, you know, you just worry about running the ball by the hole two and a half, three feet; not making it. So, I think that is why I was fairly tentative all day.

Q. Do you think you many be able to; how will you handle the putting the rest of the week? It is going to be an aggravation for everybody.

TOM WEISKOPF: There is nothing you can do about it. You just have to play very precise and try to play as aggressively, I think, as you can into the pin; to try to get the ball as close to the pin on the green to just try to take the pressure off your long putting game. And you know, the hard thing is when you miss a green or you are in trouble, chipping the ball on three or four feet does not give you a, you know, given the chance to save, you know, par things; will definitely improve after the first two rounds because the field will be cut, and there will be less people out there.

Q. Tom, yesterday somebody was saying that they liked your chances to win this tournament because you have been hitting the ball very well earlier in the week. Were you hitting the ball real well, and in your mind, do you feel you have a good chance to win?

TOM WEISKOPF: Well, yeah, I think there are a lot of people that think they have a chance or they wouldn't be here. This is a very difficult, demanding golf course, and a long hitter like myself if he can hit his ball straight, has a great advantage on this golf course; not just off the tee, but playing his second shots because a lot of the shots are uphill shots and you can get a lot of height on your iron shots and drop them over the bunkers. You just have a definite advantage. But it is a long tough golf course, and the long hitters always had the advantage historically if he can hit the ball straight enough, everybody knows if you continually hit the ball in the rough, you may catch some good downhill lies, but eventually you are going to catch some downhill lies where you are not going to hit it too far. For certain, you are not going to keep knocking it onto the green out of the rough - I know that. That rough is tough.

LES UNGER: Are you surprised with how many 3 and 4 under people there are?

TOM WEISKOPF: Well, I think there is some factors for that. In fairness to the way the golf course was set up today, I think the pin placements were very fair, and we didn't play it at its maximum length. I would say that we were probably 150 yards shorter than the actual yardage. We were just 10, 15 yards up each tee. I think the senior players are a lot better players than people give us credit for. These guys can still play golf, and they hit the ball very accurately and with the softness of the greens, you are able to hit some shots and take a little bit more chances directly at the pin that you normally wouldn't play if you had a typical U.S. Open situation with real hard fast greens, you would be playing the ball much more away, more protectively away from the pins and the bunkers and stuff like that because you know when the ball -- when it does hit in there, it isn't going to move much more than two or three feet. So you -- you give these guys a chance to play aggressively and they can still play golf, trust me; and that is why the scoring was good. The softness that is out there, the ball still hits the fairway and it doesn't roll very far. It is just kind of like playing to the green too, so marginal drives still stay in the fairways, and marginal shots will still stay on the greens, so I think that combination -- doesn't make any difference even at a U.S. Open on the regular Tour when you have softness after rain, you know, they tend to shoot lower scores, just because of those factors. It slows the course down; makes it vulnerable.

Q. On number 18 can you describe your lie in the right rough; was that a really bad lie?

TOM WEISKOPF: I could barely see it. I mean, it is -- I couldn't hit it much further than I did. I hit it about 50 yards. I just took a 9-iron out. I just tried to get it back to the fairway. I wasn't try to hit it on the green. I was just trying to get back to the fairway; couldn't even get back to the fairway. It was pretty tough.

Q. This tournament means a lot to the people in the Washington area. What does a Senior Open mean to someone like yourself who has been there; done that?

TOM WEISKOPF: This is a great area for golf. These people are knowledgeable. I think they probably relate to us a little bit more because of the past where we played Kempers here and we play PGA's and U.S. Opens; it is not an old crowd that, you know, it is a pretty young crowd, but I think it is the fathers taking their sons out and their grandsons and that kind of thing, but there were a lot of younger people out there. They are very courteous, you know, playing with Lee today, he is an enthusiastic guy to play with all the time. He never stops talking. And the people like him. And he had a great following today. And I was up there watching Jack come down 18; he had a lot of people following Jack. I think the pairings were very good. I looked at the pairings. I think they paired a lot of good twosomes and threesomes today for that gallery reason, and you know, I happened to watch Arnold this morning when I walked in on television there were a lot of people following the King again. It is just -- I don't know, we have a good following. The Senior Tour has a good following.

LES UNGER: Anymore questions?

Q. Tom, as a part-time senior player that you are, how important is this tournament to you? Is this the one senior event that you point towards?

TOM WEISKOPF: Yeah, this is the one that I have always said that is the most important for me to try to win, you know, I have always enjoyed playing in the U.S. Open in the past. I like the challenge of the golf courses. There is a lot of players that disagree with the setup. I don't feel that way. I think what the U.S. Open gives every player is an opportunity to challenge his skills and if he does execute properly, he has a tremendous advantage on that particular day or that particular week over the marginal player. The golf courses, themselves, the tradition of the selection of the courses that we have always played will always elevate the best players year after year. They are just -- you just see them all the time. You see them on the regular Tour, the same guys are always challenging, you know, it is the type of course that -- I just like the challenge, that is why -- we couldn't have that type of a challenge on the Senior Tour on a week to week basis. And it is just -- I look forward to it.

Q. You mentioned the following that some of the people have. Of course, you have a following too. For the fans who haven't seen or watched you in a while, have you changed at all? Have you mellowed as you have gotten older? Who is the Tom Weiskopf that they are seeing now?

TOM WEISKOPF: Who am I? Well, I guess I can answer that question, my wife said it best about 20 years ago. She said who is this guy that I am reading about in the paper because that is not my Tom. I think I was always a little bit of a misunderstood person in this cast of characters that you guys all create, you know, with our nicknames and all that kind of stuff. I would hope that I am a different player than I was when I last played here in 1984. I remembered it very well. I walked off the golf course. That was the last year I competed on the regular Tour. I was extremely frustrated when I played here in the Kemper. And I later, about two months later, quit playing, just because I was just so frustrated with myself. But I never was one to blame the course or blame the situation or whatever. I always blamed myself, and sure, we do things that we are not very -- we look back and we are not very proud of, but I don't think that I did anything that was -- no, I won't say that. Yeah, I am a different person today, yeah. I would hope I am. But I wasn't quite the individual that I think people portrayed me as.

LES UNGER: Tom, you finished second two years ago and fourth last year and this is by far your best start today.

TOM WEISKOPF: That is good to know. Yeah, like I said, I always like playing -- whatever happens is, you know -- just -- I just look forward to the week. I don't know what is going to happen. It is nice to get off to a good start because it gives you a little bit of a cushion in the second and third rounds. That is always a nice feeling to have when you are playing in a U.S. Open. Because you realize for the most part, no one is going to play four days and have complete control over their game. No one is that good, I don't think, for the most part. If they would, they would run away with The Open Championship, you know, these courses always have a way of getting back at you.

LES UNGER: Any other questions? Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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