May 31, 1996
WES SEELEY: 68, 70, 138, 6 under par, and I believe one behind Payne Stewart at the moment, Wayne Westner. Compare today to yesterday.
WAYNE WESTNER: I don't think I played as good today as I played yesterday. I played really sorry, I think. I don't think I played as good today as I played yesterday. I just -- I putted really good today. I had a lot of up-and-downs. I wasn't hitting my iron shots that good today. Got a little steep on the ball, so I started putting really nicely and got a good feel for the greens. So I think if I start hitting them half decent, I could shoot pretty low. Bogeyed the first. I hooked my tee shot left. Got it out just in front of the green, pitched up to about six foot, missed that. Hit it on the green in two on two and 2-putted. Missed the green in the bunker left, at 3, up-and-downed it. Hit it on the green at 4 and it spun back down off the green to the top of the green and to about 10 foot, made that for par. 2-putted the next 4-par. Hit it just off the green on the right of--
WES SEELEY: 7 is the par 5.
WAYNE WESTNER: That is the par 5, talking about now.
WES SEELEY: 7.
WAYNE WESTNER: Up-and-downed it from the right side of the green for birdie. 8, I hit it to about 3 foot, made birdie, hit 8-iron. 9, I missed the green again long in the bunker. Up-and-downed that for par. 10, I hit it short of the green, just short of the green, 2-putted for par. 11, I hit driver, 5-wood, front edge of the green, chipped and putted for birdie from about 5 foot. The short hole, I hit it over the green into the bunker, up-and-downed that for par. Next hole, I hit driver, 5-iron just over the back of the green, chipped and putted for par. 14, I hit it in the middle of the fairway with a 3-iron and I hit 9-iron into the water. And I up-and-downed that for bogey. Par 5 I hit driver, 5-wood again onto the green and 2-putted and made birdie. Next hole I hit -- is the next hole a short?
WES SEELEY: Yes.
WAYNE WESTNER: 4-iron about 20 feet left of the flag, made it for birdie. 17, I hit driver, 8-iron, 20 foot, 2-putted. And 18 I hit a good tee shot and tried to hit a 9-iron second shot; it pitched on the green and spun all the way right down the hill, really tough pin placement. And pitched up to about six foot and misread the putt; made bogey. But I think considering the way I was hitting the ball today, I am pretty happy with 70.
WES SEELEY: I am just filling in a couple of things. 7, the par 5, you birdied, what did you hit your two shot with?
WAYNE WESTNER: Driver, 3-wood, just right off the green; didn't hit a very good second shot. I pushed it right and hit a good pitch to about six foot and made it for birdie.
WES SEELEY: How long was your 2-putt on 15?
WAYNE WESTNER: 15?
WES SEELEY: The par 5.
WAYNE WESTNER: That was about 30 foot.
WES SEELEY: Questions.
Q. These putts you holed for par, were they long putts? You didn't give us the lengths like at 3, 4, 9, 12?
WAYNE WESTNER: No, I think they were all inside 10 foot, but you know, they are difficult distances at 6, 7, 5, 6, 7 foot range.
Q. Are you normally a very good fast green putter?
WAYNE WESTNER: I am a good two green putter if the greens are smooth and they are pure, then I am a good putter. I guess the only greens I don't putt well on are fast bumpy greens. I don't think anybody putts well on fast bumpy greens.
Q. Are these greens fast? Would you consider them fast?
WAYNE WESTNER: A lot faster than what we are used to or what we play on in Europe most of the time, but just like a couple of days and then you start getting a feel of the place, and they are really nice. You hit the ball on the line and if you read it correctly, it just goes in.
Q. Compare the conditions of yesterday and today.
WAYNE WESTNER: Today was very mild out there. There is not much wind; very calm. I think there is a lot of good pin placements out there today. I think it was certainly a little easier today than it was yesterday.
Q. Will there be lower scores this afternoon?
WAYNE WESTNER: I would imagine the guys -- somebody is going to shoot low today, I think. Unless the wind gets up, and it doesn't look like that is going to happen.
Q. How many greens did you hit, Wayne?
WAYNE WESTNER: Not too many. How many greens did I miss today? I think I will count the ones I missed; that might be easier. I missed eight. A couple of those, the ball was on the green at some stage and it just like rolled off.
Q. Like 18?
WAYNE WESTNER: Yeah, 18 and 4.
Q. Pins really close in the front?
WAYNE WESTNER: Yeah, it is really close. I think you will see that a lot today, a lot of guys hitting it and coming all the way back down. Not easy pitch down there. You are thinking to yourself just get it on the green, it will come back down, or you could be there all day.
Q. Did you use the 5-wood much today?
WAYNE WESTNER: Yeah, I hit a couple of 5-wood shots, hit 5-wood at 14, is it? 5-wood at 14 and 11, twice.
Q. How about the 3-iron iron at 14--
WES SEELEY: 15.
WAYNE WESTNER: 15, both par fives, beg your pardon.
Q. In terms of fame back home in South Africa, how are you, vis-a-vis, Ernie Els, say?
WAYNE WESTNER: Ernie Els is a national hero. Not too many guys have won the American Open. He is something special. He is almost as popular as Gary Blaise. I am nowhere near there. I am pretty well known. I am a household name in South Africa, but not anywhere what Ernie is.
Q. You said you kind of likened your playing schedule or your attitude for wanting to play like Bruce Lietzke and are you the type of guy that can put your clubs up for a period of time and pick them back up and you feel like you never lost your swing, or when you are not competing, do you have to go out and hit balls a lot?
WAYNE WESTNER: That is a tough question. Just depends on how you are swinging the club. Most of the guys out there hit the ball pretty much the same. It is all mental attitude. And I think time off, what it really does, is just clear your mind of all the unnecessary garbage that you collect while playing week after week. One of the reasons I take time off is because I just get tired of the conditions in Europe really. I think if I was on the Tour in the states I might play a little bit more, because it is really enjoyable. You play good golf courses in nice weather. The tournaments are so well run. You are looking -- you kind of feel really special when you get to a golf tournament out here. The guys don't seem to be able to do enough for you. And we still haven't gotten to that level in Europe yet.
Q. What would you say would be the longest you ever put down your clubs and just put them away?
WAYNE WESTNER: Four years. (LAUGHTER)
Q. When was that?
WAYNE WESTNER: I didn't play much at all from 1988 until halfway through 1991.
Q. Why? Injury?
WAYNE WESTNER: No, I knew what I was looking for and I couldn't find it, and I certainly wasn't playing any good in Europe; so I just quit playing for four years and just went home, practiced a little bit and did a lot of other things. I still kept playing and practicing, but I was only playing 5, 6 tournaments a year on our Tour. And then when I felt that my game had improved a little to where I could compete again, then I went out in the season again.
Q. What did you do besides playing golf?
WAYNE WESTNER: Like I said, I am very involved in conservation. Investment banking is another thing we are involved in which is pretty good fun. Playing golf everyday with a lot of different business people, I think it is a bit pointless not to use it as contacts.
Q. You talked yesterday about trying to play as much as you are allowed over here this summer. Would you say where some of the tournaments you have written for exemptions and do you think your showing here might help you get in some of these places?
WAYNE WESTNER: Yeah. Like I said, I am playing this week, next week; qualifying for the U.S. Open, and I am playing FedEx. I have written to the PGA. I am playing the International. I am playing the World Series, and I have written to the tournament after the World Series. I don't know what that is? Milwaukee?
WES SEELEY: Yes.
WAYNE WESTNER: Then I think it is the Presidents Cup, I think I might be playing in that, and then maybe I will get another start the week after that, which I think is Canada.
WES SEELEY: We lost -- BC is the week after the Presidents Cup. There is a week in between Milwaukee and the Presidents Cup, which is Canada.
WAYNE WESTNER: Okay. Well, I have written to the tournaments around the ones that I am already there, which is the World Series and the International.
Q. You are not already in the PGA?
WAYNE WESTNER: No.
Q. How many events have you played total in the states?
WAYNE WESTNER: I don't know. I was counting the other day. I have played the International three times. I have played the World Series twice a long time ago, though. I think I played the World Series in '88 and then again in '91 or '90, and I have played Milwaukee. I have played the BC and I think I have played Chattanooga. That is about it. Just a handful.
Q. What is your best finish?
WAYNE WESTNER: 18th.
Q. 18th at?
WAYNE WESTNER: At the International Golf Series. Doing well there one year and then come the last round or the third round you had to -- all had to start again from the beginning. That is a string format. You play your butt off for two days; you end up playing tied with everybody else.
Q. Fitness is a big thing today. Are you the type of guy that likes to work out or no?
WAYNE WESTNER: I do -- I work out on occasion, you know. I don't -- I am not a fanatic. I smoke, and I think you can do anything as long as you don't do it in excess; try and stay as balanced as you possibly can.
Q. You don't go out maybe three, four hours a day like some guys do, stretching and lifting weights?
WAYNE WESTNER: I don't have to lift weights. No, I feel like I am strong enough. When I was a lot younger, I did a lot of weight training. I built up my legs and arms quite a lot so I think I am certainly strong enough. I think that is one of my problems in my golf swing is I might be a little bit too strong and the stronger you are the more difficult it is actually to feel the golf club. I run quite frequently when I am at home or on the Tour, maybe run once or twice a week, but I am not a fitness fanatic, no.
Q. How much do you smoke?
WAYNE WESTNER: I don't know, maybe 10, 12 cigarettes a day. I smoke more on the golf course, I guess, just enjoy smoking on the golf course in between shots and when you have got nothing to do.
Q. When you had that time off and just practicing, how did you improve? Were you working with anybody? Was anybody helping you or you just kept practicing and practicing?
WAYNE WESTNER: I have been to a lot of good teachers in the states. I have been to Lytham and spoken to Mac O'Grady;. Peter Kostis; Bob Torrance in Europe. I think that really showed me, more or less, what it was that I had to do, so I just went home and just worked on it.
Q. What kind of stuff would they talk about?
WAYNE WESTNER: It's a long story. I think I went to David when I was a lot younger and I knew nothing about the golf swing and everything David told me to do was correct, but I exaggerated all of it; so I went from one extreme to the other and then that actually just destroyed my golf altogether. It certainly wasn't David's fault. It was just that I didn't know any better. He said stop sliding your hips across and keep them still, so I started to do less pivoting. He would say set the club on play instead of taking it back on one piece and I started picking it up andwhen you do that for 3, 4 months, 800, 900 balls a day, it is really hard to get out of it. And you lose touch with what the most important thing with the golf swing is and that is just the club head. If the ball is going right, the club face is open; if the ball is going left the club face is closed. You don't have to think about the muscle structure of the body in order to get the club face to be square. That is really what happened. And now all I really work on is the club face, the club head.
Q. You just sort of gradually realized that or is it one kind of one guy--
WAYNE WESTNER: I gradually realize that thirteen years down the road. We are not that sharp professional golfers, you know?
Q. I followed you through the South African Tour. Have you taken something off your drives? Because I remember reading you were one of the biggest hitters.
WAYNE WESTNER: Yeah, I am still pretty long. Like I said, I am not ridiculously long. I have never have been. I can hit it far enough to reach most par fives. That is enough for me. I don't think it is important to hit the ball far.
Q. So you didn't adjust anything like --
WAYNE WESTNER: No. I think my swing shortened over the years through playing in Europe, but I don't think I have intentionally tried to hit the ball shorter.
Q. Because of the wind or something?
WAYNE WESTNER: Yeah, the wind and the conditions and the clothing that you wear. In Europe you are playing with two sweaters and waterproofs and it is a bit difficult to make a John Daly two.
WES SEELEY: Anything else?
Q. How many times have you won on the various tours in South African and Europe?
WAYNE WESTNER: I am not too sure, but I think it is 10.
WES SEELEY: We have the European Tour book. We can --
WAYNE WESTNER: I won in Europe twice and South Africa, I have won, yeah, it is about ten times total.
Q. Is this your best start, three victories so far this year?
WAYNE WESTNER: You mean apart from home?
Q. Yeah, your best start overall, I mean, in any as a professional, having won three times?
WAYNE WESTNER: Oh, yeah, definitely.
WES SEELEY: Okay?
WAYNE WESTNER: Thanks.
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