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March 20, 2003

Stewart Cink

Ben Crane

Ernie Els

Jonathan Kaye

J.L. Lewis

Arnold Palmer



STEWART CINK: Wasn't one of my better efforts, but I made some today and you have to take the good and the bad all together. I did play very well. I'm excited how I'm playing.

Q. How did it change when the wind came up?

STEWART CINK: Well, it came up early. We usually play the front nine, the first group always plays the first nine holes without much wind and today it came up fairly quickly. It was going when we teed off at 7:30. The course is very challenging today. The greens are getting quite firm and it's just hard to get the ball close. So anything under 70 today is going to be excellent and par or better is very sensible.

Q. I know we had a long way to go today but you have to be glad to be in at minus three at this point.

STEWART CINK: Yes, you are always glad to start off with a decent round, and especially on a day like today when you know it's going to be difficult in the afternoon and the greens are going to be hard. It will be a tough go at it so I'm glad to be under par.


Q. 2-under par today, Ben Crane, good start here at Arnold Palmer's tournament.

BEN CRANE: Thank you. Yeah, my first time around, I'm pretty happy with that. The wind course is playing tough the wind coming up the way it has but I'm pleased with my score.

Q. Did the course play different today than early in the week?

BEN CRANE: A little bit. It's a little firmer today on the greens, but for the most part, the rough is pretty tough and you've got to drive the ball in play, have a chance and have to hit shots with plenty of spin on it to hold the greens.

Q. How does it feel to be one of the younger players on the PGA TOUR? You're in a PGA TOUR event today, Arnold Palmer is teeing off, Jack Nicklaus is teeing off, does it seem somewhat like a dream?

BEN CRANE: It does it really does. This is the only TOUR event I have ever watched, I ever spectated at and that was three years ago. So this is kind of -- I was telling my caddie, coming here and being inside the ropes and playing is pretty special because I remember watching some guys play here. It really does. I'm incredibly thrilled and very blessed to be out here and grateful for the opportunity to play.

Q. And I mentioned two names, Nicklaus and Palmer; what about Tiger Woods in the field?

BEN CRANE: Yeah, he's a pretty special player himself.

Q. You are, too, 2-under par today, keep up the good work.

BEN CRANE: Thank you very much.


Q. Could you give a quick comment on your round?

JONATHAN KAYE: I played pretty good. I let a few go at the end. Overall it was a good day, putted well and kept it in play. Kind of a sour taste with the bogey at the end, but there's always tomorrow.

Q. How were the conditions?

JONATHAN KAYE: Greens were firm but soft in spots. It was hard to get it close, especially the front, almost impossible on the downwind holes. It's playable and I'm sure there will be a lot of other good scores out there.


Q. Talk about your round and how you played.

J.L. LEWIS: I didn't strike the ball very good. I had a good day putting and I hit some good shots, but I'm not very pleased with the way I hit the ball. But I hope that I'll get it together. I've been working on my swing and I'm going to go work at it and see if I can get it figured out on the range.

Q. Talk about the conditions out there today.

J.L. LEWIS: It's blowing. Last week I played late the first day and it blew; and early the second day, it didn't blow and we shot 5-under par and missed the cut.

So, you know, if it blows, I hope it just blows consistently for everybody.

Q. Have you changed anything in your putting?

J.L. LEWIS: I've gone to a little softer -- the ball comes off this putter a little softer and my speed control is better. I'm just getting better and better with it.

Q. What type of putter?

J.L. LEWIS: It's a Bobby Gray.


ERNIE ELS: It was a tough day. The wind just calmed down now. It blew pretty hard out there today. The greens are unbelievable. They are really firm and it was a great test of golf today.

I did well most of the way. I started practicing my putting there on 15, but other than that, I made a couple of mistakes -- I tried to take keep a big number off my score card today because you can make one out here today.

Q. What were you thinking of when the ball bounced off a rock?

ERNIE ELS: That sums it up, really. I haven't got the ball close all day and I had 165 there. You know the wind was blowing all day. I guess it calmed down on my second shot. I don't know, I'm not so sure it came up short but it looked good in the air. It could have gone in the water. I made 4, so I guess I got away with something there.

Q. How is your wrist?

ERNIE ELS: I think it's really calming down now. It's pretty good. I've had some good treatment on it. I should be fine now.

Q. Is it tough concentrating today with what's going on overseas?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I watched a lot of it last night. I had a late tee time today and I watched a lot of it last night. You know, just before I went to bed, I heard about them going in there. Obviously, like the guys said, most of the guys here this week, we are kind of entertainers out here. We're going to do the best we can, but there's obviously much more important stuff out there in the world. We've just got to do what we're doing.

Q. A little bit of a juxtaposition with the noise in Baghdad, it's quiet and peaceful here, not a bad place to be.

ERNIE ELS: Absolutely.

Q. This is your most frustrating round since, when?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I hung in there. It was probably the toughest course I've played all year, put it that way. There's only 15 guys under par, so that says quite a lot. I didn't play a very good round of golf today but I'm off early tomorrow. If it's like this tomorrow morning, I can go out there and shoot a good one. I'm not totally out of it.


ARNOLD PALMER: I don't know, there wasn't any highlights. Actually, you know, on about four or five holes, I had disaster. The rest of the holes, I didn't play all that badly. I made some good pars. I guess that's it. I'm disappointed in the way I played but you can't expect a hell of a lot. I didn't expect to break par but I didn't expect to shoot quite as high as I did.

Q. Were conditions a little tougher than you anticipated?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, I think the scoreboard tells us that 69 is leading the tournament and even par is on the board, so that tells you something about the conditions on the golf course. If that's the way it is, then I don't mind.

Q. Is this the toughest you've seen this course play, even on a Thursday especially?

ARNOLD PALMER: I think this is the toughest it's played in recent years. Back in the early days, we had some pretty rough weather on occasion and we had some days where it was high scoring. But with conditions as good as they are today, meaning the golf course is very good, this is -- I think it played tough. The wind and the dryness made it tough.

Q. Have you given much thought to tomorrow perhaps being your final PGA TOUR round?

ARNOLD PALMER: Oh, I don't think about it in that context. It may be. But I'm not going to worry about that. I'm going to play golf, and whether it's on the PGA TOUR or the Senior Tour or in somebody's backyard, I'm going to be playing, somewhere. I'm not that sentimental. I like tradition and I like things that go along with tradition, the Masters and things like that, but, you know, hell, I've had so many last rounds, I'm kind of getting tired of the last round. (Laughing).

Q. The course, is it not by accident that it was playing hard?

ARNOLD PALMER: I think we tried to make the golf course play a little more difficult. That's part of the objective of the PGA TOUR, to make the golf courses a little more testy, and certainly this one was that today.

Q. So 69, you're happy to see that?

ARNOLD PALMER: I'm happy to see the golf course holding its own.

End of FastScripts....

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