May 26, 2002
JOHN BUSH: John, we would like to thank you for coming by the interview room. How much fun was that out there for you today?
JOHN COOK: It got pretty fun. It was pretty vocal out there. Which was great. I love this town. I really do. I had some great years here and they were pulling for me. So that was cool. It's a good, like I said, a good sports town, a good golf town. And I was real proud out there.
JOHN BUSH: Questions?
Q. Since when do you get that many guys all clumped where somebody's got to do something basically heroic and Furyk was the guy who dumped the bunker shot?
JOHN COOK: Exactly. I don't know how he did it.
Q. Holed a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5?
JOHN COOK: On 15? Did he? Walking up the 10th hole talking to Justin I says, you know, we kind of looked at it and everybody was the same. The whole board was 10 and 11. And I said man, this is anybody's ball game. And a lot of those holes -- I mean it was playing tough today. I mean 65 today is a pretty good score, obviously. Going up 10 I thought, hang in there, there's some hard holes coming up. Just damage control on these holes and take advantage of the couple that you can take advantage on and what did I do, I bogeyed number 11. So, but I hit a great shot at 12. And I kind of got me back into it. And just hit good golf shots the rest of the way in. I just had a good chance at 17. And had a good chance at 18. But the one at 17, that goes in, it, 18 becomes a lot more if you know.
Q. How far, John, on 17?
JOHN COOK: It was about 10 feet. And just dead right of the hole pin high. I just over read it. Actually I misread the speed. The speed was quicker than I thought. And just hit it a little too hard, a little too high. A little less speed it would have gone in, a little less break maybe it would have gone in. But I thought I made the one at 18. I really did.
Q. Did you hear that roar for that eagle?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, but we didn't know what the heck it was. We were out there I don't know where we were. Probably 13 or so. So you figured, yeah, something pretty substantial happened. And then all of a sudden you see guys are scrambling putting Jim's name up on the board and putting a number up there and all of a sudden it's at 14 and we all kind of went. Wow, where did that one come from.
Q. So were we.
JOHN COOK: Yeah, exactly. But that's the way it -- as good a player as there are out here, and the shape of the golf course, which if you drive the ball in the fairway, you know what you're going to get. And just someone breaking out of the pack really doesn't surprise me here. You can get it going and with the way the golf course played today, I was kind of surprised it was as dry as it was. The ball was still going. And that's where a
Jim Furyk or a John Cook or a Justin Leonard has a chance. When the fairways are, it's not a big mud slop fest, you can get the ball around. And put the ball in spots where have you to put it. And not just take out a nine iron from 180 and just smoke it. I mean you got to play some golf shots. And Jim Furyk can do that. So it's a big win for him.
Q. What happened on 11? You knock it in the creek or something?
JOHN COOK: I hit a good drive, then I laid it up in the left rough. Probably like the one bad iron shot I hit this weekend. I just pulled it a little bit. And really couldn't go at the pin. And I could go at the front right of the green. It was just a horrible sloppy lie and I just got it just over the water up in the rough and actually hit a pretty good pitch about five feet, missed it. But I hung in there. The rest of the way I said, let's just take it right at it every hole. See what we can do. And hit a lot of good shots coming in. I played pretty well today.
Q. How close was 15 to going in the hole?
JOHN COOK: It was a foot.
Q. '94 when you chased Lehman pretty much the same conditions, right?
JOHN COOK: Well even firmer then. You just a lot of holes you couldn't hit driver. We drove it all day today, most every hole. Just because you knew it wasn't going to run off the fairway but it was still going to get out there pretty good. '94 was firm where you really had to be careful. Trying to place your golf ball around there. And the greens were firm then too greens were fairly receptive this week. If you caught the wind just right you could pretty much take it at the flag here. Which is very unusual here at Muirfield. Normally you got to play away and play kind of play the caroms. But this week I think why the scores were so bunched was you could pretty much take it at the flag from the fairway.
Q. When you, when you're in contention and you going into the final round and you see as many guys bunched near the top, I think there were 20 guys within six going into the final round today. Do you just anticipate a free for all?
JOHN COOK: Exactly. You can't -- you kind of go out with the a number in mind. And my number today was 13. I thought if I could get to 13 I thought that would be pretty good chance. To see someone come out and shoot 65 you don't really expect that. You see someone 66, 67 might do it. But 65 on Sunday here is pretty good. So I had 13 in mind most of the day and didn't really look much at the at who was on the board, just kind of the numbers. So I kind of kept in check on what the numbers were. And they were, they kind of would get to 12 and then back to 11 and 10 was still in there. And just kind of hanging there and all of a sudden one name just went whoosh, so okay, got to get on the gas here.
Q. You mentioned earlier about your fondness for the town, can you kind of go back and talk about how Jack Nicklaus and Tom kind of talked to you about going to Ohio State?
JOHN COOK: I had won the California Amateur in my junior here year in high school and started getting letters and stuff. And that whole process. Back when you could actually talk to a recruit which is different now. So I don't want to get anybody in trouble. But I got a nice letter from Jack. As a state amateur champion in '75 I got in and played as an amateur in the Bing Crosby. And then ended up meeting Jack up at Pebble because my father knew him and we were at dinner one night and he came up and introduced and I thought that was pretty cool. And I get back home and there's a phone calls about every week or two weeks from Tom. He wrote a nice letter and then he would call just to chat, say hello, what's going on. We would be sitting at dinner, just kind of my sister and I and my parents and the phone would ring. Cathy would answer the phone and it would be some guy named Tom on the phone. I don't know any Tom's, I don't have any friends named Tom. It was Tom Weiskopf. So and actually the two meeting I had with Jack were the letter and then meeting him. But Tom kept in pretty good touch and contact. When I came, I visited, had some visits. And I came back here I just thought this was it. The ties we had, my father went to graduate school here and was a graduate assistant under Woody in the 50's, I just thought that this was the place I wanted to be. Being from California I felt this was the spot. Even being from California. So we stuck it out. And I had a great time. I had a looking back I mean I am glad I did this instead of doing a couple of the other things I was wanting to do.
(Laughter.) We weren't good enough to pro at 17. I can tell you that.
Q. Can you take us through your birdies today?
JOHN COOK: I bogeyed one. Drove in the left rough and had no shot. I just pitched it out. Actually had a good chance at par and missed about a 10 footer.
Three I hit a good three wood down there and a 7 iron about three feet.
Four I hit a good shot in there about 25 feet. Just short of the hole and ran the first putt about eight feet by and 3 -putted. But then came right back again at 10 and it was real iffy on five. I was real iffy about going for the green. I just, there's really not going to do much up there. Even if I hit a good shot it's not going to hold the green it's going to go in the back bunker going to go to the right down there so I laid it up I had 235 to the front which would have been a perfect 4-wood shot and I didn't feel good about it. So I laid it up and then hit a gap wedge in there about eight feet and made it. So I actually was felt like I was pretty smart for a second.
Birdied nine. Hit a nice drive and a real nice nine iron in there about eight feet left of the hole. That kind of kept the round going. Like I said, I bogeyed 11, just hit my one bad iron shot of the weekend. It was just a lay up. But then came right back at 12 and hit just again I was in between clubs, in between a 7 and a 8-iron and I said you know what, you got to start going at it. And an 8-iron would have been the smart play, a little bit left and short. But I went ahead and just kind of slipped a little 7-iron in there about three feet right of the hole and short. Which I just stepped up. I said you got to hit a good golf shot here or you don't you're either going to jerk it in the bunker and make a bogey or you're going to hit it right at it. So I just trusted it and hit a good shot.
14 I made a good save. Kind of made a tactical error on my second shot, a little tactical error, I hit it in the left bunker. I had plenty of club to go at the flag and I actually had the perfect club to go at the flag. But I just didn't have a number to carry over there that I just, I didn't have it. And I pulled it just a slightly and it just bounced in the left bunker. And had a horrible lie. I mean a three year old must have been raking these bunkers because it was awful. I mean it was it was awful. It was embarrassing, really. To the caddy crowd. It was that bad. And I just kind of I had no play I had to go left of the hole and I knew it was going to run off the green and it ran up against the collar and then I just kind of bladed a sand wedge and made it. I said there you go. Thank you. And then birdied 15.
Q. How far?
JOHN COOK: About a 15 footer. Good drive on the next hole. 3-wood, I just didn't turn it over quite enough but it was in the perfect part of the bunker an on an uphill lie going right at it. Shot that I mean you can hole. And I hit it out a foot.
And then I had about a 40 footer at 16 from right of the hole that never left the center of the cup. From the time I hit it. Perfect speed it was going right in the center. Then had chances at 17 and 18. Just didn't quite capitalize on the two good shots. But I hit good shots coming down the stretch. Which is like I can fly home and have a smile on my face.
Q. What did you hit into 16?
JOHN COOK: I hit four iron. I had 200 to clear the bunker and 206 I think to the flag.
Q. What about the lay up at 11 that what club was that?
JOHN COOK: It was a 4-iron. But I just hit it good, I just I was trying to kind of could he see in that left side a little bit and I just pulled it just a little bit. And it and I smoked it and it just went too far. So but other than that I hit a lot of good iron shots this week. This week end. Friday was different.
Q. We don't know what the rankings would come out with?
JOHN COOK: I think I needed a solo second. That's my feeling. Yeah. I think I needed a solo second.
Q. So the putt on 18 then was big we're talking thimbles here?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, it wasn't really hanging over the edge but it definitely could have slipped in there.
Q. How long was that one on 18?
JOHN COOK: 15 feet. I thought that, I thought that putt would be a lot quicker than that. It was kind of set it up there and let it dribble in and it just was going right in the middle and just put on the brakes.
Q. What determines then or how what do you weigh in your mind whether to go qualify?
JOHN COOK: Oh, I'll see how prepared I am after next week end, which I probably won't be very prepared. We're entertaining next week for Courtney's graduation. So we will see. If I can get over actually if I can get over early in the week and play the golf course, Old Memorial, I'll see. I'll be able to play, but that's.
Q. Where is that?
JOHN COOK: In Tampa, yeah. I'll see. I don't know.
Q. Jason has a tournament that same.
JOHN COOK: Jason has a state amateur qualifier the same day.
Q. And you're caddying for him or not?
JOHN COOK: I would, yes.
Q. You would. Yeah. Okay. Same day as the U.S. Open qualifier?
JOHN COOK: Open qualifier, yes. Yeah I would have tried on a Monday, but the qualifier there was on Tuesday and with what's going on next week end I just couldn't get anywhere Sunday to qualify, so we will see. I don't know. For sure I'll get talked into it, but I don't know.
Q. So Tampa is on a Tuesday?
JOHN COOK: Tuesday the 4th. Yeah.
Q. And you think Jason will talk you into it?
JOHN COOK: Oh, I don't know.
Q. You said you're sure you'll get talked into it?
JOHN COOK: I'm sure there will be some other people trying to talk me into it. Pretty good chance I'll go and try. If I can get a practice round in, early in the week, because I won't be able to do it Monday. I'll probably go.
JOHN BUSH: Anything else? Okay. Thanks, John.
JOHN COOK: Thanks a lot.
End of FastScripts....