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March 6, 1998

John Cook


LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple of general comments about your round, and then we'll entertain questions.

JOHN COOK: Well, it was a lot of good, a little bit ugly and you just hung out to the end. I hit a bad tee shot at 18. Actually got the ball on the green from over the right. And that kind of set the round up, and played okay on the front side. The wind was a little tricky, it would come in and go away and then come back. But I hung in there, and my game has been improving the last couple of weeks. Tucson it was terrible. Last week was the next step above terrible, I don't know what that would be, and this week has been a little bit better than that. So it's progressing.

Q. What do you owe the progression to?

JOHN COOK: Some work, good work. I started out the year playing real well, LaCosta I played well. I went to Australia and played well, had a chance to win Greg's tournament over there. Came back and played Tucson and it was like I never had a club in my hands, it was pathetic, it was really, really frustrating, disappointing, to hit it as bad as I did there. And last week was a little bit better. But just working. You've got to get out and play, if you're going to beat these guys. And when I've played early I played well, but I was ready to play, and at Tucson, things -- I don't know, something went haywire, so it's kind of a trek back. We never get to the point where you think you've got this game licked. And sometimes you take it for granted and not really work as hard as you should. I worked hard this winter, and I was ready for LaCosta. But I didn't work hard before Tucson and it showed. So we're back, we're hitting some better looking golf shots and putting pretty well. So it's a never ending battle.

Q. The back 9 you played well?

JOHN COOK: Yeah, I hit good shots on the back side.

Q. Have you had much success here in Florida?

JOHN COOK: Zero. I think Disney I played well. Maybe that's because it's the end of the year, and you just kind of relax. I really have not played well in Florida with the exception of Jacksonville a couple of times. Growing up on the West Coast, this is a whole different neighborhood for us, and it's a little different. So you have to make some adjustments. And you have to learn to play. The wind is different. The terrain is different. It's nice to see the ball roll for a change, we like that. But I really haven't had a whole lot of success, down here in South Florida, zero. Disney and Jacksonville, limited.

Q. Can you talk a little about the field, everything is really, really bunched up at the top, and the cut is going to be maybe 8 shots away, in a tournament like this, just how jammed up everything seems to be?

JOHN COOK: The golf course, itself, is -- it's kind of major championship stuff right now. It's firm, it's fast. The greens are slick and hard, which is great. And if you have conditions like that, it does tend to bunch. It's nice to know that between 8 shots if you make the cut you have the chance to win the tournament on the weekend. I think it's a tribute to the golf course. They've made some improvements since last year, but it's still a hard golf course, but with the wind blowing this direction, I think -- I don't know, but it probably plays its toughest, I'm sure, when 18 is into the wind. You're just finishing into the wind on every hole. There was nobody going to shoot two back-to-back low scores, I can tell you that. You can shoot a low score, but to shoot back-to-back low scores these two days is next to impossible. No one is going to run away.

Q. What do you think of 62?

JOHN COOK: We thought it was a mistake. We were standing on the 10th tee our first hole, and they post Furyk at 10-under par. Is that supposed to be one or what is that supposed to be? He had 10-under par, 62. And it must be out there. So we took it, tried to take it deep pretty quick. And I don't see 62 on this golf course, I really don't. No. 1 you can reach in 2 and No. 10. You just have too many hard shots, basically every shot that you hit out here is a difficult shot. You can hit it in a bunker on every swing you make. You can hit it into trouble anywhere. And that's what makes this golf course hard. So 62, I don't see that. I don't.

Q. You talked in LaCosta about rededicating yourself, and wanting to have a big year, and feeling that you could. Does this type of round sort of get the feeling back that, yeah --

JOHN COOK: Yes, a little bit. I played really well yesterday. Yesterday I made a 6 on the last hole, No. 18, but I played solid tee-to-green, I didn't really miss a shot. Today I started out that way and missed a couple of shots, which is frustrating, because, shoot, we're pros, you're not supposed to miss shots like that. But, yeah, the way I started out at LaCosta, yeah, I thought this is going to be a great year, and really never got any better. I was looking forward to defending at the hope, and played horribly there. And things just kind of spiraled sideways, so you've got to pick it back up and figure out what went wrong, and try to do it again. This would be a great place to start. Like I said, I've never really had much success here, and before my career is out, I want to win golf tournaments besides the West Coast, and some of the places I have. I'd like to do better in Florida, I'd like to play the Majors better, so that's really what this year is about.

Q. So yesterday you hit it better, but today you scored better?

JOHN COOK: I hit it ten times better yesterday, yeah. That's the way it goes. I hit it close today a number of times and made two pretty decent putts, but in between it just kind of was around. Yesterday I hit the ball right where I wanted to most of the time, and it was -- I thought it was a tougher day yesterday to play, no question. The wind was blowing a lot harder yesterday than it was today. I was pretty happy with yesterday. So I've got a little bit of work to do this afternoon before we call it a day.

LEE PATTERSON: Go over the birdies.

JOHN COOK: I started on 10, and hit a drive and a -- actually hit a 3-wood and a 2-iron, that's how fast the golf course is playing. And I actually hit it in the back bunker and hit a real nice bunker shot out, 40 yard, and hit it 6 inches. And I birdied No. 11. I hit a 2-iron and a 7-iron. I made about a 20-footer, that was one of my big putts. I birdied 14. Hit a 3-wood in the left bunker and hit a 6-iron out about two feet. So I kind of got away with not a bad shot, but not a place where I wanted to be on 14. 16, I hit a nice drive and a pitching wedge about 8 feet. No. 1, I hit a drive and a 5-iron, but I jerked it in the left bunker. I was so excited to be down there with a 5-iron in my hands I didn't know what to do. I hit another good bunker shot out of there about four feet and made that. I birdied 2. I hit a 2-iron and laid it up perfect, right in a divot, sand divot, so I figured I've already made one birdie from a bunker, I figure this is another bunker shot, 9-iron about 20 feet and made that. Made a nice save at 4, hit it in the left bunker. Hit a good shot. It was only 15 feet from the hole, and hit a good bunker shot out about two feet. Bogeyed 6, I hit a bad drive in the left bunker, hit 2-iron out and just missed carrying the front bunker and the green and went up under the lip, and I could hit it about a foot, and actually 2-putted from 75 feet for bogey. 8, I hit a drive in the right bunker off the tee. Hit a nice layup and hit a wedge about four feet. 9, I jerked a 6-iron in the left bunker, and hit a pretty good bunker shot out about 3 feet. My bunker game was decent, I guess. I have been working on my bunker game. So I hit a lot of good shots and I hit some I got away with. I've been grinding. I didn't want to let this round slip away. And I think that's what I'm better at now is grinding, trying to make the best of the round that you have. You can't hit it perfect all the time, but the days you do you should score well, and the days you don't you've still got to hang in there.

Q. How different is the feeling, the players talk about Saturday and obviously into Sunday being in contention, and what do you have to do?

JOHN COOK: You need to be a little bit sharper this weekend. Yesterday I was pretty sharp. Today I started out that way, maybe it was a long day and maybe we got tired, I don't know, maybe we needed a cart. I kind of lost focus out there a little bit. So I need to be sharper, and that's what you really need to do on the weekend is to stay sharp, and no matter what you think of the conditions or the golf course someone is going to shoot the low score come Sunday and win the golf tournament. And there's no reason that you can't hang in there enough and give yourself a chance to win. So that's really the gameplan is go back out there and work on a couple of things, and get it ready for the weekend, finish it up strong. This is a great championship to win. There's a number of great players that have won this golf tournament a number of times. To add the Doral to your record is a nice accomplishment. That looks good.

End of FastScripts....

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