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August 21, 1997

John Cook


LEE PATTERSON: Go ahead. Whenever you are ready.

JOHN COOK: I birdied No. 2 with a drive 3-wood just on the front edge of the green, didn't hit very good; pitched up about six feet short and made the putt. Made a nice putt there. Made a nice save at No. 3, drove it to the right, had to chip out. Actually I couldn't go for the green and hit a wedge about four feet, made that for par. Birdied No. 5. I hit 6-iron about three feet. I felt like I birdied 6. I made a 4. And, let us see, I bogeyed 9. I hit a perfect drive. Just trying to -- hit 2-iron, hit it about 40 yards, laid the sod right over the top of the 2-iron. It was pretty ugly. Made a 5 there. (Laughter) I bogeyed 10. I hit good drive, but very poor 8-iron. It spun off just off the edge of the green. Then I 3-putted from there from about 35 feet. I missed about 4-footer for my second putt. And went around, made a nice save at 14. I drove it in the left bunker, hit a nice shot out just short of the green, hit another poor chip, made about 10-footer 4-par. Birdied 15. I hit 4-iron about twelve feet. Birdied 17. I hit drive and 7-iron about 15 feet to the right of the hole. Made that. And just had about 30-footer at 18 for birdie, 2-putted that. So, I putted nicely today. I wish I had this putting game last week at the PGA, I would have done well. I drove the ball nicely and hit a couple of good iron shots; wasn't real sharp with my irons like I normally am, but hit some good shots and made some nice par-saving putts and that was really the key to my round. Like I said, this golf course, it wouldn't be the golf course that I would choose to play being long and mushy like it is right now. But, you know, if you drive the ball well and keep it in the fairway, you have got a decent chance to shoot a good score. So that is what I did today. I like the golf course a lot. It just is -- it is very long, even longer than the course we played last week. It is playing all of its yardage, too. You are not getting much roll like you have in the past couple of years.

Q. Is that about as tough as you have seen in recent years?

JOHN COOK: I would say for my game, yeah, definitely. I like it when it is firm and dry, where the ball is rolling and you have to kind of shape the ball off the tee to keep it in the fairways. Here you can just really pretty much blast away and that is not really my game. But, that is the course that we have this week and that is kind of what we have got to do. It is just ripe for some of the long hitters. They love it this way, but it was tough. The wind blew a little bit - not, you know, super hard, but it blew hard enough to some of those holes where every hole is a crosswind out here. You get 5 downwind and 6 back into the wind. But, every other hole is a crosswind, which is kind of, you know, unusual. But, Firestone, that is why it is one of the great golf courses. It changes year to year, never really the same golf course year after year, and that is what we like about it.

Q. How important is it for you to come in here grown up, playing here a little bit in your dad's tournament? What does that mean, personally, different than others?

JOHN COOK: You know, I guess it would be a little different. When I played here I was seven, eight years old, so it wasn't like I knew the golf course. But, coming back to a place where I lived for, you know, the early part of my life and having my father run the golf tournament, I think is real special. He does a great job. Not because he is my dad, but he is real proud of this event. He has got a passion for this event and for this golf course and he loves being here. And, you know, I am just proud of the fact that I have done enough in my career to be able to play here a few times. Nine wins is, you know, not Hall of Fame stuff, but I feel like I have earned the right to be here a few times and played decently here a couple times. So, it is a lot of fun coming back and being a part of this.

Q. You said you wished you had putted this way last week. Was it just last week that you putted badly or have you been putting badly for a while?

JOHN COOK: I just haven't made a lot. It is not like I have been, you know, missing short putts. I just have not taken advantage of any opportunity I have had basically since the Bob Hope earlier this year. And, it has been very frustrating that I hit the ball well enough at the U.S. Open and at the PGA to, you know, really do some damage, if I had just putted okay, or made something somewhere, just kind of get things rolling a little bit and I just have not done that really since the beginning of the year. And, it has been frustrating and today might have been, you know, the one day where I have probably hit less greens in this round than I have all year and still shoot 2-under par. So, I hung in there today and, you know, made some minor changes in my putting and you know, so far it has worked. We will stick with it.

Q. What is the change?

JOHN COOK: Just a little bit of my set up. I have been kind of fighting it for a while and Frank Williams, my caddy, actually was -- we must have been thinking on the same way, because the next day or Tuesday when I came out to hit some balls he said, you know what, I couldn't sleep last night, I was thinking about putting and, you know, he mentioned something. And, I said you know what, that is the same thing I have been thinking about. And, so it let us just go ahead and try it this week. I just kind of opened up my body a little bit more instead of being so closed and you kind of work yourself into that. And, I have worked -- I had worked myself way too far. Need to be more open to the line, like a Nicklaus when he has putted his best, he was always, you know, real open to the line. And, some of the best putters that ever lived were pretty much that way. So, I am trying to get back to that slowly but surely. But, credit Frank with that. He caught that one.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? All right.

JOHN COOK: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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