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March 10, 2006

Daniel Chopra


DAVE SENKO: Daniel, 65 today, 7 under, if you could just get us started, talk about your round and then we'll get your birdies and get some questions.

DANIEL CHOPRA: Well, for starters, it was kind of fun just to not be blown off your feet warming up on the range this morning. It was dark, but it was nice to hit some balls without any wind. You could get a nice rhythm going really. That was the hard part yesterday was the warm up was tough, you just get blown off your feet.

The first two, three holes, it was relatively calm. There was a little bit of a breeze and it picked up, and I birdied four holes straight as soon as the wind picked up. So I just kept the momentum going from there and just hit solid shots when I needed it. I got through I guess you would say the relatively easier part of the golf course, the first 12 holes, in 5 under.

And then that horrible stretch from 13 on in, I just you really just have to hit perfect shot after perfect shot, and that's the only way to play it and to put the ball in the fairway. I got to 17 and it was just kind of nice to have the wind at your back again finally. I just killed a driver, it must have been close to 400 yards. That pin was on the back right and actually that was a final round pin year last year funnily enough and I made eagle there and I had good feelings. I told my caddie, Mitch, "Let's just hit 8 iron and go right at it." We had a free run at it and I hit a beautiful 8 iron in there and flew it all the way back about ten feet left of the hole and that putt was right in the middle of the hole. And made a good par save on 18 to keep the round together.

DAVE SENKO: How far was your par putt on 18?

DANIEL CHOPRA: The putt on 18 was maybe five feet, about the same length of putt I had for par yesterday on the last hole which I missed. So I felt like I got a bit of a do over there.

5, I was going for the green with 3 wood, got in the bunker with within iffy lie and chunked it out there and hit a good putt.

The next hole, I hit a huge drive downwind and I hit 7 iron in the middle of the green and 2 putted.

Then 7 again was downwind, I actually went for the green and hit a good one down the left side and was 15 yards short of the green and chipped it up to maybe four or five feet.

Then on 8, I hit an 8 iron to about, I don't know, 20, 25 feet, a bit of a tricky double breaker putt with some wind and just perfect, right in the middle.

Then on the par 5, 12, I actually was trying to go over the corner and it was like 330 yards to fly the bunker downwind and I flew right in the face of it. I could only just hack it out and I had to hit a full pitching wedge for my next one and holed a beautiful 20 footer downhill, a real fast putt and right on the last roll it went in.

Q. Can you just speak, the last time we saw you, you were with Tiger in a final round pairing, it was a tough day, can you speak about the aftermath of that and how it affected you?

DANIEL CHOPRA: Well, I was extremely disappointed to have not I guess scored better. When I look back on it, the first 12 holes, I played quite well. I was 1 under through 9 and got a bit of a bad break on 10 and made bogey there.

For the first 12 holes I was even par and not playing that badly. The greens are lightning fast, there's a bit of breeze and the greens are firm and you're in the last group with Tiger, it was quite acceptable. There was one bad swing on 13 and got myself in horrible position and ended up making triple. Just one of those nightmare holes and the air goes out of your lungs after that. You've been trying so hard and you've been there for what would have been at that point 66 holes, you've been up there and all of a sudden with one swing, whole tournament is over for you. I guess that was the hard part.

And then two bogeys coming in, one was a bit of a bad break. But at the end of it, I thought back and I didn't lose any confidence. I was happy that I got myself in a situation where I was in the last group in one of the strongest fields of the year, almost felt like a major championship when you looked on the driving range and the putting green. You really can't be disappointed with something like that. And if you think about it, it was only really one or two bad swings on Sunday that did it. That's golf.

Q. What was it on 13; you hit it way right?

DANIEL CHOPRA: Yeah, I was just trying to hit a big, high draw, just trying to get something way up in the air, and as you try to do that, you're trying to get it up in the air, I just came out of it a little bit and lost it right and had a horrible lie.

But after that was over, the good thing about it is that I really had a couple of days at home, I guess licked my wounds so to speak. But I really afterwards felt like, boy, I want to do this again. I cannot wait to get into the last group with Tiger one more time, just to show that, hey, I'm a lot better than this. That wasn't me, that was just a bad day, and I just can't wait to did it again.

Normally you would avoid or a lot of people might think I don't want to play with Tiger on Sunday. It's too much, but now I really can't wait to get another shot at it and do it again.

Q. Did you learn much watching him play at all or don't you really have time to do that?

DANIEL CHOPRA: You don't really have the time to do it as such, but you do see, I mean he was absolutely amazing with his irons, just spot on. He did not miss one iron shot. It was like he made a swing and just walked up there and placed the ball on the green wherever he wanted. It was very impressive to see how he controlled the ball flight and distance with his irons. That's what won him the tournament on Sunday, just marvelous placement with his irons.

Q. Do you generally like difficult conditions, tough tests?

DANIEL CHOPRA: Well, I played in Europe for five or six years and I played all over the world in Australia and Asia, so I like all kind of conditions, really. I think that's kind of the way you want to be is not have some people can't putt on bermuda, some can't putt on poa. Me with myself having grown up all over the world, I'm at the stage where I feel comfortable in everything, just not too much of it. I like change. I love it cold, but maybe not for a whole year, and I love it warm, windy, calm.

Q. Are you a guy that tends to shake things off easily and doesn't let a lot of things bother him, not a Type A personality?

DANIEL CHOPRA: Oh, I get over it very quickly, maybe one day. For one day I might feel a little down, but usually the next morning I'll wake up, like that Sunday, the next morning, I wake up and I'm fine, no matter what. One night's sleep always cures me.

Q. That attitude must help you in a place like this where your attitude is going to be tested, too, do you think your temperament helps you here on this golf course?

DANIEL CHOPRA: On this golf course, it's just a very difficult golf course. The penalties for mis hiting shots are severe, and you'd better bring your short game; you're going to hit bad shots or miss shots. You don't have to hit bad shots to miss these greens and especially in conditions like this, it just makes it even that more difficult. You just have to really be patient and really. You know the old saying, one shot at a time; this golf course is one of those golf courses that makes you have to hit one shot at a time because every single one that you hit had better be a good one, especially shots into the greens. It gives you a little bit of room off the tee, but then it's a second shot golf course, this thing. It's very tough after the tee shot.

DAVE SENKO: Thank you.

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