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March 11, 2006

Jeff Gove


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Jeff Gove, a 69 today, 8 under par for the tournament, talk a little about your day, six of 14 fairways, does that seem right?

JEFF GOVE: Yeah, I mean it was six of whatever, but probably I've got to go back and think about it, but a few of them were just off the edge, they were good drives. So the stats don't always tell you where. I only really hit it in trouble off the tee a couple times. So that doesn't seem as bad as it looks.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Take about your day and the pressure, I heard you tell Jimmy (Roberts), it looks easier on TV.

JEFF GOVE: I was just watching with Jimmy, it looks easy on TV. This course is playing hard, it's firm and it's fast and the wind is hard to read, and it's just a real demanding course.

Q. Is it almost to the point of maddening when it's so wild and almost unpredictable out there and your round is going up, down, up, down, up, down all the time?

JEFF GOVE: Yeah, I've only played in one U.S. Open, at Shinnecock and I know this isn't nearly as hard as that but it's the same idea. You have to hang in there on every shot, try to hit your spot, and then you hit your spot and it still roles off the green.

So you've got to get a little bit lucky in certain instances. But you've got to, you know, play smart and hit the ball well, because in the wind, you know if, you're not striking the ball well, it's really hard to play.

Q. How long have you worked with Phil Rodgers?

JEFF GOVE: I worked with Phil about seven or eight years now. I've learned an awful lot about the game.

Q. Are you the type that keeps track of spending a lot of time looking at the leaderboard and keeping track of where you are or not so much today?

JEFF GOVE: Today I honestly didn't. Yesterday I did a little bit, when I got off to a hot start and I wanted to see where everyone was going.

Then for some reason, I didn't keep going. I don't think that was it. I was trying to stay aggressive. But today, I didn't. I'm trying to put myself in position and I've been working hard all winter, preparing myself mentally and physically for this spot. It's my third time on the Tour, and I know I can play at this level. I've done it enough on the Nationwide Tour and I know there's not a lot of difference in the golf. It's a different stage, but golf is the same.

So mentally, I've been getting ready for this, so I'm not surprised I'm here, I'm glad, it's this early in the season, and I'm just grinding it out.

Q. Is that increasingly the attitude among Nationwide players, that it's a different stage, with the success that so many guys are having so quickly?

JEFF GOVE: Yeah, and I think the track record shows that. You know, the cuts on the Nationwide are really tough. The conditions are similar now with rough and tough courses and they are really good players.

So when you do step up or graduate or whatever you want to call it, once you can get comfortable, there's a very good chance you're going to succeed.

Q. You got off to a pretty good run at Hawaii, if I'm not mistaken, are there any others that you were up in contention?

JEFF GOVE: Hawaii so far is the only one. I played well the first two days, and I played well on the weekend. I didn't putt as well on the weekend, and that was the difference in finishing 30th and staying up towards the lead.

I've played okay all year. I missed the cut barely in San Diego, and played okay at the AT&T, kind of the same thing, and Tucson two weeks ago, I shot I think 11 under or something, and left a couple out there every day, or I'm finishing in the Top 10 there.

So my game is pretty good. Hopefully, you know, tomorrow it will continue.

Q. Why is it difficult to get comfortable out here if, in fact, you come off the Nationwide Tour with such confidence?

JEFF GOVE: That's a good question. Probably just because it's just a mental thing pretty much. The golf courses are a touch harder maybe because of the length. But it's just a matter of getting comfortable with all the surroundings, the people, what it means to the person probably. You know, this is everybody's dream to play on the Tour, and to win. So that's probably the biggest difference.

Q. So will you be comfortable out there tomorrow?

JEFF GOVE: No. I'll be nervous. (Laughter) but if I wasn't nervous, then it wouldn't matter to me. You want to have that edge every day. You know, that's why I'm not a very good practice round player. But I'm able to funnel whatever energy into playing well under pressure.

Q. Are you able to enjoy it though?

JEFF GOVE: Oh, definitely. I'm having a blast. My first trip in 2000 when I got on the Tour, I didn't let myself enjoy it. I tried too hard, I did all those things. This is my third time. I know what's going on, and I know I'm going to play well. It may not be tomorrow, but I know I'm going to have a good year and I'm going to enjoy every day.

Q. What kind of badge of honor is being the No. 2 all time money winner on the Nationwide Tour list?

JEFF GOVE: Well, I think it's pretty good. You know, I was trying to get No. 1 last year. I just didn't play well at THE TOUR Championship. (Laughter).

I think it shows that you're a consistently strong finisher and I think that the way the purses have gone up, also, you know, I would be probably a lot higher if we had played at last year's purse levels all along. My first win was only 36,000 in 1995, and this year I won, it was 81,000 or not this year, but last year.

So, you know, I don't know, I haven't really thought about it that much.

Q. Is it one of those that maybe some players, not necessarily you, but some players might not want because it shows they have been a long time on the Nationwide Tour?

JEFF GOVE: Possibly. But there's worse places to play. I mean, I'm staying with a friend this week who doesn't have a card on the Nationwide anymore, and he would gladly trade positions.

I've been lucky enough to play golf in the U.S., not have to go to Europe or Asia or wherever, and, you know, work on my game and make a living and so I've been pretty lucky.

Q. Is it hard almost for a player it's obviously hard to make the jump from the Nationwide Tour to the PGA TOUR, but is it hard to fixate not entirely on the money, you're talking 36 and 81 for winning and tomorrow is 990.

JEFF GOVE: The money is definitely nice, I mean

Q. Can it almost consume you?

JEFF GOVE: I think it could. I haven't really thought about it yet enough to know. I kind of look at it as points. I need enough points at the end of the year to keep my job. So, you know, luckily, financially, I've been able to make more than I've spent every year and I've been able to provide more my wife and my son and we have a house. So far, so good. If I was to win tomorrow, that's silly money. I don't know.

Q. What's the difference in talent level, if you can assess it, what's the difference between you and your friend that you're staying with that doesn't have his Nationwide card? Could he be sitting here, not as easily as you, but could it happen that way?

JEFF GOVE: Definitely. He's a little younger, he doesn't have quite the experience but maybe that's what he needs.

Yeah, there's so many good players now, that's not the thing. It's just mentally knowing what you can do and controlling your game and just playing the game has changed where now you just have a couple good weeks and you look like a star, but there's a few guys in the game who play good every week. That's kind of what I'm striving to do hopefully some day.

But yeah, my friend could easily be here. He was on the Tour a couple years ago and then the Nationwide and now he's lost his card. So he's working on getting back.

Q. Who is it?

JEFF GOVE: Jess Daley. He just finished first on the Gateway Tour down here the last eight weeks.

Q. Four birdies in the first seven holes, on this course, do you really have to kind of put the gas down, get out of the box as quickly as you can, knowing what you've got coming out on the back nine?

JEFF GOVE: Yeah, because those,1 and 2 1,2 and 3 are into the wind and then you have some holes downwind, you really need to make some birdies on. When you turn to 13 and 14, all the way in, it's really tough. So it's definitely a course you want to get off to a good start on.

Q. You mentioned the 990,000 if you won, do you have anything you would do? Would you pay off the mortgage, have you thought what you would do first?

JEFF GOVE: If I won here, I think I'd get in next week so, that would be fine. (Laughter). Other than that, no, I don't have a clue. I'd have to write my caddie a big check.

Q. Have you been signing more autographs as the week goes along?

JEFF GOVE: Yeah, yeah, it's fun. That's something that the Nationwide gets you ready for, too, in playing out here the two other times and all that stuff. So I'm pretty used to all that. So that's definitely not anything new.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Birdie at 1, what did you do there.

JEFF GOVE: I hit a good drive and a punch 9 iron that stayed up on the hill and made a big, sweeping putt, maybe about 18 feet down the hill. That's a good start.

5, the par 5, I hit a good drive and hit a 3 wood just on the front edge and chipped it up to about a foot, tapped it in.

6, I hit a drive in the fairway and a 5 iron on the back of the green and 2 putted from maybe 50 feet.

7, I hit a driver about 25 yards from the green and chipped it to about three feet and made it.

8, I hit a poor iron left in the bunker and hit a good bunker out about six feet and left it short.

12, I drove it a little left and got a bad lie. The ball was way above my feet. The fairway dropped off weird. I laid it up left in the rough and then hit it over and chipped it up about maybe eight or nine feet and missed it.

15, I hit a good punch 5 iron about 15 feet pin high left and made a good putt.

16 was a good bogey. I hit a bad it was one of my bad drives, I hit it just left in the bunker right up against the lip, and it took me two sand wedges to get out. The first one hit the lip, the second one I got it out in the right rough and hit an 8 iron about four feet and made it for bogey. So that was probably the key to saving my round right there.

17, I hit a decent drive, but it stayed in the right rough. Hit a 5 iron and it chased all the way to the back of the green where the pin was yesterday and I made a nice 2 putt from about 80 feet.

Q. You talked about trying to prepare yourself mentally, was there a time when you held yourself back, when you had doubts maybe?

JEFF GOVE: There was a time when maybe I wasn't mentally confident in my technique, even though it was there, I didn't mentally let that go.

You know, I've worked on it hard over the years and I think I've come to the realization that that's not the problem. I can hit the shots and make the putts and do what I need to do. I know my swing has gotten better and my body is better. So, yeah, now it's not the technique. So hopefully I can let it go.

Q. Have you reached a point where you have expectations out here?

JEFF GOVE: Definitely. I've played consistently on the Nationwide, and, you know, in 2002, if I play like I did in 2001 on the Nationwide when I got on the PGA Tour, I easily would have been Top 50 on the Money List but I didn't. So those are the kind of goals that I'm looking forward to this year in putting my game to the test and coming through.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Jeff, thanks. Good luck this weekend.

End of FastScripts.

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