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October 28, 1999
JAMES CRAMER: We have Bob Estes with us this afternoon. Shot one-under for his 27
holes. Bob, I think that the first thing that everybody wants to ask you, maybe you can go
into it, was maybe if you can explain your gesture that you did on the first tee today for
BOB ESTES: I guess it may have been two or three parts to that. But I guess the whole
thing kind of originated because I was so -- it is kind of hard to explain the whole
thing, but Payne and I have become much better friends in the last six or seven months. We
both were working with Chuck Cook and Dick and Payne long before me. I had just started
working with both of them around the time of the Masters. So as it often occurs in that
situation, we started playing more practice rounds together and made the championships;
used to going around with Chuck or Dick or both of them or something like that. Payne and
I were starting to really get to know each other real well, and we were just having so
much fun playing practice rounds together and had some good times away from the course. So
all day Monday, I was just in front of the television just flipping back and forth between
the different channels, trying to find out for sure if he was on that plane and who else
might be on that plane. And praying that he wasn't and praying for the safety of those
that were and for the family members of those that were on the plane. Monday was just a
brutal day for everybody. I was packing on Monday morning, getting ready to fly here. I
was going to fly here on that afternoon and maybe get some time in for a couple of hours
of practice, but I received a couple of phone calls from a couple of friends that had just
heard on the radio that Payne Stewart's plane was out of control. And they didn't know for
sure if Payne was on that plane, but in the beginning when people did start saying that
Payne was on that plane, I figured that he probably was. So you just hoping that they can
somehow get it down safely, but the more we heard on television, it sounded like there was
no way. The planes were just, I guess, the government planes or the Air Force planes that
were following, they could see no action or anything like that inside. I guess you knew --
you knew it was a matter of time before the plane ran out of fuel and something disastrous
was going to happen and to just to have to sit there and watch that was so cruel for
everybody. But as far as what I did today, I wasn't trying to draw attention to myself. I
mean, I was hoping to maybe tell a little bit of my story and how close Payne and I had
become in the last six or seven months, just how much fun he was to be around. Payne was
teaching me how to enjoy myself more on the golf course and away from the golf course. I
was hoping to get to spend a lot more time with him, but I guess his time here was done.
But there is a lot of joy amongst all the sadness knowing that Payne was a Christian and
had rededicated himself in the last couple of years, knowing that he is with the Lord in
Heaven. And I hope to be able to join up with him some day. But also using the putter off
the 10th tee, first hole today, just, I guess, it had so much emotion, I wanted people to
truly know how much Payne meant to all of us, you know. The putt that I hit was somewhat
symbolic of the putt that Payne made to win the U.S. Open. I guess, watching that video
over and over on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday morning, you know, as they were doing
all the memorials and all the recapping of his career, just, you know, it was -- it was
tough to watch, but it was in a way, good therapy all at the same time because he was
gone. But video is a great thing; we can still go back and look at it all whenever we need
to. Then also the fact that all of us get so busy with what we do or our jobs. I am not
convicting everybody. I am just saying that I do that, and I know that many more people do
that, and you maybe forget about your faith and your family and your friends. And that is
the important stuff; not just what we do or how we make money. I guess it was just -- had
a lot of different meanings. But tomorrow is going to be such a tough day. I plan on being
there. My caddie is going. Like I said, it is great to know that Payne is in a better
place than down here, but still, I don't think there is anything wrong with still going
through the grieving process even now.
Q. You talk about Payne being in a better place. Wherever that place might be, if he
had happened to be watching your symbolic gesture, what do you think his reaction would
have been? What do you think he might have said?
BOB ESTES: I was thinking too much about what he might have said, but as many good
times -- even in just the last six or seven months that we had, and all the laughs that he
gave me and my caddie and so many other people, I was just thinking maybe he got a little
chuckle out of it. Just to -- Payne is so unique in everything that he did. I just kind of
wanted to do a little something different to help us remember him.
Q. Did you say something when you hit the putt or did you say, "This one is for
you, Payne," or something like that?
BOB ESTES: I saw Brad Townsend from the Dallas Morning News. So I just asked him if he
would be at the 10th tee, the first tee shot when we teed off. Just so we could maybe talk
about it a little bit at some point. I didn't mean to draw so much attention, but just
wanted to maybe tell a little bit of my story as well. So many people have gotten to talk
about Payne, and how much they cared about him and his family and the other people that
were on that plane. But, yes, I told Brad that "This first shot is for Payne."
My caddie didn't know what I was going to do, either. Tuesday night, watching all the
video, I still didn't really get ready to come here until Wednesday. I think I just did a
little bit of organizing on Tuesday. It was so tough to tear myself away from the
television. And I had to return some phone calls to some local media from Austin, and my
hometown. I kind of got sidetracked, got wiped out a little bit, but did I answer your
Q. Just wondering what you said right after --?
BOB ESTES: Yeah, that's right. So I asked my caddie if he thought we ought to do
something special for Payne and he was like, "Like what?" He didn't know what I
was going to do. And I think when I reached for the putter, I kind of surprised him, but I
don't think he minded too much because he was part of that, also. Payne treated the
caddies the best I know, as well as everybody else. He wanted them to be part of the fun,
also, just like I am sure Mike Hicks just had a blast almost every day, caddying for
Payne, especially last couple of years. So when I pulled the putter out, a lot of people,
I am sure, were surprised and didn't know what I was doing. But I just as I walked back to
the bag. I just said, "That was for Payne."
Q. Did you actually tee the ball up? Was the ball teed up?
BOB ESTES: Yeah, I was afraid I might hit it fat and I was kind of shaking.
Q. How far did the putt go? How far did you hit it?
BOB ESTES: It was probably about 15 to 18 feet, but I would have liked to have hit a
putt, you know, the exact distance that he hit to win the U.S. Open. But I didn't want to
leave my tee shot in the rough. I think that I wanted to make sure that my stats were -- I
figured I haven't been driving it all that great the last few months, and I don't know the
if you leave it on the tee box, if that still considered fairway. I think it is the same
cut. (Laughter). So I need to go check my stats, make sure they gave me a fairway hit on
that first one.
Q. As a point of reference, the marshal on that hole said they measured that and you
hit the ball 16 feet?
BOB ESTES: Two more feet and I think I would have been in the rough. So I made sure I
laid it just short of the rough.
Q. Why would you tee the ball up? When you were doing that, I couldn't figure why you
would do that?
BOB ESTES: I thought Jack Nicklaus said you should always tee the ball up when you get
a chance. (Laughs). No, it didn't matter. I could have done it either way. But it didn't
matter. I teed it all the way down.
Q. What did your caddie say when you either said: May I -- give me the putter --?
BOB ESTES: I just kind of grabbed it and helped me take the putter head cover off. You
know, Payne meant a lot to him as well, so I don't think he was too worried about it. I
knew that if I needed to, I'd make it up to him, you know, one shot or two shots that may
have -- who knows. The way I have been driving at times, I might have made a triple-bogey
if I hit driver off that tee. So maybe double-bogey was a pretty good start.
Q. How much did this affect your play during the rest of the day?
BOB ESTES: Just the first couple of holes, you know, it was -- it wasn't that long
after the ceremony, which was very touching. I appreciate the TOUR and the Tournament for
arranging that; and for television and all the writers for being there to cover that; and
for Tom Lehman and his words and his prayer; that meant a lot to all of us. Just as the
charter flights that they have arranged for us to take to the memorial service tomorrow.
Q. Is there a single memory or anecdote about Payne that sticks out in your mind that
flashed through your head when you were doing this?
BOB ESTES: I can probably tell you a couple of stories. I may in just a minute.
Watching all that video on Monday and Tuesday, it was great to watch, you know, all the
finishes to the tournaments that he won. But I think one of the things that impressed me
the most, you know, it wasn't that long ago, October 15th, I believe, is when that
ceremony, that banquet was when they presented Payne with a the key to the City of
Orlando. Every time I -- I heard that speech where he always dreamed about playing
professional golf and he'd always dreamed about, you know, having the opportunity to win
tournaments on the PGA TOUR and Major Championships, and that meant a lot to him to be
able to do that. But what he really wanted to do and felt good about was being able to
make a difference in other peoples' lives. And so that is kind of what I am talking about.
When I am, you know, saying to keep your faith and your family and all your friends, you
know, at the top of your priority list because you know, like Tom mentioned, we all need
each other; especially in times like -- what has been going on this week. I might go back
in just a minute tell you a couple of funny stories if you all remind me.
Q. Your black head-to-toe, have you ever played black head-to-toe before?
BOB ESTES: Probably only at Pebble Beach when the wind chill was about 25. But not -- I
mean, I have before. But yeah, typically it is only going to be when it is really, really
cold and windy.
Q. You hit a bad shot today or a shot that didn't go where you wanted it to go. Where
you normally would be satisfied, angry, whatever, was there a different emotion today or
were you still able to get mad when you hit a bad shot?
BOB ESTES: No, I mean, especially not right now. It is too soon, you know, to what
happened on Monday. For me, anyway. I wasn't going -- I wasn't going to get upset. I hit
bad shots all the time; I should be used to it by now. Realizing how human I am and you
know, I am still going to continue to try to get better, I am looking forward to the
off-season and the beginning of next year. I am still feeling bad about losing my temper
in Las Vegas. It wasn't just that one incident. I have struggled with my golf swing for a
long time and hit a lot of the same shots over and over and over. But still, I really lost
my temper on the 18th at the TPC on Friday in Las Vegas and banged a wedge against the bag
and bent the shaft and had to get that reshafted. Golf is just so frustrating, even us; it
just drives us crazy. We keep thinking that we can do better than we actually can at
times, and you keep wanting to get better and better and better. But sometimes it is just
not happening and sometimes we are even getting worse. It just gives you so much time to
think. In other sports you are able to react so much quicker to what is going on in
between shots. But we have so much time to think about our games and our problems and what
is going on. But no, especially after me losing my temper in Vegas like I did, I very
rarely do that. And most people would tell you that, so, no. I am usually a pretty intense
player and I am really having to grind it out. I am not the most talented player out here
by any means. So I usually have to grind it out and fight hard for what I can get. But I
think sometimes I try too hard Andersen spending more time with Payne and seeing how he
can really enjoy it and stay calm and react with the crowds, you know, I was watching that
and paying attention to just his demeanor on the golf course and trying to incorporate
more of that into my game and my life.
End of FastScripts