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November 9, 2000

Nick Price


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Nick Price to the press room. He shot 9-under, 63 today, with 11 birdies. Obviously, Nick, a great day for you out there today.

NICK PRICE: Yeah, any time you make 11 birdies, you're obviously doing a lot of things right. Today I drove the ball where I wanted to. I hit a lot of great iron shots. I holed a lot of putts in sort of 6- to 14-feet range. I think I holed two over 20 feet. Just a good, solid day on the greens. I mean, complemented because I hit my iron so well. It was a lot of fun out there. It was nice. I felt comfortable. I didn't get ahead of myself at all, and I didn't try and push anything. I just kept hitting good iron shots. I seemed to hit a lot of shots pin-high today. When I'm swinging well with my irons, that's what I do well. I think I hit the ball the right distance. I read the wind well today. What more can I say? I didn't do anything poorly today, except for maybe two holes really.

NELSON LUIS: Open it up to questions.

Q. We've just had Padraig in. He was saying it was a really enjoyable round. It was almost as if you were just two golfers playing together in a two-ball at the club. You were good friends?

NICK PRICE: I've played a lot with Padraig. He's good company on the golf course. Also, his ex-caddie -- or his caddie is my ex-caddie. We just hadd a really good day out there. I don't think there was a lot of pressure on either of us, not as much as maybe what's on Darren and Lee. And we just enjoyed ourselves. We both birdied the 1st hole, and that was the start of it. We just kept going. I don't know what our best ball was today, but it couldn't have been far off 60. We made a lot of birdies between the two of us, and I think we each helped each other with some lines. We both sort of hit the ball underneath the hole a lot and got some good reads off each other. It was a good day for both of us. I was a little sorry to see him bogey the last hole because he hit a good tee shot. But, hey, that hole speaks for itself, I think.

Q. Your best round since when?

NICK PRICE: I shot 63 at the Western Open in Jul or June. If I had to choose between the two, I'd probably pick that one because I had a realistic chance of breaking 60 that day. Today, I don't think I really had a chance. I finished very strong, obviously birdied 16 and 18. But that round I played, I was like 8-under through 11 holes or 12 holes.

Q. Padraig was telling us about the banter that went on between yourself and Dave McNeilly, your former caddie, that there were a few stories to be told of the old days. Can you remind us of a few of them?

NICK PRICE: David is a unique character. He's got a wonderful sense of humor. We've shared some great times. Like I say, he's always made me laugh. And just watching him, sometimes I crack up. He tripped over the flagstick once today, nearly fell on his face. But he and Padraig have a great relationship. I can't really think, to be honest with you, of one particular instance. The flagstick was one. I think he and Padraig have a mutual respect for each other. They've worked very well as a team. Padraig is a strong player; he's certainly come out of his shell in the last year and a half, and I think you could probably attribute a bit of that to David, or a lot of that to David. They work well as a team.

Q. Did you win tournaments with Dave McNeilly?

NICK PRICE: I've got to think hard now. He caddied for me from 1984, I think, until -- no, '86 until 1990. I know we didn't win one in America, because I didn't win anything in that time in America. But we came second in the British Open in '88 when Seve won; runner-up in the World Match Play. Seve beat us again there. We probably had, I don't know, 8, 10, 12 seconds in that time. I don't think we ever won together. When I got rid of him, I started winning, though. It probably has something to do with his sense of humor, though. He left and came back over here, and that's when Squeak started working for me. David was great. I'll tell you a story, when he decided not to go back - he wasn't going to come back to America - he and I sat down over dinner one night and picked a short list of caddies of who's going to caddie for me. Squeak came up at the top of that short list. Obviously, the caddies all know each other and who are the ones that behave the best and are a little more punctual. And we kept on talking about it, and Squeak's name kept coming up. He helped me a lot in getting Squeak to come caddie for me. That's definitely -- that's strange, because normally when a player and caddie split up, they won't speak to each other for six or seven months. That just shows you. He came to me and said he wasn't going to come back to America. I totally understood. His wife was pregnant at the time. And so he helped me to get Squeak on the bag.

Q. Your best ball score was 58 today, by the way.

NICK PRICE: It was 58?

Q. Yeah. You had a good year last year as well. You must like the course?

NICK PRICE: It's the best of its kind. (Laughter.) This has the potential to be a great golf course. It really does. I think I'm going to leave it there. If I say anything else, I'm going to get in trouble.

Q. You shot 63 in Augusta. Was Dave with you then?

NICK PRICE: Yeah, he was on the bag with me then, yeah.

Q. '86?

NICK PRICE: '86, he was, yeah.

Q. Congratulations, Nick. You took 8 shots over Tiger.

NICK PRICE: Is it? I didn't see what he shot today. I didn't count.

Q. What do you think about that?

NICK PRICE: For me, I wasn't even worried about what anyone else was doing today. I was more worried about what I was doing. I just did my own thing today.

Q. So the best you can do is try to stay like today and play the four days with --?

NICK PRICE: When I played my best golf, that's what I did very well. I didn't worry about what anyone else was doing. I just tried to do my very best on each hole, on each shot.

Q. It's a terrific score. Yesterday, before the tournament, did you expect to go out and play as well as you did today?

NICK PRICE: Oh, you never do. This is a game -- and I don't expect to play that well tomorrow. This is a game of surprises. And when you've played it long enough, you start to understand every day's different. And your feelings change, your swing changes from day to day. You just try and do the very best you can. I think the guys that become the best players are the ones that adapt and do that the best. They don't expect each day to be the same. But, no, I had no idea. I played well last week, coming off a strong finish last week. Golf is a game of momentum. When you start playing well, you seem to keep going. I've been a good momentum player throughout my career. The last six or seven weeks, I've played well. It's been building up. I didn't expect to shoot 63.

Q. Would you have been happy with it?

NICK PRICE: I would have been ecstatic. I wish it would have been Sunday. This is the first round; there's three rounds to go still. It's hard to get excited when there's a lot of golf to go. But like I say, it's enjoyable to play that well. I don't know if I've ever had eleven birdies in a round. But I just -- every time I hit a good shot today, it ended up close, and I made the putt.

Q. Do the number of no-shows this week really disappoint you?

NICK PRICE: Well, I think the Presidents Cup took a lot out of those guys. I had a particularly slow summer. I took eight weeks off out of the twelve that my kids were on school vacation. In September, when they went back to school, the beginning of August -- August, September, October, I played quite a lot. I feel quite fresh because I had a good time off. But I think a lot of those guys have had strong summers, so maybe they're a little tired, you know? There's so much money to win playing in America, a lot of them don't want to travel anymore.

Q. When you were winning championships - not to say those days are over - but when you did win championships, you holed an awful lot of putts off the 15-foot range. Did today remind you of those days?

NICK PRICE: Yeah, I've had two weeks -- the Presidents Cup, I putted really well. Then the Buick (Classic) , which was at the end of September, I came second to David Duval. That was probably the best I've putted since '94, '95. I had a couple of good rounds in between that time, but for four days I putted extremely well there. And I felt that if my long game had been a little better, I probably could have won by two or three there. But my putting has turned around. I think I've gone over the -- I've turned the corner. I'm on the right track now. I know I'm going to have poor putting days, but I think, generally speaking, I'm probably going to putt a little better, a little more consistent than I have done. It all came down to my tempo. I always had a tendency to get the putter going away from the ball pretty quick. This summer I worked hard on more of a one-two, a metronome sort of rhythm. It's paying dividends. What would happen before, I hit a lot of good putts. They'd burn the edge of the hole or come up 4, 5 inches short or come up on the back. When you start the putter back fast, you can only bring it back fast. You can't control that. I've tried to get more rhythm in my stroke. I've always putted well from 6, 7 feet in, where you're really not - most of the time - not hitting the putt outside the hole. You're leading on the right edge or inside the hole, and really pace is not a factor. You just pop those ones in. I've been a good putter from 30 feet out. I'm a good lag putter. That middle range, which is really what makes, I think, great players, I've been so erratic from there for so long. I spent some time with Ledbetter, I worked with Ricky, my caddie, and I'm very conscious of that pace now. I'm trying to get that one-two rhythm. When I do it well, I'm making the putts now. The pace is good. That seems to be the secret.

NELSON LUIS: Could we go through your round perhaps?

NICK PRICE: No. 1, I hit a pitching wedge for my second shot to about 15, 16 feet. No. 3, a 6-iron to about 4 feet. No. 4, sand wedge for my third shot to about 12 feet behind the hole. No. 5, a 9-iron to about 20 feet behind the hole, 18, 20 feet. What's the next hole? 7, driver, 3-wood in the right-hand bunker, hit my bunker shot out to about a foot. No. 8, I hit a really good second shot, came up a little bit short, spun off the green. Chipped up to about 4 feet and had a really difficult putt. I missed that, so I bogeyed that. 9, I had a good chance to birdie. 10, I had a chance to birdie. 11, driver, 3-wood just short of the green. Chipped it up about 6 feet short of the hole. Made that one. 12, 4-iron to probably about 22, 23 feet. What's the next hole? Down the hill, 13, 3-wood and a 7-iron to about 3 feet. Next hole, hit a 3-iron off the tee and an 8-iron to probably about 8 to 10 feet. I bogeyed the next hole; hit in the bunker. Really didn't have much of a shot. Hit it about 15 feet behind the hole. Missed that. 6-iron on 16 to probably around about 14 feet. Parred 17. Then 18, a driver and a little 7-iron probably about 22 feet underneath the hole.

NELSON LUIS: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts….

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