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August 10, 2002

Esteban Toledo


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you for joining us. Second consecutive 67 and you are at 14-under for the tournament. Talk a little bit about your round today and how it went. Obviously I was out there on 18 and saw a great save on 18 as well as the crowd appreciated it. Talk about your round, if you would.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: All day it was fun. I start with a birdie the first hole. I made like a 10-footer for birdie kind of got me going, and I made another one from like 50, 60 feet that it kind of turned my game around. Birdied another one on 4, 5, whatever, it was close. And the whole day I made a lot of putts. Obviously, as you saw on 16, I 3-putted, but overall I felt very comfortable with my putting. My putting, after taking lessons, that kind of helped me a lot. But I feel very, very comfortable with the people that were rooting for me all the way from No. 1 to the 18th hole kind of got me going.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Nice to have ended your day with a tap-in.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, wish it could have been for birdie. It was exciting. I was nervous coming in. There was a lie on the third shot - I practiced for so many hours that shot, and it paid off.

Q. You are going to be in the final pairing tomorrow with Tiger. Talk about that, be something perhaps that could rattle you and what does it mean to have two men of color in the final pairing going for a championship?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I think it is going to be exciting for the people. Obviously everybody wants Tiger to win it. But I want to play my own game. I am not going to let those drivers driving me 40, 50 yards, but I am going to play my own game. I am going to play the same game that I have been playing the first three days. I am going to hopefully make a lot of putts like I have been putting the first three days and try to put pressure on him. Because you know, when he takes the lead, he doesn't leave it behind. He takes it with him. So if I can shoot another 4-, 5-, 6-under par, put a little pressure on him, it's going to be very difficult because he has been there so many times an obviously you have got to have respect for the No. 1 player in the world. But I am not going to back off. I am going to play steady and play like I said, my own game. I was talking to my wife last night, and I told her that Tiger is beatable, golf course is set up for me perfectly. It is kind of a little tight, and I am going to play very aggressive tomorrow and smart and safe at the same time. We'll see what happens on the 18th hole. Hopefully I win. I looking forward to win it for years and years and years, it has been my dream, and if I can put my head together tomorrow and forget about what he does, it should be fine.

Q. You say everyone is going to be rooting for Tiger. While that maybe a fact of life, regardless of who he plays on the Tour, does it bother you, fire you up? How do you respond to that?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It doesn't bother me. Obviously he is the No. 1 player in the world. We don't forget that. When I was on the back nine I can see all the crowd just cheering for me "Toledo" in Spanish, mostly in English. They were pulling for me, and all the way through the 18th hole it was just all "Toledo, Toledo, Toledo," maybe because they think I am there in Toledo, Ohio, (laughter) but it was something that it was -- I played here before, I played good, two, three years ago, I finished like 6th or whatever, but I was telling my caddie look at those people, they are so excited to see me playing well and all I heard is "Toledo" all the way to the 18th hole. I am excited. I think tomorrow, if I can take the lead for a little bit, hopefully maybe the people can change around and make people want to see different winners, so, hopefully it is me.

Q. Could you fit the PGA in your schedule next week if you win tomorrow?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I'd like to play the PGA. I am way way behind on the money list, and winning this week will be -- it will be exciting. I don't know what I am going to do if I win or not. I told a lot of people that I will quit this game if I win. My wife doesn't agree with that because I have got to feed the family, but I don't know. I want to win. And if I win, I go to the PGA. Hopefully if my wife let me (laughter), and obviously my wife is more important than this game, and whatever she tells me to do I will do.

Q. You said you played once before with Tiger in the same group. When and where was that, do you remember?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It was at the Byron Nelson, I don't have a problem playing with him. I think it is great. A good guy to play with. Just the crowd is very difficult. As soon as he finishes, everybody moves. I think if I can control that, last time it was bothering me a lot. But this time I got a little more experience to handle the people walking by and stuff. I learned from the first time that I played with Tiger. It's now the second time. Hopefully it is easier. I know it is going to be a lot of people up there. A lot of distraction all over the place, but I think I can handle it.

Q. When was that?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I believe two years ago. It was at the Byron Nelson. It was exciting because I want to play with him. But this week is different. I want to win. And that's why I am here to win it. I am not -- I am not here to finish second.

That's what teacher Rodriguez told me you go there and try to win it. Don't finish second. Because always they always remember the winner; not the second place person.

Q. Talk about your boxing career when you were younger and what classification was it?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Did you read my book? I was a light weight. It was a long time ago. I have been learning a lot. Obviously I learned a lot from boxing to golf, to handle all the pressure, the crowd, the people, and golf is the same, I am not a scared of anybody. I might play bad but I am not scared of anybody. That's the way I am brought up in boxing - to take down the next guy, in this case, there are 80 players this week and I have to -- I have to do whatever I have to do. To use the boxing mentality, to use it in golf. Tomorrow I am going to try everything I can to win it.

Q. Continuing on that, I wonder the fear factor as boxing, I would assume there would be some fear going up against an opponent, especially if you haven't faced one, is there any reason to have -- given what you have been through in the past, in boxing, is there any reason to have any fear as you go up against the No. 1 player in the world?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: This is the always fear, and Tiger can tell you that, I am pretty sure when he started he start nervous because if a player doesn't start nervous from the last group, there's something wrong with the person - Tiger can tell you that. I guess every player, we go through nervous a few times coming in, when we start it. Like I said, I am not afraid to win. I always want to win. It's hard to take the first win and after that, it seems like it's easier. But I am not afraid to go up there and play against Tiger. I know obviously, -- right now he's the No. 1 player but it doesn't mean that he is not unbeatable. Things can happen. And if I can put it together tomorrow and not to worry about him, not the crowd and play my own game, everything is possible. Isn't it with the PGA TOUR, everything is possible with the PGA TOUR? That's what is going to happen tomorrow. If I don't expecting Tiger to win anyway, so I am going to give it my best shot.

Q. How difficult was it to give up boxing because you were very successful and also was golf another game that you were looking at on the side?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It is just difficult. You guys will never understand what the boxer go through and what the golfer go through. I think golf is ease -- it's not easier, but I am a better boxer than a golfer, but boxing is just hard and you have got to be so mentally prepared, physically and mentally, and golf, it's close to that, but it is just totally different sport. I mean, sometimes I am at my house and I have been jumping the rope all week trying to be who I was before, but I will never be who I was before, but it's just exciting to see both sports, because I played both of them and I know what boxing takes to be successful and golf is so mental.

Q. Better chance tomorrow in the ring with Tiger or on the golf course with Tiger?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, I don't know. He's a little taller than me, but I can take 300 pound guys, no problem, put it that way.

Q. 16, the second putt looked like it was about 2, three feet. Was that a misread or miss-hit?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It was a little spike mark right in my line and I paid too much attention about it and it was really fast coming down and I tried to hit it easy and I just pulled it a little bit. It was like three feet. It could have changed everything there. If I can birdie that one get it to 16 I probably brought it in with a 16-under, but hey, that's golf. You just have to learn from your mistakes.

Q. On the first hole today I was there and you hit your driver, fans were yelling "holy Toledo." I don't know if you hear those things or is that a common reaction to your name when you play?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yes, it is. When, you know, when they see me there because they can't pronounce Esteban so they probably say Toledo is easier and they recognize me as Toledo. I like it because it just -- I don't have to deal with that Esteban. Toledo is easy. It is kind of nice that they call me that. All 18 holes it wasn't only the first hole.

Q. What was your record as a boxer?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: 12 and 1. It was the other way 12 win one loss; not 12 losses one win. (Laughter).

Q. Were you ranked?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, it -- I was just a beginning in other words, climbing to the top.

Q. You said you called your wife the other night. Where is she?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, I was talking to my wife. She's with me. She comes with me all the summer with my kids.

Q. Do you remember the last time you were in the final group? Was it the Mexican Open or ---

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, the final -- well, yeah, when I won the Open in Mexico it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me in my country but I was in the last group at the B.C. Open with Faxon when Faxon won the tournament and I lost, but I can't forget that - but it was the last time. I played --

Q. Are you serious when you were talking earlier about your career, and this victory here being that important to you extending it or were you just being --

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, at the time I think it was three years ago when I said it - I am 39 years old. Not like I don't have you know, some -- it's not like I don't have anything left in this game but it's just I just want to spend time with my family and I have been gone so far with my familiar will and my family is first, and my game is second. So I am not into playing more golf unless my wife give me the green light to go and then I will go.

Q. Can you talk about did you have any heroes like most of us growing up, boxing or golf, otherwise like that?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: You. (Laughs).

No, Greg Norman is my idol in golf, and I wish I could win like him and have the money that he have, but that's all.

Q. Boxing, did you have idols in boxing?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Ali is the greatest boxer ever.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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