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August 11, 2002

Esteban Toledo


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you for joining us. Not the way you wanted to finish today but you battled hard out there. Talk about how things went out there and just overall how the tournament went for you.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It was exciting for 12, 13 holes. I told everybody I was going to play my own game and I did. It was tough coming in, about 16, 17, 18, the crowd was a little bit off, but I guess you have to deal with it. They were just kind of not very friendly to us. Even Tiger's caddy got in a fight with one of the guys because they were just a little bit off. The rest was fine. I enjoyed playing with him. We didn't talk much. I guess it was all business. I told yesterday I was going to come out strong and I came out strong and I gave him a good fight. I think the tough hole that kind of changed everything, it was the Par 5, which is 13. He sliced it up on the right side, hit the tree, bounced it in. And I was in the middle of the fairway and I was trying to keep the ball in the bunker on the left side so I would have a perfect shot. I pulled it just a little bit and I had a bad lie and I had a perfect shot, but it just went in the water. And then he made the putt and he just took over the situation there.

It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of experience. And he was playing great. And he made the putts he had to make and I didn't. So I guess I'm happy with the way I played, but I came up to win it, and it didn't happen. Maybe I'll have another chance another day.


Q. You mentioned the crowd. When did that bother you? At what point in the tournament?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Probably the 16th hole coming in. I guess when you play in the last group and you play with Tiger, it's going to happen. I think there's going to be some crowd up there who's drunk or whatever, and I don't blame them. They come out and are having a good time, but you have to understand this is business and I have to deal well with these problems. When you play with Tiger that's going to happen. It was a lot of fun playing with him. We didn't talk much, like I say. I guess I finished second, but nobody will care about second place. They only care about the winner.

I'm going to take a week off. I'm going to go home with my family. I haven't been home for seven or eight weeks. I look forward to a vacation with my wife and kids at home.

Q. Two things, did the crowd say anything to you in particular, A. And B, on the 13th hole, after you put it in the gallery, there's a lot of room up top on the green. Did you think about hitting up top and playing it safe rather than going for the hole.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: You know, I tried to play it safe, but the ground was really really hard, and it was a straight downhill shot. I played a little bit safe, and actually I hit a perfect shot. I hit a fluff shot that I've been practicing on the driving range, but the ground was so hard. And it was just straight down. I just couldn't stop the ball. I hit a perfect shot. It landed right in front of the green and rolled off the green. I guess from then on it turned everything around. You know, I missed one shot, and that shot cost me. But I learned. I learned to be a little more aggressive when I have to, and I played a little more space on the bunker on that hole and it just didn't work.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Just a little bit. They were just pushing a little bit. The more -- 17, 18, they were a little more into Tiger. I saw Tiger's caddy going at some of the guys on 17. And on 18 I was ready to go, and they were yelling and screaming right in my back. Again, it was part of a show and that's just the way it is.

Q. I noticed early in the round you almost had the mentality that you were trying to take charge, you were pulling your tee out with authority, dusting off your club, you were ready for battle, weren't you?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I was. I told everybody yesterday I was going to come out strong and I did everything I could. When I birdied 12, I knew I had a chance to catch him. And I knew it was going to be tough, because as soon as he takes the lead he doesn't lose it. I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to make a birdie on 13, and I pulled it a little bit. That was the key of the tournament, I think, because if I hit it in the bunker, I'm great out of the bunker. It's not like -- you know, I have a good number out of the bunker. I told my caddy I want to keep it in the bunker. If I can keep it in the bunker, I can get it up and down.

I don't think Tiger would have birdied that hole, but I let him do it. And as soon as he took over, he took charge of that. But I had a good time. I really enjoyed it out there.

Q. Even though the win that you were looking for today didn't occur, is it safe to say that you're strengthened and you're resolved to remain in the game as a top place contender, even though it's second place, considering the overcoming of odds and difficulties and the discipline required to get here today, I would have to say that you are strengthened rather than weakened by even this loss today, to continue as a major contender in the game.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I am a very strong person. I like to battle things, battle good. Like I said, I was mentally prepared for all the crowds that Tiger has following him. Nobody impressed me. I'm not scared of anybody. This is the way I'm brought up. When I put my mind ready to go, I'm ready to go. And I came up this morning. I told my wife this morning, I'm going to go out there and win it. There's no second place for me. I'm going to go out there and win it. I know I can beat him. I'm the kind of guy like that. When I charge, I take off. When I take off, I just keep going. Unfortunately it didn't happen in the last two or three holes, but I will win. No doubt in my mind.

Q. You talked yesterday about you're starting to look at retirement. How does that look now? Are you going to play another few years?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Until I win. My wife don't like it. I just want to play another two or three years. And I just want to spend time with my family. I know it's a tough decision to make, but I've just got to take care of my family, and I don't think I'm ready yet.

Q. Are you going to keep going until you win?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I'm going to keep going until I win.

Q. Any family members that are going to follow in your footsteps?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, not really. My brothers they play, but they are not in the level. There's some in Mexico, and they are good players, but I think they need to get out of the -- like we say in Mexico, we have to get out of the case to play better all around the world. There are a lot of players in Mexico that play better than me. But in my family, no, I'm just the lucky one, I guess.

Q. What happened on 18?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: When I was coming down, the people started screaming and yelling right in my back and I sliced it up on the right side of the bunker. I had no shot whatsoever. I had a big tree in front of it. I had a bad break with the hit and it was turning left and it bounced to the right and I had no shot whatsoever. And then my third shot, the ground was really really hard, and it was down like in a hole so I couldn't get the 56 wedge and run it. I thought I could get it with a 60 low shot and it didn't work. Again, it was a little bit tough coming in, the last two, three holes.

Q. It's refreshing to hear about someone talk about family. Do you think that's one of the things wrong with sports today. Some of these athletes -- I know you can't speak for everybody, but some of these athletes don't put their families first and that's why there is so much divorce and all that?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, I think everybody knows here that the wife is first and the children are second, and golf is just a game. If you put anything against the family, you will never get it. If my wife tells me to go, I go, but if she tells me not to go, I'm not going to do it. Family is more important.

Q. You had three straight bogeys, I think. Was there any carry over after the first one to the next two, 14, 15 ?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No. I bogeyed those three and then bogeyed 18, and that was it. 3-putted on 15. The greens were really hard and spiky, so it was very difficult to get a good break. There were a lot of spikes around and the greens were very very fast and very hard. I never got speed.

End of FastScripts....

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