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July 16, 2004

Mark Rypien


Q. Why don't you take us through your score today, looked like you earned 22 points.

MARK RYPIEN: 22. Hit the ball real well the front nine. I had ten points to show for it; that could have been a lot better. Didn't lose any strokes all day which was good because I made two real good putts on 15 and 16 to save bogey. And I think that's the key, because Jeremy made four or five birdies today, but he also had three doubles, and to lose two points is tough; it's hard to gain them back.

And of course the big shot on 18, I hit a 7 iron in there and pretty slick putt coming down the hill from right to left, and they were fast all day long. Just made a good putt and knocked it in. So I kind of struggled in between there, holes 15 through 17, didn't make really a good swing, two real good swings on 18 to salvage the day.

Q. What were the length of the putts on 16, 17 and 18?

MARK RYPIEN: The one on 15 was about, oh, I'd say I hit one on 14, 13 from about 15 feet for par.

And I hit one on 15 from ten feet for bogey and just missed the green left in three, had a little up and down, got too cute with it and left in the bunker, chipped it about three feet below the hole and made the putt on 16.

Had a good 2 putt on 17. Pulled it to the left about 30, 40 feet. Jeremy went first and he had a good putt from two feet and almost made it.

Of course, last hole coming home, hit a 3 wood off the tee. Only club in my bag that can go left, everything else goes right. It was going right, 14 through 16 pretty far right, so I just kind of limped home. But I made two real good swings on the last hole to kind of salvage otherwise a pretty good day, good day for striking the ball early; and in between, fell apart a little bit but got it back at the end.

Q. What did you have in on 18 and what did you have left for a putt?

MARK RYPIEN: I had 195. Hit a 7 iron up on the right hand side. Hit a little cut back into the wind and held it's line. Had about 25 feet straight down the hill and made a good stroke. And the nice thing about it, if it misses it's going to be about a 1 or 2 footer, and just kind of kept rolling and snuck in. So it was a good way to finish.

Q. You won here the first year and I believe you shot close to par every round.

MARK RYPIEN: I think I was 5 over. The first day I shot 77, 78 and was 1 under the last 2 days. Nothing against the competition gotten better. Back then I think there was maybe five or six guys could break par. And now you've got guys bringing their swing coaches out, their psychiatrists and they get serious about it.

That's one thing about athletes and entertainers is when it comes down to playing, you know, we get serious about what we're doing, and we like to have fun, but on the same token, it's pretty competitive.

Q. When is the last time you led a first round?

MARK RYPIEN: I think four years ago, I shot probably the greatest round of golf maybe in my life. Wind was maybe blowing 40, 50 miles an hour, I don't know if you guys remember, and I think I shot 71. The guys were saying the next closest was 74. Guys were saying it's like shooting 65. I was hitting 3 iron at 17; that tells you what the wind was doing.

So that was probably the best round I've ever played, and then it died down the next 2 days and my score went up, so go figure.

Q. Nice to be back in this seat at this time?

MARK RYPIEN: Yeah, it is. It's great. One, what we do is we love to play serious golf, and it's an dream for all of us to be inside the ropes and do it competitively.

But more importantly, monies we raise for Mark Cuban, the Fallen Patriot Fund, and to help the kids here in the Tahoe area, people in the Tahoe area, is what it's all about.

I think that whether you're playing good golf or bad golf, if you're playing bad golf, you still have an unbelievable setting here. Just let your eyes look away and there's a lot of things to do here. The goal is to definitely come here and try to play as well as we can. We know we all think we tee it off on the first hole we all have a chance. But realistically there's only a few that are pretty good and know they are going to be in the top five or ten all the time.

So it's nice to be here. I hope I can continue. I'm swinging at it pretty good, make a few more putts and I'll hope to add to a little bit of my game where I'm at right now.

Q. Does your strategy change between stroke play and the Stableford format?

MARK RYPIEN: Yeah, if you make a bad swing, before I'd try to make, you know, a miracle 3 and turn it into a 7. Now, knowing that you've got a stroke to give, chip it out like I did it at 15. Just hit it in the right trees and I could have tried to funnel a little 6 iron through and try to get it on the green. Instead, I chipped out, knocked it on and 2 putted for my bogey and didn't lose anything.

I think that's the difference. When you have a chance and opportunity like on the par 5s, let's get after it, give it a go and be aggressive with your putts when they are up the hill, and careful when you're putting for pars down the hill, you don't want to leave them too far by.

So your strategy changes based on the situation you're in. But I think I hit 15 greens, the three holes I played bad were just a stretch where I had the rights and got a little anxious when the cameras got on me. I figured they are going to be diagnosing my swing, which is my own swing, it's not the swing of a champion or anything like that. I get a little nervous sometimes in that.

Like I say, I'll be honest, this is out of my element, golf. I love it, I'm here playing with the guys. It's a lot easier when you're out here in these condition, things tense up a little bit. All of your muscles tense up. It was fun today. A good start.

Q. Did you and Jeremy feed off each other?

MARK RYPIEN: And Brett. Brett didn't start off very well, and I think all of us kind of did, we played about as got about as much as we could out of our game today. I think Jeremy left a few out there. He had three holes he doubled and other than that he played pretty good.

Brett played real solid, he started out with a double on the first hole and from 50 yards he hit it almost on the green and took a double the first hole. So each one of us kind of fed off each other. They made a lot more birdies than I did but was pretty consistent with some of the things and just kind of kept it going enough today give you a chance the last hole to make eagle and salvage the round.

Q. How has your golf game changed since the first time you won?

MARK RYPIEN: I don't know, I think it's funny, the less about the game I knew, I could score better I went out and scored. Now I know more about the game and the swing, and I get too technical at times and I don't score as well. I think that bodes well with all of us. You learn more about your golf swing and what you're doing wrong and trying to correct it and thinking too much instead of just putting the ball in the hole.

I have a golf swing that needs to go out and do what I do and get it in the hole and I'll be fine.

Q. What kind of number do you think will win this thing?

MARK RYPIEN: Last year, what 75? I'd say between 70 and 75 again is the number to look for. If I can keep it up, I'll be right in the Top 10 there and hopefully make some more putts and give myself a chance.

Q. I think you talked about the first time you won, first time you played and you won here, your scores were not anything as well as you played today were they?

MARK RYPIEN: No, like I say, I was 1 under today. Even though I didn't make any birdies, I made a birdie and eagle and only three bogeys, so that's not bad for a round of golf or 2 birdies and an eagle and three bogeys, I think through the day.

Whereas I won at plus 5 and Rick won the second year plus 5, and from then on in I think it's been under par every year. That's just a testimony to the guys and they are elevating their play. You know, everyone says Rick's doing so much better, but it's kind of like Tiger. Tiger got so good that the other players have elevated their play, and Rick has not won as much this year, I think each one of us has known we have to elevate our play to beat him.

Q. What's your handicap?

MARK RYPIEN: About a three or four.

I love my playing partners . (Jeremy Roenick walking by).

Q. Playing competitors?

MARK RYPIEN: They are partners, good guys. Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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