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July 17, 2004

Mark Rypien


Q. They asked you yesterday about being in contention again, I was reading the quotes, and you said that it was better when you knew less about your swing.

MARK RYPIEN: Yeah, well, when I knew less about my swing, it was just about scoring, put the ball in the hole and not worry about where I am parallel, is my swing plane on line, all that stuff. So the more I learned about golf itself, I think the less of a golfer I became, and now I've been able to control some of those things and relax a little bit more, especially the last couple of days here, I felt as comfortable as I have, as far as I played, I played the best nine on front side, I shot 33 and made a couple mistakes on the back nine. Didn't lose any points, and that's the key I think here this week is the fact I haven't lost too many. I haven't made a double bogey all week long. I've never been in position where I made double bogey, so, that's been good. I hit 14, 15 greens both days, you do that, you're going to have a chance.

My putting was terrible today. Didn't make anything good coming down the stretch. Missed an easy putt on 16, about a 9 , 10 footer, and hit a great shot on 17. The green is pretty hard there, about pin high, jumped up the back and made a terrible chip. Got up and down for a bogey and doesn't lose anything.

Hit a great 3 wood at 18, had about 175 in, hit a 9 iron, and made a good 2 putt and finished strong again on the last hole there. That hole has been my nemesis, and when I want to hit a great shot with an 8 iron there, to win it, so it's kind of been a little of both.

Q. Sometimes do you something and it seems like a hundred years ago, how many years ago does it seem that you won this tournament?

MARK RYPIEN: It doesn't seem long but it's been 14 years. It's been about three or four years since I've been in contention. I was in the last group I think three or four years ago, and so I think I'll be in the last group again tomorrow. I just need to focus on what I have to do and get off to a good start.

Birdieing 3 and 4 today helped out. Made a good up and down at 2. Just one of those things where I have to get it going early and not worry about them. I can't control what they do, and I only have an impact of what I can do, and you start making some things and forcing them to do other things, you have a chance.

Q. Is there any indication last month or two that you would play well this week?

MARK RYPIEN: Well, I played, I finished like 23 at Stan Humphry's event and 22nd at Mario's event and 23rd at John's event. Funny thing, at Mario's and John's, I hit the ball as good as I have and switched to this 2 ball putter the second round at Elway's and didn't have a 3 putt. I think I only had one today. I put it in a tough position. Hit a solid 9 iron on 12, and you set it up on the top ledge, you've got a tough 2 putt, and sure enough, that's the only 3 putt I've had all week.

So it's just the 2 ball has been good, made some putts early on, made some good par saving putts and that's the name of the game. Par is your friend; that's my feeling.

Q. Did you say a 175 yard 9 iron?

MARK RYPIEN: Yeah, well, it was about 178 to the hole. Hit it about 175.

Q. Is that pretty typical?

MARK RYPIEN: Yeah, at this altitude. Yeah, with a little bit of breeze, yeah. Up to 180 I will hit my 9 iron, depending what the wind is doing. Of course, into the wind I'll hit an 8.

Q. What do you think the fans are up here to watch, is it the golf; is it the celebrities?

MARK RYPIEN: Oh, I think it's probably the celebrities. They come up here to see The Donald, I think they could come up here to get a glimpse of Michael and there's half of them that come up here to see good golf.

We're kind of an entertainment group. It's not that we are a real golfing group here this week. It's kind of an entertainment group with a bunch of good golfers. I think they get a kick out of both. They see shots out there that even I emulate a lot of bad shots, too. So I think everyone can I think relate to some of the frustrations that we go through on the golf course and what others are having this week, I think that's what makes it unique.

The pros are so good, they are so good, you don't ever see anything typical of what we've been doing this week.

Q. Outside of the 2 ball putter, what would be one of the reasons you'd say that you were able to not worry about your swing but just think about the result?

MARK RYPIEN: Well, I just think the fact that my distance control has been pretty good. My ball striking has been as good as I can do, and I'm not missing many greens. I'm not putting myself in bad positions on the golf course. I'm putting the ball in play off the tee with a lot of 2 and 3 irons, and when you do that, you've got a chance.

Q. So really, it really is the fact that you've been able to convert more over the last couple of days?

MARK RYPIEN: Exactly. No doubt. I think I've been able to make some birdies. I'm not a birdie machine. I'm a guy that's going to hit a lot of greens and get up there, but I made some birdies and that helps in this format. You know, when you hit it long, you've got a chance, too.

Q. Do you feel like because you can putt better with this putter, that takes some of the pressure off of some of the stuff from when you're in the fairway; that you don't feel like you have to do certain things to get closer than you were before?

MARK RYPIEN: Sure, it gives you an option to hit the middle of the greens with a pin on the right, pin on the left and have a 15 footer try to stuff it in there and short side yourself and have a tough chip. I think that's one of the things, my brother who is on my bag this week is doing a great job of saying, hey, listen you're putting good. Unless it's a left to right shot where you hit a little cut in there to the right pin, there's no reason; play for the center of the greens. Talking to Rick over the years, one thing he does, he hits the center of the greens. He's a good putter, and make some putts. That's the difference; I've made some putts this week.

Q. How much of a burden has it been being the first champion of this event? Is there more pressure on you?

MARK RYPIEN: Not at all. Like I say, now there's a group of guys that really can play. When I was there, there was maybe a handful this could break par. Now we've got 20 guys out there that can do it not on a regular basis but can play well and that makes it fun.

It's not much of a burden. I know that my work is cut out every time I tee it up against these guys. They are better than I am; I understand that. It's always great, you always like to kind of be the underdog, everyone is kind of pulling for you and so in my situation, that's the case. I'm the underdog going in here. I know those guys are better than I am. When you can admit to that, I think that makes it a lot easier.

Q. You figured out you're in the second to last group tomorrow?

MARK RYPIEN: I think I'll be in the last group, there's three of us tied at 45, but one drops down, a guy will go up. So either Danny or Rick will drop down, so it will be Billy Joe myself and either Danny or Rick.

Q. And where would you like to be on Sunday?

MARK RYPIEN: I'd like to be holding that American Century plaque up there or silverware, whatever they have up there, with a big smile on my face.

Q. What about Sunday at 9:00 AM, where would you rather be?

MARK RYPIEN: I'd like to be in the last group. I think I'd like to be in the last group. I get an idea of what you have ahead of you, and some guys Ivan Lendl, he made probably six birdies today, couple double bogeys and that was a tremendous round to a pretty good round. You can't do that out here. You've got to keep away from the big numbers, and I've been able to do that so far.

Q. For Ivan being a left hander, how does the course really play for him, is it a lot harder to play this course?

MARK RYPIEN: Well, a draw player, he can move the ball both ways. Ivan is a good player. I think he's one of the better players I've seen. He moves the ball left to right here. It's a left to right golf course, you get a draw and you have a chance.

End of FastScripts.

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