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July 17, 2005

Trent Dilfer

Rick Rhoden

Billy Joe Tolliver


Q. Rick, not probably the round you expect today, wondering if all the golf you've played in the last week or so may have caught up a little bit?

RICK RHODEN: I don't know. I wish I had an excuse. I just didn't play very well. I started out okay. I had a birdie putt on 1, and I hit one about six inches on 2 for a birdie. Then I had a 60 yard wedge for a third shot on 3, and I'm looking good, just laid the sod over it, ended up getting a bogey. On 4 I had another wedge from the middle of the fairway and hit it fat in the bunker got a bogey. Those two you think you're going to get a good birdie putt and you walk out with no points, that could be six points difference, so that kind of set the tone of the day.

And then I just didn't putt well at all. I don't know, I played like 35 putts today. I just putted absolutely terrible. I've been putting really good, and today, I don't know, I just one of those days, nothing seemed very comfortable in my hand.

Q. And yet it made an exciting finish.

RICK RHODEN: Yeah, Billy Joe, has a habit of doing that. I don't know, I guess he was thinking that Chris, or Trent, he was assuming he was going to make eagle. I don't know how he can assume that. I think you can assume you might make birdie. I don't know what the score was, but I think if he made par he couldn't lose, unless you made eagle probably. Nothing saying he can't hit a 5 iron, 6 iron, wedge and make birdie, too, take all that other stuff out of play. But, hey, he won, so he did it right.

Q. Trent, you had a good round today.

TRENT DILFER: Yeah, you know, I played all right. I was excited to see how I would hold up. I played really well on the front. I think I hit the first eight greens and the furthest I had for birdie was maybe 20 feet. I hit it in there about three inches on 1; almost went in the hole. 2, I hit it about four feet and missed it. 3, I make birdie. 4, I miss a seven foot birdie putt. 5, I barely missed about a 15 footer. That's kind of the story of the front. I made a nice putt on 6 for birdie. And 7, hit it close and didn't make birdie.

Got to the back and it really missed some opportunities. Hit the driver as well as I probably ever hit it in this tournament, and, you know, laid the sod over some wedges coming in and didn't I knew they were not playing great behind me. You know, I was watching the board. I expected immediately for them to start popping birdies on the board and they didn't. So I thought I could put some pressure on them if I made three or four on the back, and just from 100 to 130 yards, just could not get it done until 16, and then left a birdie putt short on 17. Felt like I had to make eagle on 18.

You know, think in the middle of the round, if I could have capitalized on some of the drives or birdie putts that I had, it could have been a different story, but it wasn't.

Q. You needed eagle on 18, can you explain what your shots were on 18?

TRENT DILFER: Yeah, I walked off the tee, I kind of waited to see what Joe went to and where he hit his shot on 17. My calculations were that he was at 76 and I was at 71. There's no way I'm thinking he's making anything worse than par there.

Like Rick said, I mean, I would play that hole probably 2 iron, pitching wedge, pitching wedge in that situation or 4 iron, 9 iron pitching wedge. So I'm thinking he's going to make par, I have to make eagle. And I don't naturally turn the ball over right to left; I can, and this week I actually did a really good job of when I needed to, hitting it straight or hit it straight with a little bit of a cut. And I closed my stance up on 18 to hit it big draw and just hit it dead straight where I was aiming so I was down on the right side.

I had been over there before in this tournament, and you have to hit a miracle shot. You have a little window, Rick what do you think, about a 10 X 10 window? You can hit it through or hit a low, rising cut and had a bad lie, I hit it, hit the shot of my life and if I get a kick, I have an eagle putt, it bounces straight, I go in the water. And I have no idea that Joe is going to make double, if anybody says

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I made bogey. Easy.

TRENT DILFER: Or bogey, whatever. So, you know, so is life.

So you didn't have to take that shot there, penalty there?


RICK RHODEN: Chipped it, got up and down for bogey.

Q. Rick, how far was your putt for eagle on 18?

RICK RHODEN: Before I hit it or after it didn't stop rolling? I don't know, 25 feet. I hit another nice stroke, a little left and short.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I tell you what, I was lucky to get out of this alive today because, you know, to have the cushion that I had on 18, the way Rick played tee to green was phenomenal. He hit the ball so close all day long and ran it over the edge all day. I mean, he could have easily shot 8 , 9 under today. He's probably a total of three inches from being 7 , 8 , 9 under. You know, I just got lucky that the putter wasn't hot for him today. It just left me with connecting the dots until a birdie was made.

RICK RHODEN: We just never really put any pressure on him. Billy got the lead, and Chris and I, neither one made any putts when we I could have had a short putt on 10, if I make it I get it to three points or something and a little momentum and I missed it.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: That was the one that changed my thinking. I birdied 9 that could have easily missed on the low side and it goes in. I think Rick bogeyed it.

RICK RHODEN: I parred 9.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: That's right. So I make a birdie on 9, we come back and I make par on 10 and Rick has got a short one for birdie and it burns the edge.

So now it's just a mathematical deal. Does he make birdies? I've got to match.

Next thing you know, I look up at the leaderboard on 12 and this jackass down here is sitting with the big points and I'm going, my God, what's the deal man, I've got to fight these two off and then I have to go fight Dilfer off. And he's mean. Dilfer won't just let me, "Okay, Joe, you're a good guy, I'll let you have it." Deep down inside, I don't care what Rhoden says, he felt for me. That's why he kept running it over the edge. He said, "Aww, let Joe win one."

RICK RHODEN: Billy played good. I hit with him yesterday and today. He hit the drivers I've ever seen him hit today. Except 18, he was afraid to hit it out of bounds left and just knocked it right.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: That's why I didn't hit 3 wood. I didn't hit iron or 3 wood because they will go left. My driver will not go left.

RICK RHODEN: If I was him, I'd aim it right down the middle because he hit every one right down the middle about 50 yards ahead of me all day. He played good. He didn't shoot a low score today but he didn't have to. He played good enough, for the way we were playing he didn't need to make a lot of birdies. We weren't putting any heat on him.

Q. Went for the green in two on 18; is that right?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Yeah. My plan on the tee was to take it at the trees on the right hand side, and if it did happen to turnover, which I have no reason to believe that it would because I never turn it left with a driver, then great if it did. If it didn't, I'm over there forced to lay it up and, my boys back home can't call me a coward for hitting an iron off the tee. Then when I get over there, my lay up window is only about three feet wide. But I had a straight shot right at the flag.

You know, I'm a little bit void of talent, so naturally I blocked it out into the beach where I always spend Sunday. I think I've thrown away about, I don't know, $300,000, $400,000 here on that beach. They ought to call it Joe's Beach. They have got Lake Laimbeer, why can't I have Joe's Beach over there? I live at that place.

The chip shot was a lot tougher than advancing it towards the green and I knew that if they didn't make double eagle on me, Rolfing sold Dilfer out. He threw him under the bus and told me that he hit it in the water. So double eagle beats me.

RICK RHODEN: Those happen all the time, too.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Well, I wasn't betting on the double eagle, but eagle ties me if I make double.

So from the point when I was standing in there looking at chipping it out or going for it, I just decided, well, if I go for it and I hit a bad shot, in the lake, the lake left would have been a heck of a lot better than where I hit it, but I couldn't get to the lake left, or out on the beach. I figure I can make six from there and they have got to make eagle. If I don't make the six, then it's tie and we go to a playoff.

TRENT DILFER: You really thought about all that?


TRENT DILFER: That's why you won. I just try to make contact.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Hey, I did deciphering. I was good at math. I'm a cipherer.

Q. You were the leader after the second round last year, and if I remember right, your final round was not all that great. Did you take something from that and use it today?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Actually last year I played pretty good the final round. I just didn't make it. I putted like Rick last year. I rolled it over the edge all day long. And he and Quinn just went out and went on a birdiefest and I could not keep up. I got to the point on 18 where I needed that double eagle, so I fired at it and naturally, where you think I went, on Joe's Beach out there.

But I played pretty good out there last year tee to green. I just didn't make anything in the final group. Same thing happened to Rick this year. I mean, I hit a love the greens today, but Rick was inside of me, damn near every hole. I mean, he froze it for at least seven, eight times today and got nothing out of it.

Q. I think the one driver you did hit, when you went left on No. 4, the one that went all the way by the fence?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I made birdie there, nothing to it.

Q. How good of a recovery was that? It seemed like it settled you down.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: The putt was what settled it down. I hit a really good putt, but I didn't have as hard a shot on the second shot. I had 138 yards on 4 and I just hit it fat. I thought it was hard pan over there and it was real soft sand. It wasn't as hard as I thought. And the club just buried underneath it.

But, you know to, make the birdie there, what's what was key, after, you know, shockingly, Rick went bogey, bogey on the two par 5s. You know, if you look at it, that's probably about the difference in the score.

Q. Trent, maybe this is best for you, do you think it's a good thing that somebody named Rhoden or Quinn didn't win again for you?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I think it is. (Laughter) I don't know about you.

TRENT DILFER: You know, I don't get caught up in that stuff. Rick has been dominant, obviously. Dan the last few years has really played well and won some tournaments. You know, the guys that haven't won outside of them, the tournaments I've been at and here, are very, very competitive people.

And they don't want Rick and Dan to fold. We want to go up against them and golf our ball and see who comes out on top at the end of the day. And you know, Joe's the best looking guy out here, so I'm happy for him.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: You're second best.

TRENT DILFER: Thank you.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Thanks for noticing.

TRENT DILFER: I don't get caught up in all that stuff. I want Rick to go to the U.S. Senior Open in a couple weeks and win the damn thing. He's a great man and he's taught me a lot about golf. He's taught me a lot about my game and I appreciate him for that. So I never find myself rooting against Dan and Rick.

Q. What about from a fan perspective?

TRENT DILFER: I mean, Joe, this is your second?


TRENT DILFER: I think this tournament, I just like to see the leaderboard closer than the times Rick and Dan have won it at times. I've seen, you know, my first few years, Rick just run away with it and then Dan had a couple big ones, and you know, at the end of the day, we need to have like this year, you probably broke the points record, right? About the same? But it would be nice to have seven, eight, nine guys up there in the 70s. I think we're getting closer to that.

I think now that Chris Chandler is going to be playing full time, he's going to be reckoned with. Joe is obviously a great player, Dan, Rick, Mickey Tendleton, who is not here is a really good player. There's a lot of really good players. That's what I like to see. I just like to see the leaderboard packed with a lot of low scores.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Yeah, as far as us, I mean, I don't know how it is anywhere else, I know it's this way with Tiger. But all the guys out here competing, you've lived your entire life competing at the highest level you could, and you don't ever want it just handed to you. You want to earn it. You don't ever want to go out there and back into something. You want a guy playing.

And putts, they either go in or they don't. You've got to hit the shots. Rick kept the heat on all day because he just kept flagging it. I told my caddie standing on 18, I said, "Hey, you can guarantee as many putts as he's made, you won't be able to tell which lip this one is closer to when it goes in. He will clutch up and make this one." And fortunately for me, it just kept running.

But, you know, if you're going to win, you want your opponent's best. There's nothing worse than feeling like walking off a football field, a golf course, whatever it is, feeling like your opponent cheated you in the fact that he didn't give you his best. All I know is Rick Rhoden has made me a better golfer, because, hey, if it would have just kept going, we'd all been shooting 72s around here and nobody would have ever seen red numbers.

But, hey, he stepped it up so everybody else had to step it up. You know, Tiger's the same way. Tiger wants to go out there and he wants to drive his foot clean through your throat and out the back of your neck, but he wants to do it with him knocking flagsticks down and you doing the same thing. He wants a birdiefest kind of similar to the tournament we had in Pittsburgh at Mario Lemieux's event where it was Chandler, Rhoden and Pierre going down, we had 27 birdies between them. Mine it was a birdiefest out there and that's what you want.

Pierre, Pierre Larouche won the tournament over Rick, and he's got to feel like that was the greatest win ever because that was a battle. I mean, every hole, it's changing. And that's what you're looking for. You know, I got it today because he's such a jackass, he wouldn't ever leave me alone. I'm thinking, God, would he miss a green somewhere, and he just won't.

TRENT DILFER: About six years ago I'm on the practice tee out there and John Brodie says, "Trent, you're a par shooter."

I went "What?"

"You're a par shooter." He says, "You'll never win."

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Brodie has a knack for sugar coating it.

TRENT DILFER: And he says, "Yeah, you should be much better than that, you're happy shooting par and five years ago that would have been just find out here, but you need to learn how to go low and you need to watch Rick," and he mentioned a couple other guys. I swear, any tournament I went to, I would play my ball and I would study Rick Rhoden and I would study Dan Quinn there towards the end how they made so many birdies and how they kept it going low and they taught me how to go low.

I didn't do it this week, but I can now because of watching these guys play.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: And make no mistake about it, I know how fortunate I was today. Rick's putter wasn't working. There was one hole yesterday, this was the entire tournament, regardless of what happens today, the entire tournament happened yesterday on 12. When I shanked it Rick's got it up there about five feet for birdie, he's got an opportunity for a nice 5 , 6 point swing right there, and caught on edge. You know, I didn't have the heart to tell him that his head is moving about an inch forward when he's going, so, you know, call me bastard if you will. (Laughter). Your head is moving right there, just that tad.

See, but what I've just done is won the senior for him. My man's going to win the Senior Open. My man's head's moving.

Q. You mentioned on TV there had been a little pressure at home on finding yourself a job, will this take the heat off?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Hell, no. That old bag, she won't ever let me live anything. It don't matter I'm not working. I'm a volunteer coach. She's the meanest woman on the planet. Damn good looking. I mean, if you saw her are you live over there, with that TV camera? Are you live? If you saw her, you'd shit yourself, she's so fine. (Laughter). Incredibly hot. She's about 5'6", 115, fine, unbelievable. She's mean as a snake. I mean, she physically abuses me. She does. Punched me in my face. (Laughter).

But nothing, this is just "Well, you should win. You play golf all the time. You should win those things." This is just a game to her. But it did buy me a month. (Laughter). She won't rage on me for a month. This is good for me. I mean, I told her one day I was going to I do my yard work either late at night, one, two o'clock in the morning, or I do it early and go to the golf course well, I don't sleep much. Then I got it done one morning I was done about ten o'clock, and I said, "All right, honey, I'm going to the golf course."

She said, "Must be nice being you. What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I said, without hesitation, "Single." My kid is on the ground he's laughing so hard. That's funny, all right. That's funny. She punched me in my face. "How's this for single, you like that?" I mean, that's not very nice.

And it wasn't, what, six hours later I'm home and she's staring at me in there and she's just, got that look, I said, "what are you looking at?"

She goes, "You're getting fat."

"Getting? I've been fat. You still love me though, don't you? I'd love if you if you were fat. I'd miss you, but I love you." Guess what? Punch in the face. I mean, it would shock you if you saw her.

So no, this hundred grand don't buy me any time. I get a month, maybe two, three weeks, tops.

Q. I think you've got a job, it's the pairing party next Thursday night. You can be in the comedy routine.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I'm funnier than all of these guys. I don't even prepare this stuff. Right off the top of the dome. I'm a good cipherer.

Q. The tournament this year, you mentioned yesterday you were maybe a little frustrated with Garrett's booming voice; is it more important that this is a golf tournament or is it an entertainment event?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Well, the bottom line on the tournament is, NBC does a great job with the event, and the people out there, they see Tiger Woods this morning go out and all those guys at the British Open played excellent golf. And they see these guys, Charles Barkley. Charles Barkley is one of the finest human beings walking the planet, so you can't help yourself but laugh at him whenever you see that swing and he shanks it into the hamburger tent over there. I mean, it's good TV. And the things that these people, because believe me, these guys are out there trying. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. Because they are highly competitive people.

But, you know, it's good TV. But the bottom line is, at the end of the day, this is a major, major event. American Century is paying me a $100,000. That's a big deal. But we understand that, you know, that some guys here, you know, they don't know how to deal with the stress of it, so they have got to get vocal.

RICK RHODEN: I think we understand that we are part of the package. The package has Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, all of the big guys, Ray Romano.


RICK RHODEN: And Trent Dilfer. And there's guys like me and Billy Joe and Dan Quinn that have some status, not like that but we come here and we play some good golf, and you have to have a combination. I think NBC understands that and we all understand it.

You know, like you said, Charles Barkley is one of the nicest human beings you ever want to meet. He's out here and he has his game, he's playing Chris Webber. They have a match going. I don't know what it's for, but they have a match going and they are having fun and we are all having fun.

I just think they have come up with a really good combination here of guys that can play golf, guys that are close to being good. You know, we probably have ten or 12 guys that are real competitive and we have probably another 20 that are close, like Trent said, five years ago, guys like Trent were five years ago, there's probably 20 guys like that right now that in a few years are going to be competitive, too.

And they add some new guys every year, there's a new mix and it just keeps going. I think it's a good thing. You have good crowds again this year. I thought it was a great event.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: It was. The bottom line is, it's such a great event, and they do such a great job here, everybody involved in the event from the hotels to the golf course to the Tahoe tourist bureau, tourism bureau, how do you say it, what is it, you know what I'm talking about, feel free to put that in, to American Century to everyone involved in the event, it's such a great event that you look forward to it.

So, you know, bottom line is, if they say, Joe, you can come next year but you've got ride a donkey and you've got to hit all your shots, I'm coming up here with Gus, the kicking mule, and I've got three foot extensions on my club jacking it around out there. I mean, you don't want to miss this, it's such a great event.

RICK RHODEN: You've got to give the credit to the ground crew because they told us that this place was unplayable, and I think they made it where it was playable. There was some holes, all honesty to me I think there's a few years out of the 15 the greens were worse than they were this year. Some of these might not have looked so good, but in reality they all putted okay.

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Well, Steve and his staff, the golf course superintendent, they did a fantastic job preparing the golf course for tournament play. They did what they could do with what they had and, you know, they did a good job, and 5 and 7, hey, with the winter burn they got and the disease they got on the bentgrass greens, they did an outstanding job getting it ready to play. I'm sure these guys will concur that my hat is off to them. It was fantastic.

Q. Did you make a bet on yourself or with Tiger?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I refuse to say on the grounds that it may incriminate me. And Big Mama, if she finds out I have extra dough. So I'm not going to say, but at 8 to 1, you can make some cheese.

TRENT DILFER: You were 8 to 1?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: I think I drove it down to no, I didn't place a bet. Let me just say this, there was one guy that went up to the window and the odds went down when he left.

Q. Probably had a good sense of humor?

BILLY JOE TOLLIVER: Yeah, and a good looking guy, too, really handsome, and his wife, you'll shit yourself if you saw her.

End of FastScripts.

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