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April 21, 2005

Mike Stewart


Q. Can you outline the problems you have had today?

MIKE STEWART: It has been a tough day for everyone concerned and it is a great shame that we have reached this situation where we have got fantastic, beautiful sunny weather outside but it is just too strong wind-wise to keep playing golf. What effectively happened this morning was the fact that we did have a fairly strong wind to start with but as the morning progressed the wind increased in intensity at about 9.45am and from that point we had a number of balls move on different greens, the sixth green, the 14th, green and the first green over a 20 minute period and at 10.14am precisely we suspended play and got everybody off the golf course. For the next few hours we monitored the wind at a couple of different points on the golf course and whilst we had lulls in the wind where it did drop to comfortable and playable levels, it never dropped for a sufficient period of time for us to consider us getting the players back out for us to continue play. We had gusts up to 59kph and we were getting strong gusts, averaging over 40kph, every 15 -20 minutes. We were also testing the balls on the greens and the balls were moving. Whilst they might remain there for 15-20 minutes, they would then move as soon as we got a further strong gust of wind.

Q. What are the prospects for tomorrow?

MIKE STEWART: As you are well aware, we have cancelled play for today and we are bringing the players back for a 6.30am restart, and I expect to see you all there, by the way! We hopefully will be able to play at that time, continue with the first round with the afternoon segment from today starting at 8.00am and going from then on. The weather forecast is a lot better than it was for today so we are optimistic that play should be possible throughout the day. However, having said that, the weather forecast for today was for the wind not to be as strong as it was so we have to wait and see what exactly is going to happen in the morning.

Q. How do you see the rest of the tournament panning out?

MIKE STEWART: We will get the players out on the golf course pretty much as soon as they have finished their first rounds tomorrow morning. That 8.00am to 10.00am segment will turn around and go out first. We have just got to keep playing golf whenever we can so we will keep going until we complete the second round which will now be into Saturday. It is likely that we will be redrawing for the third round in three balls off two tees to help us catch up and it looks like, based on our current situation, that we wouldn't finish that third round until sometime on Sunday morning. Therefore we would be look to finish the third round on Sunday morning and then looking at redrawing again, getting them back out as soon as we can on Sunday, with hopefully a conclusion sometime on Sunday afternoon. With all being well.

Q. Is the course set-up to blame for the problems as a few of the players have suggested?

MIKE STEWART: I don't think there are specific holes or specific places on the golf course, I mean the greens here are reasonably quick. We were aware that there was wind forecast for today but our forecast for the week was for the wind to be at its strongest on Tuesday, decreasing through Wednesday and Thursday and most of our preparations have been based on that. Certainly if we could have looked ahead and saw what we were going to get today, we would have probably changed our regime in the last 36 hours. But we did cut down on the number of cuts to the green last night and this morning. We have watered the greens the last couple of nights too so it is not as if we have been looking to keep the greens fast, we have been reducing that to make them as playable as possible.

Q. Are there any plans already to go to Monday or make it a 54 hole event?

MIKE STEWART: That is looking a bit further ahead and it is probably too hard to speculate at this stage but it could be an option to reduce to 54 holes if we got further disruption. We would also look to go into Monday if we needed to finish either the third or fourth round on that day. It is very unusual and highly unlikely that we would want to schedule the last round for Monday but we would certainly consider Monday as a playing day in order to complete the final round.

End of FastScripts.

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