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February 5, 2005

Mark Calcavecchia


JOHN BUSH: Mark Calcavecchia in the interview room after a third round, 6-under par 65. Mark, nice playing today.


JOHN BUSH: Let's get you to comment on your round if you can.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I played well today actually. I hit the ball pretty good. I'm not putting great, but I made some putts the last couple days.

I think today actually reminded me of last year at the British Open at Troon when I birdied the last hole to make the cut on the number. I was so happy, I just relaxed on the weekend and had fun, and today reminded me of that because I needed to play a good round Friday to make the cut, and there's nothing worse than -- I don't like missing the cut anywhere, but especially here or in West Palm Beach at the Honda. I'd almost rather miss the cut at the U.S. Open than here to tell you the truth.

Anyway, I was happy I made the cut and then played a good round Friday. I came out today with the attitude, ready to have some fun, and that's what happened.

JOHN BUSH: No bogeys, six birdies. If you can take us through those six holes.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I birdied No. 3, good drive and then a 5-wood to about 30-foot, on the green, two-putted.

I birdied No. 4, 7-iron about 15 feet left of the hole, made that for birdie.

I birdied No. 5. 5 was a great birdie. I hit my driver about 50 yards left down there in a ditch, and it was kind of muddy, and I was standing above the ball, had to get it over a tree right in front of me.

I didn't think I could get my wedge that far, but I knew I couldn't get a 9-iron over the tree, and I took a shot with the wedge, and I absolutely couldn't have hit it any better. I got over the tree by a whisker, got on the green and made the 30-footer for birdie. That was lucky. But good on the other hand (laughter).

And then I actually got another pretty good break on 11. I hit a pretty good drive just a little left and it rolled through the fairway, and I caught a lie. It's some of the thickest rough on the course.

John Huston was in there the other day and could only hit it about 60 yards.

I had 183 to the hole, and I caught a good lie. I hit a 5-iron, got it on the green 15 feet left of the hole and made the putt for birdie.

I birdied 13, driver, 3-wood, left side of the green, two-putted from 60 feet.

Then birdied 17, kind of not a very good drive, kind of off to the right, played a real good skipping L-wedge from 20 yards short right of the green, up that hill to the pin in the back right there, very tough shot, and I got it dead pin high but about an inch off the green, and it was 12 feet from the hole and I made that for birdie.

Q. 18?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Not a bad drive but I caught the fairway bunker, caught the edge of it. It was a foot from the lip and I had a great lie.

The problem was I had to put my left foot out of the bunker about probably a foot higher than the right foot, so I had a queer stance. I caught it solid, but I pushed it into the right bunker, which is about the last place you want to hit it. I was trying to yank it in the middle of the green. I don't know how I tried to yank it and I ended up pushing it. It was a goofy stance.

Anyway, the sand here, it's hard to put a lot of spin on your ball out of the bunkers here. I fanned open my L-wedge and caught it a little bit skinny. I was trying to hit a perfect shot, but it one-hopped right up to the flag up in the air and almost spun in.

So I guess I certainly won't complain that it didn't go in, but it was kind of a funny way to end the day. Maybe that's a good sign. Certainly you don't like bogeying the last hole, so I got lucky there and salvaged par.

Q. (Inaudible).

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Oh, on 5? It was too early to think about it. I asked my caddie, I said, I hit every shot perfect the first four holes, as good as I can hit it and as straight as I can hit it. Then I got up on 5 and hit that drive 50 yards left, and I'm like, how do you do that? He just laughed and said, "that's why they call it golf."

I've been down there before. As many times as I've played this course, I've probably been in that ditch at least four or five times.

I wasn't thinking anything other than trying to not make a double, or something, or skull it into the tree in front of me. I was just trying to get it up over the tree. I made the putt and I didn't think much of it at that point. But I certainly probably saved two shots there. That was nice.

Q. Is it the tournament vibes here or is it the course that works so well for you?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: A bit of both, I think. The course, I've always loved the course. It's visually appealing to my eye, and I seem to read the greens fairly well for the most part.

Some of them, guys scratch their heads that aren't used to playing here often, but then again, it's the tournament atmosphere that I love, too. That's why I wanted to make the cut so bad on Friday. You just want to be out there and be a part of that. I just think it's so cool.

Tommy Armour said the same thing, he just loves it. Just to see strains of people going up-and-down each hole, 16, and it's just a great atmosphere, and I love it. I think that helps me play well.

Q. You've played some super low rounds here. Are you still within a touch of leading this tournament? If it stays four behind, is that doable?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Four or five is doable. What's Phil at right now?

Q. 12.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: What am I, 8? Yeah, there's definitely other players I'd rather be four or five behind than Phil. You know, he's a pretty tough character.

Whatever it is, it isn't going to concern me, whether it's 3, 4, 5 or 6. My plan tomorrow is it's going to be another nice day, and I know I can go low here and I'm just going to go out and have fun and hope my putter is hot.

When I get going, I can string some birdies together, as can any player out here, but I can do the job on this course, and I'd love to start making a bunch of birdies and see what happens. That's my plan.

Q. Physically how are you doing?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I withdrew from San Diego but I was going to miss the cut. That was when the fog came in. I wasn't going to sit around for a couple hours to miss the cut. I WD'd there.

Towards the end of last year I felt pretty good. Actually Thursday my back was shaky. It started spasming on me on the walk to the 5th tee. I hit some more painkillers, or meds, or whatever they are (laughter), went to the medicine cabinet in my bag and threw some of those down.

Actually by No. 7 I was okay. It didn't bother my back, but it was on my lower right and I was kind of cutting my follow-through off. I was fine in the middle of the round, and then towards the end of the round on Thursday when it was getting dark and cold, we were the last group to finish, it wasn't feeling too good. The last couple of days it's felt fine.

When you have aches and pains, cold weather is not great by any stretch. Unfortunately, I can do that any day, any hole (laughter). I could just be walking along and just drop (laughter). So it's a little scary. I just hope it doesn't happen at the wrong time, but it's a possibility it may.

JOHN BUSH: Mark, thanks for coming by.


End of FastScripts.

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