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February 3, 2006

Mark Calcavecchia


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Mark, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center. Good round today, another 67, 8 under for the tournament, but you seem to be chasing after J.J. Henry, who had a great day today with a 61. Why don't you just talk a little bit about chasing someone at this point. Still, you have the whole weekend left.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, there's a long ways to go. J. J. played a great round today and I saw what he was doing out there. You know you've got to make birdies. It really doesn't change your thinking any. I was kind of putzing around at 5 under there. I made a good bogey at 11, actually, and I knew I could make a few birdies coming in on the last six.

Even though J. J. was 14 there, or whatever he got to, you're 5 or 6 under, by the end of the week that's going to tie you for about 60th. You've got to keep the hammer down here.

The greens were better this morning. They're all smoother in the morning, and they rolled a lot better. I knew there would be some good scores out there today, and there probably will be some good ones this afternoon, too.

Q. A three time winner here, you always seem to play well on this golf course. Does it set up well for your game or the shots you like to hit?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Exactly. There's really only a couple holes out here that really cause me any problems at all, and that's just more of a mental thing over the years.

Like the 5th hole, for some reason I'm not wild about that tee shot. I've hit it all over the place. I'll hit it down in that ditch over there. I've hit it all over the place on that hole. Really, for the most part, the whole course really is visually appealing to me. Now I'm confident. I know I can play well here. Just everything added up: A home tournament, staying at home, a lot of friends and family out there watching, just everything added up really fires me up to play well here. That's about it.

But I do like the course. I love it.

Q. You hear a lot of people say when they play in their hometown that it's distracting. It's obviously not the case with you. Why is that?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I don't know, maybe I actually focus a little bit better and concentrate a little harder. It can be distracting with all the tickets you've got to get and distributing them and meeting people in certain places to do things. We had to wait up in a parking lot for a friend this morning for ten minutes who drove here from LA all night. So things like that.

Winning here three times and winning the Honda twice and almost three or four times there, almost half my wins are at home nearly. I just enjoy leaving the golf course and going home and doing my own thing. It's just a comfort thing for me.

Q. I was going to say, is it that sense of normalcy that is comforting?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It is. I don't mind the drive. Traffic is a little bit of a pain in the neck getting up here, no matter what time of day, as I found out at 5:30 this morning. What's everybody doing up at 5:30 in the morning? At any rate, it's nice to hang at home. The kids are there, the dogs are there, it's almost like a week off while you're playing, so it's great.

Q. Winning in Canada last year, it had been a while since you had won. What did that victory do for like your confidence or mindset or how you are approaching the game?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, it showed me as time goes by you kind of can get down on yourself, obviously, and if you're not playing so well or one thing leads to another and you just kind of wonder, have I won my last tournament, and that sneaks into nearly every 45 year old guy's head out here, I would think.

When I was younger, obviously, I didn't think that way because I had a long ways to go. But as time goes on, it's hard to win out here. It always has been, always will be, especially with the level of competition and as good as everybody is out here nowadays. A lot of things have to go right.

Thankfully I'm a talented player and that pops out every now and then. It just showed me even at 45, 46, 47, 48, whatever, if I'm still physically able to play decent, I can still get the job done any given four days.

Q. Did you change anything, any part of your game, putting or anything, last year to get yourself back on track and play the kind of golf we're used to seeing from you?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, not really. Actually Peter Kostis helped me at the Memorial last year. I was really struggling. And I made a slight setup change, and every single iron shot I hit, I think of that, and I feel like once I get in the right spot, then I can go ahead and just pull the trigger. That's when you play good, is when you've got about one swing thought, maybe two, like okay, setup good, okay, hit, and away I go.

You know, I'm still hitting some errant ones but I'm hitting good ones. I told my caddie today, the first ten holes, I either hit it dead straight at the flag or nowhere near it. To answer your question, not really, just pretty much the same thing. It's just a question of how many putts I can squeeze in, more or less.

Q. Does that ever get tough, to keep pushing yourself as the years go by out here?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I mean, I don't push myself hard enough, to tell you the truth, because if I did, I wouldn't weigh as much as I weigh and I'd be in better shape and I'd be able to practice more, and I'd probably be better than I am anyway. You know, I'm looking forward to the next couple weeks off, taking it easy.

But I love to play out here, I still do. I get fired up to go to tournaments, and sometimes the travel obviously is tough, but I've been doing it so long, it's no big deal.

Q. I think five times the winning score has been 20 under or better, and you've got three of those. Considering where Henry is at right now, do you think it's going to be under a 20 under weekend?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, probably. It depends what J. J. does, really, tomorrow. Obviously there's going to be people in between me and him. I seriously doubt anybody will catch him, but you don't know. With the good weather, I predict right around 20 under would be a good place to get to by the end of the week. Might be just short of that, might be just over that, but that's a great over or under number, I think. What is he, 14 under?

Q. 14.

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: He could be 23 or 24 if he shoots a pair of 67s and it's probably over.

Q. Did you ever have seven birdies in a row like he did?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No. Six in a row is my record. Although I was 7 under through 6 once, and then I immediately choked. I immediately went straight to the 59 thought and made one birdie the rest of the day, I think, and shot 8 under.

Q. Did you have six in a row at Augusta?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I had six in a row at Augusta, the last six, 29 on the back there. Thank you for reminding me of that. And I had six in a row at New Orleans, of all places.

Q. With the success you've had here, do you come to this event almost expecting to do well or feeling that you're going to do well?

MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I do expect it. Yeah, it's just a comfortable place for me. It doesn't mean I'm not nervous out there. I have my anxious moments and I get a little jumpy sometimes, which I did today and yesterday, but that's kind of the way I am. For the most part, I'm confident when I get here, which is nice, that good things are going to happen because they have so many times here that I'm going to shoot a good score and have a good day.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thanks, Mark.

End of FastScripts.

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