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February 22, 2006

Scott Verplank


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Scott, we really appreciate you joining us in the media center here after 26 grueling holes out there. That's an interesting way to start the week.

SCOTT VERPLANK: It is. You know, it was a great match, really. We both I got 2 up with two to play, which was the first time actually I was never down in the match. I was either 1 up or even, then I got 2 up one time, and I totally choked it on 17. I should have won it right there, but I bogeyed the hole.

And then Lee made a 30 footer on 18, and I had it in there inside him. I hit a beautiful putt and it didn't go in. After that it was just survival for both of us, really. I mean, I made a couple of putts at least, two or maybe three. I made three putts to stay alive, par putts, and he made two, I guess.

Anyway, it was

Q. How far were those putts to stay alive, that four , five foot range?

SCOTT VERPLANK: No, I made about an eight footer on No. 2. I still think of it as the old golf course. I still think that's the back nine.

No. 2, I made about an eight footer to stay alive. Then I had about a ten footer on 3 to win. Of course I missed it. Then I had about a six footer on 4 to stay alive, and then he makes about a ten footer on 5 to stay alive. Then I made about a four footer on 6, then we both pretty easily parred the next hole. We both drove it in the rough on the par 5, and he hit a tree coming out of the rough, and it handcuffed him enough where he made a bogey and I was able to get it on the green in three and two putt. I was happy when he gave me in a last little eight incher. He said, "That's good," and I went, "Thank God."

Q. Thank God for those shoes, I guess, huh?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Yeah, a couple years ago I wouldn't have been able to play that much. Yeah, I'm good. I wasn't tired until we got done; you're going through too much. You're in the middle of a game, middle of a competition. You don't really think too much about being tired.

Q. Is this just your way of rehearsing playing 36 on Sunday?

SCOTT VERPLANK: I hope so. Really, I was kind of thinking I was going to if I won today I'd probably practice a little bit, but I think I already did (laughter). So I think I'm done. I think I'm just going to go lay down and kick my feet up. I think I did all the practicing I needed to do on those last eight holes.

Q. You were out there for six hours?


Q. Tiger was out there for two.

SCOTT VERPLANK: That's what I heard. I worked three times as hard as he did today.

Q. What do you guys have in common?

SCOTT VERPLANK: I don't know. What do we have in common? I guess we both won. That would be about it, wouldn't it?

Q. Playing tomorrow, isn't it? That's the funny thing about this thing.

SCOTT VERPLANK: Yeah, we're playing tomorrow. That's what's cool. That's what's kind of cool about the tournament. We don't get to do it that much.

Q. Do you take special satisfaction in grinding out winning a long day, or do you kick yourself for letting it get that far? How do you handle it?

SCOTT VERPLANK: I'm very happy I won. I should have won earlier in the day. I should have won in regulation, but then Lee had several good chances to win, as well, and I'm sure he's disappointed that he didn't convert one of those putts.

But he and I have played a lot. We played in the Ryder Cup, and I think I went 2 & 1 there, but it was kind of the same deal. I got a great lead off against him and he started making these 40 footers. That's kind of the same thing that happened today. He made two or three bombs out of nowhere to keep the match close. He and I have played a lot of I guess we've played, what, 40 something holes and there's like a two hole difference in the whole thing.

Q. Did he say anything to you after it was done that was worth writing about?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Not for you (laughing). You write for a family paper, right?

Q. Depends.

SCOTT VERPLANK: I told him it's too bad that one of us had to lose because we both had plenty of chances. That's just the way it is. Like I said, it was a pretty even match most of the way. We both did some good things, both did some bad things, but it never kind of got away from either one of us. I guess that's the way you'd like them all to be if you like good competition.

Q. Was there anything about the conditions of the course? We've had all these matches go to overtime today I think more than ever. Anything about the course conditions that evened things out for guys do you think, made the matches closer?

SCOTT VERPLANK: You know, I don't know. The golf course is the best I've ever seen it, one, because it hasn't rained, so it's not a lake. And the greens were the best today I've ever seen them here. So that was good for me. I haven't ever really enjoyed playing here when it was playing 8,000 yards long and the greens were soft and bumpy. Yeah, could be today, keep it in play was probably a little bit more important.

Q. You talk about playing here. I was going through some old clips going back to your amateur play in the Tournament of Champions, the only guy to do that

SCOTT VERPLANK: I played that 20 years ago. I think I was like 4th or something.

Q. What do you remember about playing with those guys? You were holding out to go play the NCAAs, right, that final year?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Uh huh, yeah. You know, I remember playing here in that tournament. I was laughing because I played with Bernhard Langer one round. He and I get paired two or three times every year. I always tell him, "You're getting old." I was just a kid when we played but he was in his late 20s or something, so he was just a kid, too. I tell him, "Man, you're getting old." That was like 20 years ago.

Q. Norman was probably a rookie here, wasn't he?

SCOTT VERPLANK: I think he was. Calvin Peete won by a mile.

Q. There was a Santa Ana that year.

SCOTT VERPLANK: Yeah. Maybe that's why I played well.

End of FastScripts.

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