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May 12, 2005

John Daly


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: John, thanks for joining us for a couple minutes. Great start to the week here at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship with a 64. If we could start with some opening comments.

JOHN DALY: Yeah, everything was just solid. I chipped in a couple times, just kept the round going. Hit my irons good, putted good, just hit a lot of fairways, too, which kind of helps. Over at Cottonwood you hit a lot of fairways there, you can score pretty good. There's a lot of wedges into the green.

Q. Did you get any sleep last night after the stage show?

JOHN DALY: Oh, yeah, still got my seven hours (laughter).

Q. How do you like being over there at Cool River and obviously parking the truck there and everything and going there? Has that become a night stop for you?

JOHN DALY: Well, Pat and his crew has been great there. We opened it up this week at Hooters on Monday and then brought it over to Cool River. Those guys are great over there. We have a lot of fun. It's the fourth year we've done it. It's just a lot of fun.

Q. You've had a chance to play live over the years. You jump in and do stuff like that.

JOHN DALY: I'm just going to keep it that way, too, just jump in here and there. What Johnny does, what those guys do is incredible. But it's a lot for me to be able to do that with them and play some songs with them. It's a lot of fun. He's awesome, too. He makes it easy.

Q. Sort of like amateurs playing with you in a Pro-Am; you're playing with them and they're the professionals?

JOHN DALY: Exactly. I'm about a 20 when it comes to doing that stuff, too (laughter).

Q. You've played some of the best golf of your career the last year and a half. What's been different? What have you changed? What's kind of got you back on track?

JOHN DALY: I think scheduling more than anything. Every time -- if I was playing bad, I'd keep playing and playing and playing and I'd just get burned out and get negative. Last year was the first year that I really played two weeks, take a week off, maybe play three, takes two weeks off. That helped. It helped keep me fresh.

For example, if Dunlop wants me to try new products I can do it at home on my week off and not try to do it during a tournament. I think mainly just being fresh has been the whole secret to this year and a half.

Q. You didn't make any changes technique-wise to any parts of your game?

JOHN DALY: No, just the putter. In Houston, that was the first time I changed my lie from 65 to 70, got more upright on the putter, and that's happened a lot. Like this is the fourth round I've played since Friday in New Orleans. I basically just put the clubs up last week.

Q. Would you characterize -- I know you said you chipped in a couple times. Was it an easy round, a comfortable round? How would you describe it?

JOHN DALY: It was kind of comfortable. The bunker shot I made on No. 3 wasn't the easiest shot in the world, but it was a pretty good break. It was going in there nicely, just a really good bunker shot.

Then chipped in on 12, little par 3 there, hit a good 7-iron into 12, kind of went off the back and chipped a 9-iron in.

Other than that, two-putted a couple times for birdies. It was just one of those rounds that I can't say it could have been really much lower, but couldn't have been much higher, either. Just mediocre basically.

Q. When you do stuff like that, when you shoot great sand shots and chip in a couple times, obviously everyone knows what your reputation is, but do you like being able to show people that there's more to your game than just gripping it and ripping it?

JOHN DALY: I wouldn't be here if we had short games. None of us would. The only bad one was 18. I just hit a bad putt. Second putt the grain just got it. That was the only bad thing today. When I can say that on 18 holes, that's pretty good.

Q. You've played here a lot and obviously like the tournament. Are you surprised you haven't fared better here?

JOHN DALY: I've never gotten off to a decent start. How many years have I been coming, like 12 or 13. But probably 90 percent of the first round has been at Cottonwood, and if you don't play well there, you're kind of basically out of the tournament. I think if you shoot even or better, you can still stay in the tournament, but if you shoot over par at Cottonwood, it makes it very difficult to stay in the tournament. Last week I think I shot 2- or 3-under there and probably hit it a lot better than I did today, but I just scored better today.

It's weird because you know you've got to play good there but you don't want to force it, and I've forced it a lot of times when I came here.

Q. I thought I heard you say outside that you had decided to attack and be more aggressive this year.

JOHN DALY: Yeah, that was probably the most aggressive I've played Cottonwood. I didn't want to lay back and hit 7-irons and 6-irons into a couple par 4s where if it's in the rough you can still make birdies. I played a little bit more aggressive, and that helped a lot.

Q. Are you on a health kick, John? You look like you smoked only maybe half a pack and sipped a couple Diet Cokes out there.

JOHN DALY: They don't have any Diet Cokes. It's all Dr. Pepper. No offense, but I don't drink Dr. Pepper.

Q. Maybe you should if you shoot 64.

JOHN DALY: No, I've got Diet Cokes. I've got stash everywhere (laughter).

Q. Are you looking forward to going back to Pinehurst? You left that place with kind of a bad taste in your mouth the last time around. Do you regret any of the stuff you said at that time?

JOHN DALY: Well, I do, but the thing is Pinehurst is a great golf course. It's very difficult because look what happened at Shinnecock last year. I mean, when is enough? That's what the players want to know, when is enough. Guys shouldn't get penalized for hitting great shots on that par 3 like they did last year. When you've got to aim at a bunker on a par 3, something is not right.

I want the USGA just to settle down a little bit; give us a chance and if we hit good shots we should get rewarded for them. I think they're going to do that this year. Pinehurst is a great golf course, but it's a golf course that's not made for the greens -- the rough or the fringe to be shaved down. It's just not one of those courses to do that.

I was playing Mark Hensby today, I guess Geoff Ogilvy went and played it, and Geoff said if you hit more than nine greens a round, you're going to be playing great. Pinehurst is made for rough around -- right off the green. It's going to be tough. I think sometimes it gets to a point where it's almost unfair.

Q. Where do you rank that in terms of frustration, No. 8 at Pinehurst?

JOHN DALY: If I would have hit crappy shots on that hole, I wouldn't have been so mad. I never hit a bad shot, and that's probably where I got upset. It was so funny, Mike, who is caddying for Mark Hensby now, caddied for Tom Kite that year. Tommy, he would never throw a club or anything. I've never seen him do it. He didn't say much to me on the par 3 9th, and Tom said to me on the 10th fairway, said, "You know, I think I would have thought about doing the same thing." When you hear that from Tom Kite, you think, "You're full of shit; you're not going to do anything." But it's not like he was mad at me for doing it.

It's just like in San Francisco, Olympic Club, Kirk Triplett, it's more of a reflex than it is anything else. You just get so mad because you're not playing bad golf and you're scoring bad.

Q. We're in a stretch where proven winners have had a hard time closing on Sunday. You've always been great in that situation. What do you think the key is? You had a tough time in Houston but for the most part you've been ice in that situation.

JOHN DALY: Depends on the golf course, too. I've never really played the TPC all that great. It's been a grind for me. I've had some decent rounds, but like Houston, finishing the way I finished, I wish I would have won the playoff. I think I was four or five shots out of the lead with six or seven holes to go and made a comeback. That's a golf course I can do it.

Here, I don't know if I can. I just want to have the chance.

Q. I didn't really mean here in general, I meant -- I didn't really mean here, I meant more in general. Why do you think you handle it so well?

JOHN DALY: I don't know. Because I'm afraid it may never happen again (laughter). I'm serious, I don't know. You know, I thrive on it, I guess. I'm not there as much as Tiger and Phil and Vijay and Retief and all them have been. I don't know, I just try and take advantage of the opportunity. Putting more positive things in my mind, if I have a chance on Sunday, just nothing but positive things. Even if I don't do it, at least I know I'm playing positive and can attack the ball, get a little more aggressive through the ball and stuff.

It's really hard to explain. I don't know. I really don't know.

Q. Going back to that final round at Houston, the crowd really got behind you. How do you thrive off of that and how do you try to interact with the fans, take their energy into your game, or do you?

JOHN DALY: Oh, it's positive energy. Hey, we're golfers, we need as much as we can get. But the fans have been great and it's just nice to play good for them. But you thrive off of it. I heard they were interviewing Vijay after he won, "What did you think about everybody rooting for Daly in the playoff?" And he says, "Well, hell, if I would have been in the crowd, I'd have rooted for him, too." No, it's great. It's great positive energy.

Q. John, you talked about playing Cottonwood more aggressively today. Was that the mindset going out or did the lack of wind lead to that or both?

JOHN DALY: Just the mindset. The wind was very consistent but I don't think it was blowing real hard. It was a factor a little bit on some holes. You know, like 4, I've always tried to hit like a 2-iron. Today I hit driver, L-wedge. I missed a five-footer, but it's usually a 2-iron, 8-iron. So it's just nice to hit the driver good and play it a little more aggressive.

Q. 6, you drove the green basically?

JOHN DALY: 6, yeah, on the green. I always go at that green pretty much. It was a different round for me because I'm used to hitting a lot more irons off the tee, and it felt great to hit the driver straight.

Q. Where were the chip-ins?

JOHN DALY: I chipped in on 3 for birdie and then chipped it on 12 for birdie, the par 3, from behind the green.

Q. 3, how far was that?

JOHN DALY: Probably 15 yards maybe.

Q. Do you think you could ever get through a year without missing a cut? Is that ever a goal?

JOHN DALY: Last year would have been -- I had a good opportunity, and the cuts I missed -- well, I missed the majors, which hurts, but I don't know. You've got to be consistent.

Q. Close?

JOHN DALY: I think it's close, yeah, I've been close. I don't really ever worry about it too much. You just try and play those tournaments and play the best you can. It would be a cool goal to have. I've never really had that goal. If I start thinking about cuts, then I'm going to miss every one of them.

Q. I'm hearing a lot of -- you hear a lot of negative TPC stuff from players. How do you feel about TPCs in general and how do you feel about the new redesign at Southwind?

JOHN DALY: I heard Southwind is great. I've been telling them for ten years we need to go to Bermuda greens because the July -- end of May, June, July and August is just brutal. I mean, they spend so much money on bent greens but yet they're never -- because of the weather, the humidity and everything, you just can't grow them.

In general, TPCs, I think they're okay. I'm a little above okay. I'm not going to sit here and say they're just awesome, awesome. Some of them are and some of them aren't. I think -- like this one is a good golf course here. Most of them are really good.

The ones I don't like are the ones you've got to hit so many irons off the tee.

Q. You were saying you chipped in on No. 12? Is that a par 4, or 13, the par 3?

JOHN DALY: It's 12, the par 3, yeah.

Q. Did you try to shape that shot a certain way or did the wind just pull you behind the green?

JOHN DALY: Well, I hit a little 7-iron and it rode the wind a little bit and landed about ten feet from the hole and hit on the downslope and trickled off on the fringe.

Q. Pointing the slopes out here, is that a key, getting it on the right plateau and making sure you hit it right?

JOHN DALY: That green was a little firm. Most of the greens were soft over there and you could fire right at it, but that one, well, if you hit on the downslope it's going to go further anyway.

Q. What's it cost to fill up that sled you're driving these days at $2.30 or $2.40 a gallon?

JOHN DALY: I don't have it here this week; it's still getting some repairs done. It's around $450 to fill it up (laughter).

Q. How many miles on the freeway with that?

JOHN DALY: I can go from Memphis all the way to -- when I leave Arkansas, Dardanelle, Arkansas, I can take that bus and get all the way to Palm Springs, California, if I don't run the generator. I can get anywhere from 1,400 to 1,600 miles on the tank, depending on how much I run the generator.

Q. What's wrong with it?

JOHN DALY: Just getting some stuff done to it. It's a new bus, getting the kinks out.

Q. You actually flew here?

JOHN DALY: No, I just drove from Memphis.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: John Daly, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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