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August 1, 2004

John Daly


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: John, you and Vijay, and Tiger for that matter, put on a great show this week. You came out of the gate with 5 under out of four holes. Maybe we could talk about the start to your day today, a great week for you and a good finish.

JOHN DALY: Yeah, it was a dream start, there's no doubt about it. Trying to put pressure on Vijay is very difficult in its own matter but I did it. Came back with solid birdie on 4. And he birdied 1, birdied 4 and next thing you know I've got a one shot lead. But Vijay, he's tough.

I think ball striking wise, I don't care what he says, I think I outhit him today, but he got the trophy and I didn't. It was a great opportunity for me. I had not been in that situation a lot in my career. It was great. I think I held up pretty good. I think it was just a matter of some putts that looked like they were going in, just wouldn't find the hole today, especially on the back nine.

Q. Could you talk about the atmosphere today; it felt electric even before you teed off. And could you compare the crowd today with some of the other crowds that you played throughout the Tour?

JOHN DALY: This crowd reminded me of Crooked Stick all the way. It's been a long time where I was going through from greens to tees giving high fives and stuff. It was like the Crooked Stick crowd in '91, unbelievable. Fans are just awesome here.

Q. I've been walking around talking to people and this is a blue collar, beer guzzling town and they love you. What makes you appeal to these guys so much? They are crazy for you.

JOHN DALY: I don't know, it's a great feeling, though. It's something I've had for a long, long time and, you know, it's just nice to be able to play great golf for them. They have stuck with me through thick and thin. It's awesome to play good golf for my fans.

Here, it's a little more special because they were just unbelievable. I mean, like I said yesterday, you just don't see too many golf tournaments where they are doing the wave on one of the holes like they did on 17. But it was awesome.

Q. Your fifth Top 10 this season, how do you feel this puts you in position for perhaps a Ryder Cup pick for Mr. Sutton's team?

JOHN DALY: I don't know. That's his decision. I just know if I do get picked I would be ready and I've love to play. But we have a great thing going for the American squad right now. As I said yesterday as well, the Top 25 guys are playing their guts out and playing great golf. Whoever he picks, really, they are going to play good, I think. And I think we've got a really good shot at winning this year.

Q. What was different this week compared to the last couple of times you played here, because you've never had the success, obviously, did you today.

JOHN DALY: Last year I had it going. I think I made six or seven on 18 last year. I think I was like in the Top 10. That's what made me come back this year. I felt like I could if I could drive the ball pretty decent, you don't have to drive it real, real straight, just the first cut or just in the slight rough, you can play the golf course. That's what I did today. I think I hit more fairways than I have in a long time. But it's a golf course that sets up, if a long hitter hits it straight, he's got a tremendous advantage.

Q. You said yesterday that you thought you and Vijay would have some laughs out there today. Did you guys have some laughs, and could you give a specific instance, maybe?

JOHN DALY: No, he just kind of funny. He said he was going to kick my ass this morning on the range. And then after I holed out on 12, he says, "Oh, I take it back," when I held my shot out on 2.

We had a lot of laughs. We had fun. It was a great match today. We were in it all the way. I was either 1 up or he was 1 up. I think either one of us could have won very easily.

Q. With the kind of start, was there any surprise on you your part that it didn't faze him at all; he was never he just kept plugging along? Obviously that's what he does, but at some point, were you think, "Boy, I really hammered him, something is going it happen here"?

JOHN DALY: If I could have kept it going. You know, I just couldn't keep it going the way I needed to on the back nine.

No, you don't faze guys like that. You don't faze Tiger, you don't faze Phil, you don't faze pretty much anybody on our tour. But it gave me the opportunity to be right in there, and picking up two shots on the first two holes is kind of nice to get it right off at the start; and then go 1 up after the third hole and I hung on it for a long time.

Just you've got to make the 8 and 10 footers that I missed today on the back nine in order to win.

But ball striking wise I hit it really, really did and some of those putts could have gone in just as easy as they didn't.

Q. Second shot at 2, it never left the flag. I mean, what are you thinking when that ball is in the air? Are you thinking, "Hey, this could go in"?

JOHN DALY: I told Peter: This looks really good. If it's right, it's got a good shot of being close. I didn't know it was going to go in the hole. I thought the fans went nuts because it was real close.

A second kind of went by, and next thing, it got real loud and Vijay said it went in the hole and Peter said it went in the hole. And it did; it never left the flag.

Q. Could you talk about 18? The drive ended up a little worse than you thought it was going to and the last putt you had on 18.

JOHN DALY: I thought Vijay's ball was actually okay but I thought my ball was just in the first cut on 18. Thought I was going to have a great angle into the pin. The marshal standing there said it flew into the branch and just got a bad kick.

Then the putt, me and Peter both read it right center. It broke more than we thought it would have. I thought I hit the putt where I wanted to. I think we just both misread it.

Q. Based on the way you played today and the way the fans treated you, are you planning on getting back here next year?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, I'll be back here next year. Yeah, there's no doubt about it.

Q. Just talking a little about the difficulty of winning on TOUR, I think you may have had three or four bogeys all week, Tiger had one bogey all week, just extraordinary play and it still wasn't quite enough. Could you speak to the level of ability it takes to do that?

JOHN DALY: Well, just like I said, this golf course sets up for a lot of birdies if you hit it somewhat straight. I'm not saying you have to hit a lot of fairways, but if you hit the ball somewhat straight and somewhat long you're going to score really well out here.

The greens are set up, they were soft this week, so you could fly the ball past them and suck them back a little bit. It was easier to control the ball going into the greens than normal.

It's just a golf course that there's no telling how much I don't know how many under par for the total field was this week, but it's got to be phenomenal.

And hats off to the superintendent who has done a hell of a job with all the rain to keep the greens as good as they were. These greens drained better than I ever seen, especially on Friday's round when it was really, really wet.

Q. With your co captain there, your assistant coach to your right, what does it mean to you to have a chance to travel, play these types of golf events and have your family so close to you and how much does that contribute to your good play?

JOHN DALY: Well, it's wonderful. Traveling in the bus, you know I've got my own bed, they have got their beds. We cook our own food. Everything is right there for us, so you don't have to unpack and pack. It makes it easier for the kids and it makes it real easier for me and Sherri, as well.

That's just an ultimate way of traveling. I'm not in no hurry to get to tournaments. I don't mind driving one or two days, full days to get a tournament, because they are pretty much long weeks, anyway. Especially me, I've played the Tour long enough, so most of the courses I know. Usually I can get a practice round on Tuesday; if not it's no big deal, I've always got the Pro Am on Wednesday. It's a great way to travel if you enjoy and like the down time it takes to go somewhere, because I'm not one that likes to fly too much.

Q. You talked about the reception that you got from the fans. When you see how some team sport athletes get criticized, are you happy that you play an individual sport where fans seem to be more forgiving?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, we are a sport that it's all on our back. Team sports, people can always point the finger if somebody didn't do this or do that on team sports. But we put enough pressure on ourselves, we don't have anybody to rely on, except our caddie and just they are motivational. Peter is unbelievable motivationally. He's the most positive human being in the world that keeps me going.

It's a very different atmosphere. It's kind of like tennis. You're your own worst enemy and you're your own best friend out there. It's kind of tough but it's kind of cool.

Q. Describe the gallery at 17, they seemed to be maybe your type of crowd.

JOHN DALY: Oh, yeah, no doubt. I mean, they are. (Laughing).

Q. And you seem to be good friends with Vijay, a lot of people kind of harken back to the comments he made about Annika Sorenstam last year; is he misunderstood in a sense?

JOHN DALY: Well, I think it was an opinion. I think people took his opinion the wrong way. When the media ask him a question, he had the right to say whatever he felt and shouldn't have been cut down by it. It was just an opinion. That's why I was kind of upset with the whole thing.

I didn't mind Annika playing, and Vijay did, but that's just an opinion. But Vijay is a great guy. He's a very really, really funny once you get to know him. But he works his ass off out on TOUR. He's kind of quiet. Him and Joe work out every day, they practice for God knows how many hours, and that's his team and nothing fazes him; nothing bothers him. All he wants to do like all of us is win, and he does it in a little more quieter way I think.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If we could touch on your round. You started with a birdie on the par 5 first hole.

JOHN DALY: I hit driver, 3 iron in the bunker and hit a sand wedge to about a foot.

2, I hit driver, 9 iron, went in the hole.

3 was a 5 iron to about 15 feet and made the putt.

4 was a driver, little wedge to about a foot and made it.

7, hit a driver, 3 iron to about 30 feet and 2 putted.

16, hit driver, laid up with a 4 iron. Hit an L wedge to about a foot.

18, driver, punched an 8 iron out, L wedge about six feet and missed it.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You also made a good save out of the water.

JOHN DALY: Yeah, I hit driver, 2 iron and I thought it was kind of a bad break. I thought I covered it pretty good. Chipped up to about a foot and made par.

Q. What are your thoughts heading to the PGA, and is this something that maybe can carry over?

JOHN DALY: From what I hear, it's not going to be a birdie barrage. I heard it's going to be like playing the British Open from what I understand.

Totally different week. Majors, a little more pressure. Totally different golf course. There's a lot of pins that you're not going to be able to fire at, from what I've heard about it.

From what I've heard from some of the PGA TOUR guys, if they don't get carried away like the USGA does, it could be a really nice tournament. But there's spots they can put the flags on from what I hear that can be ferocious, and it's a course I hear you've got to hit the fairway.


End of FastScripts.

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