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May 27, 2006

Tom Pernice, Jr.


JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Okay. As the leader entering the final round, Tom Pernice, Jr. and Tim Herron are the winners of this week's AstraZeneca Charity Challenge. A hundred thousand dollars will be donated to National Asthma Screening Program on behalf of FedEx St. Jude Classic. Congratulations.

TOM PERNICE: Thank you very much. This is a great opportunity for all of us players to be able to do something, and we just got to thank AstraZeneca for this charity challenge. This is an extra bonus and something we can continue to do on the PGA Tour for the charities each week. Thank you for your support and your help.

One thing about the PGA Tour, we're very proud of what we do for the charities. Once again, thanks for your support and help.

JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Alright. On to golf. Well, pretty good day out there.

TOM PERNICE: Yeah, it was good. I'm really happy the way I hit the golf ball. I really didn't miss a shot until I got to 17. Hit the ball beautiful all the way around. Missed every putt on the front 9 and 3 putted twice. I missed a three footer on 5 or 5 and missed about a one and a half or two footer on 7 so for three putts. I finally made one at 9.

Kind of turned me round around. So, I made a nice save at 17, really kind of kept the round going.

JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Alright. Questions, please?

Q. Again, you stay at the Memphis Country Club when you're here. How did that evolve?

TOM PERNICE: Very good friend of mine, Scott Fisher, is a member of Memphis Country Club, and he and I played in a charity Pro Am, corporate charity Pro Am, one time and got know each other.

He said, "Next year when you come back, we have these suites, guest suites, above Memphis Country Club. You want to come and stay." So I did. Went and played the golf course, 1905, Donald Ross, one of my top five favorite courses maybe in the world. Gotten to know the people and the membership over there and let us stay over there and go play. They've got a bunch of young kids that are all golfers and play golf with them.

Young Bobby Hudson, who is going to the University of Texas next year from here, is a great golfer and become friends with him and his family. So, it's just a fun week for me. It's like being a kid again.

Q. They said you go back after every round, and I don't know whether it's going to include tonight, you go back there and literally help the kids.

TOM PERNICE: Yeah. Mess around on the putting green. Go hit some balls. I'll probably go over there later tonight and putt a little bit. Bobby was out there on yesterday. I was helping him with his chipping. Just like being a kid again, just having fun.

I remember when I was a kid, those are the days you dream up, and you're having fun and just, you know, just very relaxing for me. It's stuff that I like to do instead of sitting in my hotel room. It's a lot better. They have good greens over there. I go over there and practice my putting.

Q. How is your daughter? We remember five years ago.

TOM PERNICE: Brooke is doing wonderful. Her eyesight is basically the same. She's now in fifth grade. She's doing just fine. Her and Kristen my oldest daughter is in 7th. They go to the same Catholic school there. She does her work in braille. She's doing a lot on the computer now. She's doing awesome. She's an inspiration to our family, and she's become quite a singer, big country singer. So she's entertaining for us as well.

Q. How does that change how has that changed you, your experience with someone with a handicap?

TOM PERNICE: You know, it hasn't been once we got over the initial shock of it, I mean, she seems normal. She's so unbelievably motivated and spiritual and unbelievable faith in what she's doing. We feel like it's a blessing. She's just an unbelievable person and tons of faith, and luckily enough, her older sister makes sure and watches out for her and nothing ever happens to her.

It's the best of both worlds, really. Very fortunate.

Q. Tom, can you talk about this year. How many times have you gone into Sunday on top of the leaderboard?

TOM PERNICE: I don't think I have. I've been in pretty good shape, though, I know that. I had a pretty good stretch starting at L.A. through the Players' Championship or actually Hilton Head, to where I was in pretty good contention playing well. So, I didn't play very well in the Players' Championship, and I was in the second to last group playing with Retief. I think I 3 putted several times.

I've been playing better, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work my tail off. And this is what you get there for, so I'll go out tomorrow and see what the heck happens.

Q. In terms of working hard, what have you been doing specifically over last few weeks?

TOM PERNICE: Nothing specifically. I mean, I missed the cut at Colonial last shot, didn't putt very well. And so I jumped in the car and drove to Houston, spent three, four hours on Jim Hardy with my golf swing to tune it up.

He picked up on one little thing. It's helped. I've hit the ball absolute very nice, very good control of the golf ball in the wind this week. He's got me dialed in pretty good. I just need to maintain and putt well tomorrow, and I think I'll have a good chance.

Q. Talk about your ability to scramble. You start out with a couple bogies in the first few holes, but it sounds like you kept it in perspective and didn't allow it to mess with your mindset at that point and you were able to get going.

TOM PERNICE: Well, I felt very confident in my ball striking. So I just said hang in there. I know the golf course. It's not a course that someone is usually going to run away from with the new greens and stuff and the wind blowing. Try to say patient. Try to get by. First just to make a few, get some momentum going. Next thing you know, you make a couple more and back under par and away you go.

I've been out here a long time. It I was 2 over after 8. I knew I still had 27, 28 more holes to play in the golf tournament. You just stay your ground and keep doing what you've been doing. Things are going to turn around.

Q. When you start your year playing where you're going to play, do you figure do you are you always here?


Q. Why?

TOM PERNICE: I enjoy going over there and seeing my friends at Memphis Country Club. I think they've done a wonderful job here. What they've done and the direction they've gone on this TPC is it speaks for itself in the scoring and how we don't have that much rough here. 7 under par for three rounds. All these people think you can build these courses 8,000 yards long and grow six inches of rough with firm greens, bermuda rough where you can hit some fliers out of two and a half, three inches, little bit of breeze, you don't need a lawnmower.

Like I've said several times, I think these people have gone overboard on how they're trying to do what they think and they're worried about the golf ball and all that. You keep the course firm, keep the greens firm, some wind blowing. You don't need these monster courses because some of the longest courses we play and courses with six inches of rough takes 2 2 under to win, still. So there's something to be said about firm and fast golf courses.

Q. Do you expect with the FedEx Cup and the dates next year right before the Open that people will have complained about the field a little bit? There's not as many of the monster names.

TOM PERNICE: I think it's their mistake, to be honest with you. I don't know that I've talked to anybody that's came here since the changes haven't liked what they've done. There's a few minor changes hopefully they're going to make and fix 11 and No. 8, I think, and a few things here and there.

There's not a lot that you can complain about. Everybody that's come here has been very appreciative of what they've done and the direction they've gone, and it's amazing what change of greens can do to some scoring. I mean it is truly amazing.

So, you know, bermuda greens you keep them firm. It's not going to change. The date changes a couple weeks later. It's not going to affect the golf course. It might help it, actually.

Q. Tom, when is the last time you and your college teammate have both been in contention in an PGA event?

TOM PERNICE: I'm glad to see Jay playing well. He just lost his father there a couple weeks ago. I was rooting for him hard a couple weeks ago at the Nationwide event, so I did see his name pop up on the leaderboard. He's one ever my dearest friends.

We spent a lot of time together in college. His wife Kathy that he met at school, we spent a lot of time because when I was in school, her best friend I dated for a couple years.

So the four of us spent a lot of time together. Jay is a pretty dear individual and, you know, if I couldn't win, it would be great to see Jay win. His father just passed away. He was very close to his father and all growing up as a kid.

He's worked with Jim Hardy, as well. He's another hard worker. He's right there. I don't know what my boy Jacobson did over in Oklahoma. It's a good week for Team Hardy.

JOAN vt ALEXANDER: Everybody else?

TOM PERNICE: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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