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February 14, 2004

John Daly


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: 54 hole leader of the Buick Invitational, John Daly. Thank you for joining us. A lot of excitement out there today, punctuated by an eagle on 18. If we can have some opening comments about that eagle.

JOHN DALY: It was one of those shots -- I've been hitting my 2 iron real good this week. It came out and went right at the hole. And luckily it got on the green. And with more luck, I made the putt.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: One of the players you played with today, Stewart Cink, mentioned you seemed more disciplined, as far as, not necessarily pulling the driver out of the bag, hit iron off the tees a couple of times when he hit driver. Is that something you've done consciously?

JOHN DALY: This course, there's not really -- it plays so long anyway. Some of the holes -- you know, it's a golf course where there are so many holes, there are five or six holes, at least, out here, if you make par, you feel pretty good about it. 15 is one of them. That fairway there is almost impossible to hit, for me, so I aim right and hopefully get a good lie in the rough and hopefully chunk it up short of the green and make par. It's not a hole you can really fire at the flag there. I played smart. When I did mis hit a shot, I tried to make sure I left it in a spot to get it up and down.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'll take competition questions only.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: I felt pretty good going into this year. I worked hard with Dunlop Golf and new irons and new ball and stuff, and the putter, and I feel really good about the equipment I'm using. We worked very, very hard on getting it right, the lies and the lofts.

Palm Springs, I didn't really hit it all that great but I scored okay, except for one round. And Phoenix, I didn't make any putts. Finishing the last three weeks the way I did, I know they weren't big tournaments, but it gets your confidence up. At least I knew -- the Callaway Invitational and the Korea tournament, I felt, hey, I can still win. Out here is a different story because there are so many guys that can win. It's nice to be in the hunt and go out tomorrow and have some fun and play some golf.

Q. Did you imagine being in this position a year ago (inaudible)?

JOHN DALY: It would be wonderful. It would be one, it would prove to myself it's not over yet. It's been a long dry spell on U.S. soil to win, but it would be great. If I don't, I have got a chance. I just love the way my short game is right now, and that's a blessing for me because I'm a field player. When I get that going, it makes me feel a lot more confident when I do miss a green. Whether I win or lose, it's knowing I have a chance. Hopefully I can build on it.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: Well, I wouldn't have played if I didn't think I could still get here. It has been a long nine years, ten years, but I keep playing because we're professionals and we play out here, we believe we can still get there. Not like a Vijay Singh or what Tiger has done and Davis Love did last year and stuff, but you have to build on something. The great thing about golf, you can play until you're 100 years old or longer and there's always that chance that you can go out and keep playing, play good.

Q. Do you see yourself playing until you're 100?

JOHN DALY: I don't see myself living to be 100. Fuzzy has got me at 50 to 1 making it to 50. Hell, if I can get there and get to the Senior Tour and ride in a cart, man, I'll be happy.

Q. You have so many fans out there cheering for you. What does that mean for you?

JOHN DALY: It always does. When you're playing good, it's more special. The great thing about the fans, when I'm not playing good they're still pulling for me. It makes you keep fighting and grinding and trying to do the best you can. To be in this position to have a chance to win, a lot of it is, you know, it would make me feel great, but it would make the fans that are sitting out there saying that they love me and they want to see me do well and win this one. One guy said put the cows in the barn, let's go. I'm from Arkansas and I still kind of don't know what that means (laughter). I knew it was a compliment and I knew it was positive, so it was kind of cool. It would be great to win another tournament for the fans.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: I don't know. I love it, though, it's awesome. Without the fans, we wouldn't have a Tour. We wouldn't have sports. They back it and promote it just by being there. They're awesome.

Q. Have you ever heard anything negative?

JOHN DALY: Not out loud. My family and friends walk around every now and then, they kind of grin and keep on walking. That's just part of life.

Q. Stewart Cink said it's a NASCAR crowd. Is that accurate?

JOHN DALY: Stew is a great guy and he's playing good. We're going to have fun tomorrow.

Q. What did you do last year to get yourself those two wins and get yourself in this position?

JOHN DALY: I don't know how the rumors started last year. I was playing really bad and I had a contract to play Korea, and everybody told me don't go. I said I'm going to live up to the contract. I don't feel like I'm playing that bad. When I went over there and won, I got some confidence. Just me and my caddie went, no agents. Bud did come later in the week, but I didn't want anybody else to come. We went and worked really hard. I knew we were hitting the ball okay. To win there, it just boosted the confidence.

Come back and I always love playing Pebble and Spyglass, winning the Callaway Invitational, me and Jake, and we won Wendy's, so it ended up not big, big tournaments, but it didn't matter. Any time you win a professional tournament these days, you get confidence, and it carried over into this year a little bit.

Q. When you look at Torrey Pines and how much they've lengthened it (Inaudible.)

JOHN DALY: I really don't. You can't get ahead of yourself on the South course. On the North course you can a little bit. There are a lot more birdie holes on the North course. The South course if you get ahead of yourself, it's a grind, every hole. I've walked around this golf course now these last two days, I'm going, what could the USGA possibly do except build the rough up. The rough is not really that bad here yet. If you do miss some shots, you can advance it almost to the green. It's going to be amazing how hard this course will play when the U.S. Open is here. It's going to be impossible.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JOHN DALY: Can I answer that tomorrow? I don't know. I really can't explain it. There's a lot of golf left. There's 18 holes and a ton of guys that can still win. It's whoever gets off to a great start tomorrow and plays the hard holes really well. There's really not a hole out here you can say, okay, this is an easy birdie. I remember hitting 7 and 9 and 9 irons on 18 when I first came out here, when the tees were way up. Now I'm ripping a 2 iron hoping it will get there. There are not a lot of birdie holes. That's something I have to remember and go out and play and don't worry about you know, just take each hole at a time. Maybe I do that better when I'm playing well. Maybe when I'm playing bad I get an ahead of myself. I don't know.

Q. (Inaudible) how is your game different, better same, the gap between the last one and now?

JOHN DALY: I think my best year, I don't look at the '95 British Open, that's the tournament I really wasn't playing good going up to that. St. Andrews was a golf course I just fell in love with. I think 2001 is my most consistent year. When I went to the cut, I felt like I had have been more consistent with a cut shot off the tee and a lot of my long irons. It's taken me a long time. I want to be consistent out here. That's always been a goal of mine. It's never happened. 2001 was a great year for me, doing that. You've got to get consistent, like Tiger and Vijay. It's just incredible what they do, week in and week out.

Q. When you look back at your low point, did you think it would be that difficult to get back into this position?

JOHN DALY: I've been working real hard at it. Last year I worked real hard at it, just nothing happened right. It's a crazy game. You've just got to keep on plugging, keep on playing. It's great to be in this position again. Hell, I didn't even know what a media center looked like.

Q. How many people do you think have written you off, including your peers?

JOHN DALY: I don't know about peers. I know Jim has written me off, but I don't like him anyway. It doesn't bother me. Just go out and play golf. I have got a great living. And I want to win again. When that day ends that I don't want to win again, then I need to find something else to do. But I don't want to prove to anybody anything. I want to prove to myself, hey, you always have that chance, but I want to get consistent, and that's been my biggest problem, consistency.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: That's all I hit. I really don't go at any shots. The last hole with a 2 iron, it wasn't a full rip 2 iron. It was a nice I worry more about hitting a nice cut and getting it up in the hill. My wedges and middle irons, pretty much everything is pretty much a three quarter shot now. The only shot I hit full today would be on 16. The pin was back left and I hooked a 5 iron in there on the par 3. That's the only kind of shots I would go at if I have to hook them.

Q. Stewart said he was glad he wasn't leading after 54 holes. You haven't been in this position for a while. Was that eagle very important to you?

JOHN DALY: Either way it doesn't bother me, it's good to be in the last group and have a chance to win. One to five shots out here doesn't really mean a lot. You have to get off to a good start and get confidence going early. That's the most important thing.

Q. When you're working so hard to get better, are you thinking about working because you want to make a better living or you want to win?

JOHN DALY: I just want to win. That part doesn't bother me at all. Everyone who knows me knows that I don't care about money at all. I just want to win. I can spend it faster than anybody. I just want to win. I don't think about dollars when I'm putting or anything, I just want to win. That's the bottom line.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: To tell you the truth, I was writing one today, my daughter's book, hopefully the commercial will come out in a few months.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: Well, I was in the hunt here in 2001, I think. Memphis in 2002. That was really the last time. I think it was 2001 that I almost won Memphis.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: I've always loved the South course. I love playing it. I love the changes. It's a golf course where it doesn't matter if you're really a long hitter, you have to have a short game out here. The way the pins are tucked now, there hasn't been an easy pin placement in three days. Even on the North course they were tucked pretty good. This is my 14th year out here. The TOUR is starting on Thursdays, and usually when we practice we putt to where we think the pins are going to be, especially on the North course. They changed them this year. I think they might have changed them last year. We don't know where to practice anymore because the pins have gotten so tough.

Q. Korea, that was a huge event for you.

JOHN DALY: It's not an AT&T Pebble Beach tournament, but any time you win at Pebble Beach or Spyglass you feel pretty good, and that was a pretty strong field. There were a lot of guys that have won majors and tournaments out here. That probably felt a little better than the Korea one.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Let's go through your score card. Start out with the birdie on the first hole, par 4.

JOHN DALY: Driver, wedge, to about three feet.


JOHN DALY: The bogey on 4, I hit driver, 8 iron short in the bunker, missed a five footer for par.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Came back with a birdie on 6 and 9.

JOHN DALY: 6, I hit driver, 2 iron, chipped up to about three feet.

9, I hit driver, 3 wood, got up and down, made about a 9 foot putt.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Pretty quiet on the back until 18, with the eagle.

JOHN DALY: Driver, 2 iron, to about 25 feet and made it.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: One last question.

Q. (Inaudible)

JOHN DALY: I'm used to it, I'm just used to it.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: John Daly, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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