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June 9, 2001

John Daly


LEE PATTERSON: All right, John. Thank you so much for coming to spend some time with us. Wonderful day today for you. Maybe just a couple thoughts about today and heading into tomorrow and the great position you've got.

JOHN DALY: Thanks, Lee. It's just one of those days that everything was really solid. I think I missed one green, and hit the ball close an awful lot. It just was one of those rounds, you know, you wish you could do every day. But unfortunately, in this game, you can't. But it was probably the most solid 18 holes of golf I've played since I've been out here.

Q. If you could just talk a little bit about your start on the front nine. It looked like you could have birdied any of the first nine holes?

JOHN DALY: My caddy told me we could almost be 10-under par after nine holes today. I think my longest putt was the putt on 4. Everything else was inside of ten feet, I think. But I hit a lot of really good putts, and that's the name of it. I mean, I really, there was about six putts out there that I was actually walking toward the hole thinking I made. I just hung in there. You know, just stayed patient as I possibly could. I hit a really good shot into 13 to finally get another birdie and get it to 5-under for the day. Made probably the longest putt I've made all year on 14, from about 30 feet. So it kind of kept me going. Thought I made the eagle putt on 16. Couldn't hit a better putt. And 18, just making that, just kind of made the day even more sweeter. Yeah, it could be lower, but I think any time anybody shoots a low number, you can think of, "Yeah, it could have been lower." But I'm pretty proud of the 63, and hopefully tomorrow something like that will happen again.

Q. This is your third day in the 60s, which you have not had in probably a long time, and you've been progressively getting better. What do you contribute this week to?

JOHN DALY: I think just the hard work is starting to pay off. I've been working very hard on the short game. I've been hitting the ball really, really well all year long. Everywhere I've been, it's just a matter of making a few putts here and there. Today, I won't say I made a lot of putts. I hit the ball really, really good. I had a lot of birdie putts, putting for eagle and 2-putted. It's still not to where the ball, I think it is going to go in the hole when I putt, and that's where I want to get. But it's nice to know it's the only flaw, sort of, in my game. Still making my short putts and everything, but just not making a lot of 10-footers; it's very difficult to win golf tournaments when you don't do that. I think the way I hit the ball today gave me the opportunity to shoot 8-under. I don't think it was because of the putter.

Q. Was there a difference, or can you compare how you hit the ball the first two days with how you hit it today, generally?

JOHN DALY: I hit the ball really well the first two days. I putted horrible Thursday. I had a lot of chances, and then yesterday I hit it really good. You know, it's a totally different golf course today. It was nice to walk down the fairway and it be dry. Occasionally, you had some mud on the ball, but not too bad. It's amazing why there's not many more golf tournaments on our tour with zoysia, because it probably does absorb water quicker than anything. It's unbelievable how the golf course and fairways were today compared to the slosh on Thursday and Friday, because of the rain and you couldn't cut them. But it's nice grass for me, because I take such huge divots, and in zoysia, you don't. So it was just a great day for me.

Q. Can you recall the last time you played as well as you have played today?

JOHN DALY: Score-wise, I don't know if I've ever been 16. Never par on TOUR. 16 under par on TOUR after three rounds of golf, I don't think I ever have. This sort of reminds me of the first three days of the PGA in '91, but I think I was 12. And in the B.C. Open in '92, I think I was 12-under par after three days. So this is by far the lowest three rounds of golf I've ever played.

Q. You talked about all the hard work, but it's tough to prepare yourself to play for the first time in a while in the last group on a Sunday. How are you preparing for that? Do you go back to the British Open? Do you go back to Crooked Stick?

JOHN DALY: I just feed off the fans, like I did today. Man, it's just -- it would be the greatest thing for me to win for them, because we've had six years of hell. There's no doubt about it. I say "we," because I do play for the fans. It would be wonderful for them, and to do it at home would be even more special.

Q. How important is it for you to win, this being your home tournament, before your career is done? How important -- where does it list in the scheme of things for you?

JOHN DALY: Well, to me, the last six years, like I said, have been very tough, and the golf hasn't come around. And to win, I've told -- I just told ABC on TV, it would be the greatest win I've ever had. Better than the '91 PGA. Better than the British, because it's like, you know, you go in a slump as long as I have, and all of the up-and-downs that it has taken, to be able to go out and hopefully have a chance to win. That's awesome, to have a chance to win. But if I was to win, it would be the greatest win I've ever had.

Q. You mentioned on ABC that you had a putting surface put in at your home. How long ago was that and how much time have you been able to put in there on your short game?

JOHN DALY: Ray Seaver from Player's Turf International came in and they put it down last November. It's been remarkable. You know, I can sit at home and beat balls from 110 yards and on in, and that's what I do. Just hitting a lot of wedges has got my swing to where I feel real comfortable with it. Instead of beating balls, hitting drivers and 3-woods and long irons and stuff, just hitting 500 or 600 balls a day at home has been a blessing. I can sit out there by myself and do that and chip-and-putt, and you never have to fix a ball mark, so I'm not going to kill my back. It's just the greatest invention in the world. It absolutely putts like a real green. You roll it; you can run it quicker. You brush it a little bit if you want it slower. I keep mine about 10, because that's pretty much the average speed of our greens on TOUR, and it prepares me for the Tour. Because if the short game is not working, there's no chance of winning. Just by doing that, I think it's the biggest reason why my game is coming back an awful lot.

Q. Do you still feel like Memphis is still home in some respects?

JOHN DALY: Yeah, it is still home -- Dardanelle, sort of live both. I'm here probably just as much as I am there, but when I really work on my golf game, it's in Dardanelle, because it's a lot more quieter. Any courses around here, they are all either your country clubs or whatever. Even at home in Dardanelle, I can go out in my golf cart and hit balls on any hole I want to, and the members, they just go around; you can't do that here. That's the blessing, to be able to do that. There's just no other place in the world I would think I could do it, except there.

Q. Do you feel like at this point that all your hard work, that these three rounds have validated all of that time and effort you've put into it, or do you feel like it's not going to be there until you win an event?

JOHN DALY: It's great to be close, but, you know, right -- I think it would feel a hell of a lot better if I win. The thing is, it's not like I can go out there tomorrow and shoot for pars and try and shoot 1- or 2-under. I've got to probably shoot 5- or 6-under to win. That's the way this tournament has always been. The leaderboard is pretty packed, and anybody who gets off to a good start on those first three, four, or five holes can get a lot of momentum and go. But I won't be satisfied until I win, to answer your question, yeah.

Q. When you walked off the course yesterday, you said you would probably need to shoot two rounds of 64 to be in contention. How realistic do you think coming out for this weekend is was that you could post those kind of numbers?

JOHN DALY: I didn't think I could shoot 63 today, but I really felt like I shoot -- there was a good chance of shooting 3- or 4-under par if I just keep doing what I'm doing. But, you know, hopefully, if the total is 134 on the weekend that would be an average of 64 -- 128, I'm sorry. Then I would just have to shoot 65 tomorrow to do it.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how the golf course sets up for your game?

JOHN DALY: You know, the front nine, there's a lot of holes I can hit driver on. So it's very perfect for my game. On the back nine, I take advantage of 12. I hit driver on 12. I like to hit it over the water because it's usually an easier shot into that green. It's a golf course that there's not too many holes that I don't know what I'm aiming at off the tee. It sits up really good for the tee ball. You know, where the pins are, the greens are -- they can tuck the flags a little bit on a few of these holes, but the way the greens have been, they have been pretty soft; so you can fly it right at it, and the scores are very low.

LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you take us through your birdies real quick.

JOHN DALY: Actually, 3-wood on 1. L-wedge to about three feet. 2, I hit driver, L-wedge to about ten feet. 3, I hit driver, 7-iron to about seven feet and 2-putted for birdie. 5, I hit driver, 5-iron just short right. Chipped up to about a foot and made it. 13, I hit driver, sand wedge to about three feet and made it. 14, I hit 5-iron. Made that 30-footer. 16, I hit driver, 3-iron to about 15 feet and 2-putted. 18, hit 3-wood, 6-iron to about six or seven feet and made it.

End of FastScripts....

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