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June 4, 2006

Paul Azinger


PAUL AZINGER: A couple of flyers. And I'm not going to be irritated, because I got the most out of my round today. No regrets. I left maybe 3 putts over 20 feet short right in the center, but I made a lot of putts. I tell you what, I had the worst warmup here, when I parred 1, I had one par; parred 2, two pars. I felt so bad hitting it. I birdied 3, 4, 5, 6 and hit it great after that, except for 10, I hit a bad drive and made bogey.

Q. When you made the turn were there any thoughts that maybe

PAUL AZINGER: I wasn't thinking I could win. I thought if I could do this, somebody else was going to do it. No, I didn't think about that. What was I at the turn, 6 under? I didn't think about winning, I was thinking just make a par on 10. It wasn't realistic, too many guys between me and the lead.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: I was really irritated. I saw the cloud on 17 and thought we could get in. I was mad at myself I didn't hit a very good tee shot. I would have, if I let it go, but something inside me wouldn't let me release the club and I hit it in the bunker. The best thing I did today was mark it, because it rained so hard when I put it back down, it was just sitting it was in the trench, there. But the columns on both sides had drifted down enough that I could make contact with a 5 iron. And I probably still could have gotten close to the green, but it was easier when it was wet.

Q. Is there something about the course that brings out the best in your game?

PAUL AZINGER: All I can say is I putted the greens well this year. I've had a lot of bad tournaments here. I shot decent last year, 80 on Sunday. But I was good for three days. Maybe my fundamentals are getting better. I hope they are. I made some money now, finally. I made some money.

Q. What do you take away from this? You said you didn't hit the ball exactly the way you wanted to.

PAUL AZINGER: I putted unbelievable for three days. I take from this, my putter works well when I need to make putts. I felt a little pressure, because I'm trying to keep my card. When I made the four birdies in a row, pretty much feeling like I was skanking it, I hit it well the rest of the day. I'm confident that maybe it's still in me, if I can put some rounds together, maybe, maybe. But right now, it's just a step in the right direction is all it is, it's nothing more than that. I'm just happy I didn't 3 putt the last hole and leave irritated again.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: You know, it's in there. I feel like my back's against the wall. I want to feel like my back is against the wall. Sometimes I think that's what it takes for a guy. And I'm not really entertaining television or anything like that. And if I talk to my agent and I said, "If anybody contacts you, or if you're talking to anybody, don't tell me, because I won't play as well if I have an out." That's kind of the way I've thought all year. I worked hard. For example, I played Hilton Head Sunday night, I fly home and drive two hours to Naples, and work with Jim Suttie. I get on a plane Tuesday morning and fly to Houston. After Houston, fly home that's just what I've been doing. I've really been working at it, that's all I can tell you.

Q. How about the conversation you had with Lance yesterday, that wasn't about next year?

PAUL AZINGER: No, not at all. I don't think they're interested in me, at all, I really don't.

Q. Does this relieve all the pressure, knowing you're going to make 150, two hundred thousand this week?

PAUL AZINGER: I'm going to make more than that, I'm going to make something like 170 something. That gets me over five hundred, but it's not there yet.

It's given me a little bit of confidence, so I've got a course I like next week, it's a hard course. I'm happy.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: If I miss the cut, I'm doing it. If I make the cut

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: Not really, it's a little bit of a distraction. I've been talking to Brandt Packer, my new boss, a little bit about it, and he's all for supporting me, whatever I feel like I need to do. My schedule is for ABC has been already dictated. I know where I'm supposed to be, and what I'm supposed to broadcast. He knows how I'm thinking. I'm just pursuing golf right now, and TV is kind of second and they're going to work with me on it.

Q. Was that a new thing as far as the relationship you had with them where you can play and not work

PAUL AZINGER: He still wants me to come in the booth if I play and get in in time and make the cut. We haven't sorted through that yet.

Q. But that's a change?

PAUL AZINGER: Oh, yeah, it's a change. Before, if I was to work at at Westchester, I wasn't going to play. Like last year, I decided I'm not playing any of the weeks I'm working, because I don't feel like you can do your best, as a broadcaster, as easy as it is to talk, you do have to have a little bit of time put in to do it properly, I think. You have to know some things. So I would do a disservice to television. And at the time I was playing so bad, I didn't think my future was going to be golf, really. But ABC left and my future is golf.

Q. You haven't done a broadcast in a while with them. Does it feel like it was did they

PAUL AZINGER: He left, because he got a great offer from the NFL network. I haven't worked since the match play, but ABC is not scheduled to work until next week. I knew that this stretch was important for me. I felt like if I could play well in this stretch, if I could keep my card in this stretch, I'd finish out my year as a broadcaster. I'm not doing it for free. Every week that I choose not to go in the booth costs me a decent amount of money.

Q. You'd still rather not be in the booth, though?

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, I'd rather play every week. I'd rather just walk away, but I kind of I don't want to hang Brandt out to dry a little bit. But he's going to work with me, and I'll work with them. We're going to work with each other and do what's best for both of us. And we don't I don't personally want to cheat the viewers by just going up there, you know, kind of half prepared, either. I pour my heart into doing what I felt like I needed to do to get ready to do a telecast, because I felt like Faldo and I were presenting a different kind of product. But it wasn't like we just showed up and it just happened. We put some effort into it. He put a lot of effort into it, like he does for everything.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: If I played good, I'm glad, if I played good, I'm not glad, you know. It's that simple.

Q. Do you think about, every time you get to the 18th green (inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: I thought when I hit it on the right side of the green. I said to my caddie, did you know there was a time you know there was a time when you could actually hole it from that bunker, but not now. If you hole it now it's going 30 feet by, 20 feet by.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: I don't think so. Not the way it went in. The way it went in, it fell in the back door. You think about it, I hit that shot with a lot of speed, it was a very close shot, and after I hit it, I mean I hit it and I've literally got the club in my hand before the ball hit the ground. That's how I hit it. If you watch it slowly. Most people see the ball I know you'll see it I release it, I pull the club back, and I'm holding the club in my hand before the ball hits the ground, and the ball only flew that far, so it had spin on it. But now you're never going to put spin on it, it barely fell in the become of the hole.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: I personally think that it neutralizes anybody who's been slightly able to separate themselves as a bunker player. Look at Seve Ballesteros may be the best bunker player in the world. If he played here, and a high school kid got an exemption, and they both had hit it in the fairway bunker, Seve is the same as a 16 year old kid. Seve has great hands and feel and figured out how to do it. He didn't fluke on being a great bunker player. But I just think that in all sports, whoever can slightly separate themselves are the ones that excel. When you rake a bunker that makes everyone the same, then I think you're doing a disservice to the sport.

Q. (Asking about the leaderboard.)

PAUL AZINGER: All the guys on that board are phenomenal players. You know every one of them.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: I think that they probably avoided the bunkers this week. I didn't hit too many bunkers, and it cost me big time. I didn't hit it very good, so it's supposed to cost me. I don't have a problem with the concept that a bunker should be difficult, but I do have a problem with a bunker being prepared in a way that makes somebody who's phenomenal the same as somebody who's terrible, does that make sense?

Q. But if it doesn't separate the field, does it cause, at all, what's happening here?

PAUL AZINGER: I think what's happening is the best ball strikers are rising to the top this week, that's what I think. I think that's great. Carl hits it great, he always has. But now he's got to suck it up and make the putts. Zach Johnson hits it pretty well, and he hits it great, but he has to suck it up and make the putts. You have to avoid the bunkers and make some putts, that's what you have to do. I heard somebody say, I won't put the name to it, this is not my quote, but they said, "At the British Open they have pot bunkers, and at Muirfield they have potluck bunkers," I thought that was pretty funny.

Q. That was Nick Price, he said potluck. He said it was potluck.

PAUL AZINGER: He's right. He's right, because actually you could end up on the top of a furrow and get really lucky. That's not right.

Q. Some years you've got the bombers, other years you've got the shorter guys, why is that, is that the course conditions each year?

PAUL AZINGER: Well, I think the par 5s, you know, 5 is reachable, 7 is reachable, 11 could be reachable for a bomber, and 15 is reachable for everybody and the bombers can take advantage of them. But if the bomber mishits going for the green on any of those, he's going to make a double. If a bomber is red hot, like Tiger, he destroys the field. But if he misses a few shots into those par 5s, he's going to lose ground to some of the shorter hitters that can't go, and uses wedges all week. I think that's the difference here.

Q. Do you think the conditions will detour might some guys say this might be the week to stay home? Is it going to have an affect?

PAUL AZINGER: I don't think it's going to have an affect. If I hit it in the rough over here

Q. I was thinking more of the bunkers, it inflamed everybody this week?

PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, it's really too bad it did inflame everybody, because it's unnecessary. I was 0 10 last year, this year I was probably might have been 50/50, I'm not sure. But

Q. You know they've got furrows here next year, will you come back?

PAUL AZINGER: I'll still come back, I'm coming back no matter what.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL AZINGER: I don't know.

Q. Might be bigger furrows?

PAUL AZINGER: If you hate the bunkers being easier, just take them out. Make the whole place grass, if the bunkers are that easy, make the whole place grass. They're not that easy.

End of FastScripts.

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