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June 4, 2006

Carl Pettersson


JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think it's yours. Tell them a little bit about what went on.

CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I started really well. I hit some nice, solid shots. In the beginning I played really well, tee to green on the front 9, and I hit a few loose ones on the back nine. Every time I hit it bad, I followed it up with a good one, which was nice to get back into it.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, one of the things that I thought was tough today was you made that great chip at 11. Then you had a 30 minute delay, and you come out with a hole that eats you alive, and you put it right dead in the center of the green.

CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, the chip on 11, it was a good chip. It was fortunate it went in. And it was a good pace. It was a good shot with a bit of luck. And so it was nice going into the break having made birdie there. And then obviously coming back on 12, that's a scary shot, but if you bail it out of the bunker on the left, you're going to make bogey, so you might as well step up and hit a good shot. And I was fortunate enough to do that.

Q. Preceding 11, Carl, 10 also seemed pivotal, being into the bunker on your third and bringing a double into the picture. Did you have a decent lie or was it just that good of a shot?

CARL PETTERSSON: In the green side bunker? No, it was a good lie. I had a bad lie in the fairway bunker and hit a good shot out. I was in between clubs. I was worrying about the ball spinning back too much on my third shot, and really never committed to the shot. I hit a great bunker shot and it was a good lie and made the putt.

Q. So those furrows are overrated?

CARL PETTERSSON: I don't know about that. Somehow I got lucky on that one.

Q. I guess this keeps you from having to qualify for The Open, is that true.


JACK NICKLAUS: You better get that confirmed.

CARL PETTERSSON: I think that's right. That's nice. I wasn't thinking about that at all. I was just trying to get the job done on the back 9. And this is a dream come true to even play in this tournament, it's a dream for me. And to win it's just phenomenal.

Q. Would you describe your thinking again on the chip at 11? What were you trying to do there, beyond the obvious.

CARL PETTERSSON: I had a pretty good lie, but had the rough in any back swing. I was trying to land it on the fringe and just on the green, and hopefully have a good enough strike to have some spin on it, and it broke in there perfect. It was just one of those shots. You see the shot and it just came out exactly like I had picked it.

Q. Could you go over the birdie on 15.

CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, 15 I pulled my driver a little bit, and I got lucky to stay in the first cut. And I've got a rescue club that's like a 2 or 3 iron. I pulled that up left, which is no man's land. I was short of the pin, which was better than being pin high. I was just trying to hit it trying to get a 15 footer, which I did. I remember that putt coming down the hill, I've had that putt before, it's lightning fast, so I just all I was worried about was just getting the right speed. And it fell in.

Q. You spent some time trying to decide where to drop on 5. Could you run through that whole process, what you were thinking and what changed your mind and how that went.

CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, I had a mud ball. Actually I hit the shot fairly good. And it just went left into the hazard there. I was trying to evaluate which was the easier shot, or safer shot. And by going right, I had all that green to work with and I had an awkward stance. I thought that was my best option. I just hit the shot with my 15 iron I should have used a 55 or 49, when your feet are so far below, you add loft to it.

Q. Did you come close to taking the rough in the left, or did anybody else have input, your caddie

CARL PETTERSSON: No, you have an option of going either side. It was just tough to determine, because we were crossing water, which was equal distance. And I

JACK NICKLAUS: Did you ever consider going back, playing about a 60, 70 shot out of the fairway.

CARL PETTERSSON: Oh, going back no, I didn't really think about it, because I was just so worried about spinning the ball. The greens are soft and there's not much room there on the left. I really thought I could get it up and down on the right hand side there.

Q. You never know how much a win helps you down the road. How much did the win last year help you through today.

CARL PETTERSSON: A lot. I learned a lot from it last year. Last year when I won for the first time, I finally realized you don't have to play perfect golf to win. I had the lead there, too, and I played nice, but I didn't play perfect. I hit some bad shots. And I learned it's okay, you can hit some bad shots, but you've got to back it up with some good ones, too. That's all I kept thinking about today, as long as I was hitting a few good ones I could get through.

Q. You kind of kept your distance throughout the day, Carl, could you talk briefly about how important this morning was, if you can remember that far back, 17 and 18 in particular?


Q. 18, especially.

CARL PETTERSSON: We finished up this morning, it was tough, because the sun was blaring in our eyes. When you hit your shots, you couldn't see where it went. It's always tough to line it up. And when you look up and you don't see anything, it's a bit of a terrifying feeling. But I made bogey on 16, which was okay. It's a difficult hole, first hole out.

Then I made a nice putt for birdie on 17, up the hill there, which was just a bonus. And then I made a great up and down on 18.

Q. Did you really think you were going to get relief on 18?

CARL PETTERSSON: No, you never get anywhere with those guys.

Q. How good was that chip, given the way the green breaks down toward the hole, and the fact that you had a hard time seeing your ball at one point, didn't you?

CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, I had a bad lie. I knew I could get it close, if it came out like I wanted it to. I hit a nice chip, fortunate to get the right bounces and rolls. I hit a very nice chip, but you also have to have a bit of luck on your side on those kind of shots. And it came out perfect, just like the one on 11.

Q. You've mentioned luck about 20 times already, you played well in between?

CARL PETTERSSON: I played fantastic, but you also have to have luck on your side.

Q. About the half hour they brought you in off the course, what you were thinking? You had a little time to think. What are you thinking about? What are you doing?

CARL PETTERSSON: I was trying not to think. I was trying not to think too much, because I knew where I stood and I looked at the board a few times. I kept telling myself, "Just to stay in the present." Your mind plays so many funny games and it's hard not to think ahead, like I said. I just kept telling myself just to keep it going and just play golf and see what happens.

Q. Did you talk to other people or not or you stayed to yourself?

CARL PETTERSSON: No, just chatted with my caddie and that was about it.

Q. Where did you guys go, did you go into the courtesy van or into the tent?

CARL PETTERSSON: It was a safe house, had a covered porch.

Q. Did they have any soft drinks for you, any snacks?

CARL PETTERSSON: Just had some water.

Q. What are those like, those are actually people's houses?

CARL PETTERSSON: I don't know.

JACK NICKLAUS: People's houses along the golf course who have volunteered their house to shelter players if there's rain delay.

Q. Based on the way you're coming in, did you like your chances to play well this week?

CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I just had a week off and the week before I missed my first cut in 21 tries at Colonial. I missed it by one. I had a nice streak going of 21 straight cuts. I think the missed cut actually fired me up to play well this week because it's I was kind of angry at myself for missing the cut. And I hadn't been in contention for a while. I played two or three times at home and took it easy. I just felt like playing. I was looking forward to playing this week.

Q. Some of the players we asked about you just keep using the word "calm". You've been talking about how the nerves you were trying to keep the nerves from getting to you during the delay. Do you have an ideal demeanor with playing with the lead like today or is there a lot more going on inside that you don't show?

CARL PETTERSSON: Obviously you're nervous, but I felt good. I didn't feel like I was out of my element. I felt good about myself. I knew my swing was there, so I felt very confident. Yeah, I stayed very calm. I've definitely been more nervous than I was today on the golf course. I think it helps when you know your game is there, it kind of calms you down. But I was nervous. You've got to try to feed off your nerves, because when the adrenalin is pumping you can do some good stuff with it.

Q. You are eligible for the Ryder Cup?


Q. Having lived in the States for half your life, what's your attitude towards it compared to maybe some of the other European players?

CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I've always I've been a golf fan, a golf nut for a long time. I watched a lot of Ryder Cups over the years. I always pull for Europe, because I am European, deep down. I've lived here for a lot of years, and left Sweden and England at an early age. But deep down, I am European and if I was to make the team, I'll try to represent Europe the best I can.

Q. Obviously this would put you right in contention?

CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, yeah, hopefully, yeah. My win last year didn't count towards the points. I tried to rejoin the Tour in the middle of last year, and the European Tour said I couldn't rejoin. I thought I could rejoin as a past champion. They said you can only rejoin in between seasons. So I had a win and a second place that just got washed out on the points list. So this kind of makes up for it.

Q. What kind of a schedule do you have to keep over there?

CARL PETTERSSON: I'm going to play 11 events, but the majors and the world events count on that. So I've got to play four events, if I play all the majors and the three world events.

Q. Did you play your 11 last year?

CARL PETTERSSON: No, I didn't, no.

Q. Because they told you couldn't be a member, even if you played them, is that why you didn't play them?

CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I was just concentrating on this Tour last year. And then once the Ryder Cup they start the points in September. I thought I could just rejoin and I guess it was bad information I had, and I couldn't. There was nothing I could do about it.

Q. Carl, you said you've been a golf nut for a long time. When you were a teenager and got pretty good as a golfer, did you follow Jack or what guys did you kind of look up to?

CARL PETTERSSON: I pretty much I didn't really have an idol, I just admired all sport athletes, all the professional golfers. I didn't have one particular one, but just admired everybody that played.

Q. What did you see out there that impressed you, Jack?

JACK NICKLAUS: I saw virtually every shot on television, and Carl definitely played the best golf today. I think there was some spectacular shots by other guys, and he was just Steady Eddie, he just absolutely did everything right. And then every time he made a mistake, such as he got a bad break at nine, when the ball rolled back against the heavy grass, and left it about 12 feet short, and right in the center. And he hit it over the 11th green, chipped it in.

At 15, he hits it left of the green, puts it where you absolutely shouldn't put it, and then the greens are soft enough that he can throw it up in the air and stop it on the green and makes a 15 footer. He did that quite a few times today. And that was obviously the difference between winning and losing. But he did it calmly, he drove the ball well and from watching all the players, he by far, played the most consistent.

Adam Scott played very well today. He struggled with a few short putts.

Phil played a lot of good holes, but played too many bad holes, too many bad tee shots.

Zach played very well today, but didn't quite do the things he needed to do to be able to catch Carl.

Your winner played the best golf, and that's what it boils down to at the end of the day.

Q. When you were younger, were you this resilient from bouncing back from a mistake, or is that something that's come over time?

CARL PETTERSSON: No, I think you learn as you get older. I used to have a fairly bad temper as a kid on the golf course, but when you start playing this game for a living, you figure out it doesn't help you and you need to put the bad shots behind you.

Q. Any examples from the bad days? What was a typical temper tantrum for you?

CARL PETTERSSON: Maybe throwing a club. But just you get so mad it affects your next shot, which is no good. And once you start playing, like I said, for a living, you learn you can't do that.

Q. How important is the long putter to your career? Where would your career be if you didn't have that putter, do you think?

CARL PETTERSSON: I don't know. I definitely putt well with it. I was in college, one summer I struggled big time with a short one. I kept playing with guys that had a long putter, and they all rolled it great. And finally I had enough and picked one up and I haven't looked back since. I think I'd be struggling. So it's definitely helped me a lot.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what it means to win this tournament as opposed to others? This is not your average tournament and it's got the association with Jack Nicklaus, how does it feel to win this one?

CARL PETTERSSON: It feels unbelievable. It hasn't quite set in yet. For me, it's just an honor to play in this tournament, let alone win it. This is a big tournament on the schedule, it's one of the biggest ones we play all year, obviously except for the majors. So it's a great field, great golf course and a great host. What more can you ask for?

Q. What's it like when you're out in the awards ceremony and you're in here now, and Jack has said an awful lot of nice things about you, how do you react?

CARL PETTERSSON: I don't think it's quite sunk in yet. But obviously I feel very fortunate and it's an unbelievable feeling.

Q. Have you asked Jack to sign a five pound note yet?

CARL PETTERSSON: No. He's probably signed enough.

Q. What do you do tomorrow?

CARL PETTERSSON: I was going to do the U.S. Open qualifier. So I'd like to fly home tonight somehow and see my wife and my little girl.

Q. Are you going to play Westchester?


Q. So a trip home you hadn't planned?


JACK NICKLAUS: Where do you live now.

CARL PETTERSSON: I live in actually Wake Forest, North Carolina, which is outside Raleigh. My wife is from North Carolina so we enjoy it there.

JACK NICKLAUS: Met in college?

CARL PETTERSSON: Right, after my senior year, after I turned pro.

Q. What's the meaning of the Southern Red Neck, did you call yourself that or someone else?

CARL PETTERSSON: I think Jesper Parnevik called me that.

Q. Swedish Red Neck?

CARL PETTERSSON: I grew up in North Carolina, and went to junior college in Alabama, and now back in North Carolina, so I picked up some of those interesting habits (laughter).

Q. Such as, dipping snuff, things like that?

CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, a little bit, I'm afraid to say. I like some country music. I guess I'm not your typical Swede, you know. I'm about 30 pounds overweight, and I don't wear crazy clothes.

Q. Has anybody ever told you that your accent is sort of a mix

CARL PETTERSSON: I call myself a mutt. I've lived everywhere.

Q. Do you eat grits?

CARL PETTERSSON: Oh, yeah. I eat most things (laughter).

Q. Jack, can you talk about the experiment now that it's over, what your thoughts are on it?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you know, you're talking about the bunkers, obviously. And really the whole idea, and whether it's correct or whether it's not correct, I don't think is really the issues were that we asked the Tour what they wanted to do, and they said they would like to make the bunkers more of a penalty. They've been telling players they were, and I said, "Where have you done it?" And they said, "We haven't." They said, "We'd like to start at your place if that's what you'd like to do." I said, "That's great." Whether it's dead right the way we did it, I don't know.

We basically took a hay rake, and a hay rake and we had other rakes made, but they were not the same width. That's why they took the extra spoke out to try to make it the way they raked in the morning, if they raked in the morning one way, and another way in the afternoon. They want to be consistent. They wanted to be consistent all week.

What we really were trying to do was make the golfer we've been spending a fortune every year redoing bunkers, a lot of tournaments are doing exactly the same thing. And what it does for the membership of the golf course is it makes it very difficult. The members find it difficult when they have deep bunkers, because they're not that good of players. But these guys can do anything.

So the whole idea was to say, "Okay, you've got a pin close to a bunker, think. Do I want to hit that pin? Or do I want to hit the ball at the pin? Or do I want to play a little bit to one side to give myself the opportunity not to short side myself." You want to put a little bit of fear into the shot. And I think it did that.

And the fairway bunkers, they're not there for decoration. The fairway bunker is there, and if you put the ball into them, you really wanted to have a situation where you might get a good lie, you might have a half a shot penalty, you might be able to play it on the green. You've got a variety of different situations. And we thought that the better bunker player would be rewarded on both occasions.

So we knew that there would be less up and downs than there was before. We knew there was going to be gripes. I mean, good gracious, but why would we bother to do it if we didn't believe that the players had too easy a situation. That was why it was done.

And so how the Tour carries it forward, it's their choice to start with, whether they continue with it or don't continue with it or take it to other tournaments or don't take it to other tournaments. If they decide it's not what they want to do and next year say, "We don't think we want to do it," that's fine. If that's what they do, that's what they do. And we spend more money to do more things.

But it was very simple to me that I've got four bunkers on one that that need to be redone. Do I want to redo those bunker, spend the money to do that? Or just put a rake to them? Which makes more sense? Put a rake on them. Obviously. Because the rake does make a difference in the play. And so we'll just see as the year plays out what the Tour does.

I think if you look at I watched Mickelson today, if you saw where Mickelson drove the ball in 6, he drove it in the left bunker on 6. Now, he played that close to the hole on 6 (indicating.)

At 18, he hit it in the right bunker, he hit it like that (indicating), out of the fairway bunkers. He played some really, really good shots out of the bunkers. There were some other places he couldn't play the shots. 10 was one of those. You drove the ball in fairway bunker 10.


JACK NICKLAUS: You obviously didn't get a good lie.


JACK NICKLAUS: So it cost him a shot. But you avoided the fairway bunkers all week.


JACK NICKLAUS: They'd be rather be in the fairway bunker than put it in the rough. If you want to put it in the rough, the fairway bunker was the place to put it, because it's not that hard a shot. You see what I mean? I think we accomplished what we tried to do. It is an experiment, no question about that. I think the only place we probably faulted or the Tour faulted is that we did not give the players enough notice to that, and they might have brought a different kind of wedge if they were going to do that. Now they have that kind of notice. And I think a wedge the wedge that I use is a narrow flange, little sharper blade to get into it, which actually plays very well in the sand. But quite I played quite a few bunker shots Thursday, Friday and Wednesday. I had no trouble with the bunkers, and I'm a terrible bunker player. I might have had one that I didn't get up and down. But I think I got everyone up and down in two rounds of golf and not a lot of practicing.

So it does make you try different shots, too. The guys that have a perfect lie every time play one shot. And when you only have to play one shot I've gotten in the habit of just playing one shot, just lay the blade open, slip it under, and put spin on it, and get it up and down 60 percent of the time. And if a guy is a good bunker player, he's going to get up and down a lot.

Q. If you have an option going forward, if they give you the option next year

JACK NICKLAUS: We don't have any option.

Q. If they did, if they said do you

JACK NICKLAUS: That's the whole point. We don't have the option. The Tour makes the decision. In other words, I made the suggestion to the Tour, the Tour says, "We want to do it." The Tour implements it.

Q. Since you would have to spend a lot of money on this golf course next year or put

JACK NICKLAUS: Which would I prefer to do?

Q. Yes. Many?

JACK NICKLAUS: I prefer to work on the bunkers, whether this rake is correct or not, I don't know. But I would prefer to have the bunkers make the guys think it's a penalty.

Q. Will you lobby with that for the Tour?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think we pretty well lobbied for a whole week, here. I think we've done our lobbying. The Tour is going to make their decision what they want. And I can't give you an answer on what they'll decide. I know that they would like to keep it. And I know that they'll hope other tournaments will take it on. But there are some tournaments who won't. So do all conditions have to be the same, probably not.

Q. Did it change your philosophy this week?

CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, definitely off the tee. Not quite so much on the approach shots, but definitely made a few 3 woods where I might have hit drivers.

JACK NICKLAUS: That was the point.

Q. Jack, would it be prudent for the Tour to at least ask a couple other tournaments this year to do it so that Muirfield Village is not connected with the

JACK NICKLAUS: That was when I talked to Slugger when we finished yesterday. I said, "What are you going to do in the future?" He said, "I'm not sure." I said, "Are you going to throw me under the bus or" (laughter) my guess is that they would try to encourage in other words, the golf ball goes further, you've got big drivers that hit it straight. You've given the golfer every tool in the world to be able to play better. And you really have no defense on a golf course against them. So and it costs a lot of money to keep changing golf courses. I'd hate to ask Augusta how much money they've spent redoing their golf course, basically because of the distance the golf ball goes. I'd hate to say what we've spent here. And it's the little simple things I do not like necessarily thick rough. Our rough was thick this week, because we had a lot of rain.

We cut it at three and a half inches, which we do every week. We just had a lot of rain, which exploded it. And it was difficult. We've had other years where our rough has been thin. It just depends on what the spring is and particularly the week before the tournament. But I do believe it makes for better golf.

Carl hit one fairway bunker all week. He made bogey on the one hole he hit it on, 10, and he won the golf tournament. That's a pretty good testament to saying, hey, Mickelson walked off the 18th green, and he said to me, "My driver let me down. I put it in too many places I can't play." He said, "I need to go work on that. I'll get it fixed before The Open, though." What was the significance of that? The significance was that he needed to fix his driver, because he hit it too many places that he couldn't play. Most of them were bunkers. He did hit some nice bunker shots, but he did hit it in a lot of bunkers.

Q. Carl, are you a Hurricanes fan?

CARL PETTERSSON: A little bit. I'm pulling for them. Not a die hard hockey fan, but definitely, yeah.

Q. You're from Sweden and not a die hard?

CARL PETTERSSON: Oh, I left at 10.

Q. You're born in Sweden, but you're not a hockey fan, you live in North Carolina, but you're not a NASCAR fan?

CARL PETTERSSON: I'm just a sports fan. I keep a general outlook on all the sports.

Q. What's your influence from England, from your time in England?

CARL PETTERSSON: Bad weather I do play cricket, maybe some table manners or something like that (laughter).

Q. I'm sure the Tour will look at all the stats and ask observers. If they ask you, would you recommend they go with furrows in the future elsewhere?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know whether they should use them or not use them. But I do feel they should try to make a bunker a penalty, or deterrent, not a place to aim for. I don't know whether to use you look at the sand today. The sand today is so good, if you rake it properly, the ball just it's perfect to play every shot. We didn't have good sand before. Carl didn't really grow up in Europe playing golf, I'm sure you played over there.


JACK NICKLAUS: You don't get good lies over there.

CARL PETTERSSON: I didn't play that much I started playing a little.

JACK NICKLAUS: You know how the bunkers are in England. You get in a bunker in England and you hit it out sideways, you don't advance it too far, either.

CARL PETTERSSON: The British Open, sometimes a four or five iron off the tee to stay clear of some bunkers.

JACK NICKLAUS: Same thing. It's basically strategizing your game in the U.S. If the Tour wants to use it they will, if they don't, they won't. If they don't if they don't want to try to make the golf course more of a test, they won't use it. But the players control that, frankly. The players control the Tour, it's their Tour. They'll make up their mind and we'll abide by what it is.

End of FastScripts.

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