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June 12, 2006

Andy Svoboda


RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to welcome Andy Svoboda to the interview area for the 2006 U.S. Open. Andy is a member at Winged Foot. Maybe you can start us off with some general comments about what it means to be playing in the U.S. Open at your home course.

ANDY SVOBODA: I'm really living a dream here. I'm really excited to be playing. I grew up playing this course since I was ten, and I've never seen it in better shape. It's just going to be a fabulous week, and I'm looking forward to it.

RAND JERRIS: You saw Winged Foot in championship condition a couple years ago during the U.S. Amateur. Talk about your experiences then and what you may have learned that week that you carry with you this week.

ANDY SVOBODA: I competed in the 2004 U.S. Amateur here, and that was the highlight of my life until this week, and I had a lot of great fan support, a lot of people from this town, growing up here, that came out and supported me, and I'm looking forward to another week of that.

It was just great to qualify for this, and now that I'm in it, I'm looking to play my best and really excited about it.

Q. Andy, I wonder if you could talk about a couple things. How different is the course in terms of the way it's set up this time and opposed to 2004? And have you ever seen talk a little bit about the rough and how good, bad or ugly it is.

ANDY SVOBODA: Well, the course is a little bit different than it was. There's a few new tee boxes out there, on 3, and I believe on 8 it was already there. They've done a bit of green extension work on the West Course to possibly get a few more pins in there, so that's pretty much where it differs from 2004.

As far as the rough, you know, I like what they've done with the tiering of the rough; I think it's fair. You've just got to hit it in the fairway.

Q. How thick is it?

ANDY SVOBODA: Well, I believe the intermediate rough is five inches, and then after that it's probably eight to ten inches. You've just got to chip it out back in the fairway.

Q. Just walking around today, for instance, I'm wondering how far can you go without someone from the club stopping you or someone that you know yelling your name? I've got to think it was five or six times on every hole probably.

ANDY SVOBODA: Yeah, it's pretty awesome. I'm just going to feed on that, and when I get out there I'm just going to play my own game and see what happens. I'm just happy to have the support. It's just unbelievable. It's the best experience I've ever had.

Q. Just as a follow up, does it have potential at all to be overwhelming at all, just having that many people around all the time rather than trying to focus on golf, maybe trying to make eye contact with you or anything like that?

ANDY SVOBODA: No, I don't think so. I'm just going to be in my own little world out there and my own little zone and just going to compete to the best of my abilities, which is going to be great.

Q. I have a question about the dogleg holes on this course. I think there are about ten of them. Is that going to be significant in your thoughts, for all players, not just you?

ANDY SVOBODA: I think the holes are pretty they're fairly straight. You don't have any major doglegs, really. Some holes you've got to work the ball with a little draw, and 8 you have to hit a fade. But pretty much you just have to shape the ball a little bit towards the hole. It's not like you have to there's not a lot of really big doglegs out there.

Q. Chris Lewis you chose to caddie for you. I'm wondering when did you call him and ask him, and obviously he's a guy that you respect. I'm just wondering if that was a foregone conclusion that you were going to ask him?

ANDY SVOBODA: Yeah, pretty much after I made it at Canoe Brook, I called him the next day and asked him to caddie for me. He's been wanting to caddie for me for a while in a major tournament. He's caddied for me many times just playing around here. I just think he's a great guy and I really love him, and I'm looking forward to having some fun with him.

Q. You're familiar with all the various aspects of a USGA setup. What part of this golf course do you think would be the most difficult with what they will be able to use? Is it the rough, the length, any of that?

ANDY SVOBODA: Well, certainly the course is very challenging. You have a lot of really long, difficult par 4s, and you just really have to be patient out there and hit quality golf shots and play one shot at a time and just add them up at the end. That's all you can do.

Q. You've played here since you were ten years old. Give me an estimate of how many rounds you've played out here, and how different does this golf course look right now than what the normal membership plays?

ANDY SVOBODA: Well, I estimated that I've played probably 150 rounds here a year for 14 years, so you can do the math on that. It's a lot, probably 1,500 or over 1,500 or something like that. As far as how it normally plays for the members, they usually do not have the rough anywhere near this height. But for a lot of like the club championships and the Anderson Memorial that we have here, which is a really awesome amateur event, the course plays really hard.

Q. Is it much narrower at this point?

ANDY SVOBODA: They've done some narrowing, but the fairways are pretty soft. The fairways are plenty wide.

Q. Given your knowledge of the course and then kind of just looking to last year at Jason Gore sort of coming out of nowhere, do you let your mind wander a little bit and think that since you know this place so well and since it's been shown that it's possible to sneak up there, that maybe that can be you?

ANDY SVOBODA: No, I'm not going to let myself get ahead like that. I'm just going to go about my business out there, and whatever happens, happens. It's going to be great.

RAND JERRIS: Talk to us a little bit about qualifying at Canoe Brook and what might have been going through your mind there as you were watching the scores come in and started to realize that you had a chance to earn a spot in the field here this week.

ANDY SVOBODA: Well, I played well all day. I had an unbelievable second round where I made seven birdies. I was 5 under for the tournament, and a bunch of reporters came up to me, so I figured I probably had a chance if they were coming up to me. I just waited it out. I was really anxious. I knew I played well, and I was pretty much hoping that I would make it, and once I made it, I was just relieved and really excited to be playing.

Q. You turned pro after the Amateur?


Q. Tell us what you've been doing the last couple years, where you play, how you've done.

ANDY SVOBODA: I turned pro in 2004 after the Amateur. I played in the Met Open. After that I went to Q school and made it through the first stage and missed in the second, and then I played on the Hooters Tour all year and went to Q school again last year, made it through the first, missed in the second. And this year again I've been playing on the Hooters.

Q. Just as a follow up to that, we talked a little bit about how qualifying for this could be a potential jump start for you. I'm just wondering if you can characterize how you feel your pro career has gone so far and what this week could mean, does mean already in terms of the future.

ANDY SVOBODA: Well, I'm certainly getting a lot of exposure, which is always a good thing. You know, it's just an honor to be playing on my home course. It takes a while to become a great pro. You have to learn. There's a learning process. You have to have a support team, and you have to work hard. Playing with the best players in the world, you've got to have a lot of dedication.

RAND JERRIS: Andy, thanks very much for your time, and we wish you luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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