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April 26, 2001

Robert Damron


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Robert Damron into the interview room. 5-under, currently the leader --


NELSON LUIS: Tied. Currently tied on top of the leaderboard. Obviously a good start for you. Why don't you just kind of walk us through your thoughts on the round today.

ROBERT DAMRON: It was freezing cold this morning. And luckily the wind didn't really kick up until the temperature kind of rose a little bit, so it wasn't so bad. But it is still pretty cold. It took me forever TO get warmed up. It was unbelievable. I couldn't hit a solid shot the first, I don't know, six, seven holes and just got up-and-down scrambled a little bit to hang it 1-under, I think. Finally my sweater came off and the sun came out a little bit, got back in the trees, I started making some better swings.

NELSON LUIS: Let's go ahead and start off with the birdies.

ROBERT DAMRON: Started on the backside, 10, hooked a drive in the left rough. That was my first swing of the day and then I hit a 9-iron to about 12 felt behind the hole, made that. I bogeyed the very next hole, 3-putt from the right side of the green. Then 13 the par 5, I just -- I laid up. Driver, then laid up about 90 yards, hit sand wedge ten feet, made it. So at that point I make 3 good putts, good par saver and two good putts. Rolling there a little bit. Birdied 2, so I am making a lot of pars -- I saved a lot of pars between there and then 2 I hit a good 3-iron to the front of green just front left, chipped down eight feet, not a real good chip, then made that. Bogeyed the very next hole. Another long, long 3-putt. Then birdied 4, I hit 5-iron almost in, rolled about eight or nine feet by and made that. 6, I hit 8-iron to eight feet, seven feet, made that. 3-iron on 8 was unbelievable. It was playing so hard the wind is swirling and I think I just landed it in the rough short of the pin, rolled down this hump, eight feet, I made that. That is -- there is not going to be many birdies there today. I hit a bad drive on 9, laid up with a 3-wood and 9-iron to about ten feet, made that.

NELSON LUIS: Questions.

Q. Jerry Kelly said he was fine with the weather this morning. Why were you so cold?

ROBERT DAMRON: I don't know. I felt okay on the range. I felt like I got loose and between the range and hitting a few putts and going to the 10th tee I just couldn't -- I stiffened up a little bit and I couldn't get it back. I finally started taking off my sweater to hit and then putting it back on to try to warm up. But it didn't do much good. I just had to try to do the best I could for a while.

Q. Is that unusual for you to put it on/off and on and off?

ROBERT DAMRON: Usually I don't have much of a problem with the cold weather. I guess I am just getting old. It is catching up with me.

Q. Been a lot of talk about the rough not being as high. Any thoughts on that?

ROBERT DAMRON: It is not as high as it normally is. It is not at all what I expected. Really this is one of the things that -- that is the first thing you look for when you show up, I think and you expect is -- I mean the U.S. Open doesn't have anything on the rough than what we have had here the last two, three years. They just made a decision to go shorter. I don't know if it's good or bad. So far so good. I would like to see -- I'd like to see a variation, you know, because we haven't had much rough this year, so it won't bother me to see some deep rough but I am not going to complain about it.

Q. (Inaudible) he actually was saying it gives the potential for bigger scores because guys think they maybe can get away with more, anything (inaudible)

? ROBERT DAMRON: I don't think so. The fact is maybe you can catch a flier, knock it over the green or maybe it is tough to control the distance, sure, but you know, you can also pull the shot off; whereas if you are just chipping out to the fairway with a sand wedge, you know, it is always tougher doing that. But you know, it does bring a different element into play, especially you know, with the course going to start firming up with a little wind and hopefully no more rain.

Q. Did you come here with any particular expectations?

ROBERT DAMRON: I have had high expectations all year and nothing has happened yet. I have been playing easily my best golf tee-to-green all year. And just haven't been getting it in the hole, putting bad, chipping poorly. And I changed balls this week because my chipping was so bad. I have been using a harder cover ball and it wasn't checking around the hole and I think I got a little gun shy and so got the softer ball out and softer covered ball, urethane Precept, and feel a little more confident like I can be more aggressive and the ball is still going to have a little check when it goes up to the hole and not just keep rolling by.

End of FastScripts....

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