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June 27, 2000

Gary Daniels


LES UNGER: Would it be safe to say that you know more about this golf course than any of the other guys who are going to play.

GARY DANIELS: I certainly hope so I played it several hundred times so I got a little experience on the course.

LES UNGER: Tell us your assessment of how the pros will do here; what their problem spots might be if any, just anything like that that you can think about.

GARY DANIELS: Two holes come to mind or three holes come to mind. The second hole I think is going to be a tough hole during the week depending on where the wind is blowing.

LES UNGER: On the second hole? Of course, I don't think we have a score card here. Just give us the dimensions, please.

GARY DANIELS: I believe it is 430, the overall length if I am not mistaken, and if the wind is into you, it makes it play awful long. They will be hitting long irons into the green and particularly if they have the pin, I think, on the left, back left, it is going to make it tricky for them to get back there with a long iron. You can't go over the green -- really tough to get up-and-down if you are over the green. No. 10 obviously is going to be a real difficult hole from a putting standpoint. I think it is the narrowest fairway we have from a tee shot standpoint, but placement on the green is going to be crucial there because of the slope of the green, it is very fast. And I think that if you are above the hole it is anybody's guess if you can get down in two. It is going to be real tough. No. 11, excuse me, I just said it is -- our course has been changed around for the tournament so I apologize, it is actually playing No. 16 here for the tournament, so I apologize for that. No. 11 is the hole I am thinking, the par 3 uphill, that green is putting very, very difficult. Difficulty is very, very high on it right now. Again, if you are above the hole you can putt it off the green. It is very tough to get close to the pin from above the hole so I think a lot of guys will probably play short of the green itself and chip up if the pin is up front and just play from the middle of the green and putt up the hill if the pin is in the back. That is the safe way to make three. They are going to have some new pin placements, I think, with the addition on some of the greens. No. 16 they added a little portion to the back right which I think is real good pin placement. They added a section on No. 13, the par 5 to the back right. I don't know how much they are going to be able to use that green because of the grass that is there. I think that will be quite interesting, see if they can get it back there in the corner. And No. 9, they added a little bit to the front right section. They will tuck it close - looks like they can tuck it closer to that front right bunker and that should make it an interesting golf shot as well.

LES UNGER: Let's assume that we don't have any crazy weather; what do you think might win this?

GARY DANIELS: I think the quality of the field is better than it was in 1992 and I believe minus 8 won it in 1992, so I would say somewhere around minus 9. I am going to say it is a little better this year because of the quality of the field.

LES UNGER: If you go through -- well, of course, we are not sure you are going to play -- do you play all four rounds here automatically? There is a cut?

GARY DANIELS: That is correct.

LES UNGER: Let's assume you make the cut, what would you be happy with, short of winning?

GARY DANIELS: Obviously making the Top-10 or 15 I guess you get an invite back. There is also sorts of other nice things that go along with that. Who knows realistically right now my -- I have been playing well. My irons are good. I need to work on my putting. USGA has done a great job of getting this golf course into shape and Terry Laurent has done a fabulous job getting this course into conditions that the membership never sees. These greens are putting a lot differently than we ever see them and obviously it always boils down to putting, but the rough is the equalizer as well out here. I am just hoping to make the cut and if I can play consistently that well, I will be extremely ecstatic with my play to say the least. Dealing with the distractions is another thing -- it is a new experience for me and I am trying to learn how to do it. It is a welcome problem to have. Let's put it that way.

Q. Talk about the rough.

GARY DANIELS: They worked hard on the fairways to get them a lot tighter. They are still soft. The ball doesn't have much roll, but you can see how tight the fairways are now. We don't quite cut them to the same specifications so they are tighter and that means that when you hit shots into the green you get a lot more backspin on the ball and you have to be careful with your sand wedges -- your wedges on full shots. You have to try to control them a little better. We are not used to that. We are used to having the ball sit right where it makes its pitch mark. Now you can have it backed up 20 or 30 feet if you are not careful. That is one major issue. And, of course, players don't have to deal with the rough. They have, this spring, but, for the most part, no, we never have rough more than an inch and a half high, so.....

Q. When Jim Booros played in the local Nike tournament, he said it was one of the hardest tournaments he ever played in because of the hometown people coming to watch him. He felt almost obligated to play for them and found it a distraction to his game. How do you plan to deal -- obviously, all your friends and members and wives and family, people are all going to be here; how are you going to try to block that out and play your normal game under that circumstance?

GARY DANIELS: Well, I am trying to take all this as a positive and just they are all out there rooting for me which is great, and I appreciate very much all of their well-wishing and support and it has been overwhelming. Yesterday was a tremendous, tremendous experience on the first tee when I got a big ovation; rather longwinded introduction which I appreciated very much. It was a great experience. Seeing everybody around the course, it is very distractive, but it is also very welcomed. Getting this is just part of a learning experience that I have got to learn how to turn it on and off; be able to acknowledge everyone and be able to enjoy doing that, but then being able to turn that off and go back to focusing on my routine and the next shot I have to hit. I am finding that is a lot more difficult than it sounds like when you think about it. When you watch it on television you say: I wonder how these guys do it. It doesn't look that tough to do. But I think if you have never done it before, trying to do this is not that easy. I am going to work hard at it and see if I can do better at it.

Q. You talked about holes that are difficult. Why don't you tell us what holes do you think guys are going to have to birdie in order to score well here?

GARY DANIELS: This isn't one of the courses that these fellows can come out and find an easy hole. There is no surefire birdie hole, I don't think, out here. I would say that 10 has its possibilities. It is a short iron into 10. I would think 1 is a very good possibility. And let's see here. (looking at document). I am a senior. I don't have my glasses. (laughter) There aren't too many out there that I can think of off the top of my head that are really easy holes that you can count on birdie. Depending on the pin placements, I think that they are -- in an Open, par is a really great score. A birdie is such a bonus that par 5s may be the only real option.

Q. Tell me if you had a plan out so far in advance to prepare yourself to qualify for this Open, because obviously being a member, being an excellent player, you probably have had this in your mind for some time. Tell me a little bit about your routine and how you have gotten ready for this.

GARY DANIELS: When we found out that we were going to be hosting this Open, I decided -- I think I checked my date of birth, and I figured -- I did the math. I said: This is some -- something is in the stars here; this is a little bit too weird. So I figured that there was -- I think this is something I can work for. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have this all work out. And so it was about five years ago that I started with a plan to work on my game and do a realistic assessment of where my game was, not only from a mechanical standpoint, but the mental standpoint. I guess my life, in general, I did a total assessment. I worked awful hard on my mechanics and on the mind game. I got -- I have to thank Mike Petersen, who has been my swing coach. He has done a tremendous job in the last three years for me. And Rick Jensen, who has worked with my head. He has helped me an awful lot. I just started with him last year. I noticed probably a two- or three-shot swing in my average round of golf just by how he helped me. For me, that is what I need. I'd also like to thank Chris Verna, my physical therapist, for getting me in such good physical shape.

Q. When you started this plan, what was your handicap? What did you get it down to?

GARY DANIELS: My handicap was about a 2, and I have been as low as a plus 2 -- right now a plus 1. I saw a distinctive drop in my handicap last year. That's really out of a result from being with Rick Jensen. And scheduling more tournaments. I had to play more tournaments to get a feel for what it is like, and played in the Dixie Amateur last December and that was a real key for me to know that I can play with the senior amateur group and feel comfortable knowing that I can play pretty much as well as anyone. I did well in that tournament. I made it to the semifinals and lost to Rick Ten Broeck, I didn't feel too bad that. I wasn't playing all that well. In December we take some time off between November -- I didn't really have all of my game; had to bring all of my game to that tournament, I knew that. I felt pretty good playing.

LES UNGER: If you had a successful week, in your own mind this week, you have aspirations of trying the Tour a bit?

GARY DANIELS: I have got a very good life here. We haven't really discussed that and Susan and I haven't really spent a lot of time talking about it. And that is something I will consider when the time comes. If we have a good tournament, we will discuss it and see if there is any possibility. But it is a different lifestyle and the travel, all those things, there are lots of issues that we have got to be on the same page with, so.....

Q. Gary, whether you make the cut successful or not, your golfing, will it change in the future in terms of tournaments that you play or what you will try to accomplish?

GARY DANIELS: You know, making this a five-year goal, it certainly has been. Now to set my next set of goals is only to try to get to Saturday and Sunday. And I know if I can do that, there will be a lot more invitations to get to play in certain prestigious tournaments which when they come to you, then I am looking forward to that if it does come. I will probably play a few more USGA events. I haven't played too many of them in the past. So perhaps I will be playing a few more.

Q. Tell me about your caddie situation; what are you going to do with someone carrying your bag? I am sure you have got a lot of offers.

GARY DANIELS: Well, I think half the membership would like to caddie for me and that is great. What I did was I have a fellow that caddied for me last year here who is a caddie at the club and he caddied for me at the qualifier and he has been caddying for me right now. Brad McGroarty is his name. He is a real nice fellow. He has helped me a lot getting me through the stages to here. Hopefully if I get to Sunday, my wife will be carrying my bags, be able to walk down the 18th fairway with her; that is my motivation right now.

Q. How about the guys back in the shop, you obviously have a very successful business here in Allentown. What has been the feedback from them? Are they happy to have the boss gone for a couple of days?

GARY DANIELS: Yeah, I don't know if the enthusiasm is because I am in the tournament or because I am not there. I think they are all really ecstatic about the fact that I am playing in this. They are all very proud of me and I am fortunate to have such a good group at my business to let me get away and come out and enjoy this and do it without having to worry too much about what is going on back there. They are doing a tremendous job.

Q. The only problem was they gave you a courtesy car; it wasn't a Cadillac?

GARY DANIELS: That is right. We tried to work that out last year, but unfortunately it didn't work out.

LES UNGER: We just can say thank you and good luck.

GARY DANIELS: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts….

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