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August 25, 2002

Craig Parry


TODD BUDNICK: We'd like to welcome the 2002 World Golf Championships, NEC Invitational Champions, Craig Parry. Your 20th win worldwide. You've been waiting for a long time for this in the United States. You must feel elated today.

CRAIG PARRY: I'm very, very happy. It's been a long time. I've been knocking on the door for 10 or 12 years, even longer playing events in America. And just really not being able to finish it. And today I probably used a lot of experience, a lot of the setbacks over my career, especially in America. And I played really well. I stuck to my game plan as far as playing the golf course. And I hit the ball pretty good.

TODD BUDNICK: I know it's not a surprise to you, because you felt that you could win over the last few years, and you've already had a second and a third here at the tournament. So it should be no surprise to anybody out there that you finally got that victory.

CRAIG PARRY: It's tough when you're speaking to your wife and she's 15,000 miles away, and she's saying I'm playing good. And she sees 4-over and 2-over. And the last three months of missing so many cuts in a row, but I'm actually playing pretty good. I was getting frustrated out on the golf course, about making bogeys. I felt as though I had to hit it to a foot to make a birdie, because I wasn't holing any putts.

The momentum, the pressure was building up. I sat down with my brother, who is caddying for me, and Jim from Spalding. And Jimmy is like a brother to both of us. And we went out and he followed us, and he said, "We'll come here and play golf." And I really didn't hit too many balls other than warming up this week. And I missed the cut last week, and I arrived here on Sunday morning and I played in the afternoon by myself. There was no one out there. So I actually had plenty of time to get to know the golf course again.

TODD BUDNICK: I think it was the last 48 holes without a bogey, that certainly speaks very high of your game on this type of course.

CRAIG PARRY: I tried to keep a lot of the hills -- when the flag went close to a hill, I tried to stay away from it so I could have a chance at making a par or a birdie, trying to keep a lot of pressure off the second putt and the third putt, if it was going to have that effect, because the greens can get very quick out there. And I holed a few good putts on the front nine, and I hadn't been doing that, so it was nice for it to happen at this time.

Q. When you talk about relying on past setbacks, that experience, what were you thinking about? What did you do differently that you didn't do previously?

CRAIG PARRY: Previously, I played too far ahead of where I was on the golf course, as far as worrying about holes in a couple of holes time, or a flag I knew I couldn't get to and things like that.

Whereas today, if I couldn't get to that flag, I just aimed in the middle of the green. And like the 6th hole, for example, the flag was in the left-hand corner, and I hit a good drive and hit a 6-iron straight in the middle of the green, and the flag was really behind the bunker. I knew Robert could get to that flag, because he hits a bit of a hook. And I thought, "Don't worry about what he's doing, just play my game," and that's really what I hadn't been doing in the past: Just focusing on myself, don't worry about anyone else out there, just playing the game that I had to.

Q. On No. 2, after Fred hit the water, and Robert was already in the mess and stuff, you played your shot over a little bit. Even though you wanted to play your own game, watching them, did it --

CRAIG PARRY: If I was on the fairway, I would probably have gone more at the hole, but I was in the rough, so I didn't have much of an opportunity to go at the flag. And I hit a 2-iron a little bit out of the rough and I hit a pretty good shot, I thought. And that set up for a bit of momentum. 2, 3, 4 were huge on putting pressure on the other guys.

Q. You talked about missing lots of cuts in a row. How many cuts in a row had you missed coming up to this week?

CRAIG PARRY: It's more like six. The last payday was back in June.

Q. Fred Couples is from Seattle. Where did he -- how did he win that tournament in '92?

CRAIG PARRY: '92 Masters, after two holes I was three in front. And hot afternoon, the crowd had a few beers, and they got very vocal. And it was all Freddie. I was playing well, and as soon as Freddie would finish, more or less the crowd started to walk. It wasn't Freddie, it was a few handful of spectators. And that was difficult to handle because I hadn't been used to that.

In Australia, I'm one of the ones that the spectators hang around for; whereas when I was playing over here, it was a very unusual experience. And it does rock you around and take your confidence away. You'll be trying to line up a putt and there would be people moving everywhere, very difficult.

Q. Take us through the -- toward the end of the tournament, you were still -- was there some change at the end or did he just -- where did he go past you?

CRAIG PARRY: I 3-putted 3, 4, 5. And that sort of let the door open up for them. It was Ray Floyd in the front. And if you look back on the tape, you can see what the spectators were doing in the distance. I wasn't used to that. And today I'd say, look, they've got nothing to do with it, I'm just going to play my game.

Q. How did Carnoustie leave you feeling?

CRAIG PARRY: Carnoustie wasn't very good, either. Thanks for reminding me. I probably had the worse lie I can ever remember on the 12th hole. I hit a drive in between the two bunkers on the right, hit a pitching wedge and went about 150 yards, and went in the rough about this high, and moved it about a foot, hit it up near the green, chipped up, missed it, made 7. Then I made double on 17 at Carnoustie. I had my bunker shot and missed that. That was pretty fresh.

Q. How was the course playing today? And what was your key in being able to handle it in a way no one else could?

CRAIG PARRY: I felt as though I hit a lot of irons off the tees. Like the iron on 10, went 280 yards down 10. And I hit another 2-iron on, I think it was, No. 13 -- I'm sorry, 14. It went about 280 yards. I just felt as though I had to hit the ball in the fairway. And just give myself a chance.

Q. After you hit your second shot into 18, the TV cameras caught this really neat little smile on your face. Could you talk about your emotion and what you were feeling at that time?

CRAIG PARRY: Well, I can't swear, but I thought -- it's a long time coming. To win on the Tour means everything to me. If I was really that worried about what everyone else thought and everything like that, I would have been playing every week of the year, not playing events in Australia. I play all over the world, and that's the way I like to keep my schedule. It was just a feeling of, You beauty, I know I can finish it off.

When I hit the bunker shot out on 17, I actually hit a middle sand iron, rather than my lob. Most people would have hit the lob wedge out and rolled it down and made the putt. I thought when Robert holed his putt, I'm going to play the last hole good, in case he makes eagle. But when I hit it on the green, I thought, "I've got it now."

Q. It has been a long time coming, as you said. All those years, did it ever cross your mind that, the clock is ticking, maybe it's not in the cards for me to win here?

CRAIG PARRY: No, it was never so much the clock's ticking. I just always knew it was just a matter of time, being at the right place at the right time. When I was up three birdies, that put enough pressure on the other guys, that made them play more aggressive than they would have liked. What can I say? I felt as though I played smart golf this week.

Q. Some of the people have complained that everybody was lying down for Tiger. Now Rich Beem has won last week and you won this week. Is that mystique somewhat dispelled? Tiger said he didn't play any worse this week than normal?

CRAIG PARRY: That's good, then, I kicked his bum, then (laughter.) Look, Tiger is the best player in the world. What can you say? He hits shots no one else can hit. If he plays good, we're struggling. If he plays average, someone can beat him. There's no question about that. But he's definitely the best player in the world. He can hit shots we can only dream about.

Q. Did you allow the thought of him at all to cross your mind today?

CRAIG PARRY: No, not at all. I was just out really focused on my own game.

Q. How much more satisfying was it not only to win today but the way you won. You came out and the course was tougher, playing tougher, you probably shot the round of the tournament today.

CRAIG PARRY: I felt as though I had to go out there and have a game plan for the golf course. If the flag went left, play to the center. If the flag went right, I could actually get close to the hole. And that was my game plan. Obviously, it's worked out pretty good. And I did everything that I had to do. I put pressure on the other guys, and obviously it made them make bogeys, when they were trying to go for it. And I didn't have any bogeys. And that really made the difference, the five birdies or six birdies, whatever it was, I can't remember.

Q. Talk about playing with your countryman, and also Funk is a pretty easy guy to play with.

CRAIG PARRY: It was a lot of fun playing with Freddie and Rob. We've had quite a few practice rounds, and I play with Robert, as well, when we're at home in Australia. Obviously, that made it very relaxing out there. And there was a lot of talk in between shots and things like that. My old caddy is caddying for Robert Allenby. I had my brother on the bag, and I had one of my best mates on Robert's bag.

My brother's name is Glenn with a double N, and Colin Berwood caddies for Robert.

Q. Just picking up on what you were saying before, did it make it any extra special just the quality of the field and the quality of the players you beat today?

CRAIG PARRY: Well, I suppose it's like a major, because the players -- these are the best players in the world. It will sink in, obviously, in a couple of weeks' time. But at the moment I'm just very happy to win. A win is a win. I suppose I'm a millionaire now (laughter.)

Q. That was my question: What are you going to do with it?

CRAIG PARRY: The Australian government said thank you, they get half of it.

TODD BUDNICK: Your daughter is going to be happy; she has a birthday coming up.

CRAIG PARRY: She's had a birthday. She doesn't get any more. It is great to win such a large check. Truly amazing.

Q. A bigger boat?

CRAIG PARRY: No, not a chance. My wife would kill me. The money is truly amazing, it's mind boggling.

Q. You hit driver on 15, didn't you?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, I hit driver.

Q. And that's a risky drive. Take us through that decision.

CRAIG PARRY: Well, the trees are on the side, and the fairway is up the middle (laughter.) True. I felt as though you're better off hitting driver and getting it up there and having a shot; even if it goes in the rough, I can actually hit 80 yards, 100 yards out of the rough and get the ball on the green. That was the game plan.

Q. How about on 18, also? You came out with a driver. Any thoughts of maybe taking a 3-wood?

CRAIG PARRY: The thing is, if I take a 3-wood, I could probably hit it short of the bunker on the left-hand side or catch a tree on the right. I'm better off hitting driver and getting it down there. When we had the yardage, it was 240 yards to the front of the green. I said to my brother, "Look, we better go with it." Even if you catch a tree at the green, you've only got a chip up the green.

Q. Was the driver new this week?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, brand new driver. It did pretty good, didn't it? It's one of the new Callaways.

Q. Your bogey-free streak was 48?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, and you wouldn't believe where I bogeyed. I bogeyed on 14, and I was that far off the green, and only 8 foot away from the hole.

Q. Have you had a streak like that?

CRAIG PARRY: I had 90 holes in Europe. For the guys in Europe, I made a bogey at Crans, on the shortest par-4 of the year. The one that goes downhill. I went 90 holes once without a bogey.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through your strokes on the birdies, there.

CRAIG PARRY: Driver at the second, chipped up with a 9-iron to about 6 foot.

And then third hole, hit 3-wood off the tee. I hit 8-iron into the green, 12 foot.

4th hole was 3-wood, 9-iron to about a foot.

And then on 9, I hit 4-iron to about 25 feet.

Then on 14, I hit 2-iron, sand wedge to about 12 feet.

Then 18 was driver, 3-wood to the front of the green, 2-putted, rolled it up to two foot.

Q. Any thoughts about what this victory will mean for your career now?

CRAIG PARRY: No, I really don't. My kids are getting older. I'm a family person. I only really come away for three or four weeks as a rule. And the kids are getting a little bit older. I missed my daughter's 10th birthday which was pretty tough. My youngest son was born the week of Augusta. My other son was born in October. And I like to spend time with them. I go to the soccer matches and run around with the kids and do that type of stuff. And I enjoy being with the family a lot. But sometimes it takes its toll on my schedule. I try and have all my holidays when the kids are on holidays. They have three lots of two weeks through the year in Australia. I've been fortunate enough to be able to have that time with them. We go away on my boat and have no TV and just play backgammon and chess and go snorkeling, and do all the normal things.

Q. What's the name of your boat?

CRAIG PARRY: OFF COURSE. That's where you'll find me.

Q. Craig, what's your background like; just in general, where you grew up?

CRAIG PARRY: I grew up in Melbourne, in Victoria. Went to West Australia when I was 17 and played state golf when I was 17, 18. Turned pro when I was 19. I won my first event, actually Victoria Island on the Canadian Tour, the TPC at Point Gray, I think it was. That was in '87. And joined the European Tour for four years. I won four times over there. And then came over here in '92.

Q. When you had that good run at the '92 Masters, did you assume that greater things were to come? Is it shocking in a way when you look back --

CRAIG PARRY: Two weeks later I finished third at Greensboro. I've had guys like Tom Lehman go birdie, birdie to beat me at Colonial. Phil Mickelson chipped in at the Byron Nelson one year on 16 for eagle. I think he ended up beating me by a shot. Nick Price was the hottest golfer in the '90s. He got me down at the Honda. And it was just a matter of -- I felt as though I was playing good and the other guys were just doing that little bit extra and beating me. And I've done that to everyone else this week, and that's good.

Q. What did you do to turn your putting around this week?

CRAIG PARRY: I just spent a lot of time on the greens. I bought a straight line, like a builder's string, and I can get a bit of chalk on it and practice straight putts. I was doing a lot of that, a lot of short game work this week.

Q. Are you going to celebrate this?

CRAIG PARRY: I am going to get blotto. (Laughter.) They might have to carry me off the plane tomorrow morning. I'm sure the Australian customs won't mind.

TODD BUDNICK: I think on that note we'll end. Congratulations, Craig, on your first victory on the PGA TOUR.

End of FastScripts....

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