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June 25, 2005

Brad Faxon


CHRIS REIMER: Well, Brad, there's probably easier ways to get us to talk about your charity event on Monday but since you're in front of the media now why don't we start off and talk about some of the players and some of the guys that don't know about the CVS Charity Classic.

BRAD FAXON: Sure, we'll talk about it. We've been doing the CVS Tournament in Rhode Island for seven years now, Billy Andrade and I is the "we," and we have a great partnership with Tom Ryan and CVS. We've raised over $6 or $7 million the last five or six years; last year 1.4. We've got headliners this year", Arnold Palmer, Sergio Garcia, Davis Love, Chris DiMarco, Freddie Funk. Billy plays with Arnold this year because of the Wake Forest connection. For some reason Sergio wants to play with me, which I like, and it's a blast. We sell it out. We have over 10,000 people that come to watch. It's at Rhode Island Country Club which is my home course and Billy's home course, where we grew up and it will be on the Golf Channel. It's a great, great event and I appreciate you letting me talk about it.

CHRIS REIMER: You've now made 17 consecutive cuts here. What is it about this place? What do you know about this place.

BRAD FAXON: It's funny how people bring that up and you never even think of it really. I was thinking about it when I was 4 over par on Friday morning after four holes. I don't know, I love Westchester Country Club, I love this golf course, I've loved it ever since I've seen it. I'm a big fan of the northeast golf. I like poa annua greens, I like Walter Travis's golf courses, played at Cape Arundel a few times. I like these quirky greens. I like tee shots where you can't see where you're going, and everything seems to fit my game. I don't know why.

Q. Do you recall the last time you teed off on Sunday within two shots of the lead?

BRAD FAXON: In a tournament? (Laughter) I would say the Honda Classic maybe, I was pretty close this year. That would be it.

Q. Residual effects from the knee injury?

BRAD FAXON: They have had absolutely zero impact on my play I can't say zero. I know that my knee doesn't feel right, but I'm not standing over a shot, ever, thinking, boy, my knee hurts. Maybe squatting down a lineup on putting and favoring the right side more. It has not been a huge factor other than uncomfortable click, click, click. I think you think about it more when you don't play well than when you do play well. I feel like I could climb up the Empire State Building right now. I hate to say it's not a factor because it was for a while, just the uncertainty. The advice I would give to anyone, you know, who might have ACL tears, do it right now, don't wait.

Q. You haven't had surgery?

BRAD FAXON: I haven't had surgery, no.

Q. What were the keys to your round today?

BRAD FAXON: I think the par 5s were the key to my round. I haven't played them particularly well this week, in fact, the ninth hole yesterday was the first time I birdied a par 5. These par 5s, if you can't reach them you get very close to them in two, a good drive and I reached No. 9 I actually hit it over the ninth green today, got right on the front of No. 5, and No. 18, got it pretty close to the front edge of the green. 18 is actually playing pretty long, you have to hit a pretty good drive to get there in two but I birdied all three of them today and I thought that was a big key.

Q. You're playing with a torn ACL in your right knee?

BRAD FAXON: I am, yes.

Q. How did you do it?

BRAD FAXON: Not swinging a club. (Laughter) It was such a stupid thing I did that I don't even want to talk about it, but I was working out and I felt.

Q. How long ago was that?

BRAD FAXON: A year ago November.

Q. And are you going to get it done?


Q. How about just being the position you're in, obviously you have not been this close for a while, how about being in position going into the final round?

BRAD FAXON: I'm very happy to tell you the truth. I felt comfortable out there today. I felt like I've been there before, so it was good. I'm looking forward to being nervous, looking forward to playing and looking forward to having a chance. I mean, I don't know what the leaderboard looks like, I know it's kind of jammed up there pretty close. I know I'll be within a few shots starting tomorrow.

Q. You're about the only one in the top seven or eight guys who made a charge and sustained it. Why do you think that's not happening among other people; is it the nature of the golf course?

BRAD FAXON: You know, you get your chances out there on the front nine. There's a few holes that are short 5, 6, 7 if you hit a good tee shot now; 9 and 10, and then 11, 12, 13 are very difficult. Even 14 that's a short hole, if you're not on the correct side of the cup you have a tough putt and I happened to make like a 30 foot downhiller that's probably still rolling in (if) it misses.

15 is a tough hole, 16 is a tough hole. 17, I made a terrible bogey there from the middle of the fairway, but it's just hard. The greens are good, but they are poa annua, there's a little bit of shape to them. Some of them are drying out. Some are harder than others. Some are softer. It just bugs you a little bit because you think you should be making all of these putts and you never really have a straight in 4 footer, it seems like. There's always a little break and you're going, well, it can't be straight, because I don't have straight ones there.

Q. If the knee has not really bothered you much, why haven't you been in this position for the last 18 months?

BRAD FAXON: That's a good question. If I knew that, I wouldn't be in this position too often.

Q. Is there a particular part of your game that's just maybe left a little?

BRAD FAXON: It's probably a long story, but I've I think I've messed around a little bit too much with my swing. It's affected my confidence tee to green, not just not just the way I hit the ball, but I've played pretty good golf over the years by being a great chipper and putter. For some reason, I think that I can change that and become a great ball striker and a great chipper and putter, and I've gotten worse in all three departments.

Just trying to simplify things, I still think I can get better, and hopefully I can do some good stuff tomorrow.

Q. What's this about you missing a wedding this weekend?

BRAD FAXON: I was asked to be a best man in a wedding, one of my close friends, a guy named Pete Arcerio asked me last year to be his best man and he was supposed to be getting married in May, he came from Rhode Island and was going to do it in Newport, but his fiancee, wife now, has a place in East Hampton and they found a church that was open today. I said, no, not this weekend. But my wife went there to substitute for me, and I feel terrible, I've never been a best man in anybody's wedding so it would have been great.

Q. So you had already committed to being the best man?

BRAD FAXON: Yeah, and fortunately he's got four or five brothers. I was supposed to go. I was even going to fly out after the round today, the wedding was supposed to be at 6 o'clock, and I could have flown out and done something stupid, it was 3 o'clock until a few weeks ago. That's too bad.

Q. You say you don't feel your knee when you're playing well, the heat, would that bother you as well when you're playing well?

BRAD FAXON: You know, it's hot out there, I think you know. It's not unbearable. We had some pretty hot weather down in Washington, too. You know when you come up here in the northeast you're going to get some hot and humid days and there's nothing really you can do about it.

Q. Are you working with anybody now?

BRAD FAXON: Got a list. (Laughter).

Q. What happened, I wanted to ask you about Ryan Ray, I guess you seemed very excited about it two years ago and it abruptly ended. What's the brief or recent history on your coaches, if there is a brief or recent?

BRAD FAXON: I've had a lot of help from a lot of great teachers over the years. I've been described as being an a la carte guy, you know; take little bits and pieces.

I don't know that that's all bad but I've been trying to get too much information from a lot of guys. I've had help from Kevin Sprecker who works here at Sleepy Hollow. He was out yesterday. A guy named Brian Mogg that teaches a few of the players and Ron Green. In this day and age it seems like you've got to have one guy and do everything one guy says or you can't play.

I'm not that kind of guy.

Q. Does it make you feel good playing well in front of all of these Yankee fans?

BRAD FAXON: I'll have the red and blue on tomorrow. (Laughter).

Q. You talked about, I mean, you said it's a long story to get, if you know why you were struggling you obviously would not be in this position. Can you just talk about what was the low point as far as frustration; was there a specific point where you had grown despondent at all?

BRAD FAXON: It's been kind of an emotional year golf wise. If I measured my life based on just golf, it would be a terrible year. I've been doing a lot of other things I like to do besides golf.

I think the start of the year was a bad start. I missed the first three cuts of the year, first four cuts maybe, and I think I made the cut at the Nissan, it was rained out there, Justin Leonard came up and patted me on the back and said, "congratulations." That was probably the worst I felt at the start of the year.

There's been no rhyme or reason. I've had every part of my game go wrong or go south but it seems to be coming back a little bit. I'm hopefully a good tournament or two makes you forget about all that stuff pretty quickly.

Q. Not to belabor the point, is it a backhanded compliment when a guy congratulates you on making a cut?

BRAD FAXON: He was kidding when he said it. I thought it was pretty funny. I haven't lost my sense of humor.

Q. Are you not in the British?

BRAD FAXON: I have to qualify.

Q. But Monday

BRAD FAXON: I'm not doing it Monday. I'm going over there.

Q. You're a golfer from the northeast and you like this course being in the northeast, but the thickness and the lushness of the rough and courses like here compared to California, wherever, how much of a difference is it and how does that make the rough unforgiving at a place like this, compared to the other courses?

BRAD FAXON: Well, it's a different kind of grass here. It's wiry thick ryegrass here, and it's not like the grass you see in California or the grass you see in Florida. I think where you're from, you get accustomed to that kind of stuff and not even think about it. I mean you can get some pretty bad lies here and you can get some pretty good lies. You know, it's like the guy that's from Florida, when he gets stuck in the bermudarough, he kind of likes that better than this.

I always think it's amazing and kind of underrated how good players adjust to the different grasses all the time, you know, different speeds of greens, different textures of bunker, because we don't play in the same conditions all the time. You might get a stretch like this, like this stretch, Memorial, Congressional; actually Pinehurst changed and then here, you're playing on a lot of poa annua and bent, ryes, whereas for a while, April in May, you're playing all different kinds of stuff.

CHRIS REIMER: Can you take us through your club selection for the birdies and bogeys.

BRAD FAXON: I hit a drive and a 7 iron a 3 wood and a 7 iron to the third hole and made a 30 footer up the hill.

5, I hit a good drive with a 3 wood just in front of the green and chipped it to about five feet.

No. 7, I made a bogey there. I hit a good sand wedge for my second shot from the fairway and sucked it all the way down off the green, one of those landed just a foot too short. I made a good 2 putt for a 5 there.

No. 9, I hit a 5 wood over the green in two, chipped it up to about four feet.

10, I drove it just in front of the green and chipped it up to about two inches.

12, great drive, 6 iron, ten feet, birdie.

14, 30 footer with a 9 iron, that was nice.

17, I had another wedge into the green, sand wedge shot, and juiced that one off the green and missed about a 4 footer.

Then No. 18, drive, 3 wood, great pitch to about two feet.

Q. You look at the guys who are in contention, as far as we know, yourself, Padraig, Jim Furyk, both of those guys lost in playoffs in this tournament before, you've obviously had a lot of success here, is that over emphasized as far as being comfortable on a golf course even though is there really something to that?

BRAD FAXON: I don't think it's a coincidence. There's certain maybe types of games. I played with Furyk the first two rounds. He's a guy that controls his ball and doesn't hit it too low, long enough, great putter. Padraig is not the longest guy in the world, but it seems like, I mean, anybody can play well on a certain course but there are a lot of guys that play well more often, like those two guys. I think you always have more confidence when you come back to a place where you've had success, no question.

Q. How are you going to approach tomorrow?

BRAD FAXON: How am I going to approach tomorrow? Well, hopefully I'll be in the last group, one of the last two groups. I felt nice and calm out there today. I was under control and I had a great time. I mean, I'm going to do the same thing I've been doing all week long, just keep going. I mean, I know those are cliches.

I was really impressed with Vijay, he got off to a great start. He's so unaffected by everything. It's like he expects to be there, he's comfortable there. And you know what, he should be. He's playing pretty good golf. Kind of nice to watch.

I asked him, I said, "Are you playing next week? "

He says, "I don't know yet."

I said, "What don't you know?"

He says, "If I get the W, I'm probably going to pull out." (Laughter). So all he's doing is thinking about winning. You know, there's a lot of guys out here playing that don't think about that.

Q. Are you amazed at like, say, the big as well as he played on the front nine and early on, then it sort of got away from him on the back nine that he was still able to hold it together and put a decent number up at the end?

BRAD FAXON: I don't know what he shot, but he's a couple under, isn't he?

Q. 69.

BRAD FAXON: Well, he's 5 under par. Yeah, he's not out of this tournament, you know. And he didn't hit it well coming in, I'm sure he's probably hit four buckets already. (Laughter).

Q. You're right. The last pitch, how many yards away from the pin were you?

BRAD FAXON: 18, yards, 25.

End of FastScripts.

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