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May 6, 2004

Jay Delsing


CHRIS REIMER: Jay Delsing, you're 67, 5 under, one of your best first rounds in quite a while. It's real nice to be in this position. Talk about the front nine coming out and putting up a 32 on the front now and how that felt to get off to a good start

JAY DELSING: As I said earlier, this golf course is fantastic. It's old style. You really have to put the ball in the fairway to have a chance of controlling your ball to get it around the hole, and I did a nice job of that on the front nine. I hit most of the fairways. I think I may have missed just one, maybe two. So I hit a couple of nice iron shots where I didn't have some of these putts that can be really breaky and speedy. Actually, some of the greens were actually slowish. An uphill putt into the grain was much slower than we anticipated. The whole group was leaving them short. It was a great way to start.

You just want to try to get -- this golf course has so much to offer and it's so difficult that you just -- it's easier for me to stay really focused on the hole I'm playing because it's so hard and so demanding. If you let your mind wander, you can make mistakes at any time.

I said this earlier to the TV guys, the city of Charlotte, I haven't spent much time in Charlotte. This is my 20th year on Tour, the tournament is unbelievable. The organizers have done every single thing they can think of to make it wonderful for the players, and that is so terrific. It's amazing how far the TOUR has gone and the fact that we have this event, and Wachovia is such a great title sponsor. And the people, the volunteers, and the crowds yesterday in the Pro-Am, it's a real tribute to the town.

The only thing I remember about Charlotte, you beat my Rams in the playoffs last year. That's the only thing I can remember about it. It's great to be here. I didn't really think I was going to play this week. At Sunday of New Orleans I was the 12th alternate and I heard great things about this tournament, I thought there was very little chance of getting in, but because of the weather was so lousy, people started pulling out. By Tuesday I was in. I'm thankful to be here.

Q. Just talk about the whole mindset of coming in as an alternate. During your practice round you don't know whether you're going to be playing on Thursday. Talk about that.

JAY DELSING: I'm in the qualifying school category from my veteran member status. You still don't have much security in planning your schedule. I went through the school, I made it through, but I didn't have a very good number. We had a reshuffle on the West Coast that moved me up considerably, but what happens is, the deadline is Friday at five, people commit and then you have withdrawals for various reasons. The tournament goes to Monday in New Orleans, the weather has been lousy the last two weeks at Shell in Houston and HP in New Orleans, so everybody's schedules are haywire, all the travel plans you make are all pushed back.

I was figuring, because this tournament is such a heavy reputation that -- you know, I've got four kids, I had a week full of doing dad stuff. I went from 12th alternate to fifth to being first in a matter of probably 36 hours. I really couldn't believe it, but it was more of a reflection of the lousy weather we've been having.

Jay Williams, who lives in St. Louis, as I do, was the person who pulled out and I ended up taking his spot. It's kind of difficult on your game. It's nice to know you're playing the Friday prior so you can kind of set a schedule to see the golf course, which I had never seen, getting a little practice regimen going so you can put X amount of time in for your short game, whatever it may be, everybody is different.

With me, I got in my Mercedes at about 6:15 on Tuesday evening, which was a real treat, drove around like I owned it. It was great. And I got out to the golf course about 10 to 7, picked up a caddie, because my regular caddie couldn't get here from Houston. He lives in Houston and it was too crazy, too expensive, so I picked up a caddie, who I've known for awhile, Terry Holden, who is terrific, and we played nine holes. And I got up the next morning at 5:30 and played before the Pro-Am.

So I got to see the golf course. I was very impressed with the golf course, the condition of the course. And obviously, like I said, the tournament is fantastic, so it's been a little whirlwindish for me, but I've played a lot of golf, so I'm just glad to have a start.

Q. With an unknown schedule and playing at the crack of dawn, do you feel a little like a stepchild a little bit?

JAY DELSING: Those days are over for me. A lot of people, they'll come up to me and say, why aren't you playing better, why aren't you winning? My year is going to begin somewhere after the U.S. Open because I'm going to be able to make a nice schedule for myself. Once daylight savings kicks in, people don't realize it, but there are 12 more people playing just because of daylight, so you go from a field size of 144 to 156, so there are 12 more spots.

You'll get some time to play, but you don't get a lot of continuity. You don't get to play a lot in a row. This is my 20th year, so I wasn't concerned, I know I get to play plenty of golf, it's just later in the year. I try to stay patient, which I suck at really for myself, but stay patient with myself. I've been playing well, I just haven't been scoring very well. Today, it was nice to knock some putts in. And I haven't been putting the ball in the fairway very well, I was able to do that today, and that's key on this golf course.

Q. Talk a little bit about that 20-year career, if you would. You've had some ups and downs. What it would mean to win, if you won here this weekend after 20 years?

JAY DELSING: You know what, it's a great point. I won a tournament the last -- I think the last two years on the Nationwide. I played some Tour events here and played some Nationwide stuff. I was fortunate to win a couple of he event over there. And just the experience was -- I really didn't realize how much I missed this. It's been a long time since I won at a high, high level. It was thrilling to be able to go through, you know, the four rounds and to compete, and to wind up on top was terrific.

It would mean a lot to me. It won't change the person that I am. It won't turn my world upside down or anything like that, but it will be neat to know you can put your head on the pillow at night and know one week you came out on top. I've worked the last several years physically on my game, my swing, and I'd really like to have that chance to be nervous to play on Sunday this week. I'm going to do one thing at a time and go out tomorrow and keep hitting fairways and keep getting looks at it for birdie.

Q. How much of a Rams fan are you really?

JAY DELSING: I'm much more of a Cardinal fan and Blues fan. The Rams are fun. They are an exciting team to watch, their style of play. They are exciting to watch. That's why it was kind of a bummer the way the game ended, with them -- Mike Martz has kind of been a gunslinger his own time in St. Louis and it's right there and he kind of backed off it. For us, we were kind of like, what happened. If you get under enough scrutiny, he may have just took the safe way out, which I don't think he's used to. I was sure surprised. You all had a heck of a team. Great Super Bowl, too, by the way. Who would ever thought y'all could score that many points. It was fun, up-and-down.

Q. During that 20 years, was there ever a time when you thought what am I doing here?

JAY DELSING: Yes, I couldn't count the times. The best way for me to describe it is -- as a kid I grew up on a muni golf course and started playing golf with my mom's club. If someone would have said to me back then, look, we'll give you a 20-year career on the PGA TOUR, you may not have won yet but you probably will, you haven't, but I would have signed up in a heartbeat. You know what I mean? It's one of those things that, you can't really describe it. I mean, I think I spent a lot of my years just trying to figure out what the heck was going on out here and how could I compete. And then you get a family and you're trying to figure out how do I play and keep a family going and be involved in these kids' lives. It's really easy to get tunnel vision and just go, I'm going to spend all my time out here and let that go.

I've thought about quitting a million times, but it all goes back to, if I can encourage my kids to chase a dream, that's exciting, and to try to tell them, look, it doesn't matter if you win, what matters is you do your best, and to truly believe that. It does really matter. I really would like to win before it's all over. If I go out and do my best, just like Joe Ogilivie last week, he's a buddy of mine and he goes out with a one-shot or two-shot lead and shoots a 68 and gets beat. What are you going to do. He didn't lose the tournament, Vijay won. That's how good everybody is.

I'll tell you what, the degree of golfer, player, athlete now compared to 1985, it is so unbelievable. The ball is going miles, there's nothing taken for granted anymore. You see a lot of 17 or 18-year-old kids coming out with a nutritionist and yoga instructor, and sports psychiatrist. We didn't know anything about that back then.

Q. Let's go through your birdies.

JAY DELSING: I birdied No. 2, the par 3, 8-iron to about four or five feet.

Birdied No. 4, with a driver off the tee, and an 8-iron to about 15 or 20 feet, made a nice downhill putt there.

I birdied 8 with a 3-wood off the tee and 60-degree wedge to about a foot.

Birdied 9 with a driver and 7-iron to about, I don't know, maybe five or six feet and made that.

I'll tell you what's amazing is, when I come out here and I look at this front nine and I look at some of the length of these holes and then I go out and play No. 9, driver 7-iron, and you sit there and go 491 yard hole, that's ridiculous. Heck, we need that. It's amazing because I'm certainly not the longest guy out there. It's conceivable those guys can hit 9-iron and wedges into that thing. The conditions are conducive to that, too. As it gets warm, this ball pops and the driver -- I mean, we look back at No. 11 today, I don't know how long the hole is, but the whole group was going to hit little bitty wedges in there. We couldn't believe it. I mean, it's a nice turn. You've got to turn the ball 15 yards. The golfer today is fantastic. They are really very good.

I birdied No. 10, driver, 5-wood to the very back of the green. I don't know how long the putt was, but it was long, probably 60 feet. I putted up to a foot or so.

I made a nice save on 13. It was really the worst iron shot I made. I hit it left of the green, and up over a ridge and actually used my putter to pitch and run it through that grass to three or four feet and made a nice little putt there.

15, driver, 3-wood, just on the right fringe, I don't know, probably a 35, 40, maybe a 50-footer. I putted down to about 3 and a half, four feet and made that.

The only bogey I made was 16. That's kind of the game. I hit a great drive, took a right-hand bounce, went into the trap. Hit a very good second shot that just didn't carry the bunker and buried. Hit a great bunker shot to about 15 feet and almost made the putt.

In terms of going around, like for example on No. 9, I hit my 7-iron thin and it goes six feet from the hole. I hit my 8-iron beautifully out of the bunker and it buries in the trap. I hit two good shots, nice putts on 17 and 18 for birdie, as well. 8 or 9-footer on 17, and probably a 15 footer on 18. I had a lot of chances.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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