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March 13, 2003

Esteban Toledo


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Esteban Toledo. Thank you for coming by for a few minutes. Congratulations on a great start, an 8-under par 64.

How about some comments on your round?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, I played pretty solid today. I hit 11 fairways. I putted really well and that was the key.

JOHN BUSH: How were the conditions of the course, and also the weather this morning?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, on the putting green, it was pretty hot. The think the scores are going to be pretty low. There's no wind; it's quiet. If the wind blows just a little bit the scores are going to be higher.

You know, I guess it's over 7,000 yards. It's not that easy, the conditions, no wind, heat, they are tough pin placements, but these guys are so good that they fire right at the pin every single time.

Myself, I went out there with the attitude to shoot 7-under this morning; that was my key. I told my wife last night that I had a feeling that something was going to happen this morning.

And I'd like to win. My baby's birthday is Saturday and she's with me, and hopefully she'll bring me good luck so I can win for her.

Four years ago, my baby was born in Doral and we were expecting the baby this Saturday, March 16, it's her birthday. So that's why I brought her from California so she could bring me good luck.

JOHN BUSH: If we could get to you take us through your card and then we'll open it up for questions. You started on 10 with four straight birdies.

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: 12, I hit a 3-wood, 8-iron about five feet and made it for birdie.

I had an opportunity for birdie on 13, I believe, from ten feet and hit driver, 8-iron about ten feet and made it for birdie.

Then the par 3, I made about a 50-footer for birdie. That kind of opened the doors for me on that hole.

On the par 5, I hit it on in two and made two putts for birdie.

Missed for birdie from 20 feet on the par 3.

Four feet for birdie on 17.

I hit a pretty good drive on 18 and hit it on the left side just a little bit, it was an impossible shot, I hit two perfect shots and just didn't get nothing. I bogeyed that one.

Then I missed for birdie on 1.

I missed birdie on 2. I hit it about four feet on three. Hit it about ten feet on four, birdie.

And then 8, I hit it about maybe 12 feet for birdie, made it.

9, I hit it on in two and made it for birdie.

So, hit it pretty solid all day.

Q. Would you say it's easy today?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, I don't think it's easy. I just think -- I mean, these guys are playing really well. There were tough pins out there. I think the factor is the wind is not blowing and you will see a lot of good scores. I wouldn't be surprised if 10-under was on the board. Have to hurry up for tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about having a premonition that you were going to play well; what brought that on, do you think?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I guess it's my baby's birthday. It's during that week and I always play well in March, I don't know why. I never play well on the West Coast, never been a West Coast player, I guess, and I always make my money from Florida all the way on. So I'm looking forward for that.

Q. Was there any one hole that you thought was tougher than any other pin, any specific one hole that you are going to remember tomorrow?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: God, I hit it so good that there was none. Probably the par 3 on -- I guess it's 14 or something, that's a long hole. The pin on the left side, I wish I could make it so I could win the car, but that's probably the toughest hole. I think the rest, if you hit it good, you can really score.

Q. Is your child a son or a daughter?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: It's a baby girl.

Q. How old?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: She's going to be four Saturday. They are going home on Saturday; so if I'm playing well, I told my wife, you'd better come over here. So she will fly over, just like she did in Williamsburg two years ago.

Q. What's your daughter's name?


JOHN BUSH: What did you hit in to No. 8?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No. 8, I hit an 8-iron.

Q. Were you paying attention to the board? Were you noticing a lot of low scores?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: No, I don't. When you are playing well the worst thing is to look at the leaderboard.

When things go well, I like to go forward. I like to think what's coming and I just want to play and I'm not going to look at the leaderboard much.

Q. Can you talk about, you had the well-publicized duel with Tiger last year, just what you learned through all of that, and did it make you a better player, or at first did it beat you down? How did it affect you?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: When you're playing with Tiger and you're playing well, it's always learning how to deal with the people, how to deal with the people who are moving and being a better player. Tiger teaches something, the determination that he has. I always had that, but to see him play and make birdies and he never backs off. He always fights all the way to make more birdies, and that's what I learned when I played with him.

It didn't scare me. But I like to play -- like I told my caddie, I'd like to play with Tiger every single week because I know I'll make a lot of money. Every player that plays with Tiger, I think he learns a lot, I don't care who it is.

Q. You're talking about not being scared, but you were a boxer, so probably not a lot scares you; right?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, nobody scares me. (Laughter.)

I like to challenge myself when I'm playing well, and even when I'm playing bad, I'm the kind of guy that I like to work on the driving range and stay there for hours, and I always believe if I practice, it makes everything perfect, so I give it a try every single week, and I like to play every week. I don't know, I'm that way.

Q. How does your background, where you came from, how does that affect your perspective out here?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Well, I mean, I don't take for granted what I have. I didn't have anything at the time and it makes me appreciate what I have now. Sometimes it's difficult because you come from the poor, not to see TV, not to see everything and then you come to the tour and you see everything. It's a little different.

But I've been here for seven years, so I got used to that. I play with Norman, I play with Tiger, and I play with a whole bunch of good guys, and I learn so much every single time that I'm playing with them that my past is gone. Now what I focus on is what is in front of me.

Q. Were you playing with Lancaster?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, he's a really funny guy. (Laughter.)

I just feel sorry for him because I've been kind of in that situation, I saw his caddie just dropping like a sack of potatoes. And David, he's a good guy, he's a good caddie. I'm the kind of guy that if I see something like that, I just cry because I want to do for him and I can't do anything about it.

I see how Neal played after that; that he was kind of concerned about it, and I think pretty much all of us were concerned that he was okay.

Q. Was the caddie taken for treatment?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: I think he went to the hospital.

Q. Did they get another caddie for Neal?

ESTEBAN TOLEDO: Yeah, his friend was on the rope following him. I guess Neal was very lucky that he had them. He came over and started helping Neal; and he made birdie on 1 and 2 and then birdied another hole.

But he was concerned. He was talking about it, "I hope he's okay, I hope he's okay." The first thing he did when he got to the scoring tent, the first thing he was said, "How is he." That's kind of nice.

And the people from here, all of the people did a very, very good job. They went down to take care of him and he's pretty nice.

End of FastScripts....

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