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October 5, 2005

Chris DiMarco


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chris DiMarco, thanks for joining us here at Harding Park at the American Express Championship. This is your fifth one. Maybe start with some opening comments about the golf course.

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, the course is great. It's actually not I don't think it favors the big hitter that much, not as much rough as normal, so the ball will roll through and go into the trees, and obviously not as much rough. If you do miss a fairway you're able to chop it out and get it on the green, plus it's playing hard and fast, which is good.

Q. What are you planning for an encore on The Presidents Cup and the great season you've had?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, I still have one goal left. I haven't won yet. I've got three tournaments left and that's to try to get one in the last three.

Q. A question on the emotions of the Presidents Cup. It was such an emotional thing for you. You were obviously pumped up throughout the thing. Is it tough to come down off of that? And what do you do to get back into another tournament mentally?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, I don't think it's tough to come down. I just think I need to try to stay up there. One thing I've learned is that I have played very good golf in all the team events, so maybe I need to show a little more emotion on the course, maybe get myself pumped up a little more and maybe do that instead of being more like don't let myself get up too high or too low on the golf course.

Obviously I've got a lot of confidence coming from The Presidents Cup and I'm hitting the ball very good. I'm very happy with the way I've hit it the last two days, so I'm looking forward to the next four days.

Q. Starting with the PGA last year, you had a lot of obviously near misses, two majors in a row where you lose in playoffs, and in between that you reach the finals of the Accenture. Do second places, even though you're right there, do they bother you a little bit because you couldn't quite get over the hump?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, I mean, I think the one tournament that bothered me the most this year was New Orleans, where I think I had a good chance to win and I didn't do it. The other ones, I played good enough to win and somebody beat me. Those you can live with. When somebody goes out and beats you and you played really good golf, that's fine. But when you don't play well, those are the ones that stay with you.

Q. How well does this course favor your game? You said it doesn't favor the big hitters, so it would seem like it fits very well.

CHRIS DiMARCO: What it comes down to every week, which is putting. If you look at the stats, I don't know how long it's been that somebody outside, say, the top 20 in putting for the week has won. It just doesn't happen. As long as you can putt well here, you can score well here. The greens are at a great speed. They're rolling very true. The course is right in front of you. There's no tricks, it's right there.

Q. You guys go from one course to another every other week. What is it like coming to a municipal course? Is that a non factor for you guys, or is it a special thing for a guy like you who grew up playing public courses?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't know how many private courses are as good as this one, if this is a municipal course. This course is pretty darn good. I don't know if that has a bearing on it at all, as far as if it's public or private. This is one of the best courses we've played all year.

Q. You talked about putting being a big factor week in and week out. Does that mean if the greens aren't so good, if they're bumpy or soggy or stepped on, is that something that goes into your mindset as one of the reasons you would stay away from a course?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah, that's part of the reason why I do not play Pebble Beach, is because it's normally soggy and you get a lot of footprints out there and the greens aren't as fast as we're normally putting. I like really fast greens. And when I play slow greens, I don't necessarily putt as good as I do on fast greens.

Once you've been out here 10 or 11 years, you know the courses you play well at, you know the ones that suit your game, and you pick and choose. There's 40 tournaments out here, you should be able to find 25.

Q. Given all the second place finishes, does that make you feel like you're closer or better prepared to win than maybe you were a year ago?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, I've done a lot of really good things to win this year. Tiger and I beat the field by 7 when I was just playing against Tiger at The Masters. Davis was, what, 75 under par at the Match Play (laughter)? You know, NEC, I posted a number early and Tiger made a great birdie on 16. I've done a lot of good things to win, it just hasn't come through.

If I'm bogeying two or three down the stretch to give it away every time, then there would be cause for concern, but there's not. Obviously the Presidents Cup was great. If that was an individual tournament, I might have won it and we wouldn't even be sitting here talking about that. That was great for me to make that putt on the last hole and just gave me a lot of confidence. And in a situation like that, I can do it.

Q. You've had three very good Masters, if I remember. The first time you saw this course, you were talking about Pebble, but did you say this is a course you like? Did you immediately fall in love with the place?

CHRIS DiMARCO: It's just that a lot of holes fit my eye there. Now they keep making it longer and longer and I can't see that far to fit my eye anymore. But it's just one of those courses where every hole I tee up, I've kind of got a strategy on every hole. Courses like that are really good. You get to courses, where even by Sunday you've played the 15th hole, say anywhere, and you don't know how to play the hole. Those are the courses that are tough. That one, I can tell you what I do on every hole, at Augusta, with every wind. It's just the way it fits my eye perfect.

Q. So I assume you're looking forward to April right now?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah. Obviously, I don't want to look way ahead. I've got a good tournament this week, Disney in a couple, and obviously the TOUR Championship.

Q. This course seems to demand a lot of right to left play for a rightie. Is that a problem for you this week?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Fortunately a lot of the holes that are right to left aren't 475 yards, so I can take a 3 wood out and turn a corner. I have no problem turning my 3 wood. Even on 18 I hit a 3 wood today. I had to hit a 4 iron into the green, but there's really nowhere for me to hit a driver because I can't carry the trees on the left. I've got to try to play it out to the right and knock it on the green. I ended up making birdie, but I've got to play it the way the hole sets up. I can't try to do too much.

Q. As far as the rough, is it the type of rough that isn't so penal that the big hitters can bomb it 350 and then hit wedges out of the rough and stop the ball?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, they do that every week anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

Q. Does that ever get a little annoying for you guys?

CHRIS DiMARCO: The only thing that's annoying about the whole rough situation is that if you miss fairways by a foot you usually have to pitch out, and if you miss by 15 yards you've usually got a shot at the green. Normally if you miss the fairway by a foot, you've hit a straighter shot than if you miss it by 15 yards. That's the only problem I have. Once you miss the fairway, it should gradually get higher and higher the more you miss the fairway.

Q. One of the criticisms at Pinehurst was that the best angle to the flag was from the rough. Do you see that as a factor this week with the narrow fairways?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Not really. I think that once again, I saw some holes out there where there was definitely a better side to miss it on, for sure. I think No. 12, obviously if you miss that one to the right it's a better angle coming into the green because it gets into the trees a little bit. I know left is no good. There's a few holes like that. You want to err to one side if you're going to miss it. I think 14 is a good downhill uphill par 4, and right is better than left because it opens up the green for your second shot.

Q. At the Presidents Cup you were sometimes described as particularly competitive or feisty or whatever in a team event. How much does that play in a field like this where all the best players are here? How much does competitiveness sort of figure into it?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I think everybody in this field has got that competitiveness, without a doubt. Obviously they wouldn't be at the level they're at without that competitiveness. That's one of the things that gets you to that level is the competitiveness. Some choose to show it and some choose not to.

For the most part, I guess at Augusta when I made the putt on 18 to tie, I showed a lot of emotion there. But at the Presidents Cup, the emotion I was showing was trying to get the crowd involved. We're on our home turf, I want to get the cheers going around the course because I know it motivates the other players and I know it motivates me when I hear a cheer, and we know an American cheer to an international cheer. It gives you a little boost in your step, for sure, when you hear it.

Q. I guess turning more toward this tournament, do you relish this kind of field?

CHRIS DiMARCO: You want to play against the best all the time, and this is obviously even though it's a limited field, only 72 or 73 guys, you're still playing against the top 50 in the world.

Q. So given the size of the field and the purse here, would it matter where you guys played? Would you go to Pebble Beach or

CHRIS DiMARCO: It wouldn't matter. Again, if you played Pebble Beach at this time of year it would be totally different than when we play it. It's hard and it's fast, and normally when we play it the balls are plugging. First of all, you're getting 180 players, pros plus three amateurs, you're getting foursomes, you're getting so much play out there, the greens just get really beat up. I know everybody I talk to takes more time on two footers at Pebble Beach than on any other course we play, so that's a lot of stress for four days. I've lived it. That's why I putt the way I putt. Trust me, I don't want to do it again.

Q. Would you believe someone if they told you that on this course there are 75,000 rounds a year?

CHRIS DiMARCO: 75,000? I don't think that's possible.

Q. 71,200 last fiscal year.

CHRIS DiMARCO: My goodness. That is a lot of rounds of golf. Geez, I don't even know where to start. That's a lot of golf. But you can't tell now. I guarantee they haven't played in the last month. It's been shut down for a month. I can promise you that.

End of FastScripts.

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