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May 3, 2007

Joey Sindelar


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Joey, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Wachovia Championship. Great start this morning with that eagle early on, and it seems like you kind of like this place?
JOEY SINDELAR: Something is up. Do not ask the question because I don't know the answer, which is why does it happen here. I don't know. It's a very, very hard golf course. Traditionally I've never played very well to this point in the year, maybe once or twice, you know, and the weather has just now -- I'm a New York state guy and the weather is always just breaking at home, so this is the time of year when I'm at home. I don't go backwards unless I start thinking about my swing too much.
It's a weird thing; I don't know. It's a fabulous second shot golf course here. You can see it. It makes you play, but we've played other really awesome places to this point. So I don't know what it is, but I'm very thankful that it occurs once a year.

Q. When you eagle the first hole, what does that do mentally? Are you set for the day then?
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, particularly interesting question on this golf course because you can get in trouble -- you know, as par 5s go, you can get in trouble on that one. I mean, I've doubled or -- early in the morning when the air is heavy, you can't quite reach the porta-potty section down there 40 yards right, which we've all probably done. But it's one of those -- it's not a duck, for sure. But then again, if you do hit that perfect see shot, it's doable, and I did.
Again, air is heavy, it's 7:30 in the morning, you're kind of waking up, and I had a shot that fit a club. I was able to kind of slap a 3-wood over that short bunker. It's a beautiful second shot, and it did, it got just over the bunker and the winds were blowing the right way to feed it to the cup and I got a 12-footer.
When that kind of stuff happens, holy cow, it's fun. It makes me breathe. You know, it's not like you're all locked up, but it's like, whoa, this may be the day that we're on the good side of the coin on -- it's all about bounces, a lot of it. So that stuff is always awesome.

Q. Are you still carrying your 1-iron, and how often do you use it?
JOEY SINDELAR: Good question. Yes, I do still carry the 1-iron, and again, I'm glad I was not ten yards closer to that green because in the morning -- it's an interesting time in golf because to take full advantage of current golf balls, you want to reduce spin on drivers for the length. But when you reduce the spin on the driver, you reduce the spin throughout, and it makes that 1-iron a lot harder to hit off the deck in the morning.
So again, when I say that the ball stopped there, it's all about that. This is a good course for me to use it, probably three or four times a round, tee shot. Sometimes on the 5s I'm going to need it, but these are -- the second shots on these 5s are uphill, two of the three, and that's not a good setup. It's a much better rescue kind of a setup for a 1-iron, but a good tee shot 1-iron golf course, and especially as firm as these fairways are.
Even holes like No. 12, downhill, which is a pretty long hole, again, this is morning was damp and into the wind so I hit driver, but any time I can pull a 1-iron out and take advantage of the firm fairways, I'll try to do it here.
By the way, it's awesome for us to see the golf course the way it is. We love firm and fast. It makes it more of a torture chamber, but it's an awesome way to see a golf course. I'm still personally not used to seeing the Bermudagrass poking through. They've had so much rain through the years that generally the ryegrass is showing and it's very, very deep. To see that much Bermudagrass showing, it's an awesome setup, and we're tortured very nicely out there.

Q. Being a guy who's won here and always plays well here, can you kind of describe the reception you get from the galleries and the difference here from other places you play?
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, we just talked about outside, why is this tournament what it is. You know, they've been nice enough to adopt me after three years ago, and it's awesome to hear all that. But I can remember plain as day the first year we were here. I don't know, except for the possibility of Montreal, when the Canadian Open went to Montreal that first year, they were starved for golf.
When we walked in here, what, five years ago now, the looks on the people's faces, they wanted to see every practice shot, they wanted to see every practice hole. Right from the start they've just been in love with the TOUR. It's been a great marriage.
So we all have felt that way. And then again, being lucky enough to win here, I'm reminded often on the golf course that, hey, maybe we can do it twice and that kind of stuff. I don't know what it translates into, but it sure feels good.

Q. Can you talk about the boost that winning gave your career at that time?
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, it was monstrous, and it wasn't -- the money, the spending money was, of course, spectacular, but really, the official money was huge, but even on top of that, I was 46 at the time, and it was effectively a bridge for me to the Champions Tour. One of my goals was always to try to stay what I call current to the Champions Tour, to be a Tour player when I go over. And when you win, you get the year you're in plus two. So that took me through last year. So that was enormous for me.
And then the official money gave me a chance to get into The Masters. I missed by one person because Jesper birdied a hole from a fairway bunker on the last shot of the year. I hate the guy for it (laughter), and I finished 41st. In a number of respects it was just a monster for me.
And unusual, some of you weren't here and bored to death when I won this last time, but North Carolina has been interesting for me because our Ohio State team won the National Championship at Bermuda Run, I think that's Winston-Salem, in '80, and then my first win was at Greensboro. So hopefully not my last, but my most recent victory here. So something is good about North Carolina with me. Maybe because I'm friends with Davis or something (laughter).

Q. You've mentioned how you have to be careful not to overanalyze your swing. I think you're one of the few guys out here who does not have an official swing coach. Why is that? Why don't you have one? Do you find it interesting at all, all the changes that go on with guys switching coaches all the time?
JOEY SINDELAR: Yes, and we could talk for hours on that topic. My dad taught me golf, and at the time -- and you wouldn't know it by looking at my golf swing now, but at the time, Nicklaus -- my dad taught himself, and Nicklaus was the great player of the day at the time, so my swing used to have no wrist cock and all kinds of Nicklaus-like things, left heel up in the air a little bit.
So I went away to college and got by myself and it kind of became my own swing, but the basics were still there, and my dad and I kind of grew together.
Really, no, I don't have a specific swing coach, but I have a number of guys -- I think to me the key is, and what I'd love to get guys to understand was dad was good enough to tell me to understand your own swing. You all know there's 400 ways to skin the cat out here. Look at the golf swings through history. They're all out there.
If you're having trouble and you walk on that practice range, and the other players are very giving, they're spectacular, but if you say, what's wrong, you're going to get 360 degrees' worth of answers, and you're going to be gone. What you need to say is, will you be my eyes; generally I get laid off or generally I get short or I quit on the ball; do you see anything? You've got to narrow the parameters, and I think the guys that last are not wandering around every time the lug nuts get loose.

Q. Following up, are you thankful that you don't have to deal with some of the politics and relational stuff with a coach?
JOEY SINDELAR: Absolutely. It scares me to death. It's like girlfriends (laughter). I don't have girlfriends, and my wife should know that (laughter).
But it's like, if you should want to make a change, that's like breaking -- I see this stuff, and I've only touched it briefly in the short game area because I do need help there, chipping and bunker game is not my strength, and I've been working with a couple of guys.
But when it comes time to say thank you to the first person to go to the next person, that's hard. I hate that. That's hard stuff. Some of these guys not only have a short-gamer and a long-gamer and a mind guy and a trainer, and if you want to change any of those pieces, to me that would be tough stuff. So I'm very thankful that I have not lived in that world. That would be hard.

Q. Is there ever an odd feeling when you're out there and you're one of the more experienced players on TOUR? As the years go by does it get tougher when you're paired with young guys like Watson and Moore and the age gap?
JOEY SINDELAR: It's bizarre, it really is. If I can bore you, one story that exactly pertains to that is I've been noticing over the past 12 months that I've been walking into tournament registrations and the wonderful ladies at the desk -- and regimes change, so I don't always know the people that have been there for 25 years.
And if it's a new group, I get the, "Sir, can we help you?"
"Yes, I'm here to register."
"Well, Pro-Am registration is over there."
"Well, I'm one of the players."
"Right, can I see some ID?"
I'm thinking they don't know some of the older guys.
I was with my son at Bay Hill, we made the cut, the restaurant manager of the restaurant came over and looked at my son, who's 6'1", 235, 17 years old, "Congratulations on making the cut." And Sue looks at me. Our family was there.
And I go, "no, he's congratulating Jamie because Jamie caddied and he knew how excited Jamie would be to caddie for me." Right, okay, and I believed it. I honestly to the core believed that.
Ten minutes later he came back and he looked at me, and he goes, "I'm so sorry, I thought your son was Joey Sindelar."
But as we all know, there are some people that are not spring chickens that are more like me, and I'm playing with these young guys so I don't feel 49. It's hysterical.
And being with Bubba and Ryan who kill the ball, and you get to see how the game has changed and how aggressive they are, it's amazing stuff. It really is a fun thing to watch and compare it back to the old guys that we used to play with. It's a fun thing to be able to do.

Q. Is there an extra level of satisfaction, you come out with guys like that and you're the low man in the group today?
JOEY SINDELAR: Not necessarily that, but I did -- I have had a couple guys who -- you know, I'm out there and somebody will -- to hear somebody say, "man, he can still hit it," that makes me feel good when they say that, and hopefully they're not teasing when they do. Score is score. I could go down to the next country club in town and the best player there could beat me on his course. Who knows what score is on a day? If the guys still respect your game -- I mean, look what Fred Funk is still doing. It's awesome stuff. It is still fun to be competitive with these guys.

Q. One thing to tighten up here at Wachovia is cell phone use. I just wonder if you have any stories of cell phone distractions or camera flashes over your career.
JOEY SINDELAR: I don't, I'm sorry to say. You know, I think people have learned not only on the golf course but in their life to live on the silent mode or vibrate, so we hear much less of it. And again, that falls squarely under the "golf has changed" category.
We've got people yelling things that didn't get yelled 20 years ago. The crowd is vocal in different ways than they used to be. The whole thing has changed, but you know what, we're really lucky to have those people out here and we'll take them. We'll take them in droves.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Joey.

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