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March 29, 1997

Billy Andrade


WES SEELEY: Billy Andrade, 68, 72, 68, 208, is 8-under par for Billy Andrade. How was your day?

BILLY ANDRADE: It was a great day today. It was obviously, I felt, you know, I didn't think we were going to play about two holes today because the weather looked really gloomy there. It was really windy. I don't know what happened. The Gods said we were going to play 18 today. I felt it was going to be a tough day. Colin Montgomerie walking to the first hole, said he would take 72 and go with it today the way the weather was looking. And, I turned to my caddie and said, "I would like to try to shoot 66 today. Let's forget about shooting par." I really thought the golf course was going to be firm and fast and it was going to play really hard. And, the first hole I hit a wedge in there and it spun back and it kind of shocked me that, you know, jeez, the greens aren't as firm as I thought they would be. And, I just -- I knew that you could maybe, you know, it's going to play normal; it's not going to play the Lee Janzen, where you shoot from the middle of the greens and 2-putt from 20 feet. So I went out there and made a nice 2-putt on 1 for par. I birdied two. I laid up and hit an L-wedge, a sand wedge, actually, about 5 feet. And, then I bogeyed 5. I missed the green, just hit it just over in the bunker; chipped it back and missed about a 10-footer there. I came back on 6; made a great birdie there into the windy; hit a 6-iron just off the back fringe and rolled in this 20-footer for birdie there. Parred 7, 8. Hit 6-iron. It was kind of downwind with the pin right on the front of the green, and hit it to about 20 feet and made that. And it then laid up on 9 nicely and hit an L-wedge about 3 feet there. So it was a nice turn on 33. 10, 11, 12 and 13, I had makeable birdie putts that I didn't make. Then on 14, from the middle of the fairway, I hooked a 6-iron to the left bunker, and didn't get up-and-down. And like I did on the front nine when I made bogey, I came back at 15 out of the right bunker. I hit a 7-iron about 10 feet and made birdie. I laid up on 16 after a poor drive, and I hit a wedge in there about four feet and made birdie. And, the last hole, I hit it in the right rough and rolled a 5-iron almost to the front of the green and I left my first putt about 15 feet short and I made a nice 15-footer for par. It was a great finish with a par, not a bogey, and over all, you know, I like my position. Obviously, you know, I had a nice day today. Kind of like I did last week, and you know, last week I didn't finish well. Shooting 75 at Bay Hill and, you know, I learned a lot that day. And, I'm going to try to, you know, be focused tomorrow and go out and have a great day tomorrow and see if we can catch Steve Elkington. He's obviously playing his best golf probably of his life right now. And, he can make a few mistakes coming in, or, you know, my attitude is just post a good score tomorrow and just see what happens and that's what I'm going to try to do.

WES SEELEY: The par putt on 14 was how long?

BILLY ANDRADE: It was about an 8-footer.


BILLY ANDRADE: Yeah, and it lipped out.

WES SEELEY: Questions.

Q. Billy, you said Steve's playing the best golf of his life. Even though we know anything can and will happen on Sundays, is it intimidating to see somebody jump out like that?

BILLY ANDRADE: It's not intimidating. It's more amazing, you know, that he's done what he's doing right now. It is just unbelievable. And, on this golf course, the way it's playing, especially in these tricky conditions, I don't know, he's not making any mistakes. He's just firing and obviously he's putting great. And, it's not surprising, he's one of the best players in the world and he's been a great player for a long time with a great swing, but people always talk about what a great swing he has. But, he's got the great package. He can chip and putt with the best of them. Any time you get a great player whose God-given ability to play like that and he's focused and he's on a roll the way he is, you know, those guys are unbeatable sometimes. And, maybe he is, this week, unbeatable, but, you know, it takes 72 holes. And, this golf course, you know, anything can happen, especially coming in those last few holes you can slip up just a little bit, and you can make a double bogey as quick as you can blink. So, you know, to beat 15-under when I last saw him, I don't know what he is now, I mean, that's pretty impressive so far.

Q. Have you talked to Jody today or --

BILLY ANDRADE: I talked to her before I teed off and everything was okay. So, I told her just to hang in there just one more day. So, hopefully -- hopefully she will. If not, I haven't talked to her since I finished. She told me if we were in this position, she's just going by herself. She's going in without me, so I just hope she doesn't because I don't want to miss this.

Q. You don't have any plan to fly home tonight or anything along that line?

BILLY ANDRADE: Well, no. Not right now unless she's -- I have to call her and see. But, I think she might -- I told her that she has to make that decision, and she said she would, so I don't know what's going to happen.

Q. Has it been easy to put it in the back of your mind when you're on the golf course?

BILLY ANDRADE: It's been great, actually, I think. You know, because it's taken a little bit of the pressure off of me. And, I have my son with me here, and we've been hanging out a little bit even though my in-laws do live here and they've been helping out a lot. I had him last night and I had him the other night and, you know, we're just having a ball. I haven't seen him much the last month, so this has been kind of, you know, father/son couple days and it's been great. And, it's just -- I think that takes the pressure off of playing and trying to doing well, and then it just makes it easy when you do go out there.

Q. Billy, everybody wants to catch Steve Elkington, obviously. But, it is also a big-money tournament with a lot of places. Does that kind of get in your mind a little bit too?

BILLY ANDRADE: You know, I think when you get to that point, you're trying to go out and win a golf tournament and do the best you can. If he runs away with it -- my attitude is going to be just try to post a score, you know, tomorrow; try to post a good score and then just see what happens. You know, money is money, you know, if it's a million -- a million dollar tournament was a big deal. Now this is a 3.5 million. It's a big deal, but, you know, no matter what happens tomorrow, you're going to make a lot of money. So, there's really no point thinking about it. You're just going to go out there and try to do your best. It just so happens this is one of the big tournaments they do pay out a lot of money, and that's great. But, I don't think that's going to play into factor much tomorrow. I think once you start thinking money, that's just a negative, you know, then all of a sudden, fear and doubt, getting scared, come into play, and if you do that coming in on this golf course, you have no chance. You have to stay focused. You have to stay positive. And, you've got to feel those shots in those last few holes. You know, whipping out that 9-iron on the 17th hole today was, you know, your heart is pumping, you're going, you know, God, I just hope I don't get a gust, and, you know, it's a tough shot. And, if you start thinking all these thoughts in your head about, "oh, jeez, you know, this shot is going to cost me X amount of dollars," you know, then you're -- then you're in trouble, I think. I don't think the best players in the world really care about it.

Q. Is there any reason for this recent flurry of really contending situations here for you, I mean, can you pin it down at all?

BILLY ANDRADE: Not really. I think that, you know, I switched clubs last June and I went to a new Titleist DCI iron and I was using the old Titleist DCI iron they first came out with for three years, and it wasn't a good club for me. And, I got these new clubs, and they're more like blades like I won with Titleist, and I think their commitment to building golf equipment, you can go to their test center out in California and Carlsbad, which I did at the beginning of the year during the Tournament of Champions, and I tested equipment. I tested drivers. I got a driver now that I can hit. I'm confident with. The equipment I'm using, it's not just something that somebody hands to me and I'm hitting it because it feels pretty good. And, I think that their commitment to not just being a ball company - because they've been a ball company for years - they're now a golf company. You know, they've got Scotty Cameron on and a lot of players are using those putters. They hired a wedge guy to come in, Larry Bobka, to run their iron and club plant kind of stuff. And, you know, they hired the guy from Taylor Made who made their woods to help out. So, they're hiring all these guys from all these other companies. They have become, I think, you know, they're only a few that are the best. Callaway, obviously, has a lot of money. Taylor Made is doing pretty well, and Titleist is pretty big. And, you know, being one of those guys, you know, from Tiger to Davis to Fax to myself to Rocco to David Duval, Curtis, it's a good team to be on, and it's great that they take pride in wanting their players to do well. So, I think it's a combination of that knowing my equipment is really good now and just going out there, I'm a little older. I feel like I'm a little more mature. I'm handling myself better. I know that I can step up on a hole and this ball is not going out of sight. I mean, I've played with you. I mean, I hit some drives, and I don't know where that came from, but I hit an iron, and all my irons would go pretty well, and then I would hit a drive, and I would go, "Jeez, it must have been my swing." Maybe it was the club. I never would think that, and I never did before. Being a field player, you know, that happens. So, a combination of all those things, and, you know, I feel like, you know, I don't know, a long career, you know, you look at from Nicklaus to -- you can look at anybody's career. If you're out here, if you know you're good enough to be out here for a long time, you're going to go through peaks and valleys. Who would think that Corey Pavin, I was watching yesterday and Johnny Miller started reeling off these statistics about where he's at, and who would think that Corey Pavin who's a magician with the golf club can be having that kind of problem right now. And, that's golf. You go through your periods. You go through peaks and valleys, and you just make sure that your valleys aren't -- that you're not digging a huge hole for yourself, and some guys have done that.

Q. Didn't he switch clubs, too?

BILLY ANDRADE: He did. He switched, and he switched to -- not to knock the Japanese, but he switched to a Japanese company, and it's -- I did that, and it's a tough language barrier. It's hard enough to be with an American company and tell somebody what you want. Now you've got a language problem, and you're trying to tell, you know, guys from over there, they go back home. Then, they come back with clubs, and it might not be what he really wants. But, money talks. And, I guess that he felt the need to do that. I learned. I know that.

WES SEELEY: Is that all? That's all.

BILLY ANDRADE: Great. Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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