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May 29, 2007

Carl Pettersson


JAIME DIAZ: Carl is here. He's the defending champion of The Memorial Tournament, and he's been nice enough to come here.
Since the subject here is really about covering golf, I was hoping to just ask you briefly, in your experience, how you found the media. Do you welcome interviews? Do you have sort of pet peeves or anything that has been in your impression over the years in how golf is covered and what you enjoy about it and maybe what you don't enjoy about it?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, what I enjoy about the media is if I'm getting interviewed I've always played well. I've always done something good. So I love that part of it. But I think it's a big part of a professional athlete's -- it's part of the job. You've got to deal with the media and do a good job because it reflects how you come across to the people at home.
JAIME DIAZ: You've played in Europe, all over the world. Is the American press different than the European press? Do you take a different approach when you're speaking to either one.
CARL PETTERSSON: No, not really. It's very similar, really. I enjoy all the guys. I think most of the media that covers the PGA TOUR are very knowledgeable and they know all the players well, so I enjoy it.
JAIME DIAZ: We're going to interview Carl now as we would for being the defender champion for things that will be written in tomorrow's paper. I wouldn't mind Bob or Marla or anyone to ask Carl questions that you'd like to know, questions that are pertinent to what he's doing as a defending champion.
JAIME DIAZ: I'll start with one. You've won here at Memorial. It's a great win. Do you feel like when you win, it changes your perception of yourself and makes it easier or harder to sort of live up to it? Do you become a better player because you've won or do you increase pressure on yourself and make it harder to sort of follow through with more victories?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, it can go both ways, really. I think winning gives you a lot more confidence and makes you realize that you can play this game to a high level. But also, the more you win, the higher your expectations are. You do as a player put a lot of -- you always have high expectations and you want to achieve your goals. But I think it can only really help you. It's given me a lot of confidence, and I think it's made my game better. That's what I've tried to do, look at the positive sides of it and go from there.
JAIME DIAZ: It's been a good thing; it hasn't been a burden to you.
CARL PETTERSSON: No, not at all. It's given me confidence, and I think my game is improved all the time. It does give you a little added pressure to play well week in and week out, but there's always that pressure to play well.
GERRY DULAC: Have you ever been to Oakmont? I'm assuming you haven't.
GERRY DULAC: What I wanted to ask you is when you win an event such as the Memorial which is always one of the strongest fields of the year, is it a little more significant for you to win a strong field event?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, I think so. Obviously it's nice to win anywhere, but it's especially nice to win at a great tournament like this, which has one of the best fields of the year and a great golf course with a lot of history behind it. I think the added bonus with Mr. Nicklaus being the host and starting this tournament, it's been a real pleasure for me.
GERRY DULAC: What have you heard about Oakmont, and are you looking forward to going?
CARL PETTERSSON: I've just heard it's very hard. My caddie was there in '94, and I've just heard about the 300-yard par 3 and thick rough. I've actually never done anything good at a U.S. Open, so I'm going to do it different this year and just play nine holes on Tuesday, nine holes on Wednesday and then play the course from there.
BOB BAPTIST: What will you hit on a 300-yard par 3.
CARL PETTERSSON: It could be anything from driver to a 3-wood or 2-iron. It depends if it's fast and firm and if you can run it up. I imagine you can hit it short and run it up. Tiger refused to hit driver.
BOB BAPTIST: I remember in the old days when golfers planed when Jack built a par 3 that was over 200 yards. Is 300 yards fair for a par 3.
CARL PETTERSSON: I personally hate long par 3s. I think with the new course designs you never have a long par 3. I think all the great par 3s are 150 to 175 yards long. I personally don't like long par 3s. I think a lot of the new courses they've built long par 3s with a lot of the old classic courses have a shorter par 3 with more trouble around it, well bunkered and maybe put some water hazards.
DAVE SHEDLOSKI: I have a question that might apply to people out here, and that is how much of what is written about you do you have a chance to read or want to read?
CARL PETTERSSON: I read a little bit of it, but that's just part of the game. You kind of -- I've been fortunate to have fairly good things written about me. Even if there is anything negative, you just try to put it aside and not think about it.
DAVE SHEDLOSKI: Are most of us pretty accurate, even if it's maybe not always complimentary, or are there errors?
CARL PETTERSSON: I think for the most part it's pretty accurate. I'm not in the media as much as Tiger or the other guys, but for the most part it's been accurate, yeah.
MARLA RIDENOUR: I'm just curious if you noticed that people might know who you are now after you won this tournament.
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, I've seen a little change in the last year or so, going from tournament to tournament there's more recognition, but not a huge thing.
JAIME DIAZ: : How is your life as far as -- the balance of trying to still be a great player and yet as you win you get more comfortable sometimes, complacency can set in. Is there any validity to that? Do you fight that in that you've got more money and your life is easier and yet you also want to be a better player? Is there tension there?
CARL PETTERSSON: No, I play this game because I love it. I want to try to improve all the time. Obviously it's nice to make some money and live a fairly nice life.
But still, I just want to get better and try to win more tournaments and stuff like that. No, I try not to get complacent and try to focus on my results and get better.
JAIME DIAZ: : What was your favorite memory from last year.
CARL PETTERSSON: I've got two that stand out. I chipped in on No. 11 for a birdie, and then shaking Mr. Nicklaus' hand on 18.
JAIME DIAZ: : Did you look up to Jack as you were growing up? Did you miss his era slightly.
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, obviously I missed his era a little bit, but I admire all professional athletes and other golfers growing up, and being a golf nut growing up, I was a huge fan of Mr. Nicklaus.
JAIME DIAZ: : Any player in particular that was the biggest influence on you?
CARL PETTERSSON: No, I never really had a favorite. Like I said, I just admired all the pros and just wanted to be a professional golfer myself.
JAIME DIAZ: : You live in North Carolina now?
JAIME DIAZ: : About six or seven years?
CARL PETTERSSON: No, I've lived there for 15.
JAIME DIAZ: : See, there I'm wrong, as always (laughter). You went to North Carolina State. What sort of captured you about North Carolina that became home?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I had no choice, my parents moved there when I was 15 (laughter). But I enjoy it. I could live anywhere, doing what I do, so North Carolina is home. I'm originally from Sweden, but my parents moved there when I was 15, and it really feels like home. It's a great place to live. My wife is from there, so we enjoy it.

Q. Why do you think European players seem to be so gritty in battle, playing in a Ryder Cup, a situation like that? Why is it that European players seem to collect their nerves so well and be battle tested so much in competition?
CARL PETTERSSON: That's a good question. I pretty much grew up in America, but I think the -- playing amateur golf and stuff in Europe, you don't get as well looked after as you do in the States with the college stuff. You don't get pampered as much. That maybe makes it a little tougher. I don't know. The Ryder Cup, the European team bonds better. Everybody sort of knows each other off the course better than the U.S. players maybe.
But yeah, it's a difficult question to answer why that is. But that's what I think.

Q. You mentioned getting pampered. Do you get pampered here more now that you're a champion, and are there any other perks you're noticing?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I get to speak to you guys (laughter). I don't know, we get pampered all the time. As a player you don't really look at that. As a player you're here just to play and try to do well. If your tournament looks after you well, that's nice, but if they don't, it's no big deal. Players are going to come to tournaments where they like the golf course, and they just want to compete.

Q. More obligations, though?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, a few more, a few more, but that's just part of the deal. I enjoy it. It's always nice to come back where you've won.

Q. How different is No. 15 now after the changes?
CARL PETTERSSON: I haven't played it. I'm going to play nine holes after this and then the Pro-Am tomorrow.

Q. Is there a part of your game you're currently working on, and if so, what are you doing specifically in practice?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, I'm trying to hole a few more putts. I haven't putted quite as well as I did last year. I feel like I'm getting close to putting well again. I'm just working on my stroke, trying to slow my backswing down a little bit and trying to hit the putts with the same speed on every putt.

Q. How do you feel the way you play affects youth?
CARL PETTERSSON: You're talking about affecting the way the youth views the PGA TOUR?

Q. Yeah.
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, you try to play well, and if you're on camera, try not to throw any clubs and have a bad influence on the younger game.

Q. Do you feel like you can be a bit of an icon?
CARL PETTERSSON: I don't know about that. I think Tiger does a fantastic job. Everybody looks up to him, and I think he's done a great job with golf and the PGA TOUR and the way it's grown.

Q. As a college journalist looking to start a career, I was just wondering how you were balancing your professional career with your personal life. You said you were married, so how are you balancing all of that with life on the PGA TOUR?
CARL PETTERSSON: It's difficult. I'm married, I've got one daughter that's two and a half and we've got a boy on the way in August. Obviously I'm away a lot, but my family comes and travels with me. We try not to go more than two weeks with me not seeing my family. They come on the road, and it's a little difficult raising a child on the road away from home, but you just try to do the best you can and separate your business from family, and when you do spend time with your family, try to spend good quality time with them.

Q. What's the biggest difference you've noticed from being relatively obscure and unknown last year to the champion this year?
CARL PETTERSSON: Not that much difference, really, just a little more recognition here and there at different tournaments we go to, just stuff like that.

Q. Do you view this course more as like a mini-major or just getting prepared for the U.S. Open?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, it is a little bit like a major because you've got a similar field, same players that do play in a major. The golf course is set up quite different from a major championship.
I know the rough is quick here but you've got wide fairways usually, and in major championships the fairways are about half the size of these. Part of the field is like a major, but the golf course is set up a little different.

Q. You mentioned the rough. Bunker play obviously was a factor last year, the furrowing of the bunkers. I think they've decreased the width and the depth of the bunkers this year as far as the furrowing. What have you heard, and what was it last year that made you successful around the greens and bunkers and what have you?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I haven't played the course yet this year, so I just went and practiced a little bit before I came in here. The bunkers are quite a bit different. The furrowing is not as thick. Last year when I missed the green side bunker, I missed it on the right side where I had a lot of green to work with, so I was able to get it up-and-down seven out of nine times. Last year the bunkers were very difficult. If you missed it on the short side, it was almost impossible to get it close.

Q. So you were consciously thinking of the bunkers on your approach shot or what have you, at least trying to stay out of them?
CARL PETTERSSON: Yeah, not so much on the green side bunkers because there was still a chance to get up-and-down, it was more or less the fairway bunkers. If you hit it in the fairway bunkers it was very difficult to hit the greens in regulation.

Q. What would you say was like your ultimate goal for your golf career?
CARL PETTERSSON: Obviously my ultimate goal is to win a lot of tournaments and obviously try to win one of the majors in my career. I'm only 30 years old, so I've probably got another 15 years to go, and hopefully I can knock one of those off.

Q. Have you approached the Memorial differently at all this year because you're the defending champion?
CARL PETTERSSON: Well, I've tried not to. Obviously it's a little different when you've played well last year and won the tournament. I'm going to try to approach it just like I would any other tournament, try to go in there and do as well as I can and see what happens.
STEWART MOORE: Carl, thanks so much for your time. Thanks for coming in.

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