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May 31, 2007

Rod Pampling


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Rod, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Memorial Tournament. Great start, nice finish with that birdie, and talk about what you did well out there today.
ROD PAMPLING: I drove it exceptionally well early on, and obviously the front -- well, until 13, I basically hit every green and gave myself a lot of chances with putts, nice putts. And then my playing partners were helpful with giving me some good reads. I seemed to be just inside of them all day, so that helped a lot.
You know, it was just a nice, solid day. I really hit the ball I'd say very nicely off the tee and played the golf course the way it should be, just be aggressive on some and a little bit more patient on the others and obviously made some nice putts.

Q. Did you feel coming in that you were in good form and that this sort of round was just waiting to happen?
ROD PAMPLING: Yeah, you know, the last five events, besides one, I think it's been in the top teens the last four of the five. It was close, it was really close, it was just a matter of the putter working, really. It's kind of been holding me back most of the year, just haven't been able to make putts all day. Today was definitely -- helped. You have to putt well to shoot a low number, anyway.

Q. You've already got Arnold's invitational in your wallet. What would taking this thing home mean to you?
ROD PAMPLING: It would be a couple of nice names on your mantlepiece, wouldn't it? Yeah, it's been great. The International was an invitational, so maybe the invitationals are good to me. Hopefully after three more days, I'll have Jack's on the mantlepiece, as well, which would be a nice trophy to have.

Q. Did you ever see Jack play in the flesh in Australia?
ROD PAMPLING: No, unfortunately at that stage I was still -- I really wasn't into golf at that stage too much, but never in the flesh, no.

Q. When did you first see him on TV and when did you first meet him?
ROD PAMPLING: Good question, and I can't answer it (laughter). I couldn't tell you when the first time I saw him playing. Obviously it was on TV. It would have been one of the majors.
When I actually met him? It was at this tournament, I think, six years ago. Yeah, I was on the range just wide eyed and pretty excited to be here, and Mr. Nicklaus walked right behind me. I got up the courage to say hello, and he was very nice to me and said hello and welcome. That was about it.

Q. Some of the guys that shot low this morning said that even though there hasn't been any rain, the greens were pretty receptive this morning because the sun wasn't out baking the course yet. How was it this afternoon?
ROD PAMPLING: They were still pretty receptive. They certainly weren't as firm as they can get, but you still had to be very careful on the shorter holes with the slope because you could really spin it back into the water very quickly, so you had to be careful out there.

Q. You've become one of the crack-of-dawn playing partners of Tiger over the last arc of time. How did that evolve?
ROD PAMPLING: Basically through Steve. I had Steve work for me at the New Zealand Open -- wow, it was right before he got the call up for Tiger's bag. He hosed me for Tiger, so I don't know what happened there (laughter).
Yeah, since then, you know, it's just -- we've played a few games together in the mornings. I like to get out early, and I asked Steve quite a few years ago, and he was -- he asked Tiger, and he was more than happy. We have some fun out there. Just an occasional practice round.

Q. He didn't fire you to go work for Tiger, did he?
ROD PAMPLING: No, that's just a joke we have. It's just a joke. We just worked once in New Zealand, and then it was a couple weeks later he was -- well, he said whenever I go to America, he said call him and he'll caddie for me, but a week later he got Tiger's bag, so I guess he was busy.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can you go through your birdies and bogeys.
ROD PAMPLING: 3, I hit 5-wood, sand wedge to I guess maybe 12 foot just below the hole and made that putt.
5, we hit a driver, 5-wood to just past pin-high right and chipped it down to three feet.
6, driver, wedge to maybe 12 foot behind the hole, made that.
7 was driver, 3-wood to the right trap and knocked that down to ten foot, something like that.
8 was a 6-iron pin high about 20 foot.
And then 11, we hit driver, 3-wood to about 25 foot, two-putted.
13 was driver, 9-iron to six foot.
14, bogey, obviously hit 5-wood too far into the water, had to take a drop and knocked a lob wedge to 20 foot, missed that.
15 was driver into the left rough, then we hit -- punched 8-iron out to the center of the fairway and hit sand wedge to four foot.
17, we hit it in the right rough and then just tried to punch out a sand wedge. We hit it a little too far down there and obviously it didn't go far at all, then hit 8-iron pin high left maybe 30 foot, missed that.
18 was 3-wood, 8-iron to, I guess, 20, 25 foot.

Q. Forgive me for dredging up bad memories, but what went wrong Saturday at THE PLAYERS?
ROD PAMPLING: Saturday wasn't a really bad day early, like obviously I hadn't made any putts basically, and we were -- what was it, 4-over through there. And then on 17, again, I didn't really hit a bad shot, it landed short of pin high and the first kick was extremely hard and obviously it went in the water. It's pretty easy to make double there.
And then on 18, I was just trying to be a bit more aggressive down the left side and pulled it a fraction, and it obviously went in the water. Just simply made a double to follow, to finish off with. Yeah, it wasn't that bad a day. I just had made no putts and then finished double-double. Didn't finish off real good.

Q. Pretty disappointing?
ROD PAMPLING: Yeah, it was, definitely. You're right there with a chance. Certainly when you're up there on that golf course, you certainly don't want to shoot 80, that's for sure, in any tournament. Yeah, I was definitely disappointed, but I knew I was playing good. The next day we came back and shot 4-under, I think, wiped-out memory.

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