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August 6, 2004

Chris DiMarco

Castle Pines Golf Club, Castle Rock, Colorado

TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Chris DiMarco who is, I guess we'll call you the clubhouse suspension leader at the moment, with one short putt left in your round.

A fantastic day today, Chris. I know you played 28 holes, eight points in the finish of your first round and 18 so far, I believe in the second. Quite a day.

CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah, it was going back out there at 7:00 am and having to tee off at 18 was no fun. I hit a great par, was 20 yards short of the green and just on the front edge made a great putt for par and it was nice to go to the front side like that. I hit it really close on the back. I just kept hit it in there inside eight feet.

And I'm rolling the ball really good and the greens are rolling. Obviously, getting to play the front side my back nine yesterday which would have been on perfect greens, really helped, too. And then obviously, when we went back out for the second round, they either cut them and rolled them again and they were fine again. So we really had a good break.

TODD BUDNICK: You mentioned the shape of the greens and all of the other guys who have come in today were kind of surprised and shocked out how the course looked after the rain.

CHRIS DiMARCO: Unbelievable. Unbelievable we are not playing the ball up, tell you the truth. The fairways are great. Good thing about it is you're not really getting any roll, but you're not getting mud on your ball either. So that's nice to not have mud all over the ball.

And, you know, again, it's there. If you can put the ball in play on this course and you can play smart you know, I've had good success here and I've kind of learned how to play. Bogeys aren't bad. It's okay to make a few bogeys here or there and you just try to stay away from doubles and just try to play aggressively on the birdie putts and play as aggressive as you can.

On Sunday, I really didn't put great at Flint and Sunday I moved a little bit closer to it. I got maybe four or five inches closer to the ball, let my arms hang a little more and I putted phenomenal the last rounds there, shot 66, made a bunch of 6 , 8 footers that I had not been making, burying them right in the middle and my confidence got really high after that.

Then I was in a Pro Am for Aspen Junior Golf and shot 63, made a bunch of putts that day, so then it carried over to Wednesday. Played great on Wednesday obviously, and the last two days to make 17 birdies on this course is pretty good in two days.

Q. You said you've learned how to play this course, part of learning experience, of course, sometimes is having some bad moments on the course, how much did that

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, yeah, I've had some bad moments out here. The back nine, 2000 or 2001, I had probably 4 or 5 , 6 point lead going into the back nine and proceeded to have minus 7 to finish third. It's there. This course you just have to stay patient on. There's a lot of difficult shots. 10 is a brutal hole. 12, if you can get it in the fairway, that second shot is very tough.

There's a lot of water in the back nine and you can be rewarded, you can make some birdies and eagles but you start mis hitting some shots out there, it can catch up with you pretty quick.

Q. How much did it help you to get off to a good start finishing your first round, was there momentum built up?

CHRIS DiMARCO: It was nice to be able to finish that round and then go right out and play again and be able to birdie the first hole right out of the gate for my second really helped, too.

The course was playing great. You're seeing a lot of good scores out there. Again, you have guys that have not even started yet who are only six or seven birdies behind me. I just knew I needed to get as much as I can, because there's a lot of birdies out there. The greens are holding this year, where in years past they have been firm. And when they are firm, it's really tough to get the ball close out here.

Q. Are you thinking at all about the Ryder Cup yet?

CHRIS DiMARCO: You know, obviously, it's on my mind, but I'm going out there and I'm playing the golf course. I know that if I take care of business here that that will take care of that business. I'm not putting any extra added pressure on myself. I told my caddie last week, let's go out and have fun, these next three weeks. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. If it wasn't meant to be, it wasn't meant to be.

Obviously it's a big goal, I want to be there, but I'm not going to put any extra added pressure on myself about it.

Q. Do you think it helps your case to play as well as you have?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Absolutely. That's the thing, Ryder Cup has been the points system is so hard. I've had so many top 11 through 20s in the last two years, and you get nothing for it. So I've had a bunch of Top 10s and I've had a bunch of 11 through 20. I think I've only missed three cuts in the last two years or something like that. I've played really well.

It's just a matter of accumulating points. I haven't won in the last two years and that has a lot to do with it. If I had a win in there, I would be in the Top 10.

Q. You mentioned how you've played out here a lot. I think you have three top five or six finishes, do you think it's a matter of time before you break through here?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't know if it's a matter of time. Obviously, I feel good here, and any time you can go into a tournament feeling good, that's a positive. I have a lot of confidence on this golf course. The holes fit my eye pretty good.

Once you've played here enough and done well on every hole and screwed up every hole, there's really nothing else that you can do. So you just go out and play golf. And I've managed to screw up all of them over the years, I can promise you.

Q. What was the Pro Am you played in ?

CHRIS DiMARCO: It was a Pro Am with Vince Gill and Amy Grant. It was Challenge Aspen. It was for handicapped people in the mountain and it was also for Aspen Junior Golf Association.

Q. Davis mentioned I think on his round last year, once you get a lead you can maybe play a little, it's nicer to play a lead in this format because you're not going crazy and getting too aggressive; is that the goal?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Absolutely. I've always said my goal is to have enough points when I finish the 17th hole to just walk right in. That's my goal, not even have to play 18, just finish, walk off 17 and just kind of wave to everybody as I'm going down 18.

Q. Would you do that?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I actually asked Slugger White that today and he said that in the rule book, or rules this week, that you have to give your best effort per hole. That's why they put that rule in there.

Q. Do you think you would get a disqualified or

CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't think that they would do it for that instance . Maybe there would be a little fine. You know what, if you can guarantee me where I'm going to be on 17 right now on Sunday, I'll do it right now; I'll take the fine.

Q. Looking back on your experience at Augusta this year, what's the hardest part about being really close to winning a major and not winning? And can you imagine having a year like Ernie Els is having, where three straight majors you basically have the trophy in your hand and you come up empty?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't think you ever have that trophy in your hand till you make that final putt to win.

Obviously, you know, I've played well in some majors this year, and at the Masters, especially. You've got to learn in the majors. Majors is a whole different ballgame and you've got to learn.

Look at Phil. I think the previous five years he had been either the last group or second to last group all five years before winning. So, you know, it takes time.

I really feel like I took a lot out of the Masters this year because I had a front row seat. I saw how it was to win that tournament, and I'll remember that. Believe me, I remember every shot he hit. I remember seeing the transformation he made. You could tell he was going to win that tournament. You could tell when he hit that shot on 12 that the game was on.

And Ernie, obviously, again, it's not easy to win tournaments out here. I mean, it's very hard. I mean, look at Tiger. Tiger has not won a tournament in over a year, so here is he a guy that everybody was talking about he was going to win every week that he played. If you're not on your game, it just seems like somebody is playing better than you every week.

Q. From what you know of Ernie and his psychological makeup, is he the kind of guy who

CHRIS DiMARCO: I would think you'd have to feel pretty confident that he's had two second or three Top 10s in the majors. I would think that he's got to feel pretty good. You know, he's a great player. He's got three major championships on his mantle, so he's done okay. I don't feel sorry for Ernie. (Laughing).

TODD BUDNICK: Your birdie on 1?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Driver, actually left in the rough, hit a 6 iron out and hit a sand wedge about eight feet and made it.

No. 5, good drive down the middle. I cut a little 5 iron in there underneath the hole and made birdie there.

Next hole, driver, wedge three feet and made birdie.

7, I hit it in there about 12 feet and missed it.

8, I hit driver, 3 iron, sand wedge, about eight feet short and made that.

10, I hit a good drive down the middle. That is not one of my most favorite holes out here. I get hit a good drive, 6 iron in the right fringe and made that from about 25 feet.

11, really good 2 putt from the right edge of the green.

12, driver and 7 iron just over the back of the green and I hit a little pitch with a 3 wood and that went in. That was nice.

14, I hit a driver and way right. Hit a bad drive and punched a 4 iron underneath the trees to about 130 yards and hit a wedge in there about two feet and made birdie there.

15, I hit driver and L wedge just out of the first cut of rough to about six feet left of the hole and made that one.

Then at 16, I hit a great putt I hit it pin high left and my putt somehow was less an than an inch dead behind the hole, went up, stopped hanging over the left lip.

17, I hit a driver and 4 iron, left fringe, left it about 12 feet short and made a 12 footer for birdie.

18, drove it left, right up against the bunker, and I hit a wedge out right of the fairway, hit it just short of the green and putted it up to about a foot; so I got about a foot for bogey.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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