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June 3, 2007

Rod Pampling


STEWART MOORE: We'd like to welcome Rod Pampling into the interview room here at the Memorial Tournament. We appreciate you taking a couple minutes to come in with us after a T3 finish today. Your finish gets you 1,450 FedExCup Points, moving you to 41st on the season-long FedExCup Points list.
If you could talk to us about your round, going out there today with the threat of potential rain. Any of that in your head.
ROD PAMPLING: Obviously once we first got here, we had the delay. But then once that first delay happened, we got told there was a really big window. I wasn't thinking -- it looked fine and clear out there, and there was no wind blowing, so the chance of anything coming up was pretty slim. So we knew we had to play the whole 18.
STEWART MOORE: If you could maybe take us through your birdies today.
ROD PAMPLING: Birdies? Where were they?
7, I hit driver, 3-wood to the back edge and then chipped that up to about ten foot.
Then on 11, hit driver, 2-iron to maybe 40 foot, two-putted that.
15, hit driver, 5-wood to maybe 25 foot, made that for eagle.
I can't tell you any more.
STEWART MOORE: Quickly take us through the bogey at 17 and we'll turn over to questions.
ROD PAMPLING: We were trying to guess the wind. That was, I think, a really solid shot I hit in there. It was just straight at the stick. Unfortunately we picked the breeze straight right to left, and when we got down to the green, it was helping us. Yeah, we had just a quick change back there, and then we played 18 and it was back into you. It was one of those deals where we just didn't pick the wind, but I hit a great shot.

Q. When it was in the air, did you think it was going to be good?
ROD PAMPLING: Yeah, I was just staring it down. It was straight at it. I knew I had hit a really good shot distance-wise. Yeah, I didn't see where it landed. I don't know if it landed way back in there or landed on the back edge, but still, it went at least a club and a half long, and yeah, we were just, as I said, picking it straight right to left.
That was disappointing. I made a great putt on 15 to get close and then made the same on 16, and just hit that shot in there. As I say, I thought I was just all over it. At the end I was happy with walking away with 5.

Q. Were you dead?
ROD PAMPLING: Yeah, I had a really bad lie. When people trample it down you can get lucky or unlucky, and basically this was just unlucky. Basically I had to punch it into that thick first cut and hope that it popped out, and the shot that I hit, it didn't come out of the rough at all. We were thankful we made a 5 after that.

Q. I guess the feeling inside when you're coming down the stretch and the way K.J. is playing, you probably think you can't afford even one bad shot if you're going to stay in it?
ROD PAMPLING: No. Well, there was K.J. and Kenny Perry and both guys were lighting it up. When guys are doing that, you know they're general -- of that caliber, you know they're not going to be backing down. That putt on 15 certainly got me right back there again. As I said, unfortunately 17 happened, otherwise I would have had a big chance, still, to tie K.J. You know, you have to play good coming down the stretch.

Q. He made six one-putts on the back nine, five to save pars. How do you react to that? You talk about players of that caliber not backing down.
ROD PAMPLING: That's just a part of the game. You either hit it great and make short putts or -- you have to do everything you can. I know I made a lot of putts coming down the stretch, as well, just to keep myself there, and that's what you have to do. If that's what he's done, well, hats off. That's pretty impressive to have six one-putts out there.

Q. Did you feel on the front nine that with everyone else going low that you gave him a chance to get back into it?
ROD PAMPLING: Oh, definitely. I was the only one I think in the last -- I don't know how many guys there were. I was even for the day, I think. Yeah, the golf course was still playing the same as it had for the last three days. Basically that gave everyone the hope, by me not going out there shooting two, maybe three birdies, and that's what made it harder work for myself at the end.

Q. Anything you can put your finger on why you couldn't light it up?
ROD PAMPLING: You know, I just hit a couple of rough tee shots to start off with. But then, you know, I was hitting good putts, they just weren't going in. I missed it on -- I had a great chance on 3, touched the hole on 4, missed the hole -- just missed it on 3, 4 and 5. We could have had three birdies in a row there, but hit all really good putts that just didn't go in. All you can do is hit a good putt.
Unfortunately that's what didn't happen, and that's why everyone snuck out in front of me. Well, actually I made it on 7 and missed a little one on 8. That stretch there, if I had made all those, well, then, who knows, I might be down there with Jack now.

Q. Did you have a number in mind, thinking if you got to --
ROD PAMPLING: No, not really. 20 would have been good (laughter). No, I don't put numbers out there. I'm just out there just trying to play the game and trying to put a low number out there to have guys chase.

Q. How familiar are you with K.J.'s game?
ROD PAMPLING: I've been fortunate enough to play with him a few times lately. I played with him Thursday, Friday. Obviously he's a great player. He's won four, five tournaments now. Yeah, he's a very solid player.

Q. How was he playing Thursday and Friday?
ROD PAMPLING: He played really nice. I think he -- I can remember him just having one bad hole, but he was still, I guess, maybe 5, 7-under -- 5-under for the two days, and that's -- he had one bad hole in there. He was playing nicely.

Q. How loud is his driver?
ROD PAMPLING: Yeah, it's pretty loud. The sad thing is you're getting used to it. The first time he hit it, wow, you could hear it across the whole golf course. Yeah, it's definitely loud, that's for sure. You know when he's teed off.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about his game? How does he shape the ball? What are his strengths and weaknesses, that sort of thing?
ROD PAMPLING: Generally if he's just hitting a standard shot, it's a little to the right, a little fade. Not a big mover of the ball, he doesn't shape it a lot. Just very good distance control with his irons, which is a key when you get on any golf course, but especially golf courses like this.
You need to have good distance control, and that's a definite positive. There's not many times that -- I didn't see his round today, but the first two days he wasn't way long or way short. He was always somewhere around pin high, and that's definitely one of his strong points.

Q. Will you be able to look back on this as a good week or a bitter disappointment that you didn't win, or both?
ROD PAMPLING: It's both, I guess. When you have a three-shot lead going into the weekend, you'd certainly like to go away with the win. But still, it was a nice solid week. As I say, on the front nine, basically I didn't get anything going, and that's -- unfortunately that's what you need to do today, and it just didn't happen today.

Q. How do you feel about your game now going into the Open, and what are your chances of playing well there at Oakmont?
ROD PAMPLING: I guess it comes down to the weather conditions at Oakmont. Obviously the golf course without -- with a perfect day is going to be difficult. The game feels nice. Obviously you shoot 15 under around here, you're obviously hitting it well and doing everything really nicely. It was nice to have a week of putting well, which that's going to be certainly a huge key there.
It all feels good. My coach is coming in next week, next Wednesday, so we've got seven or so days to work on it, sharpen up a bit more and try to work out how to get it out of the rough without hurting your wrist out there.
STEWART MOORE: Rod Pampling, thanks for being a class act and coming in.

End of FastScripts…

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