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June 7, 2001

Chris DiMarco


LEE PATTERSON: Chris, wonderful opening score for the tournament. Maybe just a couple thoughts about your round today and maybe the Florida Gators, and then we'll open it up for questions.

CHRIS DiMARCO: The Florida Gators won the National Championship. That's great. I like the course a lot. I had a lot of confidence going out there. Got off to a good start. Birdied 4 and 5, so, I knew that -- I didn't see the scores going crazy, so I knew that it was playing a little tougher than it normally does because it was playing so long. But I was hitting it straight, getting it on the greens, giving myself a lot of putts at it. I just kept giving myself chances and just would make one here, would make one there and just, thankfully, it added up to a 66.

Q. Can you give us some examples of some holes where you were hitting a club or two longer than let's say you did last year?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Oh, yeah, for sure. 18. 18, I hit driver, 5-iron. I know last year on Sunday, with basically the same wind, I hit 3-wood 7-iron. The ball is not really going anywhere once it hits. Even 17 was a driver, 4-iron today. Just trying to think -- you know, the front nine -- 7 played long. 7 was a driver, 3-iron today -- or driver, 4-iron. There's a few holes out here, you just get by. If you just make pars on them, it's a good score. There's a lot of scoring holes out here for sure. All of the par 5's are reachable. If you put it in the right place -- the greens are not too fast, so you don't have to be overly aggressive. Or you can be aggressive; you don't have to worry about going four or five feet by.

Q. All of the par 5's, basically, the ones that are usually reachable?

CHRIS DiMARCO: They are all reachable with the wind today. 3 is kind of a crazy shot to go for that green. But I hit it on the green on 16. Hit just over the green on No. 5, and I laid up on 3. I could have gotten there, but it wasn't really the smartest shot, so I didn't do it. I left a couple out there, believe it or not. I missed about a 4-footer on 8 for birdie. And I 3-putted 14 for bogey, my only bogey; missed about a 4-footer coming back. Couple times, just watched a guy basically on the same line as me putt, and his ball went all the way across the hole. And so I played a little more break, but my balls didn't break.

Q. When you left here last year, did you feel good or did you feel like there was an opportunity you just barely missed?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I left feeling really good. I don't know what I shot the last day -- anybody know what I shot the last day? I think it was a couple, 2- or 3-under or something. But I gave myself chances coming in. I was very -- I know I birdied 15. I hit two really good shots into 16 that just rolled over the back of the green, got a bad break and ended up making par. 17, I flew it over the hole. 18, I hit it right at it, two shots made a really good 3-wood, 7-iron just came up 20 feet short. I was happy. Wasn't like I made a bogey coming down the stretch to let him win. I was playing aggressive and hitting good shots. I was very confident leaving here, very pleased with my play.

Q. Did that help your confidence, leaving here?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Yeah, sure. It's what we all strive for, is being able to step up to the 18th hole, around the lead and be able to just put it where you want it, control the nerves, control everything and hit it right where you want it. And really, coming down the stretch, that's what I did. When you are coming down the stretch up by the lead and you are making birdies a lot of times, you are going to come out on top. That took me a while to learn that, so that's what you're trying to do out here.

Q. Do you enjoy talking about the Gators here?


Q. Would it be as much fun if the Gators had not been whipping up on Tennessee something awful the last few years?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I think they are batting about ten percent against us the last few years. I think we are 9-1. Actually I think that the Gators are Tennessee's -- the Gators are what Florida is to us. They are our nemesis for some reason. They can beat us, yet we can't beat them. Maybe it's early in the year or what. But it's getting close to football season, and it's so much fun out there because there's a lot of Tennessee Volunteers, a lot of Seminoles. Everybody gets into it. Everybody is I think pretty laid back. I don't think anybody is really getting into it crazy obnoxious. Everybody has a mutual respect for everybody's team. Fun when you are up there. All of those teams are always up there.

Q. What was the Masters experience like for you to be right there, contending, and what did that do for you as a player?

CHRIS DiMARCO: You know, I mean, obviously, when I was there, I didn't realize the magnitude of it, I don't think. Once I got there and walked in to something like this the first day and there was 400 of you guys, instead of eight, I realized a little bit what the magnitude was. You know, playing with Tiger on Saturday in the biggest tournament we play all year, the coverage, everything, I'm very proud of myself. I played very good. I think if anything, if you can play in that spectrum and do well, the rest is easy, really. There's going to be the hardest one we play in front of.

Q. Along those lines, you talked about how you calmed your nerves to hit the shot on 18 here the last day, what about playing in the Masters with Tiger, final pairing. Is that something that don't know about until it really happens to you?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, that was the first time I ever played with him. He's very nice, very polite to play with. Very cordial: "Good shot." "Nice putt." He just is very business-like. I was explaining it, when I'm home playing with my buddies, they always say what did you shoot -- 69, 71 -- I think, I think 66 or 65. It doesn't look like a 65, but you add it up and it's 65. He just methodically goes through his business. He's just that good. It's scary.

Q. I'm talking about you, though. Do you ever really know until that happens to you how you react in that kind of pressure situation?

CHRIS DiMARCO: You know, I don't think anybody out here that has their card who has won, who is up there, is intimidated. I don't think that's the word for it. I don't think anybody is scared to go out and play good. You know, you're out there -- for me it was a first-time experience to be out there. But it was just a golf tournament. I mean, basically, I don't want to downsize it or anything, but it was just another golf tournament. I've been in that situation many times, learned from that experience. I was really excited. I couldn't wait to play with him, to tell you the truth. Who doesn't want to play on Saturday afternoon in the last group with Tiger Woods at the Masters? I just wish I had about an eight-shot lead instead of a two-shot lead.

Q. Talk about -- this may not be a problem, but how do you deal with the rain? You know, one tournament, one round, it's one thing, but it seems like rain has been an ongoing problem and it could end up being a problem here this week?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I'm very tired. This is No. 16 in a row for me on top of it. We've had some 36-hole rounds in there. Had a lot of slosh. A lot of wet. It's just a waiting game. You have to just really stay patient. You have to just be relaxed. That's the main thing. You just can't be waiting to play and running around the locker room. You've just got to take it easy, sit on the couch, relax, watch TV. If there's no more rain this week, we'll be right back on schedule. I think those guys will really be close to finishing today. Hopefully the rain will be gone and we'll have three nice days of dryness, and I think by Sunday the course will be like it was playing last year. These fairways drain extremely well being zoysia. So I foresee it not even being lift, clean and place on Sunday.

LEE PATTERSON: Takes through your birdies real quick.

CHRIS DiMARCO: No. 4 I hit a 5-iron about five feet and made birdie. 5, I hit driver, driver just over the green about 25 feet. I actually thought I chipped it in left about an inch short. Chapped it in for birdie. 10, I hit a driver, 8-iron about three feet. Made birdie. 12, I hit 3-wood and a wedge about six feet and made birdie. Bogeyed 14. 3-putted 14. Next hole, I hit a really good 3-wood and hit a wedge about an inch. I don't know how it didn't go in. Hit it just short, went by and spun right over the lip about two inches, an inch. And then I hit driver, driver on the green on No. 16 and 2-putted for birdie. Made a good up-and-down on 17. Hit it a little right. Had to cut it around left and left it short. It was a really tough putt. And made a good downhiller on the last hole. Hit a driver and 5-iron to ten feet on the last hole and just caught the right lip.

Q. You said this is six in a row for you?


Q. And next week will be seven. Is that about as long as you go?

CHRIS DiMARCO: That is way longer than I normally go. I like all the tournaments. You know, if I was home, I'd probably be playing golf, anyway, so why not play for 4 million or 3.5 million.

Q. Are you taking the week off after the Open?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Yes. Taking a week off. Playing Hartford and then taking off Chicago, and then I think we've got the British, don't we? So I'm only going to play one over here probably the next six weeks after the Open.

LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, sir.

CHRIS DiMARCO: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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