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July 5, 2007

Maarten Lafeber


RODDY WILLIAMS: Maarten, thank you very much for coming in and terrific round, I imagine a bit of a grind out interest.
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Yes, it's very tough. The course is playing long. You can get no run on the ball and you have to keep it in the fairways. As soon as you go in the rough, you're going to be plugged or a really deep lie and struggling to get on the green actually.
But the greens are great. They are fantastic. So once you find the greens, you have a chance to make some putts. But it's really a grind. Every hole plays long, and you have to be careful with the crosswinds and some tight pin positions. But lucky enough, I played well today and made a few putts.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Gather you skipped a practise round to have an extra day at home. Can you tell us a little more about that.
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Last week in Paris was one of the toughest courses we play on Tour. My record there is very poor and I had a decent week and finish. Then I went to London for Open Qualifying, and it was tough and didn't make it. I felt like with my knee injury, I needed treatment on it so that's the right thing to do is go home right now and work with my trainer and physio back home. But my caddie came and did good work here, preparation, to see how the golf course is everything. I thought refresh the mind, go home for a day and a half and come back and practise a bit this afternoon and go out and play. I know the golf course well, I've been here before. I felt it was okay to come here Wednesday.

Q. How close is the course to unplayable?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: I have to say the bunkers are very good and the greens are very good and the tees are fine. It's just a matter of the fairways are wet. I didn't really have to take like a drop on the fairway because of the water. It was just preferred lies, with a club length, you have always had somewhere to go. That was fine. The only thing I think was the rough, quite a few spots, if you hit it in the rough, you're not sure where it is and you go lose the ball easily and that makes it hard.

Q. Where is home exactly?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: I went to Amsterdam. I live most of the time in America in the winter. But during the tournaments now here in Europe, I'll go home to Amsterdam and work with a few people there.
It was a hassle to get into London Sunday night. Amsterdam was fine, so there was no problem there.

Q. Flew back when?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Flew back Monday night. As soon as I was in the air going back from London to Amsterdam, I knew it was fine.

Q. And when did you arrive here?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Yesterday afternoon.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Could you give us your details?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: I started on No. 10, pretty good drive, 3-wood, pitch shot to about two metres, made that.
Next birdie I made on No. 16, hit a very nice 6-iron to about two metres behind the hole and made that one.
First hole, good drive, pitching wedge to, I don't know, two and a half, three metres and made that one.
Birdie on No. 5. I hit a nice 8-iron to about four metres left of the pin. It was a few feet short and a putt near the hole.
Par 5, I hit it on the green in two, No. 7. I missed an eagle putt and made birdie.
Next hole, I missed the green left in the bank and then holed my chip shot to go to 6-under and that was it.

Q. How far was the chip shot?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: I wasn't to far away, I was in the bank in an awkward stance just trying to get up-and-down. It was a bonus it went in.

Q. Can you explain the reason why you switched coaches and what that's done to your game, as well?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Well, I've worked with quite a few coaches over the last year, couple of years, and my old coach, Tom O'Mahoney, an Irish guy, he has been my coach since I started paying golf actually, and he helped me in 2005 and I had a good year there.
I was still fiddling around a little bit the last year and a half, and I decided I was playing so poor for 16 months, something in my mind-set -- just stop everything and start over again with your old coach. He understands me really well and he understands my swing better than anyone else because he taught me the game. We had a couple of good sessions and I'm very more clear in my mind, more easy in my mind playing the game again and not so much technical stuff.
So, you know, there's not a lot of video work to it or very complicated things. It's the old-fashioned way, teaching. You can compare with Bob Torrance maybe. It suits me well and I feel more confident. So I've got to stick with him I guess.

Q. When did you start to think you needed to make a change?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Beginning of the year, I started to use new equipment and obviously I wasn't swinging the club great and, the combination with new equipment, I didn't feel too comfortable. I just fiddled around with it and I just went back to my old golf ball and old driver I used last year and the year before.
It's very easy to fall in the trap of trying too many new clubs, because there's so many new golf clubs coming out, like drivers and golf balls, everything, you can hit it five yards further or four yards further or less spin. It's very easy to do it. Once you have play well with something you have to stick with it.
I almost did it today, in Munich I putted with my old putter and played great and was struggling on the greens a bit. And just before I teed off, I pulled out a new one after a few bad putting rounds, but then I said to my caddie, this is nonsense, it's not the putter because I putted great in Munich so these greens are good. Just work on my technique and my stance, and I'm glad I did that because I putted really lovely today.

Q. (About trying new equipment).
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Well, they are not really pushing you. They are just handing it to you and explaining if it's better or not or what it does to your ball flight, so it your own choice.
But it easy to try a lot of stuff. You're always your own boss. You can always decide yourself what you're using.

Q. Some of the players have been saying that they don't always have a choice; that they are almost forced to use it.
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Well, I don't know what is in their contracts. I'm not on contract with anybody right now and my first seven years I was not on contract with anybody either. So I have my own choice. Maybe if they pay them a lot of money or if they are still using an old model and taking pictures with new equipment, maybe it can affect their sales and I can understand that. But I guess those guys are so good and the manufacturers, the technicians in the trucks are great, so, I mean, they can make anything for you. So it should be all right.

Q. So you can use anything you want?
MAARTEN LAFEBER: Yeah, I can use anything I want.
I switched to Callaway irons, new blade irons with them and that works out well. I have my old driver, old model, old 3-wood. They probably won't make them in anymore in the near future, so stick with it.

Q. (More about equipment contracts).
MAARTEN LAFEBER: To be honest I believe in Europe the big contract is for the top players, maybe Top-10 in Europe. Apart from that I feel where I'm coming from in Holland where golf is growing fast, I'm lucky enough to have very good corporate sponsors to give me the opportunity to play whatever I want to play with and I'm not forced to sign a contract or play with certain manufacturers. That's how I see it.
In the States it's completely different. Even in Tour School, there's a lot of money going on, a lot of endorsement deals. But in Europe, it's not. If you're not Top-10 in Europe -- so to me it's not really worthwhile that you have to go to a manufacturer and sign with them. If you have the opportunity to get a corporate sponsor -- and they say it themselves, too. They say maybe it's easier for you to have a corporate sponsor, so that's what I do.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Very well played.

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