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July 12, 2007

Duffy Waldorf


STEWART MOORE: We'd like to welcome Duffy Waldorf for a few moments here at the John Deere Classic. Great opening round today, 65. Your irons were literally on fire out there. Bogey at the last, but altogether a really great round.
DUFFY WALDORF: Yeah, I was very happy with the round obviously. It was nice. The front side I was really strong with my putting. I kind of got off to -- I kind of finished the way I started, missed the green on No. 1 from the fairway and had to make a good up-and-down there. But then I started to get the ball on the green and get some birdie opportunities but really got it going on Nos. 5 -- well, No. 4, 5 and 6, I made three good length putts in a row. So that really got my round going. It put me to 4-under par.
Then had a nice little run of pars, really, which was fine. The wind was blowing and there were some pretty tough holes.
Then I had a nice little break; I made a bogey on No. 13 and then we had a nice break on 14 there waiting for the green to clear, and it seemed -- I don't know if I got recharged, but I certainly played well after that coming in. I had a nice approach on 14 to make a birdie, and then the same thing on 15 with a birdie. I hit it close on 16, and I didn't make it but it was a good shot. 17 I hit a bad tee shot there, so I hit some bad shots but I was able to recover and hit a great iron there. 18 I kind of shanked the second shot, but it was a shot I probably could have hit pretty close. But the water was left, so I made the right mistake at least and still had a chance for par. Even though I made a bad shot, I still almost made a par.

Q. I know it's a funny question to ask after a 65, but do you feel like you left a couple still out there or do you think it evened out?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, I always feel like you leave something out there, but that's a tough game to play as a pro golfer because you tend not to play perfect almost any round. Yeah, you always say -- I'd like to say I left some out there, but honestly I made so many good shots that I feel like I got more out of my round than I could have. Even though I hit the ball close on the back, I made some putts, I was in some tough spots, and all in all, I felt like I was evened out or even ahead of the game.

Q. Do you feel like you're ahead of the game -- not a lot of low scores in the afternoon. Do you feel like you're ahead of the game putting up a low score like this?
DUFFY WALDORF: Yeah, got out there on the driving range and the wind is blowing -- it was like blowing when I got here, but it was really blowing when I started warming up. It was still pretty early here and the wind was strong. So you're thinking this could be a pretty tough course. You really want to hopefully get off to a good start and keep from getting 2- or 3-over par early because it would be hard to fight back, and I got off to an ideal start getting the ball up-and-down on 1 and then the birdie on 2 and having that three-birdie run on middle of the front side.
It's the kind of day where if you can make a few birdies early, you don't have to play so aggressively and can kind of pick your spots. It turned out well because on the back side the wind was still blowing pretty strong there, and then it kind of eased up. I'd say the last four holes it was better conditions, playing the last four or five holes.

Q. What was clicking for you today specifically in your game?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, obviously I need to go to the driving range because nothing was great, but I did something great with everything. I drove the ball well most of the time, and I hit good iron shots most of the time, and I made a lot of good putts and I missed some putts. So all in all, I did everything well, and that's what you need to do. I made mistakes with everything, but my good shots -- I did more good shots with everything. I made more putts than I missed and I hit good iron shots more than I hit bad ones, and I hit the fairway more than I missed. So all in all, everything was working. Obviously I missed shots, but I tend to focus on what I did well and hopefully continue on.

Q. You've been coming here for several years. This is I think the eighth year the tournament has been played at the Deere Run TPC. What are your thoughts on this course and how this tournament and course have developed over that period of time?
DUFFY WALDORF: I think the main thing about this course, I think it's one of the best TPCs we play. It's picturesque, he has good shot values, it's not what I'd call overdone. There's not a lot of things forced with it. It plays with the lay of the land, it's got terrain, it's got up and down. I love the conditioning of it. The bunkers are -- the ball runs into the bunkers off the fairway. The bunkers are maintained so they're at fairway height when you enter the bunker instead of being a little outpost in the rough. All in all, I think it's in the top two or three TPCs we play all year.
And then the other side of it is the event being -- I always feel like it's a hometown event. It's a different event -- I'm from Los Angeles, so you come to the LA Open they want to see the big names, they want to see the superstars, and here they just want to see great golf. They embrace whoever comes, so it's kind of neat to have that feel where you're welcome no matter where you sit in the golfing hierarchy. So it's got a great course and a great comfortable hometown feel when you come here to Moline.

Q. On that note, there seem to be a lot of guys on the leaderboard today who are putting things back together. Is this a good place to get that done? Do your eyes kind of light up when you see kind of a softer field?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, I feel like all the players out here are strong. Obviously my eyes light up when I see a course like this. It's a good course to play. The greens are reasonably soft, so if you hit the ball well I think you're going to get a lot of birdie opportunities.
You know, I just -- I don't look at it as a soft field; I look at it as a good course, a good opportunity. I qualified for the British Open last week, so I feel like I have a little momentum going, so really I'm just trying to continue the momentum that I'm hopefully building from last week.
I kind of had -- my last two tournaments I didn't finish very well even though I felt like I played pretty well. Golf is a game that kind of comes and goes. The way you play can be very much the same, but your scoring is what it's all about, so you kind of just keep playing along and hope that your scoring machine turns on, and it did for me today.

Q. You're one of seven guys here that are going to the British Open, and a bunch of guys who are in the field qualified for the British and said, adios. Why don't more players see this as an opportunity to build momentum going into the British Open?
DUFFY WALDORF: I prefer to -- I mean, I played in quite a few majors in my career, but I prefer to play the week before a major. But I can see why guys -- the British Open is a special major, being all the way over in Scotland. The time change is a big factor, and obviously the way -- the type of course is a big factor.
For me where I'm at, I'm 144th on the FedExCup points list, and I haven't played a ton this year. I'm kind of -- my exempt category is pretty far down the list, so I feel like I have to play if I have the opportunity. You know, I look at it as a positive that I have a chance to play and hopefully get some FedExCup points, and even though I think I'll be less prepared time-wise as far as the jet lag, I think playing, though, my game, at least it'll be tournament sharp. And hopefully I'll have two and a half days to translate to the time zone and obviously the shots that you need.
I mean, those links courses, I mean, you really can't prepare until you're there. I will just have two and a half days, which probably is plenty for me. I tend to not want to have five or six practice rounds. I think a couple practice rounds will be just fine, and hopefully the wind -- I hope the wind blows hard in practice rounds. That's what you need. You want to see some tough conditions and then be ready for them if it happens to come to the tournament.

Q. How much time does it take from when you leave from here to go to the British Open to get over there, get your feet on the ground, get situated and be mentally ready to play? How difficult is that exactly? I know you partially answered that, but --
DUFFY WALDORF: It's a little different each time. I want to Italy this year. I played the Italian Open, and I'll be honest with you, I did not get on the time schedule until probably -- I don't know if I ever got on the time schedule. Part of it was because it was a fun tournament. My son was over there doing -- he's in Germany going to school there doing a foreign exchange program, so we were up late every night, so I wasn't -- the tournament wasn't foremost in my mind. I wanted to do well, but I was enjoying the Italian lifestyle so I was up late and was kind of feeding into that and never quite got on the time schedule.
I'll be a little more serious when I go to Scotland. But honestly, for me I always find it takes a good two or three days, no matter what, to kind of get to where you wake up in the morning and feel ready to go. And there's some times -- and of course there, I've had the 4:00 o'clock tee time and I've had a 6:30 tee time in the morning, and the tee times can be a factor. You kind of hope for a later one.

Q. Is it the sort of thing where if you had just two more days to get ready --
DUFFY WALDORF: Maybe. Honestly, sometimes feeling bad isn't necessarily bad, or feeling tired or fatigued. A lot of times the less that's going on in your brain, the better. When you're fresh and alert and energetic, sometimes you're a little bit too hyped up. I've had that happen, too, where you're kind of tired and you just go over there and don't think about anything and you make nice smooth swings and don't worry about much, and lo and behold, you're playing pretty well. Once your energy returns, you're like, now I'm excited and too jumpy and too amped up.
Obviously it's a balancing act. I always just try to take the positive, take what you have and work with it. If I'm tired, I'm just going to be patient and take my time and try to work my way around the course real slowly and not worry about anything, and when I'm jumpy, I kind of need to do the same thing, too.
If I'm energetic and ready to go -- I think that's the challenge all golfers face. They've got to manage what their state is, what kind of state they're in. That's the challenge of going to Scotland.
Honestly, I probably won't be on the time until probably I would think Thursday or Friday. But that may not matter if I have a late time. It may work out fine. Late time on Thursday, I'll be good to go. Of course, over there you can have 11:00 o'clock and 4:00 o'clock. You could have two late times.

Q. You've had some early tournament success here in the past and then it's kind of leveled out on you. How do you build on this round and what do you try to get accomplished tomorrow?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, I've got to stay aggressive tomorrow, aggressive in the sense that I need to manage my shots. If I have opportunities to make birdies, that means not leave the putts short, or if I have a wedge in that I can knock close, I've got to play the shot, the smartest shot that's going to give me a good birdie opportunity. I think tomorrow is very important for me. It's an early start, and conditions might be better. You never know, the wind might blow, it might not blow. The greens will probably be better.
The trick here is that you've got to keep playing well. It's not a course where normally you can shoot 10-under par in two or three rounds and then you just shoot par. I mean, you've got to keep going low. Usually it takes a pretty good score to win here. So you've got to feel like you've got to make birdies every day. In the end that's always the challenge, making birdies and then not making too many bogeys, which I won the challenge today, so that's my challenge tomorrow, to see if I can make more birdies and not too many bogeys.

Q. With the revisions to the golf course, did you find it played any different than you can remember?
DUFFY WALDORF: Honestly I can't really tell much difference. I would imagine if it was a little softer -- if it was softer the last few days, but like today the ball ran pretty well. I felt like it played -- I mean, they were blended in nicely. I didn't notice much change. It wasn't like incredibly longer, any of the holes. I think if anything the 9th hole is probably the most noticeable, but it was not into the wind today so it wasn't too bad.

Q. Where does the affinity for the Hawaiian shirts come from?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, I've always liked Hawaii. I like going to Hawaii and you tend to want to wear aloha shirts when you go to Hawaii. For a long time I wore red shirts, but I found this company that made Hawaiian shirts that were golf shirts. I kind of like them and they're pretty unique and not many guys wear them. Sometimes the marshals wear them. I know why the marshals wear them, so that's kind of neat.

Q. (Question regarding the decorated golf ball.)
DUFFY WALDORF: Justin my son over there did the ball. It says, "Go USA, go Duffy," and had a red dot on one side and a blue dot on the other. I started using it on the 2nd hole and I hit it into the rough and the marshal put the flag by it. I got over there and I picked up the flag and gave it to the guy and waited because somebody was hitting, and I went back and I couldn't find the ball. It was hidden pretty good because the dot was right on top. I did find it eventually, but I was not wanting to hit the ball in the rough. That was like incentive to hit the ball in the fairway so I could find it.

Q. You mentioned FedExCup and your position. What's your take?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, right now FedExCup is a quicker season. It's a much quicker season than in the past where guys could come alive in the summer and make their move into the TOUR Championship. I mean, gosh, by the end of -- by the middle of the summer you've only got a few tournaments left to position yourself. I think the Playoffs are going to be the most important part of it. I think as far as the points system, I don't think -- it hasn't changed too much with the difference between that and the Money List.
But it is a little different being even points for most the tournaments. I think obviously we have to see how it works out. I have lots of -- in another place I can talk about how I can think it would be better, but that's I think something we'll save for the later in the year when we get it all worked out. But I think the finish is going to be exciting. I think that's going to be the key point.
The only thing I'd say is we need to make sure that we keep all the tournaments in it equally. Still, tournaments aren't benefiting -- a lot of tournaments aren't benefiting from being a FedEx tournament, and that's something we might have to work on in the future.

Q. Including this one?
DUFFY WALDORF: Including this one, especially. Especially one like this or maybe Milwaukee next week or the tournament in Cancún, the tournaments around the majors still obviously have issues. I mean, Toronto will probably be one that will be tough to get a good field.

Q. How does your big win at the Disney a couple years ago, your 62 -- that's a tournament that has been affected by the whole FedExCup thing.
DUFFY WALDORF: Yeah, all the tournaments there in the fall, I mean, those tournaments are really affected.

Q. The money aside, which of course is a huge aside, from a fan's viewpoint, is there a sense of artificiality about trying to make it a race for the season from a fan's perspective, or do you think it's a legitimate thing that will catch on with the fans and the public will view it as a "race"?
DUFFY WALDORF: Well, we always have the races, the Top 30 race, the Top 125 race and there's always a No. 70, 150. I think that will still be very interesting. We won't have that race to the Top 30, which will hurt -- that's what really hurts the tournaments is the fact that the 30 is settled and those tournaments in the fall is pretty much the race to 125, which I think is still a compelling race.
I think it'll be -- I think it'll still draw a lot of interest, who's in and who's out and who's fighting for it. I think it's just we're going to lose a lot of the top players, the Top 30 guys, because of their finish being assured.
STEWART MOORE: Great playing today, best of luck this week. Thank you.

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