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September 5, 2007

Arron Oberholser


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Arron, thanks for joining us prior to the BMW Championship, the third event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. You finished tied for second last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship and jumped from 67th to 29th in the standings, put yourself in pretty good position for the TOUR Championship with a good finish this week. Maybe some opening comments about last week at the Deutsche Bank and then maybe some comments about Cog Hill.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Deutsche Bank was phenomenal. I mean, the atmosphere at that place last week was pretty electric. It felt -- the crowds were loud and raucous, and it had a feel of a major championship as far as the crowds were concerned.
It was really cool, and I think it's -- I think we all got what we wanted to see, and I hope the people at home watching got what they wanted to see as far as what these Playoffs are supposed to be about. I'm disappointed I didn't win. I am very happy that I had a chance to, but you know, it was a good thing for the TOUR, what happened last week. It was really cool.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Maybe some comments about playing here at Cog Hill.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Man, I haven't played here -- I played here twice. I played here 1997 U.S. Amateur, and I played here in 2003 my rookie year, and I haven't played here since. It usually fell on the 4th of July, and I usually took that week off just to hang out and do fun stuff on 4th of July. So I just have really nothing against the golf course. I think it's a phenomenal golf course.
I'm looking forward to playing this week. I remember it being difficult but very fair, right in front of you. And because of the Monday finish, I wasn't able to get in a practice round this week, so I'm pretty much playing it blind, or at least I'm going on memory and yardage book.

Q. It's been kind of a string running through the guys who have been in so far talking about the FedExCup and the $10 million deferred payment and all these things, whether players were or were not consulted to the degree that maybe they should have been. Has that information been available to you, or are you guys in just your own cocoons and just wait until it gets initiated and then lash out at the plan? Because it went through the PAC and all the -- it was a bureaucracy, you know?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think a little bit of both. I think we are in our own cocoons sometimes and we don't get the information, but yet most of us don't seek it out. And I think to a certain extent, I think that -- you know, the PGA TOUR does its best to get us the information.
This was a late decision, though, from what I understand. This was a late decision, and when you're in a cocoon and it was coming at the end of the year and you're concentrating on what you have to do in the last major championship, getting ready for the Playoffs, you're probably not paying attention to what the policy board is doing as much as maybe what you would at the beginning of the year.
As far as -- I heard about it, I knew that it went from being a 50/50 decision, they were talking about doing 50/50, to all being 100 percent deferred. So I knew about it. I preferred the 50/50, but some guys maybe prefer it all deferred. Some guys want all cash.
We all have different opinions, and the board made its decision based on how they felt it would best fit everybody. But I think the decision will be looked at and the plan will be maybe revised next year, maybe not. We don't know. It's up to Commissioner Finchem and the board and everybody else, the player board, to get together again and talk about it.
I would personally -- my opinion, I would like to see some form of cash payment. I do like the idea of deferred because it's nice to have that nest egg and it's tax deferred and you can get it when you're 45. So I still like the deferred compensation idea. But I think that the idea to have a little cash when you're -- after a win would be all right. But to have it all cash, I wouldn't want $10 million in cash, you're giving $4 million to the government right there. I'd rather have it deferred to be honest with you.

Q. And a million to your caddie.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Yeah, and a million to the caddie. I wouldn't mind paying him at all, but I certainly would mind giving 40 percent to the U.S. government. Sorry to all the liberal democrats in the room.

Q. You played so well last week, Arron. Can you talk about the injury? You're probably as healthy as you've been in a long time I'm guessing.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Well, no, I'm not, unfortunately. I'm still struggling with the hand and wrist injuries, and these won't go away until I quit playing golf this year. I need -- my physical therapist has told me I need three weeks off, no holding onto anything and no blunt force trauma to the hands for three weeks and this thing will heal up and I'll be ready to play Grayhawk, which will be my last event of the year.
As soon as the Playoffs are over for me, that's my plan. But I'm playing on four Advil a day.

Q. If you're playing on four Advil a day, playing four weeks in a row and playing this stretch, how has that been for you?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: It's been hard. It's been hard on my hands. I'll be honest with you, it's tough on the hands and wrist. They're sore and they're beat up. I've been playing with it since the Byron Nelson, every week. We've played about four or five U.S. Open-type setups since the Byron Nelson, so the rough has been bad. I think you guys have noticed how bad the rough has been this year. It's been pretty brutal year course setup-wise this year, and when you drive it in that rough you've got to gouge it out and that adds to the soreness and the pain.

Q. As it relates to the four in a row, Ernie didn't play last week for whatever reason, Ames didn't play the first week because he doesn't like to do more than three in a row, ditto for Tiger; there's a fairly good-sized list. Do you feel like you have to play four in a row? Maybe you do in your position, but --
ARRON OBERHOLSER: You know, if I was in that position I don't know what I'd do. I think with my hands and wrist the way they are, I think if I was in a better position I'd take a week off just to give my hands and wrist a break. But in all honesty, if I was 100 percent healthy and ready to go, I might play four in a row. I might play four in a row.
I'm okay with the courses. I like -- I wouldn't say I love all four of them. I love East Lake. I really like this golf course. Deutsche Bank has gotten better with the redesign, and the only one I'm iffy on is Barclays, which most of you guys that know my game would think, wow, why wouldn't you love that golf course, it's kind of right up your alley. Aw, it's okay. Safe to say that's probably the one I'd take off if I had to.

Q. Were you ever told that you need to play four by any force in Ponte Vedra?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: No, I was never told that I need to play four. We're all independent contractors. I mean, no one tells us that we have to play. We just decide whether or not we want to play.
Now, for the sake of the FedExCup Playoffs, for the sake of FedEx, for the sake of all these tournament sponsors and the things that they're going through to make this thing work, I do believe that we all should play if we're eligible.

Q. Why?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: It gives legitimacy to the Playoffs. If you're going to call it a Playoff, and you're going to build up all this hype and have all these commercials, I think it's important for us to -- as players to recognize that and to do the best we can.
Now, I understand people have injuries, and if you're injured you can't play, and that's the same in football and baseball. You can't play in the Playoffs if you're injured.
But as far as family obligations, I don't understand everybody's family obligations. I just have a fiancée, which is important to me, but she'd be killing me if I didn't come play these events. She understands, and I understand -- I don't understand kids because I don't have any, so I don't understand what it's like to want to take your kids to school. But I'm sure Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are going to want to take their kids to school, but they're going to have to play football instead because that's their job.

Q. In saying that, is there an implied obligation for the players to support the TOUR and what they're trying to do here?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I don't know if it's an implied obligation. You take it as you want. I take it as that. I think it's important to support the tournaments and to support the cause to an extent. I mean, it's our livelihood, and these sponsors depend on guys like Tiger and Phil to play in these events because they drive the TOUR. We're not kidding ourselves, you know? I mean, they drive the TOUR. And when they don't play, the event is not the same thing, as we saw at Barclays. Even with Phil there, without Tiger, the event wasn't what it was last week. Last week the event was unreal.
You know, again, we're all independent contractors, and that's where I think the TOUR is stuck and sometimes that's where the Playoffs get stuck is we're allowed to make our own schedules. We don't have to be -- we're not told where to be and when to be there, and we don't have contracts that say we have to be there unless we have contracts with individual companies that say we have to play there, and usually guys don't have contracts like that, or at least I know I don't.

Q. When a guy commits, and I'm using Phil as an example because we're talking the most recent thing here, he's in the field as of Friday, was in town as of yesterday, withdraws yesterday, what do you think a fitting punishment, if any, would be in an instance like that? I guess he has to write a letter to the Commissioner within four weeks explaining his reasons why, and then of course whatever happens there is behind closed doors and there will be no airing of that laundry. If you were the Commissioner, how would you handle a situation like that where he's on a billboard on I-55 six miles from here?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: That's a difficult situation. I don't know what I would do if I was Tim. It's a better question for Commissioner Finchem to be honest.

Q. He's in here in an hour.
ARRON OBERHOLSER: Hammer him on it because he'll be able to answer that a lot better than I will.
I'll tell you what, let's put it this way. I don't want to answer that question. I've got to share a locker room and I'm right next to the guy. M and O are pretty close together (laughter).

Q. You've been here only twice, I know, but what's your reaction to this tournament rotating out of Chicago every year as a PGA TOUR player that we're not going to be in this market every year, that next year it's going to be in St. Louis?
ARRON OBERHOLSER: I think there's positives and negatives. I think it's cool that we can move the Playoffs from spot to spot. I'd like to see one of the events go to Harding Park in San Francisco. I'd like to bring it to the West Coast. I mean, I'm biased, but I'd love to see one go to Harding Park in San Francisco. It would be fantastic.
To not have an event in Chicago, I think this is one of the greatest areas for golf courses, I mean, it rivals Westchester and Rye and all those New York golf courses in my opinion without a doubt.
It'll be back, I'm sure, but it's a shame to not have an event here every year, I agree with you. But it's also nice to be able to move it around so other parts of the country get to see a playoff event.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Arron, thank you.

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