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September 15, 2007

Mark Calcavecchia


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Mark Calcavecchia, in with a 7-under par 63, 16-under, making a run at the leaders today. Just talk a little bit about your day and we'll open it up for questions.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I played great today, except for the last three holes I hit a few loose shots. I made a couple nice pars on the last two holes, so that was nice.
But overall, in a nutshell, I got a phone lesson from Peter Kostis. I called him Wednesday night and got a hold of him for 30 seconds and he gave me a couple tips, and it's starting to feel much more comfortable. In a nutshell he said I didn't have enough knee flex and I was probably too hunched over is why I was coming up and out of it, because I was hitting a lot of fans to the right. So basically I just tried to get a little more knee flex and stand a little taller, and it was starting to feel pretty good.
I hit some great iron shots today. I haven't seen iron shots like that in a while, so it felt good.

Q. You'll be playing with Tiger tomorrow in the last group. I'm wondering, you guys I know are pretty good friends, you text message on the cell phones and talk smack. What was sort of the evolution of the friendship? Is that a sort of evolutionary thing?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I actually met him when he was still working with Butch in the U.S. Juniors at what age, 16 or whatever it was, when he first started working with Butch Harmon, and that's about when I started, as well. I'd run into him in Vegas or Houston at that time, I think, wherever Butch was. He was in Houston back then. And then we began playing practice rounds. We both like getting up at the crack of dawn and teeing off in the dark to beat the crowds and the other slow players. So that's kind of how we became friends, so to speak. Still kind of just -- we have a good relationship, but we don't go out to dinner or anything, but we can call each other any time or text each other, whatever.
I'm sure we'll have fun tomorrow.
If I play like I did today, I'll have a lot of fun, even if it's not enough. You know, I've just got to play golf. He'll probably keep me relaxed to some degree a little bit. But it's a round of golf with Tiger Woods. It's where you want to be. It's a good spot to be in.

Q. How daunting is it to be behind by three strokes?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That's a pretty big hill to climb. If he was hitting a few foul balls it might help, but every time I turned around he was about 40 yards ahead of Woody Austin in the fairway (laughter). So it's pretty hard to screw up with a pitching wedge into every par 4 and reaching every par 5 easily.
You never know. I mean, I don't know if -- even if I got off to a great start, say I was 4- or 5-under on the front nine, would that make a difference to him? Probably not. I don't see him shooting worse than 65 tomorrow. But you never know. It's going to be a nice day. It's not like the wind is going to be blowing 50 miles an hour or something goofy is going to happen. I'm going to have to have another day like today to have any sort of chance.

Q. Did we not decide you played in the very first one of these things back in the day?

Q. You'll have to bring your veteran experience tomorrow, all your old tricks?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, right, I can't even remember that. It's like I was telling -- I can't even remember. That's why experience doesn't do me any good, because I can't remember what happened yesterday (laughter). Like I said, I can't remember. I was telling somebody that experience is kind of overrated to a degree because it's still golf, and when you're struggling you're struggling.
Just because you've been out here 27 years and played in a bunch of TOUR Championships doesn't mean if I start hitting bad shots I can calmly fix myself. It's either good or it isn't.
But yeah, I'm going to have fun with it tomorrow. That's all I can say. I'm sure I'll be nervous, but I'm playing well and I'm swinging well. You know, it's important to get off to a good start obviously, and we'll see what happens from there.

Q. A couple things. When is the last time you played with Tiger in the final round?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I would say tomorrow will be the first. I really haven't played that much tournament golf with him. I've been paired with him in the first couple of rounds three or four times and a third round once or twice. We were Ryder Cup teammates. We played one alternate shot match together, which we lost. That's a whole other story in and of itself (laughter).
At any rate, actually other than practice rounds, it's been quite a while since I've played with him in a tournament.

Q. Secondly, you're the oldest guy in the field. Do you look at this as how many more opportunities am I going to get to play with Tiger Woods in the final round of a tournament?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I hadn't thought about it yet, but that is a good point. It probably won't happen very often. I don't get in as many final groups. He's in a final group every week. You know, I've got two and a half years, two years and three-quarters left on this TOUR, who knows, maybe a little longer, but either way there's a possibility this could be the last time I'll play with him in the last group on Sunday, so I'd better have a good time.

Q. Regarding Kostis, had he seen you on TV or did you just describe to him the problem?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: He was in Tahoe doing an outing. I think he was in an elevator actually. I called him and he called me right back and he said he was in some poor reception area in Tahoe. And I said, I've got the white rights and when I'm tired of fanning it right, I flip pull hook it, and he said I guarantee I know what you're doing. I said, okay, I'll try that, thanks, I'll do it.
In the last two weeks I was dead last, dead last, and that's how fast things change for me in golf. I guess I'm still streaky, huh?

Q. Butch ever give you any secrets on how to beat Tiger?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, I might have to call Phil (laughter). Maybe he read The Secret. Maybe he has the secret secret, double secret. Chip in and make a bunch of putts. I don't know, Phil played great.
It's a mental hurdle, and how I'll handle it, we'll find out tomorrow. I'm anticipating playing well. There's no reason I shouldn't because of who you're playing with, and I think that's probably what Phil got over. You've just got to talk yourself into doing the things you've been doing and go hit it.

Q. Hal Sutton was very successful in THE PLAYERS Championship.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Right, I miss Hal. I guess he's designing courses and farming and having a heck of a time. Yeah, you're right, I could give him a ring.

Q. Does it take any of the edge off the fact that you've played with Tiger in friendlier surroundings and you're more comfortable with him maybe than most guys just in general?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I mean, I think in my case that might make it a little easier on me because we do get along well. But maybe I'll intimidate him and he'll be a little extra nervous tomorrow (laughter). I don't think so. Strike that from the record (laughter). I think he'll be fine.

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