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September 19, 2007

Joey Sindelar


STEWART MOORE: We'd like to welcome Joey Sindelar here to the interview room at the Turning Stone Championship. Last tournament at the Wyndham Championship, top 15 finish, and you get to take a little time off. What have you been doing the last couple of weeks?
JOEY SINDELAR: All of the great things that I've never had a chance to do in the summer for a month at a time - which for us means fishing on Keuka Lake, a little bit of golf with my sons, an enormous amount of driving my wife crazy. The boys are sad I'm gone, my wife is debating (laughing).
It was a very, not because of the system or anything, but I've always been a second-half-of-the-year guy. And this second half of the year is so weird. In three of the tournaments that I didn't qualify were three of my staples, you know, old names - Westchester, Boston, and Chicago. You know, it was very difficult to miss those three.
So it's been a very, between the year being different and my play being pretty darn good, and not really cashing in on anything, and kind of quasi saying goodbye each week, it's been a very weird year. Both very neat and very emotional, so fun season.
STEWART MOORE: Speaking of the scheduling - obviously you have to enjoy the fact that you're starting the fall finish right up the road from Horsehead, Turning Stone Championship. Does that get your juices flowing a little bit?
JOEY SINDELAR: Without question. Actually I wish it was one week later, because I'm very, very rusty. But what could be better for someone like any of the central New York guys that are on the tour.
This is awesome stuff. It's an amazing property. As any of you from elsewhere in the world probably have noticed, we don't do a lot of new spectacular courses in this part of the world. The bodies are not flying into our residence in New York state. So to see a property like this sprout and flourish and be magnificent, it is a huge thrill for me to see.

Q. Can you expand on that a little bit, about how this property has changed? The complexion of golf in upstate New York a little bit compared to what it had been in the past?
JOEY SINDELAR: For sure, whenever anybody, you know, I guess I hadn't put my thumb on it before. You know, I go other places and there's new developments sprouting up. Or you go to Florida or California, and there's new stuff everywhere. It didn't occur to me that whenever anybody talked about fabulous golf in New York state, they were talking about turn of the century golf courses or you know, through the '30s, '40s and '50s. And now this is here.
I was here first for a Pro-Am a few years ago, and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Actually two. I played Rick Smith's course, Shenandoah, and then here and we got rained out. And I'm just looking around going you got to be kidding, you know.
It's not just the course. It's the practice area, and how well done everything is. It doesn't just stop in places, it carries on. So this is for people who love golf in New York state, this is big stuff.

Q. Would you consider yourself a little bit of an ambassador sort of you're from up here, and I guess that's what I'm wondering?
JOEY SINDELAR: I would love to. I mean, you know, I certainly have stepped right in and done that here not invited or uninvited. But I just I love it so much, I can't help it. You know, this is something to be proud of. Not that this is the new B.C. Open or that there's -- but look at the differences. I mean, the former B.C. Open represents.
My guys, my buddies that I live with every week, every year when they come to New York state in the past it's either been Westchester for the current Barclays, or it's been for an occasion major, which is still generally metropolitan except when we get to Oak Hill and then the B.C. Open. And the B.C. Open represented small market, hometown, blue collar stuff. And this is not that. This is cutting edge, no divot left unrepaired, magnificent.
For my friends to see how beautiful this part of the world is. I mean, we never have time. But to go to Cooperstown from here. I mean I try to tell them, if you're to take a car ride from here to New York city, it would blow your mind how pretty it is. And most people don't realize that.
So yes, I love to carry the banner for golf in New York state. My wife and I we have one of those jobs, I have one of those jobs where I could have lived just about anywhere, and never wanted to be anywhere but here. So this makes me incredibly proud.

Q. This tournament was able to recruit a couple of guys who are playing in the President's Cup next week? Stuart Appleby and Nick O'Hern. How nice is it to have guys like that come here and how good is that for the tournament?
JOEY SINDELAR: It's great stuff. This is a new direction. And again, I have to watch what I say, because I don't -- this is not the new B.C. Open, and I understand that and I know you understand that. But this is golf at this time of the year in New York state. And the people, the golf fans are going to love seeing guys like that.
You know, when the biggest names were playing in the B.C. Open, it was Stadler and Watson, and the guys I'm going to join on the Champions Tour here shortly. And I think except for an occasional appearance here and there, they didn't see those kinds of players.
So I think that they'll love getting out and, Hey, that's the guy. He's going to be up there and I'm going to watch him, so I think that's awesome stuff.

Q. Because you're familiar with this course, are you expecting maybe a big weekend to help you get up the money list?
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, having been on the Tour for 25 years I'm very familiar with a lot of courses, and that logic hasn't worked. I don't understand -- I think being a better golfer must have to do with that. I can't see the pattern. I go places, I had zero luck at Greensboro since I won effectively back in '85. And we've seen a couple versions of the course.
And I kept going back, you know, whenever you have your first win somewhere, there are some ties there that are just too hard to break, you wouldn't even want to. So I keep going back, and I a really good tournament for me over 20 years was like tied for 72nd. If I happen to make the cut.
Then all of a sudden this year, yep, I'm going back for the last time, and all of a sudden 12th, and it felt like it could have and should have been better than that.
You know, this winning on the tour thing, you just need to keep hitting your head against the wall and wait for the wall to break instead of the noggin. And Tiger's very good at the noggin not breaking, learn some of those habits.

Q. What will it take to win here this week, you think?
JOEY SINDELAR: Score-wise?

Q. Yeah.
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, I haven't been on the course yet. I was very lazy getting up here yesterday. I think that answer always depends on the weather. If it does not rain and they can get the Greens firmed -- these are not, if I remember right, these they're not noisy, they're not flat greens by any means. But they're not incredibly noisy.
But as greens get firmer and faster, little hills become big hills. And if you add 10 or 15 miles an hour wind, not a wind storm, but a little wind, you know, the scores will change a lot from last year. I'm sure the set-up folks learned a lot from last year.
I'm not one of those that's sold on way under par is bad news. I've watched these guys play. Out of 150, somebody's going to have a great week. They're going to hit every drive just about perfect. So it seems as though, you know, this time of the year --
I'm not trying to dodge your question, but this time of the year is clearly the better time for the best golf course set-up. Because in the summer, in the hot months you have to protect it and water it and all that stuff. Now we're in a place where they can kind of let this get a little bit crispy, which means the balls roll out of the fairway. Wide fairways become a little narrower, big greens become a little smaller.
So I would expect something a little closer to par this year, but again, we'll have to see. It all depends on the conditions.

Q. You mentioned Tiger, we went a while without bringing him up. But since you introduced him, some people would say well, Tiger Woods isn't here. So these other guys, I don't want to go see them. Tell us how tight a margin there is between Tiger Woods, and all the fantastic players that are here, even though he separates, they're still terribly good, aren't they?
JOEY SINDELAR: I still don't know that I have the words. I don't know how you say that someone is clearly the very, very best. But the margin is so small you couldn't even measure it. That's an odd thing, you know. Over the course of 18 holes how many would beat him?
You know, he's going to pull away over time most of the time. Certainly easily he's the most dominant I've seen because the best comparison would be Nicklaus. You're talking to a guy who 10 or 12 years ago in clinics would say you're not going to see people winning three or four tournaments a year anymore because the competition's too steep.
We went through the curve when I was first on the tour in the '80s, we all felt like half the field was capable of winning, and guys from the second half of the field got on the leaderboard, that probably wasn't going to happen. And that all started changing through the 90's, you see now, we have young kids, I don't even know them. I don't know them by face or by name, and they're winning tournaments.
So I'm saying no more multiple huge winners and look at what they're doing. I mean and Vijay, did he win nine or ten that year? Yeah, the same year Tiger won. That's bizarre. That's scary stuff.
But the game has changed. You know, back then you were either a short gamer or a bomber. And now the bombers are the short gamers. It's an amazing thing that I've been able to watch in my 25 years.
So, yes, clearly, clearly the best. But by, you know, I mean it's not like -- it's a very hard thing to describe. Clearly guys can beat him and will beat him. And somebody new is probably coming along that we don't know about yet. But it's pretty incredible to watch.

Q. Was there any chatter on tour about this place, the facility? And did you help spread any of that?
JOEY SINDELAR: Absolutely. Last year it was easily -- in my world, it was easily the buzz of the second half of the year what occurred here.
Because you've got to remember, a bunch of guys who have been playing the B.C. Open, and knowing they had floods and what is the condition of the course. Oh, it's already a small market with a small purse. And now we're going to find a substitute course? What could this possibly be, you know?
So the reaction was just out of control. Guys would come up going, that was amazing up there. We had a great time, the course was awesome. They took great care of us. So it was huge.
And then when it was announced that they had a slot. And then the purse, you know, that's absolutely in my world some of the biggest news I've heard. But remember, I'm from here and I'm listening for those kinds of things.
And yes, I did, you know, guys wanted to know the rest of the story. You know, what are they doing? Was that a fluke just because they had the national club pro thing up here or what? No, that's what they do up there. Just they're doing it right. So it was big on the gossip stuff in the locker rooms.
I mean, you know, not every guy -- if you run with that comment and it gets written in the paper and the guys are going to say, Oh, yeah, we talked about it every day. That's not what I'm saying. But in terms of reactions, it was really fun to watch.

Q. What is your feeling on the placement of this tournament in the schedule, being the first tournament after you just get done with all the FedEx Cup stuff? A lot of guys are playing that weekend, every week, they might want to take a week off for the fall series. Do you think it would be better to have it at a different point in the season or is it a good starting point?
JOEY SINDELAR: You know, that's tough. Again, Greensboro's tournament I look at that and I say there have always been tough spots on the tour. Some three or four good tournaments that guys really like to play in. If they get lined up with each other and if you're talking superstars that don't like to play more than three in a row or four at the very max, you know, somebody there's going to be those tough weeks on the tour.
When I look at, this I always try to think if it was my tournament, where I would want to be? Yes, there are guys who are absolutely never going to be here on this date. But I don't know if it's later, then the weather is going to start getting iffier. And if it's earlier, that's not going to serve a purpose, because they're going to be saving their weeks for the four they have to play.
So I'm going to say at first glance, this is all just playing out for the first time for us, and we're feeling and touching what's going on here. And I'm going to say that right now this tournament appears to be a very big fish in a smaller pond. And to me that's way better than being a guppy in what happened a month and a half ago. To be a really small fish in that enormous pond. Guys aren't going to show up there for sure.
I don't know, I think this tournament has all the makings of being a very special tournament in this segment of the year. And then of course it's up to Ray and their group to decide if it's worth pushing for us or if they like what this feels like. I haven't had those discussions with them, so I don't know how they feel.
But for a start versus five years ago when this wasn't possible to be here, I think it's really good.

Q. Can you just speak about the condition of the course itself? The fairways?
JOEY SINDELAR: Well, I haven't -- again, I'm about to go out there for my first time. But the guys have said the rough's up. A couple of fairways they said have been narrowed. I wasn't a proponent of that. This is a big golf course with big, beautiful vistas. And the bunkers, they did it right. They're the size, you know, everything's big here. It all fits.
And the narrowing fairways discussion was troubling to me. I hope it's just little bits and pieces. But in terms of grasses and stuff, I haven't been out there. But it would be hard to imagine it's not A-plus. This has been a very good growing season. At least a hundred miles down the road where I live, and I know their mind has been focused on it. So I would expect really, really good conditions this week.
STEWART MOORE: Joey, thank you for spending time with us. Good luck this week.
JOEY SINDELAR: My pleasure.

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