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October 27, 2007

Jim Thorpe


THE MODERATOR: Jim, thanks for joining us. Maybe get us started, had five straight birdies, then the double at 18.
JIM THORPE: You know what, I played -- I probably played better today than I did even the first round. I hit a lot of good quality shots today. Drove the ball very nicely.
Started on 1 with a decent birdie putt, probably 10, 12 feet, left it short dead center. That was good. Hit it close on 3, about five feet, tough putt. Any time you hit them past the hole breaking right down here, tough. Came back on 4 made, 25-footer. That was good. Routine today, 2 putted from probably 20 feet.
No. 6 down the hill. Hit a very nice drive. Came up just a little bit short. Pin high, just off the green on the right. And left probably an inch dead center of the hole. Another good quality tee shot on 7, another par 3, another putt 20 feet. You're playing four feet of break, so you're guessing.
8, par 5, probably the toughest hole on the golf course, as far as getting close to the pin. Laid it up perfect there, probably 45 yards short of the pin in the middle of the fairway just off the green but I couldn't get it close there. So I just aimed it a little after the flag and let it take the break about 10, 12 feet to the right.
The pin placement there was sitting on the crown. It was tough to get it close there. 9, I hit a beautiful shot, nice tee shot, beautiful second shot, dogged the putt, never committed to the line. He felt like it was moving to the left. I thought it was inside left.
So when you got two reach, when you're six inches off about eight feet, it's kind of hard to make it. Tim was going to hit a very, very big tee shot off 10, wedge, four feet, made that putt.
11 was another difficult pin placement. We both hit good drives. Joe hit before I did, and it went past the hole. We looked up, it's coming back down the fairway from behind the pin. Now I have to change my shot versus being aggressive with the wedge or a lob. I took a sand wedge put it, back on the stance, knocked it down, ten feet behind the hole. That putt had a lot of break to it. Probably the best shot all day, 6-iron on 12. Beautiful drive, great 6-iron there, about five feet under the hole, just pushed it onto the cup there.
13, 2-putted there, four and a half, five-footer for birdie, maybe longer there. Maybe 6 feet for birdie. Good shot on 14. Thought I made that birdie putt. Same thing on 15, we had good shots -- we hit decent drives in the shortcut there. Had a putt about 25 feet long, left it eight feet short, got behind it. 16 was a great up-and-down. Pushed my second shot in the bunker there, kind of in the bunker on the up slope side of the hill, beautiful bunker shot nine, 10 feet there. That was a good birdie. 17, hit eight out a little bit too easy, came up a little short there, made a nice eight, 10-foot putt par for there.
18, probably only bad tee shot I hit all day. Didn't hit it bad, but just blocked it to the right. I really didn't think that the lie was really that bad, but we decided to lay it up, and if I would have took another look at the pin there I wouldn't have laid it up. The pin was setting just where the ball would come back down the hill. And I didn't really think the lie was that bad. I thought I could have muscled something across there. But, you know, bogey was, I kind of was thinking, well, if I don't get it up-and-down, if I lay it up, try to wedge it down, bogey is not all that bad. Good solid round.
Of course I laid it up and had 61 yards that I tried to keep it down, keep the ball down and get it to bounce forward. But that green is such a big slope there, it came back to the front of the green. And I 3-putted, couple inches off the fringe there. It was a good solid round. I felt like it could have been lower.
I missed a few putts I should have made out there. Probably the only surprise I had all day, two surprises, the birdie putt I made on No. 4, I wasn't expecting to make that putt even though it was 25, 28 feet probably. As far as 2-putting, as far as these greens, you take it and go. I got lucky and made it. And the shots on 18, I just think if I could do it over again I believe I could have muscled 9 out across there. I never know at this particular point. But if you're going to make double bogey, make double bogey making something happen. Other than that it's a good solid day, guys.

Q. Look like this is a wide open horse race for the winner tomorrow. What do you need to do to be a repeat champion again tomorrow?
JIM THORPE: Get the ball probably 18, 20-under. I felt today if I could have got in with a 16-under, and then it could be a blessing, too. I know Brad posted 10-under and Denis through 17 he's 15-under. So to put me -- I won't be in the line of fire as much. When you're in last group you're in line of fire. When you're out in front of the last group either tied for the lead or a shot behind or something of that nature you can take off run and make something happen. I tell you it's amazing we're scoring this well on this golf course, because I think the golf course is very difficult. You can't miss fairways out there. You just have to be so solid with every shot that you play. And making the 4-foot putts isn't that easy.
But I think it's between 18 and 20 someplace. Get 18 and 20 in par you got a good shot.

Q. You said the golf course is difficult. Any stretch of holes where you think you can make a real push and make up some ground or get ahead tomorrow?
JIM THORPE: Well, you know what, number one, to get a good tee shot, 1 and 2 simple holes. I think the stretch, 3 through 7 it's a stretch of holes. Gotta get good golf shots on it. Back nine you only have couple holes you have to be careful. Fairway on 9, 10 and 11 you should have nice birdie opportunities. 12 would be nice. 14 is an excellent par 3. Today we played it short today 210. But that hole played 221, 222 tomorrow I'm quite sure. So you've probably got, I would say on the back nine, I felt like I used some very good pins, and I feel like tomorrow the pins should be a little easier on the back nine.
That's basing what you can win the tournament on. If you can get past first or five holes, I always say, even one or two under par, the golf course is there for the taking. You just have to back off a couple of holes, Par 3 and 14 put it into the green. If you get stupid there you're going to make bogey.
15 is a great hole. Today Joe and I hit we thought perfect shots dead center. They were both left in the rough. Being our age, we can't hit it far enough any more to carry it over the trees to the right like Eduardo or Denis Watson can.
Great golf hole. 16, if you hit two good shots on 16, give you birdie. 17, we hit 8 or 9-iron. And if you hit a good shot there you should be able to make birdie. 18 is just plain difficult. I think everyone is having a tough time. If you left it short of the flag today on 18, it went back down the hill.
And I think that's probably the toughest pin placement they can use on that hole. The one thing you have to do there, first few years we've played here was very easy to drive across that bunker where you had the 9-iron pitching wedge shot. Different air today.
The ball didn't travel as far today as it did in the first couple of days, which my tee shot would have been, I can't believe it didn't go into the bunker. If it goes in the bunker perfect 8-iron shot.
Nice clean shot in the middle of the green. You probably walk away with par. They got the rough very thick this year. Probably the thickest rough I've played in this year. When you miss a fairway, you just get punished.
So the guy that put it on the fairway make a few putts is tomorrow the guy to beat.

Q. (Question off mic)
JIM THORPE: I thought it was pretty much the same speed. I felt like yesterday they slowed down just a fraction. But today I think with the air and sort of stuff, I think the greens maintain a pretty good speed. I think the one thing that bothers you, when you try to lag on 25 feet, it's a putt you want to make but it's a putt you want to get close. And you think you hit it where it's going to stop 12, 14 inches you look up it's going 30 inches, you know.
Those putts are not easy to make, especially under the fire, you know what I mean. So I gotta go out tomorrow and play very smart golf. I gotta play -- I need to get out, drive the ball where my iron game seems to be very steady. I need to turn the front, be 17 and 18-under when I leave the front nine and the back nine just go out there it will be a shoot-out. Denis is playing good. Of course Eduardo and Brad is playing good.
So the guys just getting tougher and tougher. There was a time you thought you could go out and post 15, 16-under par it would be good enough. But today it's just it doesn't happen today. The younger guys coming out today are much stronger players. They hit the ball further than the older guys. They could be a little more hungry, you know what I mean it plays a role in it, which I know Denis isn't hungry. Looks like he's been eating all year (Laughter) but it's going to be a shoot-out. I think whoever wins the golf tournament go out tomorrow and continue to play well post good numbers. And I think 18, 20, I think between 18 and 20 under is a very solid number.

Q. It said on the TV that cut your driver. Did you do that and what were you thinking?
JIM THORPE: I was using a 46-inch driver. When you make your driver that long, it makes the head weight heavier. I felt I wasn't getting through it, leading it to the right. I decided to cut half an inch off. I drove it beautiful today. Only missed one fairway that, I mean I hit a cup in the shortcut just off the fairway into the first cut. But only bad tee shot I hit was on 18 and I was hoping Tony just hit a 3-wood hit a 7-iron in. I guess he was choking like I did.

Q. Did you choke?
JIM THORPE: Choke, I don't know what that is. No, it was just -- you were supposed to laugh at that. (Laughter). No, no I don't think we choked. We might get a little tense out there. Basically because we're human, but we've done this thing so much. We've hit so many practice shots and drivers. We've been under the gun before. We won golf tournaments before. So I think every pro here would tell you they're going to go out, play their best and whatever is going to happen is going to happen.
Maybe if I got to the last hole to beat Denis or something of that nature I might think about it, you know what I mean. But no we just go out and let it happen. I think when you're rookies, playing the regular Tour, there was some choke, there was some butterflies. But we're 50 plus years old. The choking is all behind us.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jim.

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