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January 24, 2008

Rory Sabbatini


CHRIS REIMER: We welcome Rory Sabbatini to the media center with a 5-under par today. Before we get into today's round, I know you spent some time yesterday with some of the members of the United States Armed Forces. Just talk about what happened yesterday and the charitable donation you made.
RORY SABBATINI: Well, obviously yesterday we were very fortunate to be invited down to the naval base here to go down to the USS Boxer, which is a support craft for the naval forces as well as the armed forces. You know, we were met there with the United Through Reading Foundation, which is a foundation which provides facilitation of reading to the armed forces and recording it on video for children of family members and maybe aunts and uncles that are deployed and give them the opportunity to form a relationship there.
There are many servicemen, one that had a 22-month-old son and was in service over in Iraq and hasn't seen him for four and a half months, wasn't able to get his son and talk to him on the phone. So through United Through Reading and through watching videos, his son talked to him, recognized his voice and recognizes him.
You know, it's unfortunately one of those things that we seem to forget about and we take for granted out here on the TOUR, and we were just fortunate that we were able to contribute to it.

Q. Were those your winnings from Tiger's tournament?
RORY SABBATINI: That was what the situation was. You know, unfortunately the media took a lot of criticism towards me after the event, and in that situation I was there, I was tired, and we thought about it and we thought we'd put it to some good use.
CHRIS REIMER: Going through the golf today, bogey-free round today. What did you have working?
RORY SABBATINI: Obviously I putted very well today. I missed a couple coming in at the end there, but all things considered, I hit a lot of greens, which are traditionally bumpy out there, and with the conditions of the rain last night would be more susceptible to it. I put the ball in the right spots and putted nicely.
CHRIS REIMER: You played pretty well to start the season. How do you feel about your game right now?
RORY SABBATINI: Obviously I'm extremely excited. It's obviously a new year with new equipment, and all things considered, I'm extremely happy with the way my equipment has been performing so far. I found a set of irons with Adams that just seems to be performing even better than expected for me, and my confidence level is extremely high. My ball-striking is good, which has never really been one of my strongest suits out there, so combining that with the way my putter is continuing to work for me over the past two years, it's definitely promising.

Q. Looks like 19 of the top 22 scorers are on the North today at this point. North is probably a little easier, but probably the course conditions were a little tougher today than normal?
RORY SABBATINI: Obviously this year they added a couple new tee boxes. They lengthened No. 3 and they lengthened No. 12. Amazingly enough, 12 played extremely difficult today with the wind, but the North does tend to play -- tend to be about two to three shots easier than the South Course.
You know, your opportunity to shoot a low score out there is something you definitely have to take advantage of to put yourself in position to go into the weekend.

Q. A couple of guys including Tiger put up numbers on the South Course. Does that surprise you at all?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, obviously over the last couple years the tournament battled with trying to keep bentgrass on the South Course, and it's just -- Southern California it's going to be hard to do. The poa annua is going to want to creep back in. They had a tendency to have a little struggle with the putting surface on them.
But they've gone back to poa annua and the greens there are a lot truer than what they were used to, so they're more receptive and they're putting better. I can understand there being some better scores, but still, with the conditions, that's good playing out there today.

Q. It's supposed to get a little bit wetter as the week progresses. Do you think that's something that will favor you?
RORY SABBATINI: You know, obviously we always want to play golf in good weather. It makes it easier on us. But the situation is everyone has to tee it up in the same conditions. I think regardless, you still have to go out there and play well.

Q. How would you explain your relationship with Tiger? I mean, is that just a competitiveness between you guys, or is there some real animosity there?
RORY SABBATINI: As far as I understand there's no animosity. We're both competitors and we both want to win. That's the situation.

Q. Does he get under your skin a bit?

Q. You've just had some interesting remarks in the past about him.
CHRIS REIMER: Thanks, Rory, appreciate it.

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