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March 1, 2008

Mark Calcavecchia


STEWART MOORE: Mark Calcavecchia, thanks for spending a few moments here in the interview room at the Honda Classic. A third round 67 in some odd conditions, seemed like low scoring early on, but as the day progressed, the wind seemed to blow and the scores got a lot higher.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, the front nine, it was definitely the easier nine of the two, anyway. I was kind of looking to make some birdies early. You know, 1 and 3 and 4 are birdie holes, really.
I think a lot of guys got off to pretty good starts, but this course will eventually wear you down, you know, if you miss a few shots here or there, you'll make a bogey or double pretty quick, especially coming around the last four holes.
So, you know, I just made a whole bunch of pars and really wasn't losing any ground making pars. That's pretty much what happened the last, what, 14 holes, all pars and one birdie.
STEWART MOORE: You won at PODS last year and you're a Florida guy, you must love coming back here for the Florida Swing and getting back to the East Coast.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I was happy to get back to Florida for sure. I've had some success on the West Coast in past years. But you know, Kapalua it's a great place to start, but it's real tough putting over there on those greens. And I just really didn't -- I had a hard time putting the first five or six tournaments, really. It was nice to get back here and, you know, get on some greens that I halfway understand.

Q. What is it about this course? This tournament's been played on a half-dozen or something courses but it's always something about you and the Honda. Is it because it's Florida?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I usually play pretty good when I sleep in my own bed, whether it be here or in Phoenix.
But you know, last year, I actually remember last year quite well. I shot 66 in the Pro-Am and couldn't have played any better, and then went right out and half-shanked an 8-iron on 11 my second hole of the tournament and made double and 3-putted the next hole. Next thing you know, threw another one in the water on 15, and I think I was 7-over through seven, you know; end of tournament.
So I didn't want that to happen again this year, that's for sure. So sure enough on 11, the pin is in the same place as last year, I pull-duff-hooked it in the corner of the green, and I said, well, it's going to be two shots better than last year's result; I didn't want to flame another one in the pond.
Anyway, it's a good course for me, No. 1. It's tough. Innisbrook is tough. I like setups like this. When I won in Canada, that course was tough.
So tomorrow is supposed to be pretty windy and I'm sure it will be plenty tough again tomorrow.

Q. Can you give us an idea of what it's like to play at home, the different things going on with your friends? Do you have parties? Do you have to entertain? What's all happening?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: We had the Honda Classic party on Monday and had a bowl of 75 tickets, and when I woke up on Tuesday morning, there were three left. I don't know who decided to leave three. And we only had about 30 people show up. That's kind of our ticket giveaway, and actually had to get some more and have seen almost everybody that was over at the house one day here or there. From what I understand, I think almost everybody I know is coming out tomorrow, so that will be cool.
You know, even some people that I didn't get tickets for that I haven't seen in a while said hey, and shockingly, I remembered their names, and I'm usually the worse with the names. I just saw this guy and knew who it was; had not seen him in ten years.

Q. Is that at your house?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: The party, yeah. It was Monday night.

Q. You've obviously won this tournament at two other locations. What would it be like for you to win in Palm Beach County? You've been living here for white a long time.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, it would be pretty special to win a TOUR event three miles interest your driveway. And it would be pretty cool to -- I've done it in Phoenix winning three different decades, so that would be pretty neat, too.
But, you know, I'm sure I'll be nervous tomorrow. Once I get into my round, I don't know if I'll be playing with Luke or whoever, and he's a nice guy, he won't say a whole lot. We'll just be playing our games and just try to make a bunch of pars and a few birdies here or there and see what happens coming around the last four or five holes.
You know, to win here would be -- I hate to keep saying surprising, but it would be surprising, considering I wasn't exactly confident coming in this week.

Q. Do you go at pins more than anybody else out here or do you have to back off a little bit, too, from your normal aggressiveness?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I probably go at pins a little more than -- definitely more than average; not more than anybody. But even I kind of forgot about some pins. Even the fifth hole, it was a 9-iron today, and I was not going to hit it in the water. I hit it 30 feet long right, 2-putted.
You know, 16, I knew I had too much club and I just chipped a 6-iron 30 feet long because I didn't want to catch a floater 7 right in the pond. There's times where you have to aim away from the trouble, especially around the Bear Trap over there. You've just got to keep your ball dry, and if you make pars, you're doing pretty good.

Q. Where is the needle on the love/hate relationship with your putter this week?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It's about right in the middle. (Laughter).
I like it a lot more than I have lately. You know, it's all about putting, obviously. I played right behind Luke Donald for three days and I've seen him bending over plenty, believe me. He's made a lot of putts. And I have, too, and that's why we are in the position we are in. Nobody ever won a tournament out here without making a boatload of putts, I'll tell you that.
Just never got anything going on the West Coast. The greens at Torrey Pines were horrible. I putted okay in Phoenix. This is the best I've putted this week -- I mean, this year. I was just kind of hoping it would be a matter of time before I started making some, and I've made quite a few this week, so it's nice.

Q. And you've used this putter for how long now?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Most all year, yeah. This is the one I've been using -- I went to the short putter the first two rounds in Phoenix. But other than that, this is the same putter I've used all year. It's just exactly like the one I used the last three months of last year that unfortunately ran into a parking garage wall in San Diego; and now it's holding up some flowers somewhere in a mud puddle behind this condo. (Laughter)

Q. Did you pay attention to where the pins are tomorrow? What do you think it's going to take tomorrow to win?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I did see some of the pins, and some of them are pretty creepy. Namely 11 and 17, and I'm just guesstimating 15 is back right, or back center, anyway.
You know, going back to your question about staying away from some pins, you just can't hit it in the water. You just can't afford to make a double-bogey and shoot the whole thing right out the window by doing that.
So according to the weather.com forecast for tomorrow, 15 to 25 (wind), and it was supposed to be 15 today, but I don't think it ever got that high most of the day. It was pretty nice to play.
So if it's windier tomorrow with those pins, who knows. You know, somebody starting at 2- or 3-under could go out and shoot 3- or 4-under and win, or 5-, or 6-under could win again; or 8, who knows. Just going to try to par them to death and pick up a few birdies where I can.

Q. The putter you bought last year at Innisbrook, how long did that hang around?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I putted with it for -- I think Hilton Head was about it. So Bay Hill, Doral, New Orleans, Masters, Hilton Head. It lasted about another six tournaments.
Then I actually brought it back out somewhere towards the end of the year and it lasted one day. It's still a good-looking putter. I just never really made anything. Probably more than anything, I got luckier than hell for three days in a row, which is pretty much what it amounted to, which, you know, is good for me. (Chuckling).
You know, it's in Phoenix, actually. It's still in good shape.

Q. And today, was it at all surprising to you -- it was still blowing obviously but not quite as hard as it was Thursday, Friday; that you kept making pars and you kept sliding up spots.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: A little bit. I really wasn't paying too much attention to the board. You know, I got off to that great start, and actually, I'll tell you about this in a minute. I made a hell of a bogey on two. I had a whiff and a chip-out and still made a bogey.
But anyway, it's just there's some holes and pin placements that are hard to get to. 13, even though it's a short hole, it is a tough pin, and 12 is way over there. 11 is 5 over the water, and you certainly don't want to come up short. I think it's just the nature of the course that mentally, you know, pars are not going to hurt you. So it's almost tough to be too super-aggressive here.
STEWART MOORE: What happened with the whiff?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I pulled my drive in the left rough. And there's a few palm trees over there and I was left stymied outside the back of one of them. I could not hit it right-handed, and my only two options were left-handed and turning around and whacking it back this way. And I'm pretty good chipping it left-handed, so I just took a few practice strokes. I only had to hit it from here to the window, five yards, and stone-whiffed it right on the inside of it. I didn't chunk it or go over the top of it. I just missed it inside the ball and just shocked the hell out of me. (Laughter).
And then I hit the next one in about one second. I whiffed, and then I went, pheww, and hit it again. I didn't want to back off and think about it. I don't know what I thought about, but I panicked and just quick-hit the next one and got it out in the fairway and smashed an 8-iron on the green and made a 10-footer for bogey.

Q. When is the last time -- do you ever remember whiffing before?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I've whiffed a few times. Usually if you're in the trees and your club gets hung up on a branch, you know, your practice swings are fine and then you windup. And you know, I've probably whiffed at least five times in my career, including some chips where you go for the super-flopper in the muff; pheww, slide right under it and you're sitting in your divot. I've done that a couple times, too. You'll see that every now and then.
And I've hit myself. I've pretty much done everything imaginable in my career. But you know, whiffs are not good.

Q. From a distance, it looked like a practice swing because you went at it so quickly. Did everyone in the group know right away it was a whiff?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think Carl did. I don't know if the scorekeeper was keeping track but as soon as I got the next one out in the fairway, I said, "Oh, I had 3 there." And I think Carl heard me say that and then he made the putt and he said, "Good bogey."

Q. Have you ever seen anybody win out here with an 8?

Q. 8.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Oh, I'm sure it's happened. Luke made the 8 on 14 the other day, huh?

Q. Yesterday.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's happened before.

Q. But at a course where 5-under last year was good enough to win and it doesn't seem like too much better will be good enough this year?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Right, it's a testament to the course. Like I said, I followed him around for three days, and he's been bending over a lot.
So you know, he's obviously playing well and putting well, other than that 8, which I don't know how that happened, downwind, but anyway, I know he's made two 30-footers on 15, he's made two 2s and a 3 there. So he's picking up shots elsewhere.

Q. Can you give us just a little overview of 17 and how that played today and what challenges it presents and what you have to do to get around that?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, 17, the tee was up. It was only 160 yards I think, 159 yards. The wind is gusting and again, that's one of those deals where in a Pro-Am or practice round, you'd take dead aim with a nice little 7-iron or something, because if you hit it in the water, no one really cares.
But the problem with that hole is you just can't afford to come up short. And I'm almost going to guarantee you, every player in this field was probably past the hole, with the exception of a few I know were a little short. Some of the guys in the morning might have hit it in there close. But anybody in there this afternoon that was playing out there was probably going to be long.
And then tomorrow, the pin is way back right. So you're going to see a lot of balls probably try to hit in the middle of the green, you know, 15 feet short and 2-putt, which is fine.
You know, No. 1 is dry, and No. 2, the worse you're going to do is three-jack hopefully, and a lot of times a bogey won't kill you, either, depending on what you're shooting. But you probably won't see a whole lot of real close shots tomorrow on that hole.
STEWART MOORE: Mark, thanks so much and good luck tomorrow.

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