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March 18, 2008

Craig Parry


LAURA NEAL: Craig, thanks so much for coming in. Craig qualified for the CA Championship by finishing atop the '07 Australasian Tour's Order of Merit, but of course a victory here at Doral in '04, so maybe talk about qualifying for this event and being back at this venue.
CRAIG PARRY: It's obviously great to get back to a golf course you've played well on, and with winning the playoff at home on the second playoff hole shot in 2004, it's a great venue for me to come back and play, so many spectators and also players that have come up and said, "Isn't it nice to be back?"
It's a bit different golf course. The golf course played a little bit longer today, and the wind was blowing pretty strong.

Q. Do you ever think about that winning shot or is it something that never comes into your mind anymore?
CRAIG PARRY: Occasionally it comes into my mind. You know, I've been fortunate, I've had a few good shots in my career, like the chip-in at the Presidents Cup to beat Tiger and Freddy, playing at Royal Melbourne with Maruyama.
Some of the tournaments I've won, the Australian Open, the last one I won in November, it was an event I wanted to play really well and never got there, and all of a sudden to win at 41, it's pretty amazing.
But to hole a 6-iron in a playoff, it was amazing. Because of the way the day was, Scott Verplank and myself, and I hit a really long tee shot for me down 18, and I had 176 yards in and had a 6-iron and rolled it into the hole and the rest is history.

Q. Can you talk about the emotion when it went in?
CRAIG PARRY: It was like, streuth, this is amazing. The crowd, they were fantastic, and the spectators, they waited around -- normally when a playoff happens, spectators watch the playoff and then they all sort of disappear pretty quick. But that one, a lot of them stayed around just to say well done. Even today in the practice round there were a lot of spectators, "I was there when you holed your 6-iron." There were quite a few people there today.

Q. Other than holing out, how have you played that hole over the years? Has it been a good hole for you?
CRAIG PARRY: Over the years I've tended to play it pretty good, because normally I can aim down the left-hand side and just cut it back into the fairway. If it goes in the right rough you make bogey, you're not making double bogey. As a rule, if I played it well in the tournament it would be 1-, 2-over par, whereas the other guys which are going to be 3-, 4-, 5-over par. Today it played extremely long into the wind. It was a driver, 3-wood.

Q. Is that a prevailing wind hole?
CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, it is a prevailing wind. The ball is not going a long way out there at the moment, so that's why it's making it play harder.

Q. Could you talk a little bit more about what makes that hole tough?
CRAIG PARRY: Just standing on the tee, it can get to you because you know if you pull it you're in the water and you're going to be dropping it way back and you've got no opportunity to go for the green on your third shot, so it means you're laying up again and then you have to try and get up-and-down for your bogey. It's no bargain at all, even in no wind. You've only got 25 yards of fairway or something like that, and the rough on the right-hand side is very thick, and you're not going to get home for two shots. If you do hit it in the rough it's an automatic layup. You want to have a pretty good pitching game, third shot into the game.

Q. How is the approach shot?
CRAIG PARRY: Bloody difficult (laughter). It's hard. It's a hard hole and always has been. Any time you walk off with par, you go, "Well, that was pretty good." And if you make a birdie, "Well, that was outstanding." To make an eagle, you go, "Well, that's the best you can do, isn't it?"

Q. Did you walk up to the green and get your ball or anything, or did you just come in?
CRAIG PARRY: In the playoff?

Q. Yeah.
CRAIG PARRY: No, I grabbed the ball, and someone said -- I actually even fixed the pitch mark. I was looking after the green (laughing). No, I did grab the ball, yeah.

Q. You came back the following year to defend and then you made the decision around that time to step away from this TOUR and concentrate overseas. What was the thinking behind that, because your game was still obviously --
CRAIG PARRY: My game was still there. I've always wanted to play the Japanese Tour, and I won the Japan Open in 1997, and that gave me a ten-year exemption. Last year was the last year of my exemption in Japan for the full year, and I decided that I wanted to go to Japan and play the Tour. You know, missed my card in 2006, even though I think I played 16 events. I could have played a lot more if I wouldn't have tried to keep my card. But I made the decision that I was going off to Japan.
You know, I've really enjoyed it. Last year was great. I had a great time, only a one-hour time change from Australia, nine-hour flight, and you don't get jet-lagged. This week we left on Friday out of Australia, and I've got my family with us and we all woke up at 1:30 in the morning this morning. I'm sick of jet lag. I've just had enough of it. That doesn't mean that I can't come and compete in events like this. The other World Golf Championships event, the Bridgestone, I'm able to go and play in the British Open this year in Royal Birkdale. It's not as if I've stopped playing, I've just cut back on playing in America. You know, I'm able to live in Australia and go up and down and it's fantastic. It's really a lot of fun.

Q. I guess it's just because it seems the opposite of what so many of your countrymen are doing. There's so many players on this TOUR that have come over. You've done the opposite.
CRAIG PARRY: You've got to remember, I've had 15 years of flying over. We worked out there's 150 flights between Sydney and LA, and that's not to mention any of the flights from Sydney to London, and that's 22 hours flying. You start adding up some air miles and you've done a lot of miles around the world.
I was just literally sick of getting jet lag. I was coming for two weeks and then flying back to Australia.

Q. Since we haven't seen you play for a while, can you let us know -- obviously you qualified for this, but how is your game and what have you been doing to get ready for this?
CRAIG PARRY: Well, I've had two practice rounds before I left Australia to come over here, because I had knee surgery in January, late January, and that was six weeks ago, and my surgeon wouldn't allow me to go and practice. He said I could play the short game but wouldn't allow me to hit balls. I played last Wednesday, but before that it was in November. I was pretty rusty, and I've played 27 holes here so far and my game is coming back slowly.
Originally when I thought I was coming over here, I was coming over here to run last, so hopefully I won't be running last this week.

Q. Even though you couldn't hit balls, did you spend a lot of time chipping and putting?
CRAIG PARRY: I did spend the last two weeks chipping and putting and I hit some bunker shots. I tore my medial meniscus, which is behind the kneecap, and then I had a cyst on the bone, as well. That's been really painful.

Q. Left or right?
CRAIG PARRY: That's the right knee. I'm still not allowed to ride a bike or go for a run or anything like that yet, so beware of the injured golfer.

Q. Is that what you tell Tiger when you see him?
CRAIG PARRY: Well, Tiger is a different story (laughter). He can play injured and beat everyone up.

Q. Looking on from afar, what have you made of his latest run?
CRAIG PARRY: (Laughing) I've seen him on the practice range at Isleworth, because my house is at Isleworth, and I seen him on I think it was Friday -- sorry, Saturday, and he was hitting balls, and I went over and said hello and what have you, and he was hitting it pretty pure, and we were just having a joke around because apparently you guys have got a new cut here on Saturday, if you have more than 78 players. He said, "How do you reckon you're going to go?" My brother said, "I hope you putt good because otherwise you're not going to make the cut."
Tiger is Tiger. He's the best in golf. He's a long way in front of everyone else. I've got a lot of respect. I love watching him hit balls and competing. He's out there to win, and the money is not a factor. It's just he wants to beat everyone into the ground.
You know, I think it's great to watch him play.

Q. When you hit the shot on 18 where you eagled, did Verplank have a chance to tie you?
CRAIG PARRY: No, he actually hit first. He hit first and hit it into the right-hand side. He actually hit a pretty good shot out of the rough, and he was obviously very unlucky because he was in the rough, hits it on the right side of the green. He has an opportunity for a birdie putt, and all of a sudden he's picking his ball up and going home (laughter).

Q. You didn't feel that bad for him, though, did you?
CRAIG PARRY: Look, I felt for him, yeah. I did feel for him because someone doing that to you is not really that nice. I mean, you've just got to say, "Well done," and that's what he said.

Q. Was your brother on the bag that day?
CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, my brother was on the bag and he reckons he pulled the club and did the right yardage and everything like that.

Q. Weren't you almost late for one of your tee times?
CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, well, that's another story. We had just flown over from Australia, and we slept through the alarm. There was three of us in the room. My nephew was in the room, my brother, and myself. We all slept through the alarm. And all of a sudden the shower was going and my brother is in the shower, and I look, we've got 10 minutes to get to the 10th tee. So I grab a 3-wood, and nothing matched. It was pretty ordinary in a clothing sense. I got the PGA TOUR to get me some balls out of the locker so I could play. I hit a good 3-wood off of the 10th hole and I had 210 yards, and I didn't know what to do with the second shot, so I laid it up. Normally I would have gone for the green. So it was a blessing in disguise.
The following year I set two alarms. One of the alarm clocks the battery goes flat, and the other alarm I set for p.m. instead of a.m. That was the second year (laughter), so déjà-vu.

Q. They have the later tee times with the short field now.
CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, but with the jet lag you never know.

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