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March 26, 2008

Mark Calcavecchia


Q. I want to touch on a topic that's near and dear to your heart, Tiger Woods. First off, how are you doing? How's your game? Are you playing in the Masters?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I am. I'm doing good. I feel about the same. Some days I hurt a little worse than others, but I seem to keep making it around. I feel like I'm hitting it good. I made no putts last week, same story, one of those deals. But I felt like I hit it pretty good all week. You know, I enjoy coming here to New Orleans. I had a good tournament here last year, but the course is tough. It's playing pretty long and the greens are quick and firm.

Q. Are there any changes or have you noticed to your eye have there been any changes on this course from a year ago?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Not that I really noticed. We played the back tee -- this far (indicating two feet) from the back every tee, and I don't remember the greens being this -- they're hard. I don't know if they're trying to get them really fast and really hard to try to give the guys a couple weeks' simulation for Augusta --

Q. They wanted 11, 11 and a half, I think.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: At least. They're plenty fast and plenty hard right now.

Q. Would it be more unfair if they got any faster do you think? Do you think they're a fair test?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: They don't need to be any faster. They're ready to go. They don't need to be any harder, either.

Q. So as far as you're concerned it's a good test right now?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, absolutely. The course played tough this morning.

Q. I know you like to come to New Orleans and play here. Would you be here normally being two weeks out from The Masters, or is that another reason why you're here?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It doesn't matter. I came here a lot in the early days and then got a little tired of English Turn to tell you the truth and stopped coming for a while. I wanted to come back after the storm. I just had a blast here the last couple years. Two years ago we were at English Turn because this course wasn't ready, and then last year we were here.

Q. You played pretty well.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah. My wife loves it here. She loves the food, and we just had a blast here the last couple years, so I'll be coming back.

Q. You played last year here?

Q. How is it this year compared to that?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It's in great shape, pretty much how I remember it. The greens are harder and faster than I remember them being last year. I know last year on Sunday they got pretty firm and kind of hard, crusty, from what I remember, but I hit a couple iron shots with 6-irons that released 40 feet, which is kind of unusual, and a 3-iron on the 14th hole that landed five yards on the green and rolled all the way to the back edge, which is like 30 yards. So that's pretty hard. I mean, the course to me is playing tough, long and tough.

Q. Tough enough, in other words?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Oh, yeah, plenty tough. And I played pretty dang good today and shot 1-over, I think. I didn't take my time on a few putts and shots and whatever that I missed, but overall, the course is playing pretty tough right now.

Q. You know what it is to win a major, and people are talking about Tiger possibly going for the legit Grand Slam in one year. How much is that folly? How much is that a possibility of taking place in your opinion?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, there's obviously only one person that could ever do it. Prior to him, I would have said it could never, ever be done, let alone -- he's held all four of them at the same time, which is different than winning all four of them in the same year, but still, I don't see him doing it.

Q. Just the odds are against him?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Just the odds. The pressure, even for him, that would mount at the PGA, would be pretty brutal.
You know, they say nobody makes them all and nobody can win every week, but finally he didn't make them all last week, which doesn't happen to him very often. That's why he didn't win, plain and simple. He couldn't make any putts when the weather was nice and calm and everybody was making birdies all over the place. Evidently occasionally that's going to happen to him.
He'll win at least a couple of them for sure, there's no question about that.

Q. You know how tough it is to win one. You know how tough it is just to win on TOUR. But the idea of winning two and then four in one year --
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, it sounds crazy, doesn't it?

Q. It does.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, but like I said, I would have said it's completely impossible, but he's proven that it's probably not. I mean, if anybody can do it, he'd be the guy.

Q. Do you see anything when you watch him that makes you say, well, that's the difference?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: You know, I've tried to think like him, I've tried to put myself -- I've stood over putts, six- or seven-footers that I need to make and say, think like Tiger Woods and knock this in like Tiger Woods or something.

Q. You still have the birdie record, don't you?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: For one tournament?

Q. Yeah.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I think so.

Q. I think I just saw that. Do you recall how many?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I made 32 birdies in Phoenix, so I think that's probably the most. I can get it going and make some putts, but what he does is he just -- his short game is so much better than everybody else's, and he has a way of finding his foul balls. He hits pretty damn crooked shots on occasion and comes out smelling like a rose half the time. Maybe he's just flat-out lucky.

Q. When you come to a tournament like this, you'd be here normally, but what do you work on this week, for instance? Are you playing Houston next week?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I'm not playing Houston next week. I'm going to rest up a little bit next week. As far as this week goes, I'm just trying to -- I went back to the belly putter again. I felt like I putted pretty good with the short one last week and made nothing, so I'm just searching for a way to make some putts like everybody else is.
I went back to my old faithful driver. I've been using a G10 for about four tournaments now, and I actually think the shaft has a little crack in it. So I went back to my old one and drove it great today. So old driver and back to the belly putter.

Q. Back to basics?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah. Everything else is the same so we'll see what happens there.

Q. When you guys say you "make nothing," any of us that watch say, geez, that's making nothing? How do you calibrate that?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: "Nothing" is I made two putts over 10 feet in 72 holes last week. That's making nothing. Making five-, six-, seven-footers, that doesn't count. We're supposed to make those. Making nothing is me to you and the cameraman and 20- and 30-footers.

Q. You actually look at your stats and say --
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I made a 15-footer and a 12-footer and that was it. Not to count all the 8- and 10-footers and 6-footers I missed to boot.
When we say we're making nothing, literally it means making nothing other than putts inside five feet.

Q. How many putts a round when you're making nothing?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I've been averaging almost 31 this year, which is about 183rd last time I looked, so that's making nothing. But all it takes is four days of making some putts, and all of a sudden you forget about making nothing the rest of the year.
If you can average 28 putts a round during the course of the year, in the long run that's pretty good. You know, I've hit a lot of greens this year. I'm still in the Top 10 in greens hit. The more greens you have, the more putts you're going to have per round and the more putts you're going to have per green hit in regulation.
If you hit a lot of greens, it's pretty much going to raise your putting average unless you're Tiger Woods who's No. 1 in greens and No. 1 in putting, which is why he had five in a row until last week. He finally didn't make them all and didn't win. It pretty much all comes down to putting in the end.

Q. When did you go back to the belly putter?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I used it -- what was the tournament before -- I used it the first three rounds at Innisbrook and then went to the short one the last round at Innisbrook, at the PODS, and then I had a week off and practiced with the short one, and then the short one last week, now I'm back to the belly putter. I mean, it'll go back and forth. You know, I'm not afraid to change, obviously. You know, whatever strikes me.
Half the time I wake up in the morning and look at my trunk and just pick one. That's kind of the way I go about it.

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