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March 27, 2008

Briny Baird


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Briny, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Great start to the week. I know you made a little bogey there on that last hole, but all in all a terrific round, a couple birdies, an eagle and a bogey. Maybe just talk about when you started your round and the conditions and now at the end of the round, if there were any changes.
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, when we teed off today, the conditions were probably a little tougher than they are right now. It felt drier. It was a lot windier. You could tell that -- you could look up on the board and see what the scores were like and you knew anything under par was going to be good. Even without any wind, the way the golf course set up, we could have a day of no wind and it's not going to be easy.

Q. Steve Elkington said No. 6 was playing like a par-5 this morning.
BRINY BAIRD: So that's a double eagle (laughter).

Q. The wind was still blowing at that time?
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, it was still blowing, no doubt. I was incredibly lucky.

Q. What did you hit there?
BRINY BAIRD: 5-wood.

Q. Can you kind of describe your thoughts as that shot was in the air? Did you think it was going in?
BRINY BAIRD: To be honest with you, I hit it just a touch thin, but it was exactly what the shot called for. Being a little thin, for those of you that play golf, it stays under the wind a little bit better. It was going to be a really small 5-wood, and the way it came off, you could tell it was going to be -- my caddie and I could tell it was going to be good. It was probably going to get back there near the pin, and anything inside of probably 20 feet would have been a really good shot.
We saw it disappear. We weren't sure if it was in or not, and then all four people behind the green went berserk.

Q. Can you estimate what the wind was when you hit it?
BRINY BAIRD: 50 miles an hour probably (laughter). It's like a fishing story. It's going to get better and better.
It was probably blowing 10 to 15 miles an hour, somewhere in there.

Q. How much of a bonus was that? You already had a good round going.
BRINY BAIRD: You know, it's a good shot. I'd probably make birdie -- it's a stroke. It could come in handy one of these weeks (laughter).

Q. Did you have a long birdie putt on 4?
BRINY BAIRD: No, I had a long chip, though. I chipped in.

Q. 39 feet it said on ShotLink?
BRINY BAIRD: Chipped, yeah.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can we go through your birdies and bogeys? You started on 10, made birdie on the first hole.
BRINY BAIRD: Birdie on the first hole, hit it probably eight to ten feet and hit a good putt.
13, I hit it -- short hole, hit a driver off the tee, another sand wedge just like on No. 10 to about probably 10, 12 feet, pretty easy putt, uphill, which was important. If you can get an uphill putt on this golf course right now, it's a big deal.
4, chipped in, hit it in the left side of the fairway just into the rough, had a pretty hard shot. Happy where I hit it, but it looked like it was going to be a pretty easy up-and-down but hit a good chip that went in.
7, hit driver, had a pretty easy second shot. Again, had a 5-wood and just didn't hit that good of a 5-wood but I put it in a spot that was not a real hard up-and-down and hit a good chip and a pretty good putt.
9, in between clubs, hit 4-iron. In hindsight I would have hit 5-iron and aimed at the middle of the green and not get too greedy. I hit it all the way back there and hit it all the way over the green where you can't hit it and made bogey.

Q. Did that kind of take something off the round, or are you still pretty pleased?
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, I mean, it's not that -- it's not going to bother me that much. It's one stroke. Still, the way I look at it, it's the first round. It's so far from being finished. Had I been leading by a shot and done that on the last day, it would have been a much bigger deal. The first round, not that big a deal. You don't want to make mistakes like that, but I hit a good shot so it's not going to bother me that much.

Q. You got your card back in 2007 after losing it in '06?
BRINY BAIRD: I think I lost it in '05, I think. Yeah.

Q. Is the mindset now different than what it was back then? Is it almost like you appreciate it more?
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, for sure. No, I know right where you're going with that. Absolutely. I'm not saying I got lackadaisical playing out here, but I think sometimes you just go through the motions. One year starts to add into two years, and it just -- you might get a little stagnant. It's possible that that could have happened. Yeah, it was definitely a wake-up call, like wow, this isn't going to last forever.

Q. Did you do anything different to get that form back, or was it just dedicating yourself to practicing?
BRINY BAIRD: No, I don't think -- nothing. I think you just -- I didn't rededicate because I never lost interest, so there was no -- I didn't come out that year or this year saying I'm rededicating myself to the game because I've never lost any passion to play the game or lost any motivation.

Q. Did you mis-club on 9?
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, I believe so.

Q. What did you end up hitting?
BRINY BAIRD: I hit 4-iron, probably should have hit 5-iron. It was the right club at the time I hit it.

Q. The wind picked up or something?
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah, it was blowing a little more right to left when -- I gave the caddie back the 5-iron and went to the 4-iron, and when I got over it he said I was at the top of my swing and he wasn't feeling real confident that it was the right club. The wind changed a little bit.

Q. So you went back to a 4?
BRINY BAIRD: I had a 5, went back to a 4, hit the 4. In hindsight I wish I would have hit the 5.

Q. 6, you made it look easy. It's the toughest hole on the course. You hit driver, 5-wood in. You said you weren't happy with your drive.
BRINY BAIRD: No, I mean, I'm kind of kidding when I say that. I pulled it a little bit, so it wasn't where I was aimed. I was ten yards from the water, so I'm ten yards away from dropping and hitting my third shot instead of my second shot. I'm kind of kidding. It was perfect. Couldn't be any better. But it wasn't hit perfectly, so I got a little lucky there, and obviously any time you hole it from however far that was --

Q. And you said you didn't see the ball, right, go in?
BRINY BAIRD: You could kind of see it. We saw it disappear, but it's hard to tell if it went over a hill or over a ridge, but there were people -- the ShotLink guys were right there, and they just started waving their arms.

Q. As the back nine finished, your front nine, could you feel the greens getting harder and firmer?
BRINY BAIRD: No, they were like that when they started. They weren't getting any worse.

Q. Do you think they need to water tonight? Are they in danger of --
BRINY BAIRD: No, they're okay.

Q. On No. 6 was it 208 was about the number? That's what ShotLink said.
BRINY BAIRD: Is that what it said? Then that's what it is.

Q. But when your caddie stepped it off.
BRINY BAIRD: I don't have my thing on me. That's about right. Blowing into the wind and everything, that's about right.

Q. What's your 5-wood, what kind of club?
BRINY BAIRD: Callaway. I'm sure they'll love that.

Q. Seems like your game keeps getting better with age. What do you attribute that to?
BRINY BAIRD: Experience. I do. Experience. I think you learn -- eight years ago tied for the lead -- leader in the first round or tied for the lead or anywhere near the lead, you were like, oh, my God. Now it's one day, it's first round, it's so far from over.
Things like that, I think you learn those things, and tomorrow is going to be just as -- tomorrow is going to be a tough day, and you've still got to go out there and play. The golf course isn't going to know I shot 5-under tomorrow.

Q. What's the story with P.F. Chang's?
BRINY BAIRD: It's the best restaurant I've ever eaten at.
It's my sponsor (laughter). Have you not heard of it?

Q. It is a great restaurant. There are some great seafood restaurants in the city, too.
BRINY BAIRD: P.F. Chang's is good, too (laughter).

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