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April 25, 2008

Scott McCarron


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Scott McCarron into the interview room here at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Scott, 4-under par, 66, great playing out there today.
SCOTT McCARRON: Thank you very much. It was a lot of fun.
JOHN BUSH: Let's get some comments on the day. Always a good day when you make it around without bogeys.
SCOTT McCARRON: I love what they've done with the golf course, redoing it. They've made it very, very difficult, especially with the winds yesterday and today. I thought it played very, very tough, a lot of crosswinds. We had the wind switch completely on us about our third hole out there and almost 180 degrees, so it made the golf course play a little different than what we've been playing the last couple days. But I played real well, so it was nice.

Q. What is it you like about the layout? A lot of the guys have talked about the greens and how they're so used to hitting it certain places and now nobody really knows the greens.
SCOTT McCARRON: Yeah, well, you have to figure it out. Obviously it's better than it was. We needed to make some changes. They had some tough times here years ago with bunkering, then they had a tough time with losing the greens and the grass, and they had to make some changes, and I think the changes are pretty good.
It's difficult. They pushed the greens up quite a bit and you have a lot of drop-offs, but you've really got to pay attention where you're hitting it on different quadrants of the greens. I think everyone here this week is trying to figure it out. I think that's probably one of the reasons why the scores aren't quite as low as they usually are, and I think the golf course is a lot tougher.
I was hoping our rules officials would maybe set up the golf course a little bit easier the first time coming in here, but they've seemed to set it up pretty tough for us, a lot of tough pins to get at, I thought.

Q. You've been loyal to this tournament. Can you kind of explain why that is? It's pretty much every year.
SCOTT McCARRON: You know, it's one of those things. My very first year on TOUR, '95, I got in -- I flew here and wasn't in the tournament yet, and I think Freddie Couples withdrew, and the gals down in transportation department gave my wife and I Freddie Couples' spot and his car, which was like No. 1 (laughter). They've been on my favorite list ever since.
And so I come back here every year, and I just love the golf course. I love coming here and chatting with Mr. Nelson. And Peggy actually used to come pick me up at the airport. It really has been a special place right from the start. This place has a little place in my heart, and I'll come back here for as long as they'll have me. I just love it here.

Q. How does it feel to be playing healthy?
SCOTT McCARRON: You know, it feels great. There was a long time there where I did not know if that was going to happen. I struggled after I got the elbow surgery for about a year, and it really was about a year and a month until I was able to swing and hit balls without too much pain. Even then, your brain doesn't allow you to go ahead and swing freely because you're waiting for the pain. I played seven months with it completely tore off the bone, so that was a lot of pain every shot, no fun at all.
I'm just happy to be playing without pain. That's the biggest thing for me. I'm taking baby steps getting up to where I can play and compete again. This was a big step obviously this week playing well.
Coming into this tournament I had taken two weeks off and started working on my game real hard and trying to take ownership of my game and swing. I always felt like, well, when I come back my game will naturally come back, I'll be fine, I don't really need to work on too much or delve into it too much.
But the last couple weeks I've started asking questions to my teacher Jim Hardy, why do I do this, why do I hit this shot. When he came up here on Tuesday we stood up there on the range, and I had a list of questions, like 20 questions to ask him, so he was very patient with me and answered the questions, said, listen, this is why, and why don't you do this.
So that just all of a sudden clicked. I said, well, wait a minute, I get it. So that kind of really got me going in the right direction.
I've been working with a sports psychologist named Dr. Glen Albaugh, who just wrote a book called "Winning the Battle Within," and we've been working together since the end of 1992, early '93. And a couple weeks ago, he said, we've been working so long, you might need to hear some of this stuff from somebody else; why don't you see Neil Smith, who's a good friend of his and a good friend of mine. So I called up Neil and worked with him last week when I was down in the desert and just started -- things that he was saying, even though it really wasn't that much different than what Glen was saying, started clicking a little bit.
Sometimes there's a lot of different ways to say the same thing, and for some reason it just started working a little bit. So I've got to hand it to Glen for saying, listen, why don't you see somebody else. That's the kind of relationship we have.
I'm very lucky to have a really good team around, but I've got to go out there and hit the shots, and the last couple days I was able to do that pretty well.

Q. On the tee box on 18 you looked a little bit indecisive on which club you were going to hit. Could you take us through 18?
SCOTT McCARRON: Yeah, 18 is such a tough driving area. The fairway is 23 yards wide and we had wind a little bit down out of our right. When I saw I was going to have that wind, I was going to lay it to about 240 off the tee. That's a spot that leaves you short of the water and will still leave you a 5-, 6-, 7-iron possibly in, but as I was standing over the shot, a little napkin was sitting about 40 yards in front of me and it was kind of swirling up, and I felt like the breeze was coming back. That's why I stopped and pulled the driver.
So I turned a hole that is probably a yellow light or red light into a green light. I drove it up there perfectly and had a perfect wedge distance and knocked it a foot, so it was a good decision.
JOHN BUSH: Let's go ahead and go through the other three birdies. No. 2?
SCOTT McCARRON: No. 2, I hit a nice 5-iron in there about a foot and wiggled that one in.
7, par-5, made a nice putt there, sand wedge in there, about 18 feet behind the hole or so, 20 feet, made that one.
14, I had a really good 2-iron down there and hit sand wedge in there about a foot.
And then 18, driver and a wedge a foot. My caddie said he could have shot 3-under today (laughter).

Q. No acrobatic saves out there today to keep it bogey-free?
SCOTT McCARRON: I made a couple good saves. I made a good save on 6, just drove it barely in the left rough, then missed it left of the green just past pin high and had a really difficult chip. But I've got to hand it to what they did here, the practice facility and the chipping green is very much like the greens out there. You've got to hit these high chips off downhill lies, so I've been practicing the same kind of chip I had for the last three days, and sure enough, I was able to pull it off. I had about eight feet and made that.
Made a nice save on 15 for par out of the bunker and made a nice save on 13, good up-and-down there, where it was -- the wind was very difficult to judge there. Rich Beem got in front of me and hit 8-iron short of the green, I hit 6-iron short of the green, so I probably could have hit 4-iron there. It was almost a four-club difference than what he hit. It was tough to judge which way the wind was going.

Q. Could you talk about the tees on 14 and 15, and if those are significantly more difficult?
SCOTT McCARRON: Well, they made it a lot harder. Obviously today we got down to 14 and the wind was actually down a little bit off your right, so I was able to hit 2-iron down there and it scooted down all the way in the middle of the fairway and I had a sand wedge. The other day during a Pro-Am the wind was dead into me and I hit a driver and a 4-iron. I couldn't get it down to the corner, I had to cut it out over the leg. So I think when you get that into the wind, rules officials should move that tee up because that hole is not made to be a driver and a 4-iron.
15, the same thing. Yesterday I hit driver, 3-wood. I can't remember another TOUR event where I had to hit a good drive and a good 3-wood to reach a par-4. I think our rules guys need to look at that a little bit, but maybe they just want it that way.
One of the things that -- one of my gripes here is if they're not going to move it up, the front area of that green should be a little wider. It's only about eight paces wide. If they're going to have us hitting 3-wood into that hole, that hole should be a little wider. That's why I think D.A. probably wanted us hitting 5- or 6-iron in instead of a 3-wood.
JOHN BUSH: Scott, keep it going this weekend.

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