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May 3, 2008

Heath Slocum


STEWART MOORE: Heath Slocum, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here in the interview room at the Wachovia Championship after a great third round 68 out there. Right now you're tied for second, and that clutch eight-foot par putt on the last hole might have just put you in the final group tomorrow.
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, that was nice. I played actually really solid all day, kind of a few mishaps out there, but I think everybody is going to have them; it's a hard golf course. But yeah, it felt good to par the last after the bad tee ball. Whether it gets me in the final group or not, one shot closer to the lead anyway, and it's better to get better sleep tonight with that.
STEWART MOORE: Let's talk about your round in general. You're really kind of in the top ten throughout the day, and all of a sudden you birdie 14, you hole it from 60 yards on 15, you skyrocket to the top of that thing and you're in the middle of this entire tournament. Talk about the back nine there.
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, I just played solid all day, I mean, the two birdies. And then getting on 14, they moved the tee up, so I just decided to hit a 3-wood just short of the green, hit a really good pitch shot to make birdie, and hit a good drive off the next, and I kind of just did not hit -- I was thinking I could maybe just get it right in front of the green, and didn't hit a great 3-wood, but I think I had like 40 yards. When that went in, obviously it was a big two-shot swing or a big two shots there, so it got me right in the hunt.
And the bogey on 16, actually I think the wind just died a little bit on me. I was expecting it to be blowing considerably harder and just knocked it over that green. Not a bad 5 from there after my pitch.
Then parring 17 and 18 is two good pars today.

Q. Can you maybe just go into more detail on the pitch-in? How tough was the shot? Did you think it was going in, and how big of a reaction did you get?
HEATH SLOCUM: It wasn't a difficult shot. I mean, obviously I was -- I had plenty of green to work with, so I missed in a decent spot. When I hit it, I thought it was going to be maybe three feet short and it really just kept rolling out and rolling out, and it was lined up and the crowd started getting a little bit louder and a little bit louder, and it disappeared. It was a good reaction. Great fans out here, a ton of people, so it was nice to here a roar.

Q. How far would you say it rolled out before it went in?
HEATH SLOCUM: Probably ten feet. Yeah, I was trying to run it up, and it did, it ran all the way. I was surprised.

Q. Hear any good comments from the crowd after that? Nobody offered to buy you a beer or anything?
HEATH SLOCUM: No, no. I guess they should have, shouldn't they?

Q. This tournament has a reputation for pretty exciting finishes. What are you expecting tomorrow?
HEATH SLOCUM: Probably an exciting finish. Honestly, it's such a demanding golf course that -- I mean, anything can happen. There were some good rounds shot today, some low numbers. I think Pat Perez finished bogey-bogey, didn't he? He really had it going.
So I just think the course sets up for drama. I mean, it just does. The finishing holes are very difficult. You've got some par-5s that you can really get up the board really quick and some shorter par-4s that are going to be some birdies. I think there's going to be a lot of fireworks tomorrow.
I haven't seen the leaderboard, I don't know what Anthony Kim has got; I heard maybe a three-shot lead. So I don't know how many people are right behind him close. Again, I just think it's going to be a fun finish.

Q. Have you played much with Anthony? He's sort of dominated the last couple days. Do you know much about him?
HEATH SLOCUM: I've played with him once. Obviously I've seen him out here last year and this year, and incredibly talented young kid, fearless, and plays really good. I mean, I think -- it just seems like every year they just keep coming up. It's great for golf.

Q. You've been through Sundays learning to win and everything. What do you learn about going into Sundays that he hasn't learned yet?
HEATH SLOCUM: Just how to really keep focused on what you're doing. That's the hardest thing sometimes. If you're playing well, it's kind of really staying out of your own way. I won't say getting in your own little bubble, but staying within yourself. That's what I've found, if I just stay within myself, don't try to do anything special, and a lot of times that's when the best things happen to me is just when I'm relaxed, thinking well and playing well.
But everybody is a non-winner until they win, right? It's tough. But again, I'll just use whatever experience I have just to get me through. I know everybody is a little different, but I think it'll be a definite positive in my corner for me tomorrow just to handle myself and to -- I haven't been in a final round -- it's been a while, or in the last group in the final round in a while.

Q. If you get paired with Anthony, are you looking forward to blowing it by him off the tee?
HEATH SLOCUM: I look forward to blowing it by everybody (laughter). I don't do it very often. Maybe they'll hit 2-irons and I'll hit driver or something like that. Yeah, he's long, so I'm used to everybody knocking it by me, though.

Q. The last time you were in the last group, might that have been PODS? Were you paired with Calc?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, that might have been true. That was last year, wasn't it?

Q. And that was probably the last time for you?
HEATH SLOCUM: That was, yeah. I think that was probably the last time. I can't remember any other time.

Q. What's the best thing you like about this tournament of all, the golf course, a stretch of holes? What brings you back here, and is there one thing in particular that really appeals to you?
HEATH SLOCUM: It's really the overall tournament. That goes from the golf course to the way they run the tournament, the fans. This is one of my favorites, and I know it's one of the favorites of so many people out here. You've got a great venue that is difficult every single year, great fans and a great sponsor in Wachovia, and they do such a great job of treating us basically like royalty here.
Whenever you attract this kind of field on this kind of golf course, it's hard not to have fun and it's hard not to want to come back and come back every year.

Q. What do you feel like would be a -- if you're standing on the 16th tee, how big a shot lead would you feel comfortable with that you could get it in here, as wild as it's been?
HEATH SLOCUM: You know, I don't even know. It's so -- I don't know, I'd like to say like five. But I don't know if you'd ever be comfortable. I don't know. I've never been in this situation. I've never had like a huge lead at any tournament that I've ever won.

Q. It's just those three holes have been murdering guys.
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah, they're very difficult. You certainly would rather have a one-shot lead than be two back. Honestly, I'll take any lead going into there if that's the case.

Q. Would you talk about how the guys who have played well and won here over the years, how it's been a complete mix? You can make any style of play work here. Why do you think that is, and is that one of the reasons you like this golf course?
HEATH SLOCUM: It's definitely one of the reasons that I like the golf course, because there has been a good mix of every length win here. It's just a demanding golf course, like I said. It's a lot about managing your game, and I hit a bunch of drivers off a lot of these tees out here because I have to. I mean, some of the guys can get away with hitting a few shorter clubs off the tees, but a lot of it is where you place the ball on the green. Granted, it is easier a lot of times with a shorter club, but at the same time you still have to execute.
The greens definitely firmed up today. I don't know what they'll be tomorrow, but with firm greens and a course this long, I mean, I have to be extremely accurate to get the ball close to make putts. What I'll have to do is just try to take advantage of the shorter holes and the par-5s, just like everybody else.

Q. Given all the attention that Milton, Florida, has gotten recently, has it changed?
HEATH SLOCUM: Milton? No, it hasn't (laughter). I mean, obviously they love the attention and they love that Boo and Bubba and myself are from there and getting some attention and representing Milton with hopefully a little bit of class (laughter), but no, I think that they're just proud of us and happy to see us do well. I'm sure they'll be tuning in tomorrow.

Q. What do you make of this run of 20-something-year-old winners we've had this year? You're not that far removed from your 20s out here. This guy is 22, and if he makes this putt I think he's going to have a four-shot lead, so pretty good position. Last week and the Masters, et cetera, et cetera?
HEATH SLOCUM: Yeah. I've seen a run, you guys have, as well, over the last few years. They're just getting better and better. I don't want to say it's equipment, but it's just fearless golf. They just hit it hard and putt it well, a lot of good irons, great short game. A lot of these guys -- I don't want to say kids, but I think they're just incredibly good. I think just learning golf and golf instruction has just gotten so much better that there are more opportunities. I mean, golf is global now, so it's just getting more and more young kids involved and playing at a younger age, and the more you get to play, a lot of times you're just going to churn out some incredible talent.
I just think we're seeing it, and I think it's -- I mean, it's wonderful for our sport and for our TOUR just to have such an influx of young talent coming in and playing very, very well.

Q. There are a few more guys I guess here on the college front skipping out with a few years left. It used to be more stay around and do all four or at least three. I think Anthony bailed after one, and Sean O'Hair didn't go at all.
HEATH SLOCUM: It's the ultimate dream, though, to play out here, if I would have had the opportunity. I just wasn't good enough. I guess, why not? All I know is a lot of the foreign players, they don't go to university, they just come out and play more golf and just learn on the run, which means they -- at 22 or 23 or 24 they're really good and have a lot of experience. I don't know how old Trevor is, 27, 26?

Q. 28, I think.
HEATH SLOCUM: 28, and he's been around for a very, very long time.

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