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May 24, 2008

Jeff Sluman


KELLY ELBIN: Jeff Sluman, ladies and gentlemen, in with a 1988 PGA Champion and Rochester native, joining us after a 70 in the third round of the 69th Senior PGA Championship. Three day total of 213. 3-over par, one shot out of the lead. Jeff, sounded like it was a lot of excitement, a lot of action out on the golf course today.
JEFF SLUMAN: Yeah, it was. Behind us and within our group. Especially at the end. At the end with our group not the excitement we wanted. But certainly it was a great day. The crowds were terrific and the golf I thought was equally as good.
KELLY ELBIN: Talk about your round, obviously didn't finish exactly the way you wanted to.
No, I played very well today. And I thought I did what I obviously set out to do, hit a lot of fairways and greens. Looking at my stats here, the only, I missed two fairways until I got to 16. So that's obviously the key out here at Oak Hill. It's been mentioned and talked about all week. And everybody knows that.
So I was in a good flow out there. I was putting terrific. And at the end, hit a bad drive on 16. Instead of hitting driver decided to try and hit 3-wood just to get it in play. I made one of those just get it in play swings, which isn't a very good swing. But I ended up having a decent chance for par.
But then 17 was kind of, that was tough, because I hit a beautiful drive and a 7-iron that almost flew in the hole. I putted up there and I saw Bernhard miss his and I missed mine. It was very, very bumpy around that hole. That's not an excuse or anything, but certainly we should be able to make it from that distance, but Bernhard nor I did.
Then 18, didn't think I hit that bad a drive, but the wind didn't catch it and maybe I over compensated for the drive in the bunker yesterday on 18 when I thought I hit it well. So I gave it a little more room and I didn't quite get it back to the fairway. Which was a little disappointing, because I hit a decent shot in there.
But that was a putt in all the years I can't ever remember having from about eight feet there to that pin above it. Kept looking at it trying to see it going a little right and that's where I ended up playing it. Because Bernhard's looked like at the end from the other side of the hole it looked like it went a little left.
But I hit it on the left edge and that's where it stayed.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you. Open it up for questions.

Q. On 18, you were at the tee, we hear this big roar behind us, and it's Haas getting his eagle and so forth. And you drive left. Did you hear that?
JEFF SLUMAN: Well, I heard it. I didn't know who made it, but it certainly, the way the crowd was, you knew somebody had made the shot. So, but at that point it doesn't affect you or anything, you just got to go out and go through your sequence and do what you do and not worry about it.

Q. Did you feel though, did you feel he that it affected your swing at all?
JEFF SLUMAN: No. No. Not at all.

Q. A follow-up on this, you guys came off of 15 and you had made a birdie to match Bernhard's. And he held his hand up and you high five'd him. I mean just that was great shot making going back and forth. Just talk about that.
JEFF SLUMAN: Well, we hit, we had both birdied 8. We both birdied 14. And we both birdied 15. And it seemed like we just kept halving each other all day. And he's an unbelievable competitor, as Jay is.
I've played quite a bit with Bernhard and gotten to know him and he's a terrific man. And it was just kind of one of those moments that it was a great moment, I thought.

Q. In terms of the course setup there's been a lot of talk this week about you got to hit it in the fairway and all that. In your opinion, I know you've been, you've played this type of conditions on the Regular Tour very often, but it just seems like it's taking away from some of the shot making ability and a lot of times guys are hitting it in the rough and there's no choice, you have to just hack it out and play for a par and maybe make bogey. Would you prefer maybe you could have a guy take a chance once in a while, here you really can't do it. What's your opinion?
JEFF SLUMAN: You said it takes away from shot making. It takes away from shot making from the rough or escaping a tough predicament. But it certainly doesn't take away from shot making. Your shot making starts on the tee where you really have to think about what type of shot is and how you're going to get it in the fairway versus the golf we see a lot now where guys just get up and hit it as hard as they can and it doesn't matter. And then if it's in trouble a little bit they can try and work their way out of it.
I prefer golf this way versus the other way.

Q. And then now in terms of today, I'm sure you've thought about this as you were leading up to the tournament, even though you told me you're trying to downplay it, but have you thought about it in your wildest dreams, would this be the scenario you were dreaming of?
JEFF SLUMAN: I would like a ten shot lead.
That's the scenario that I would really like.

Q. You're in your hometown, the place is going crazy, and you're going to be in the last group on Sunday afternoon.
JEFF SLUMAN: It's going to be great tomorrow. The weather is going to be perfect. Last group for me, Jay, especially, a very close friend, and I think the golf's going to be terrific and I know the people are going to come out and whoever wins is going to play some terrific golf and it might not even come from our three some. You don't know.
This is the type of golf course that probably in a couple of groups behind us if somebody goes out and shoots 66 or 67, which it looked like today Bernhard or myself might, it could get interesting. So it's going to be a terrific day.

Q. You've played here in the past, weren't in contention before, what's it like this week to basically for the gallery to be the rock star of the show, to be the guy they're cheering for?
JEFF SLUMAN: It's unaccustomed to me and, yeah, I wasn't in contention because I never made a cut.
But it's fun. It's unaccustomed, and it's something that guys like when Greg was out playing and now Tiger and that, they had it every week. I don't know how you really handle that. Everybody expecting you to play great golf, Greg and Tiger, they expect it every week.
It was kind of like that like for me this week. It's like that every week for those guys. So it's a little challenging for me because I'm not used to it. The more you're put in a situation, the more comfortable you feel.
But I'm sure glad the people are out there and cheering for me and it's a lot of fun.

Q. Was there any one thing that somebody said this week in support that was weird or made you laugh or anything crazy?
JEFF SLUMAN: Not really. What made me laugh this week was someone called up the pro shop and Craig answered and they wanted to buy one golf ball. I thought that was a strange request. So we all laughed about that.
You know, you don't usually call up and have the head pro actually answer during a Major event and then the question is, can I buy one golf ball. So that kind of made me laugh. But nothing anybody else said.

Q. In a matter of like two or three minutes it went from two guys and three shots ahead to a three way tie.
JEFF SLUMAN: That's pretty cool, isn't it, really?

Q. When did you realize that and what did you think at that moment when it occurred to you?
JEFF SLUMAN: Well, Jay Haas is never going to give up. I know that, I think, I know that he struggled early on, but Jay's such a great player and I think he's probably this tournament would mean almost as much to him as myself with the Harmon connection with Billy and he's known Craig forever and he's close to all the four brothers. Jay spent a lot of time here also, so I know that this is a very special place for him this week too.
As well as he's played the last couple years, you can never count him out. And you heard the roar and I just assumed it was Jay. And I looked up at the board and coming up to 18 green and saw that it was Jay.

Q. You had great distance control today in your irons. You birdied three of the four par-3s. Anything triggering that? You just seem to be -- except for on 9 I think. That was one that --
JEFF SLUMAN: Yeah, I caught an up shoot on 9. And I had an uphill lie which was probably a mistake. We thought the wind was more right-to-left than in.
But the whole distance control thing not only on par-3s, but off the fairways is how obviously you can do it. The fairways are so good out here. But I think that's always been probably the strength of my game is the ability to hit the clubs the right distance. When I'm playing well. I'm swinging well right now and the fairways are perfect, so I've got a pretty good feel for the distances I need to hit.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Jeff hit 10 fairways and 13 greens, his best statistics this week.

Q. I just want to ask, it's been awhile since you've been in this particular scenario, I know last week you played pretty well with a 64, but you weren't in the same situation, it's been awhile since you were on the tour, you've been in this situation, how do you deal with that? Is it like riding a bike or is it a different approach?
JEFF SLUMAN: It's a good question. I'll be able to tell you more after the round tomorrow whether -- I'm probably going to be a little nervous, a little jumpy again, starting the round out. And hopefully start out aggressive and hit some good solid shots and then from there I think you just let the flow of the day happen, whatever.
But I think the big thing is you're just never going to get out there, you're never going to give up, you're just going to keep grinding away because this golf course has a way of giving and taking.
So hopefully I'll just go out and trust what got me here. I've been playing well lately, so there's no reason to think that I won't do that.
KELLY ELBIN: Jeff Sluman, thank you very much.
JEFF SLUMAN: Thank you.

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