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May 24, 2001

Bob Gilder


JULIUS MASON: Bob Gilder is in, 4-under in the first round of the 62nd Senior PGA Championship. If you wouldn't mind giving us some thoughts on your round today, then we'll go to Q and A.

BOB GILDER: Well, the golf course is in great shape, I thought. I thought it handled the water really well. I was, before we started today, I was a little apprehensive about how much the ball would spin on these greens. It hurt me a couple of times on some of the shorter par 4s I had a pitching wedge to, I just spun the ball back too far. But all in all, I hit the ball well today, I hit some really good iron shots. I would say that I did not putt as good as I should have or could have. I had a lot of chances, I just didn't have a good feeling with the putter today, ball just wasn't coming off the putter with the speed that I had anticipated. And I kept thinking the greens were going to be a little bit quicker, and the ball just seemed to come off dead, and I left a lot of putts short, just short of my line, that would just move off the hole and just didn't have a chance to go in. But I had plenty of chances, and other than that I played -- I hit the ball real well.

Q. Could you take us through that stretch, 10, 11, 12, 13 I guess you birdied also, especially --

BOB GILDER: I hadn't made anything through nine holes. I was 1-over. I told my caddie, "I might as well get it really close so I don't have to putt it." Hit a pitching wedge up there, hit 116 to the hole on 10, and hit a good pitching wedge and just, I'm not sure exactly -- well, I guess it landed just short of the hole and kicked up and spun back in. We couldn't see it, but it went in the hole.

Q. Right side of the fairway?

BOB GILDER: Right edge of the fairway, right. It was a little bit better angle from over there. But that kind of got me jump-started. The next hole, No. 11, I hit my drive in the right rough and had a pretty good lie and hit a 9-iron probably, oh, maybe 8, 9 feet short of the hole. And actually, it seemed like the first putt I could -- I really saw well, and I just wasn't seeing some of these putts very well today. But that one I saw pretty good, and I hit it, got it to the hole, it went in. And let's see... 12, what's 12? A par 3. I hit a good 5-iron there from 185 that I probably hit maybe 6, 6 feet from the hole, maybe 7 feet from the hole. That one was another straight-in putt. I hit a good putt there and knocked that in. And on 13, par 5, hit a drive off the tee, hit a 3-wood, then I hit a sand wedge, oh, a foot and a half from the hole. After that, I think I left everything short. That stretch, I had my chances coming in and just couldn't do anything with it.

JULIUS MASON: Questions?

Q. I recognize you don't know what's going to happen the rest of the day. You got out of the box well, first round. You put yourself in a nice position. You got to feel good to come out of the box well and be at least in good position?

BOB GILDER: Oh, yeah. You never want to put yourself behind the 8 ball in the first round. You always want to come out of the box within maybe a couple of shots of the lead and you're right there, and you can go from there. You always want to try to put yourself in a position at the first where you just don't do anything stupid. You want to keep yourself close to that lead, if not leading, you know, as far to the end as you can so you do have a chance to win. I'm real happy with my position now. Whatever happens today, the golf course is just fabulous. I love this golf course. It's everything that I ever thought golf was about. I love the tall trees. I love this kind of grass. I grew up on these types of -- these poa greens, just haven't played with them, played on them for quite a while. So I really like it here. It looks good to me and feels good.

Q. I have a question about the type of fan support you receive on the Tour, because we were discussing with some guys at the station earlier that this is one of the few sports where really you can follow your favorite players seemingly forever. The fans who followed you or Arnie or anybody can come out and continue to see you play for years and years and years, and that type of fan support you have because of the sport you're in, could you just address that, please.

BOB GILDER: Well, I think when you come out, you come out with your age group of players and your age group of fans, and they take a liking to you. Then they follow you clear through your career, if you can continue it. So fortunately, I've been able to continue my career right up through the -- my last year on the regular Tour for, I think it was 25 years or 26 years, and then just convert to this Tour, which is just a dream come true really. I mean, this is fabulous. I'm still playing with the same guys I've been playing with. But, you know, my idols when I was a kid, I'm playing with them, and the people that I came out with on Tour, I'm playing with them also. And that fan base is still there, too. They knew them the same time they knew me. And I was playing with the Tom Watsons and the Tom Kites and the people like that and had some success against them and had a name that way, and here again I am playing with them and hopefully having some more success. But I think as far as the fans are concerned, it's wonderful. I mean, they have a place to keep watching you. As long as you keep playing good golf, why not?

Q. In your mind, and I don't know if you know what the fans' mind is, are you still Mr. Double Eagle? If you had a nickel, would you be rich for every time you've been asked about it?

BOB GILDER: I wish I had a nickel for every time. Probably up in this area, yes. This is where it happened. It was a great moment in my career. It came at a great time when I won the tournament. I was having a great year at that point, and I did have a great year and a great stretch of tournaments there. And it came in New York. What better place can you get publicity than New York City and the area. I find when I'm up in this area, in the north east and the east coast, I get a lot of comments about it, yes. And it seems to me that it's a little better known out here. That was a long time ago. (Laughing.)

Q. If the conditions dry out, how much, if any, will it change your type of play?

BOB GILDER: How much will it change my play?

Q. Yes.

BOB GILDER: Honestly, I don't think it can dry out enough to change the golf course that much. The forecast, I don't think is for it to really dry out, unfortunately. I wish it would. I wish the greens would get a little firmer and probably a little bit faster and you'd have yourself a real Championship here. Not that it isn't already, but, I mean, this golf course is meant to play just a little bit faster. The fairways are soft enough where you're just not gonna get much roll no matter what happens the rest of the week. And the greens, I'd like to see them roll them a little bit more and squeeze them out a little bit more, get them just a little bit firmer. You know, you had a real unfortunate thing with all the rain that you had here for this long. I mean, the golf course was, from what I hear, was in fabulous, fabulous shape. Still is, and handled the water wonderfully. But it's a little bit easier when you can throw it in there and stop it.

End of FastScripts....

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