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July 12, 2008

Pierre Larouche

Rick Rhoden


THE MODERATOR: First, let me ask each of you for a comment on Lawrence Taylor, who was the sole leader at one point during the course about midway through the round today. We're sort of thinking he's one of the most unlikely tournament leaders the second round that we've ever had. Not because he can't play golf, but because his reputation has been he's undisciplined. Your thoughts.
PIERRE LAROUCHE: Every time I ever saw him play some of those Pro-Ams, he always played great. So I'm not surprised that he cannot play. Because he can play. As far as I don't know about being undisciplined, I never played with him. So I don't know. Every time I watched him play, he played great.
RICK RHODEN: I never played Lawrence. I don't know much about his game, just saw him hit on the driving range. But, hey, he's a great athlete and great athletes are capable of playing good. He plays a lot. So I'm sure he's probably better than what we think.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Pierre and Rick.

Q. Can you take us through your rounds?
PIERRE LAROUCHE: My round was quite simple. Had one birdie and two bogeys. Hit the ball great. And nothing came out of it. That was my round. I played great. And nothing to show for it. I got no problem with it.
RICK RHODEN: Yeah, Pierre played really good. He couldn't get any putts to drop. I made five birdies and it felt like I made none because I had so many good chances. You always feel like you could do better. I'm leading the tournament, so I guess I should be happy as hell.
But I missed a lot of short putts today. I had a double bogey on 10. Missed like a four-foot putt after I hit one in the water. That cost me two points. That was the big thing today.
The other ones just didn't go in. But if I saved that, I saved two points. And I hit a lot of good shots coming in. Coming in I had a lot of good shots, just didn't make any putts.

Q. Now that today's round is over, are you going to change any strategies for tomorrow's game at all?
RICK RHODEN: I've been hitting the ball good. I've hit the ball so much better than I have in the last couple of years here from tee to green. I'm just not getting anything in the hole. I've still made nine birdies in two days. But I feel like, as well as I'm hitting it, I should have a lot more but I don't.
You just play, play the best you can. If you play a good round of golf tomorrow, shoot 4-under, you may win.

Q. Are you competing against some particular player in your mind or your best game?
PIERRE LAROUCHE: No, because if you go out tomorrow and play 66, doesn't matter who you're playing against. It's yourself. You play your best. And at the end of the day it's what happens. You can't hope for somebody to play bad or make mistakes. You just play your best.
RICK RHODEN: You can't control the other people. If you play well, that does more to affect them more than anything. So, basically, just go out. And if you can get off to a good start, the first four holes, you should get out of there with at least two birdies if you're playing good, and should get off to a good start. If you go through four holes and you haven't made a birdie, I don't know about Pierre, but I feel like I'm behind guys.

Q. (Question off mic)
PIERRE LAROUCHE: I felt good. Didn't cross my mind as far as being nervous. Obviously if you get to play in events, he does. So he gets the feeling of it, what it feels like. But this week I had no problem with nothing, really.
RICK RHODEN: I think it probably has a little effect. Doesn't matter how many tournaments you play in. If you haven't played in one in a while, usually the first day, anyway, you're used to playing with your buddies, you're not thinking just shooting at the flags.
When you get in tournament golf, it's different. If you get into trouble, you have to figure out how not to get a double bogey in this format. I think the pins are tighter than they used to be. They're getting the pins in close. Greens 1 and 2 are firmer. Sometimes hard to get one close in there like it used to be. And they're not putting the pins like in the middle of the green anymore. If you look at where they've been, 18, the past two days in the corner. Last few days, few steps from the water. Hard to go toward the pin.
PIERRE LAROUCHE: I was in the water.

Q. You've won six of these, right, but it's been a few years since you have. Have you got a little of the hunger back to get one?
RICK RHODEN: I don't think the hunger ever leaves you. You come here to try to win. At least I think Pierre does. I know I do. I know there's probably 20 guys that are here doing that. I just want to play well.
If I play well and I don't win, then power to the guy that beats me. I don't want to root against anybody. If I play like I can, I got a good chance. And I'm sure Pierre feels the same way.

Q. Rick, if you win this tournament this year, first of all, it will be breaking the tradition; it's an even year. But is that possibly going to give you some motivation or some serious thoughts about maybe playing in more tournaments next year, next season?
RICK RHODEN: We don't have that many more tournaments. I play in Stan Humphreys and this one, and the rest of them are mostly team play and I don't want to really play that.
So I'm not playing -- as far as the Champions Tours go, I play in one event this year. If I want to get into a tournament I have to qualify every Monday. Unless you're playing really well, you're not going to be flying over the country trying to qualify.
So my competitive golf is -- I might get in a few Champion Tour events next year, but this is going to be my big tournament, the one I get to play in here now.
PIERRE LAROUCHE: I'm 52. If they want to give me an exemption I'll be more than happy to play. Because I don't get to play in nothing. Just this one. (Laughter).

Q. Pierre, have you ever been in the final round?
RICK RHODEN: First few years, sure.

Q. But it's been quite a while?
PIERRE LAROUCHE: Yeah, I was not very healthy the last five, six years. So I had a lot of surgeries and I never could recuperate in time. But this is the first year I've come in healthy and feeling good. My play, obviously, shows it because I'm hitting the ball and I'm feeling good.
RICK RHODEN: Neither one of us has been healthy for the last four years. And people forget. It's hard. When your body isn't working right, you get a lot of bad habits. When you get healthy, you have to fight through the bad habits to get back to swinging correctly because you compensate when you're hurting.

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