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July 17, 2008

Mark O'Meara


MARK O'MEARA: You know, I played better on the back side, so it was more enjoyable. I hit some decent shots. I was never in a whole lot of trouble out there, but when I missed greens I wasn't getting the ball up-and-down and was making bogeys. I never made a birdie until the 17th hole, and I hit a good drive and a great long iron shot just off the back edge and made birdie.
Overall I'm pleased with the score. The course was playing certainly very tough out there, probably even more difficult early this morning. The guys were playing in the rain. We played in the rain for about six, seven holes, and then it lightened up, but the wind is still blowing pretty severe out there.

Q. When you won here ten years ago, Friday was bad, Saturday was really bad. Do you remember that, and was it comparable at all?
MARK O'MEARA: You know, it was similar. I remember warming up on Saturday was almost exactly the way it was today warming up, into the wind on the range, off the right, the rain was coming down, you couldn't see anything, and the conditions were trying.
But I think the difference between this year's setup and '98's was that the course is a little bit narrower now than it was in '98, and the rough is thicker from all the rain that they've had this spring. I would say the course is a couple shots harder than it was in '98 for sure.

Q. Three guys under par at the moment. I guess the way things are going, that's pretty good rounds, huh?
MARK O'MEARA: Yeah, 74 is decent, especially when I was 4-over after maybe seven holes. To finish 4-over I feel very good about, and hopefully tomorrow I can hit some quality shots on the front side like I did on the back.

Q. When you're at an Open normally, say in England, and you hang out with Tiger, how is your social life different this week because he's not here?
MARK O'MEARA: Over the last two or three years, once Tiger got married, we really don't hang out as much. I mean, we don't stay together as much. But before he was married we did all the time, and it was great. Over the last four or five years that hasn't been the case. I kind of miss him. But I got a text message from him this morning telling me to go out and kick some butt. I didn't kick any butt, I was just trying not to get my butt kicked.

Q. Do you think he's watching and --
MARK O'MEARA: Oh, yeah, he loves golf. He's dying. He wanted to be here so bad. I remember winning the Open in '98 and flying back with him on his plane, and the first thing he said on the plane taking off headed towards the States, he wanted to see the Claret Jug. He wanted to get his hands on it because he was one shot out of the playoff, and now he's won it three times, which I knew he'd win it more than once, his name would be on there, and it's going to be on there many more times to come.

Q. Your round today you have to be pretty happy with. Were you on form coming in? Did you feel pretty confident?
MARK O'MEARA: At times, like I'd say, before I teed off in the first round of the U.S. Open, I qualified for the U.S. Open and I was proud of that, and before I teed off on Thursday, I hit it as good as I've probably ever hit it pre-warm-up before a round, and then I missed the cut by a couple of shots and didn't hit it as good on the course. It's a matter of developing a little more confidence, stringing a few more good rounds together. Today wasn't a great round, but it's a round that at least keeps me somewhat in the tournament so if I play well tomorrow, I've still got a chance on the weekend to play well.

Q. Do you feel like your game is at a point now where you're over confident?
MARK O'MEARA: I'm never over confident in this crazy game. I don't take anything for granted.

Q. On 11, Tom Watson said the wind was really howling and hit a great drive and didn't make the fairway. What did you do there?
MARK O'MEARA: I hit an okay drive. I hit it straight with a little bit of a spin and it got to the fairway by about two and a half, three yards, then I hit a beautiful 2-iron right up to the front edge. Listen, it's all you want out there. Even with the rain stopping, it's still very, very difficult.

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