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July 8, 1998

Larry Nelson


DAVE SENKO: Larry, appreciate you giving us your time to come in. Maybe just talk really briefly, you have had a chance to get a look at the course. This is your first trip to FORD SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. Your thoughts about the course.

LARRY NELSON: This course is the first time that I have played the golf course today. I kind of find myself in the same situation I found myself in most of the tournaments that I have played in since September, feel like the golf course is going to change a lot between today and Sunday. And guys who have played here for the last four, five years will probably know a little bit more about it than I will. So I am going to have to spend a lot of time trying to make the right choice off the tee because it seems like the way the golf course is set up that if the fairways get a little firm, that would be very important to choose the right club. So I think there is going to be a little bit of a guessing game this week for me if the fairways get hard or firm like they usually are, some people say. I remember watching this tournament on television and they were hitting 2-irons or whatever off the 18th tee. And, today I hit driver and the ball rolled about a yard and I was perfect. Ended up having to hit driver, 7-iron, so no the golf course changes a lot. So it will be kind of blind for me I guess if it does get firm.

DAVE SENKO: Questions.

Q. Can I get your reaction to Jack Nicklaus's announcement that his streak of consecutive Majors is going to come to an end?

LARRY NELSON: I know Jack is smart enough and he knows enough about the game and, especially his game, and I really respect -- actually respect his opinion and also his thoughts of the game. So I feel that whatever he decision he made, he feels like it will be in the best interest of him and the game.

Q. Your thoughts on the death of Larry Gilbert defending champion for the TPC?

LARRY NELSON: Well, I never knew Larry. I had seen him on television, of course, like a lot of other people. But by way of friends of his that I have met since I have been out here, I just know that he was just a really nice guy; kind of a tough guy. That is what everybody says, kind of a hard guy, a tough guy, but very family-oriented and just kind of loved the game, loved fishing. That is about as much as I know about him. I am sorry that I didn't get to know him before he died.

DAVE SENKO: Maybe you can talk about your game right now, what kind of shape it is in.

LARRY NELSON: It has been kind of a struggle. Last week -- well, before last week, I went out to Dallas and had my physical on Monday. It is my annual physical and my cholesterol level was a little high and he gave me some medicine. I started taking it Sunday night. By Sunday afternoon I couldn't hardly stand up. I was so dizzy, kind of disoriented. So I played Sunday's round last week literally not being able to see the ball a couple of times. I kind of lost total -- just lost the ball as I was swinging. So now -- yesterday was the first day that I felt like it was getting better. And, today I hit some good shots but I hit a lot of bad shots. But I think it is pretty much out of my system. Felt a little bit better the last four, five holes; felt more like myself. So I probably won't know until tomorrow.

Q. Are you referring to just this past Sunday or the Sunday before?

LARRY NELSON: No, this past Sunday. During the tournament at State Farm.

Q. Don't have you to stay on this medicine or are you just adjusting to it?

LARRY NELSON: Well, I didn't know at the time that it had that kind of side effect. I talked to another doctor friend of mine who says that he took the medicine and it made him real dizzy but that if you continue with it, your body gets used to it. I don't know if I want to do that or not. So I stopped taking it Friday when I started getting dizzy or found out that that is kind of the way it was or thought it was what it was. So I didn't take it Friday night. So I have been off of it Saturday, Sunday and last night.

Q. What holes was the toughest out there for you today?

LARRY NELSON: Gee, had a lot of tough holes. I think two of the par 3s, I didn't get it over the hazard. I don't think I have seen as much water on a golf course outside of Florida than this one. (laughs) But, I mean, there are a lot of hard holes. I think -- I mean, 18 I think could be a hard hole if the golf course is as wet as it is today here. I think that is what happens, I think, when a golf course dries up some of the holes that were difficult -- I mean, when wet are not going to be as difficult when it is dry. 18 was pretty difficult today.

Q. What has this first full season been like for you so far, expectations you had for yourself, maybe what others had for you?

LARRY NELSON: Well, I feel like that I am kind of moving into a comfort level that I can start kind of meeting my expectations. The last, oh, two months I felt that I have really gotten comfortable out here and that my game has -- driving the ball, hitting irons, the putting, has become more consistent. That is really what my desire was, my expectations was to get to the point where my game would be more consistent. And I felt like that if I got my game to the level that I wanted it, that I would be able to compete against these guys every week successfully.

Q. Hale has said that it takes a while for guys when coming over from the other Tour. Is there a period of adjustment you have got to go through?

LARRY NELSON: I don't know that anybody doesn't go through that. It is not -- I mean, it is all-encompassing. It has everything to do from atmosphere to your playing partners. Not that they are good or bad, but I mean it is just a different group of people. But it kind of got that way for me on the Tour the last four, five years. Everybody that I played with were either young enough to be my children or people that I didn't know that well. I would go in to eat lunch and I wouldn't know anybody sitting in there, by first name. So actually coming over here was an adjustment but it was to the positive. I knew everybody over here pretty much except for five or six guys because I had played with them 20 years ago. The golf courses take a little bit of adjustment to it. You feel like the golf courses are going to be easier, it is going to be easier to score, which it is easier to score, but it is not easier to score well enough to win. I mean, there is a difference. I think finishing in the top 10 was about what I thought it would be. Winning was a little bit more difficult. I think everybody has to make that adjustment. I don't know anybody that can come out and dominate this Tour any more than Hale has the last couple of years. I don't know anyone on the horizon that can do that, that has the total game that would do that. So everybody is going to have to make an adjustment because -- I thought that I would come out and, you know, really do well. And in retrospect, I haven't done all that bad, but I didn't do as well as, you know, when you imagine things happening. I didn't do as well as I thought I might. But, under the circumstances, the way they really are, I am happy with what I have done so far.

Q. Is there a little bit of: "I am not sure I want to play in the Senior Tour yet?" Is that kind of a thinking that you go through?

LARRY NELSON: Your heart is still over on the regular Tour, but your pocketbook is over here. I mean, that is pretty much the way it is. I mean, you want to compete against the best players in the world, but you actually get to the point where you can't afford it anymore. I mean, it makes sense that -- realism kinds of hits you after a while and you decide that, yeah, I can't compete against these guys; maybe one or two weeks out of the year I can be as good as they are or the best out there. But not on a week-to-week basis. I can't compete on the same level as David Duval. I mean, I can't do it. Age prohibits that. Just your mental capacity, your physical capacity, your whatever. So I am over here competing against his father (laughs). I mean, that's one of those things; that is just kind of the way it is.

Q. Do you find it a good deal easier to play three competitive rounds a week than four? Do you notice it in the amount of stress you feel during a week? I know this week is a four-round tournament, but --

LARRY NELSON: I don't think -- I think, if anything, it is probably a disadvantage more than an advantage playing three rounds. I think a four-round tournament, if -- in a three-round tournament, the guy who is playing the best is going to win, but not necessarily the best player. If you play a four-round tournament it eliminates -- I mean, there is a possibility that with one more round, the best player could catch someone who is playing well for three rounds. I think it is more difficult to play a 72-hole tournament good for four rounds than it is a 54-hole tournament; there is less stress if you play good on Friday and more stress if you play bad on Friday because you really don't have a shot in two more rounds. But I find for a rookie, for a person who comes out here who has played in two Pro-Ams every week, I play more golf now than I have did before. Because I am playing in two Pro-Ams and in three tournament rounds, so I am playing five rounds a week. My last couple of years, except on the regular Tour, last year and the year before, I really never played. I may have played in three, four Pro-Ams a year, so -- then I won't make the cut a couple of times, so -- but, to answer your question it is probably not any more relaxing depending on what your first round is going into the weekend the last two rounds in a three-day tournament, as opposed to a four day tournament.

Q. You have done well in Majors before. Is there any particular thing on what you need to do in a major that you play well --

LARRY NELSON: I think the Majors -- well, the Majors that you are -- the Majors - not the SENIOR TOUR major, but the Majors that are the majors on the other Tour they are -- it is a lot different. The golf courses are set up a lot different. Fairways are usually a little bit more narrow. The rough is a lot higher, so there is a lot more premium on driving. In the three Majors that I have played out here, this being the third, accuracy is important but it is not a shot penalty if you don't hit it out of the fairway. So that is the major difference in these Majors as opposed to the other one. As far as my mindset goes, the way this golf course is set up, it is set up very similar to how a regular Tour tournament would be set up. The rough is about that high, the green's about that firm and so it would be kind of a typical setup, I guess, for a lot of the tournaments on the regular Tour. Now if they grew the rough up here about this high and that kind of stuff (indicating three feet), it would seem more like a major U.S. Open PGA. Of course I haven't played in the Senior Open yet. I don't know exactly what they are going to do to Riviera, but I know they didn't grow that much rough in West Palm for the PGA Senior. So I think that is the major difference.

DAVE SENKO: All set? Thanks Larry.

End of FastScripts....

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