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October 29, 2008

John Cook


THE MODERATOR: John, thanks for joining us. Coming off a win last week. Maybe just talk a little about that and being in the hunt for the Schwab Cup. Well 689 behind, but still a mathematical chance of winning.
JOHN COOK: I haven't been mathematically eliminated. That's always a good thing. When the numbers are still on you, that's okay.
I think last week was a good week for me. It was last year, as well. This year there's been a lot of -- I played well, had a lot of Top 10s. Maybe four or five chances to win, and two really, really good chances that I thought might have, you know, one thing here or there would have gone my way.
But today actually finished the job. That was very important, I think, for my year confidence-wise. Just to kind of tidy things up, and I enjoyed that, obviously. But I think it meant much more than that. It's kind of capped and validated a nice year.
I dug pretty hard last week on Sunday. I was feeling horrible, and actually Monday, Monday was not a good day for me. But somehow I fought that off and finished it off. Pretty proud of that one. That was a battle from within, for sure.

Q. Could you maybe -- did you make your debut in this area when you turned professional?
JOHN COOK: I did. My first PGA TOUR was the Anheuser Busch at Silverado. That was my very first event as a pro. I think it was a couple weeks after the U.S. Amateur in '79 when Romero took me out.
I think I turned pro the next week. And then actually got a spot here at Silverado and played. Missed the cut, but I played decently. Went on that fall to qualify. To Q-school. Last time I had to do that, so that was a good thing. I spent a lot of time up here between Pebble Beach and the Bay Area and around here. So I've been a Southern Cal guy. But we've spent a lot of time up here.

Q. Enjoy any wine?
JOHN COOK: Oh, gosh, yeah. We're big wine fans. My wife and I and friends of ours. We actually did a race weekend. Skip Barber, it used to be called Sears Point in 1990, so we did that with a friend of mine. We stayed at the Mission Inn. Sampled some of the local vineyards, and thought we were race drivers. Thought we were Grand Prix drivers for a weekend. It was fun. We had a blast.
My wife and I have been through NAPA a few times. Yeah, we like to.

Q. How is the course looking and what kind of score do you expect?
JOHN COOK: I only got up here last night. So I saw just very basically today. I didn't get a chance to hit pitches and stuff and putts all over the place.
But I like this golf course. It's, I think it doesn't favor anybody. It favors, you know, everybody's got a chance. It's in this field. You've had a good year if you're here. You've obviously put together some very good weeks and you've had, you know, a number of chances to win here. So nobody, if anybody won here this week, it would be no surprise. These guys are very good.
The course sits, from what I see everywhere from a Fred Funk to a Eduardo, and everybody in between. So I think it's going to be a great test. Hopefully, the weather forecast is wrong and it scoots somewhere else and we have a real good test under the right conditions.
I think the golf course sets up great. It's got great character. Reminds me of the southern Cal course that I play at home called El Nigel. It's very similar. I enjoyed it do.

Q. Do you intend to do any scoreboard watching as you go around to see where the other guys are?
JOHN COOK: I have a mix. I usually have a feeling and a number. And I'm usually very close to what that winning number is going to be.
So I don't pay much attention to the board, but you always like to know where you are. I don't study it, but I certainly look at things as it goes along, just numbers and see how close it is to the number I'm thinking about.
If you have to change the game plan, you have to change. I'm not a big scoreboard watcher, but I'd certainly like to know where I'm at.

Q. Is it a surprise at all the way Fred has played these last three months considering some of the injuries he's had this year?
JOHN COOK: Not really, he's very talented. He's come back from injury. He works very hard so it's really no surprise that he would be very committed to his rehab routine and getting himself healthy to play. You know, I think he's a great name and an addition out here from what I see.
You know, I think this tour's just going to get stronger and stronger. So, it's really no surprise that Fred's doing what he does.
Every course that we play doesn't really favor Romeros or the Fred Funks. It favors everybody. Nobody's eliminated on any of these courses that we've played all year. They've all had such great character.
Each course -- there's not a course that I've played that I say oh, God, that was trashy or didn't want to go back. However many events I've played, I'd go back to every one. You know, I think that Fred's kind of feeling that way, too.
You know, give us 25 chances to play, you get that many chances to win. Where on the regular tour, he might have two or three chances. So you've got to -- I mean, you've got to take advantage of the opportunities out here every week. It's a new week.
If I just do the right thing, I've got a chance to win. Hopefully, you know, we'll see more of Fred next year than he's planning on. It's a lot more fun. This is way more fun. Never seen such a grind.

Q. Given what you're saying and given that a lot of guys get out here and start feeling comfortable and enjoy it, what do you think about Fred talking about going back and playing more?
JOHN COOK: I like Fred and I think he's nuts. I really do. I don't know what the attraction is. Between again, there's only two or three time a year where you feel like this is the week that I have a chance.
You can name them. You have Sony at Wailea, which is a course we play every week, it's just like that. Maybe a Colonial, Hilton Head, and that's it. I don't know.
Maybe he sees something differently. While I'm not ruling out the fact that I might play one or two events next year, I don't know. But I'm certainly not -- certainly not going to concentrate on that when you've got this out here where it's just the way it used to be.
You're used to being competitive every week. And out there, you have to be competitive to make a cut, and that's -- we've done that. I did that for 28 years. I don't want to do that anymore.
I want to know if my game's in shape, I've got a chance on Sunday. Not if my game's in shape I've got a chance to make a cut. I get no satisfaction out of that.

Q. Considering how forth right you are, have you talked about that?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, we've talked about it. He can do whatever he wants. If he goes playing, you know, great. That's a great representation for us. If he plays decently, that tells you how good these guys are. So that representation is fine.
When Joey Sindelar went to Turning Stone and made the cut there, you know, that's hats off to him. I might play one or two events next year if I get a chance to play well or make the cut and have a chance. That's great representation for us out here. But to make a steady diet of that, I have no idea why he would want to do that.

Q. Maybe it's a challenge?
JOHN COOK: Maybe, maybe. But I think it's challenging out here, too. You're not winning every week out here. I could see if you were dominating out here and winning 8, 10, 12 times and every time you tee it up you're Tiger Woods out here. That would be something different, but you're not.
You know, we'd like to see him out here. I think the fans like to see him out here, and the sponsors like to see him out here.
With Fred Couples coming out here late next year and in 2010, and couple other names coming out. I think it's -- you know, I think the Champions Tour is in a great position coming up even with the economy the way it is. I think, you know, sponsors are starting to see what this tour is about and who is coming out here and what those guys stand for. And I think this tour's going to get stronger and stronger before anything else, it's going to get stronger.

Q. How much are you playing Harding?
JOHN COOK: I never played Harding. I didn't play the World Golf Championship event there. But I've certainly been in the area.

Q. Just curious as to that course is similar to this one?
JOHN COOK: When is that? Is that next year? Year after?

Q. 2010 and 2011?
JOHN COOK: This is a great spot for it. Harding will be great, too. This time of year up here is outstanding. And I think that will be a very nice venue, obviously, with the city right there. You know, some great history in that area with San Francisco golf club and Olympic, and California, it's just great.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JOHN COOK: I know they've done a lot of work to it. So, yeah, it should be cool.

Q. Do you think this tour's better off in big markets like that? Or in medium markets, San Antonio, for example. And cities like this that are kind of on the edge of major metropolitan areas. Is it a bigger vibe?
JOHN COOK: Yeah, I think we had decent crowds last week. We had really good crowds in Austin, Des Moines. It used to be big, big crowds. Houston was good. Couple other places have been great. There's a couple that have been out on the fringe, just wasn't a lot of people there. But the golf has been great.
So it will be interesting to see if they take one of our best, you know, most prestigious championships into the city and see how the people support that. It will be interesting here. I don't know.
I know we've had great support in a number of places. Playing at Troon was just like playing in the last day of the Open Championship. There was a lot of people, tens of thousands of people out there. I think the Broadmoor was about the same way. There were just a lot of people. Des Moines, good gosh, that place was just packed with people and the weather wasn't even that good.
So I think people like to come out and watch. They can identify with a lot of these names out here. They know the quality of golf is going to be great. Like I said, they can identify with the guys.
You know, that's who they either -- they grew up watching these guys play and got them into the game. Or that they've, you know just followed them throughout their adult lives, so. I think it will do very well, obviously. I think it will do wonderfully.

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