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February 21, 2009

Mark Calcavecchia


JOHN BUSH: Thank you for joining us in the Northern Trust Open interview room after a 7-under par 64, right out of the gate, eagle, birdie start. Just comment on what was a great day.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: It was a good day for me. The start certainly helped. That 10th hole, as short as it is, it's super tricky. I hit it right in front of the green in the perfect spot, but still was just trying to 2-putt because I had to almost hit it up by the fringe and let it break down about 15 feet to the left. Got it up over the hill and it just started rolling up over the hill and went right in the middle.
Certainly a great start, and then hit three real good shots on the next hole and made a 4-footer, so was just a good start and then I managed to play good the rest of the day. Made some nice putts. Had a couple of bogeys, 3-putting from just off the green, but made a couple I wasn't expecting to make, either.
So all in all, I felt like I hit it better today, too, than I have in quite a while, so that was nice.

Q. Can you talk about 10?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, on 10, I hit a nice, high driver, right kind of at the front of the green. But it was a little off to the right and I was about six, seven feet short of the green.
But I had to putt it up just right on the edge of the fringe and try to get it up there, and then let it start taking that dead left down the hill towards that left pin placement. It just was really fast going down the hill and it just rolled. It just kept rolling and rolling and rolling. Must have taken ten seconds for it to get there but it trickled in there. Great way to start for sure.

Q. Is this a surprise after last week?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yes and no. I played well last week, which that was more of a surprise. I haven't had a good tournament there in who knows how long. I've only played there once in the last eight or nine years. Not a big fan of six-hour rounds. But actually the way the weather was last week, it was lucky we even got in three rounds, I think.
So you know, to shoot 9-under par there, and tie for fourth, that was a surprise. I kind of came down here thinking, I putted pretty good actually last week. I thought if I can continue to hit it halfway decent and make some putts, I could have a good tournament. That's about all I thought of it.
I needed to play decent yesterday afternoon just to make the cut, and got off to that great start today. So really after the first couple of holes today, I was kind of in the mode of shooting -- being aggressive and shooting a good, low score today and kind of getting back in the hunt, so to speak.

Q. Speaking of low scores, you had, I think it was a 3-putt on 5, and then 15, and then you stick it real close on 8 and just miss. And then 9 -- this score, 64, it's a great score, but do you think it could have been even better?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: You know, I made that putt on 10 right off the bat and I made a 40-footer on 7 and that off-sets the couple of 3-putts. I was just on the fringe on 5 and 15, putted them both way by.
Then I pushed the one -- I wasn't confident on my read on 8. It was a left-center putt, and I pushed it. And then 9, I miss-read that one by a mile.
At any rate, I'm not going to sit back and think about, you know, could have been a 61 or 62, but any time you shoot 64, you can always say it should have been a 61. That's just the nature of what goes through our heads. No, I'm real happy with that obviously, and tomorrow I just want to -- the hardest thing I've had to struggle with this week is my distance control on my putts. I've left more putts than normal short and when I'm tired of leaving one or two short, I whack the heck out of it and blow it way by. The greens to me, it's tough to figure out how hard to hit the ball.
Even when Tiger used to play here, he'd be the first to tell you that he thought these greens were real tough to read. He doesn't say that about too many sets of greens. I think that's the main thing here.

Q. For a while --
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Similar to a situation a couple years ago at the Pods. Last week at the AT&T, I brought 2-putters with me and didn't like either one of those two on Tuesday. Went to the PING trailer, got another one for Wednesday and hated that one. Then I decided on the way back from the practice round Wednesday, I was just going to grab a putter out of the PING bag and whatever I grabbed, that's what I was going to use. Didn't even know what it was going to be.
I told Matt Rollins, give me a putter, I don't even care. How about this one? Perfect. Slipped a grip on it, didn't even put with it and put it right in the bag Thursday. It's still there.

Q. Like Tampa, you didn't have to pay for this one.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I didn't have to pay for this up with.

Q. At what point did you notice the leaderboards and kind of know where you are at in terms of the guys ahead of you?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I really wasn't paying too much attention. I noticed Freddie was playing great and got off to a good start and I noticed Phil got off to a real good start.
That's about all I noticed. You know, I was playing well. And then when I 3-putted 5, I kind of told myself for the last four holes, you know, see if you can get at least two more birdies. These last 6 through 9 are not playing tough and I saw where the pin was on 9, obviously, when I was going over to 3.
At that point, I just wanted to try to make a few more birdies and turn it into a real good day. You know, I'll be -- who knows how many behind, but hopefully we'll get another good day to play tomorrow and I'll come out and continue to hit good shots and make some putts and have a chance on the back nine, you never know.

Q. How many years have you played here?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 1989, 20 years ago.

Q. Can you imagine having a daughter in college watching you?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I had not really thought of that actually. Yeah, he's 19 already. It was nice to have her come out yesterday. We hung out Wednesday. So it's good to see her. She came over to the Hope one day.
She's doing well, though. I don't know how she handles it out here quite honestly. Her patience level is less than mine when it comes to traffic. Takes an hour to go two miles; I don't get it. I'd have to have a helicopter if I lived out here, like the Jetsons or something. We need something to just get like 20 feet off the ground. (Laughter) .

Q. I say this sort of half-joking, half-serious, but is there any sense that the leaderboard is pretty packed, with Tiger coming back week, any sense of urgency with these guys to get one win before he comes back like the Tiger we all know?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, he doesn't play that much. Everybody wants him back, I'm sure. I'm a fan. I miss watching him play just like everybody else, and I'm curious to see how he's going to play. I'm sure he's the favorite to win next week. If he took two years off, he would be the favorite to win when he came back.
That's just who he is. You know, he says he's better than ever. You know, hold on. Should be interesting. Like I said, I'm sure he's going to win a bunch of tournaments, however many he plays this year. It was nice to have a chance to win some when he wasn't here, but I don't think I had a Top-20 without him, so maybe I'll play better when he's back.
JOHN BUSH: How about the other birdies, 16 and 17?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 16, hit a nice, high, hard 8-iron about six feet left of the hole and made that.
17, two good woods down there. I had 85 yards and hit a little L-wedge about two feet. Hit it just over the green in one and chipped up and made birdie.
Hit a 7-iron from the right rough on 3 about two feet. Tapped that in.
3-putted 5. Hit a 7-iron on 6 about five feet. Made that.
And then on 7, I hit a bad iron, 45 feet short, and tapped that one in. So that was nice.
Then hit a great shot on 8 about five feet and pushed it.
Parred the last hole. You know, I'm happy to be where I'm at.

Q. Just on the greens, were they rolling any different today than, say, yesterday? I know from Thursday to Friday, the guys were saying they changed quite a bit. How were they today?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: They were great today. The last nine holes yesterday in the afternoon, when the sun starts getting a little bit lower, you could see they were not real smooth, let's put it that way. They are really good. They are good in shape but with less traffic today and being the third group off, they were perfect.
You know, they are soft enough yet where you can still be aggressive with your iron shots. They are just kind of taking one hop and stopping, which is nice. The course is in fabulous shape. I just think the greens, sometimes it's even hard to tell if it's slightly uphill or slightly downhill. They are a great set of greens. It's been one of our best courses for years, and still is. It's nice to play well here.
JOHN BUSH: Mark, play well tomorrow. Thanks for coming by.

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