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July 17, 2009

Mark Calcavecchia


Q. What did you do on the 2nd?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Hit it in the left rough, actually got a great lie, bad iron, short right of the green, couldn't get up and down.
7, two good shots, 62 yards short of the green, hit a little L-wedge in there about eight feet and made that.
5, bogeyed that hole. Yanked a 2-iron up in the weeds left of the green. No chance to get up-and-down.
10, I hit a 4-iron about 40 feet and made it.
12, I hit a 7-iron about two feet.
14, I hit a 6-iron about two feet.
Three-putted 15 from the back of the green.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Three good birdie chances.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: 17, I had a 3-iron into the green. I should have birdied that hole.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Was it short right and pitched up on 17?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, yeah, I hit a good chip about 12 feet left of the hole and left it short.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by Mark Calcavecchia, who shot 69 today for 136, 4-under par total.
Mark, you must be very pleased to have kept it going under tough weather conditions.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I was. I watched the TV this morning when I came out at 9:00, so I kind of knew what some of the holes were playing like on the front nine. And I saw -- when I saw the wind, which I haven't -- the wind Tuesday was going the exact opposite direction, and there was no wind yesterday, so that's the first time I played this course in that kind of wind, which probably is the same for most everybody.
At any rate, I knew the front nine was going to be playing hard. I saw the scores and I just wanted to stay away from big numbers, which a lot of guys were making out there, doubles and triples and quads and whatever. A few bogeys here and there weren't going to kill you.
That's basically what happened. I bogeyed 2 and 5 back into the wind and then I just made some good pars. I made a nice birdie on 7 and got around the front nine in 1-over, which I know is way above average. And then made a bomb on 10. That's when I thought, well, now we're kind of turning back around here, and got some birdie holes on the back nine, so I thought at that point I could probably shoot a halfway decent score.
But, yeah, real happy with the way things have gone. I've getting some good bounces, getting lucky on occasion, which always helps.

Q. Did you feel that there was any suggestion that the flagsticks had been placed in harder positions today, perhaps to try and reassure you that The Open isn't always as it was yesterday?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I never really thought about it. You know, the great thing that I think that happens in this tournament is almost every time with the exception of Carnoustie that I've ever played, we come and play the course as it is, as we find it. Sometimes it's not windy. Sometimes the weather is good. Sometimes we shoot pretty low.
The R&A never seems to mind what the winning score is going to be, unlike the USGA, in my opinion. I didn't think about the pins and how low the scores were yesterday. I knew it was going to even out eventually when the wind started blowing out here. And obviously the scores were all higher today.
But, yeah, there's some real hard pins that you can't -- 3, I bombed a drive down there and had a pitching wedge to the green. It's hardly ever you aim a pitching wedge 20 feet left of the hole, and then I pulled it 15 feet on top of that. But there's just pins you can't get at sometimes, even with a short iron from the fairway.
I'm actually kind of using my head, which is unusual, as well. Get it on the green. I'm just trying to hit greens. It's working out so far.

Q. 11, pin on 11?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Impossible for most any human to get to with a 20-mile-an-hour straight left-to-right wind, right over a hump with weeds just left of the green. I hit probably one of the best shots I've hit all week there. I actually tried to hook a 7-iron back into the wind and it held its line nice and I had a 30-footer.
When we play St. Andrews there's some pins there you can't get anywhere near either, a lot of times. And that's just the way, I think, some of the courses we play here of protecting the course a little bit.

Q. In all your rounds here today you played a wind today that you had never played before. So is it like playing a different golf course, and do you have to figure out things in a hurry to play well here?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I use the stroke saver; I don't know what everyone else is using. You know how far it is to the bunkers. Even when I'm on a green and I'm waiting for the other guys to play, I'll pull out my book and look at the next hole and see how far it is, and try to figure out how far I want to hit it off that tee, so I kind of already know already when I get there.
I knew all the holes back into the wind, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, those were all obviously drivers, you had to hit a driver, otherwise you may not have reached the green. So you kind of gotta forget about bunkers and things like that in that situation because you've got to get it out there so you don't have a 3-wood into the green.
And then luckily like on 13, it was 280 to the second bunker, and I popped up a 3-iron and it came within a foot of getting in it. I don't hit too many pop-up 3-irons 280, so, you know, it was probably -- I hit a 6-iron off the first tee. Sometimes you've just got to take a guess and see what happens.

Q. You're pretty familiar with Steve Marino, I think. In fact, some people contest that you look like senior and junior. But I know you recommended Eric to him at one point?

Q. What can you tell us about him and his game and the recommendation of Eric to him?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: He's a great kid and has a ton of talent. He's really kind of figured it out in the last couple of years. He hits it far, really doesn't have any weaknesses in the game that I've seen the few times that I've played with him. It's great to see him playing well. It's just a matter of time before he wins.
He certainly could easily -- not easily, because it's not easy to win anywhere, but he could win this tournament. There's a whole bunch of people that could. But he's going to win soon, and it may even be this week.

Q. Speaking of that, can you win this tournament? I know this sounds like a dumb question, but it sounds like the first couple of rounds you're trying to survive and not make big numbers, but what's your feeling in terms of your chances going the last 36?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, this is about the second time of the year I didn't struggle to make the cut, so I'm just happy with that. I'm usually choking so bad coming down the last few holes on Friday because I want to play the weekend. I felt great today. Even when I was 2-over through 5, I knew I was going to make some birdies somewhere.
And hopefully -- we don't know with the weather or the wind or what's going to happen tomorrow, at least I don't, you guys may know what's going to happen, but whatever it is, I'm swinging well enough and I'm driving it great. I said yesterday I got this G15, this new driver I started using last week, and into the wind it doesn't spin as much as my G10 and I can hit these knuckleballs out there, and I'm really getting it out there pretty good into the wind, and it's going straight, too. That and I'm hitting my 3-wood good. I seem to be hitting a lot of fairways. So if I can keep doing that, obviously if you can keep it out of the tall stuff, you're going to have a better chance.

Q. Some of the younger American players have described you as a kind of team captain this week, someone sort of with experience and knowledge of this tournament, someone to hang out with and learn from. Do you enjoy that kind of role and have you enjoyed hanging out with those guys?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I would never think I'm the type of guy anybody could learn anything from, to tell you the truth. And I think experience is way overrated. All that means is I've hit more bad shots than all the guys that are 20 years old, and they're lingering in my brain.
Everybody's going to be nervous. I mean, what it would mean for me to win this thing would be beyond description. And certainly there's a -- we're only halfway done. There's a long way to go, so I'm not going to entertain that thought yet, but that's nice to hear, though.
A lot of guys actually on the plane, on the charter that hadn't played here asked me -- Kenny Perry even, he hadn't ever played here. A lot of guys were asking me what is Turnberry like, and I said I thought it was great what I remembered of it from '94, and certainly when I saw it Tuesday all the memories kind of came back from the holes and whatnot. And obviously the course suits my eye. I love it.

Q. Despite what you say about the younger guys not being able to learn from you, there's a lot of younger guys that are going to be going home; you, Tom Watson, John Daly has made it through. What's the secret for the more experienced guys this week?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I think it's a course that -- especially when it was calm, you really got to use your head around here. And every hole, you is can't just bomb away, you know. And J.D., he still hits it a mile. And Tom, when he plays, always plays great, the tournaments he plays in at home. So we've all won this tournament, and I think just that extra motivation of being a past champion of this -- of The Open, kind of really the sparks are firing under us a little bit. Speaking of Tom, obviously he loves this place. And J.D. has really kind of recommitted himself. I think it's that more than anything.

Q. Just to delve into some of that experience that you were talking about there, St. Andrews is hosting The Open again next year. When you were back there in 1990 as defending champion, I recall there was a bit of a party before you handed it back. And you poured some drinks for your buddies out of the Claret Jug. Just if you could give me some your memories on that, and also, what would it mean to go back to St. Andrews next year and perhaps have another one of those parties?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I remember I got lambasted for being late and wearing jeans, which I was neither. We were drinking champagne out of the jug, but there was something on the invite that said 7:30 for 8:00. And I had no idea what that meant. So I rolled in there -- and I was going to walk, and transportation wasn't there to pick me up. So I was going to be there by 7:30. I've never been late in my life. And I looked about as nice as I could humanly look, too.
But I didn't really -- time kind of went by and I don't think I -- is that wind and rain (pointing up)? I don't think I rinsed out the Jug real well. I think there was still some champagne swishing around in there when I brought it back.
So, at any rate, I do remember that. Every five years we have the past champions dinner there. I assume that will happen next year. And that's always a lot of fun to see the guys.

Q. You're always quick with a joke and often self-deprecating in your humor, but do you still care enough to try and win this? Still within you is that guy that won 20 years ago? Is he still in there?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, sure. You know, as time goes by, and I've been through this for 20 years since I won a lot in the late '80s, I win and then a couple of years go by, and all of a sudden, I'm like, man, I haven't won in two or three years, and then I'll win all of a sudden. I won in '05 and I was kind of surprised at Shaughnessy. And again in '07.
So I just -- I don't know what it is. I just can't win a lot. It's hard to win, number one. And obviously the older -- there's not many guys other than Kenny Perry -- well, there's no other guys than Kenny Perry in their 40s winning on the PGA Tour. I'm probably the only other guy. It's incredibly hard to do.
I still -- yeah, I think I can win, you know, if not this week maybe somewhere later on this year down the road, or it might not happen until I get to the Champions Tour. But it will happen again.

Q. Throwing this out half sarcastically, but does your lower center of gravity help you when the wind is howling like that out there?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, it doesn't. My up-shooting slice doesn't really help much, either. Paul Broadhurst hits just a beautiful draw. His ball flight is so much better. And I actually -- one of the things I worked on with Kostis was when I practised trying to hit draws and incorporate that into my normal shot to try to get that release feeling.
And I hit a lot of good shots, like that draw hit on 11. I held it into the wind nice. So obviously when it's windy and you're going into the wind, it flattens out your ball flight. The one I hit on 2 just -- it looked like a parachute. It was just horrible.
But, no, it doesn't. It might help a little with my putting, you know. Putting when it's windy can be tough. But I have a little bit of a wide stance and I kind of bend my knees a little anyway, and it might help me stay a little bit steadier on the greens.

Q. Why do you think Kenny wins a lot at his age and you don't at yours?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, he claims he figured out how to putt. No kidding, which helps. He's really been pouring them in since he got that putter, that Craz-E Ping that the guy gave him. I don't know, he just got comfortable. He's always hit it well. He's hitting it as far as he ever has. So he's got distance and he hits it straight. So hitting straight bombs and putting good is just a pretty lethal combination.
He's just a good guy and he thinks well. I don't know, you know, he probably should have won a lot more. The way he plays now you wonder why he didn't do this five years ago. But he's just really, really good.

Q. Do you ever feel as though you've underachieved?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, there's no question I should have won at least 20 tournaments. I don't know, what, 27 seconds or whatever I've had and another 25 thirds or something. I don't even know what it is. It's a lot. 27 seconds, I think Norman only has got more. I probably gave ten of those away, and the rest of them I made good rallies to finish second.
But I could have won a Masters. Sandy Lyle hit the shot of his life out of the fairway bunker, but who knows, maybe I wouldn't have won this tournament the next year. But I would have thought I was going to win a Masters at some point, and that's clearly not going to happen. But that's okay.
I'm not all wrapped up in Hall of Fame stuff. There's some people who have brought it up, I need a few more wins or another major or something. I'm not concerned about that at all, I'm just trying to pay for the house I'm building in Tequesta. That's about my only worry right now.

Q. Is it correct that you're enjoying the odd pint of British beer after your rounds, and how many pints a night?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I'm allowing myself four, seems to be a nice round figure (laughter). It's just enough, but it's not too many.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Actually it has been in past years, and it can be. No, swing juice is -- it's actually pretty tasty. It's kind of like a Powerade or Gatorade, but it has a little extra caffeine kick to it.

Q. What's your favourite pint?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I'm working on Saint Mungo's this week, it's pretty good stuff.

Q. When is the first time Brenda caddied for you in any circumstance, and how has she improved or regressed over the years?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: That's a good question. Had to be early on. I met her in 2001. It might have been in Korea, whatever year we went over there. We won the Korean Open. We've actually won twice, that and the Shark Shootout. And she golfs. She knows what he's doing out there.
When it started raining on 16, she said, "Don't worry about me, I don't care if I get soaked." So she knows that I don't worry about her. She knows she's got to keep the clubs dry. The bag weighed a ton today, and she's got to be exhausted. Two rain suits and an extra sweater for me. It's like Pebble Beach here; it can be beautiful, but you have to brace for the end of the world out there on the 9th tee, if something comes across the water, like at Muirfield that one year. It's a heavy bag week for her, but she's doing great. She's having fun.

Q. Do you like having her on the bog?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Almost every time, yeah. At time -- it's my fault, it has nothing to do with her. When I get all pissed off and bitchy, like at Hoylake, I ruin the whole week. When I went berserk on the back nine on Sunday, I just ruined the whole week. I still feel bad about it. I wish she wasn't even there at that time. But we were in good shape there.
But almost every time. You know, it's always my fault when something doesn't work out between us when she's caddying. She's nothing but positive for me out there.

Q. They tell me that you're still pretty tough to take money off of in practise rounds and things like that. What's the difference for you in terms of trying to win tournaments, vis-a-vis taking money out of another guy's pocket or something?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: You know, sometimes when you're trying to win a tournament it's less stressful than, as I mentioned earlier, when you're coming down on Friday and you need three pars and a birdie to make the cut, because when you're trying to win a tournament I've always said that means you're playing well, you're confident. And I've always thought confidence can overcome nervousness. If you're really concentrating hard and focusing on what you're doing, you can block everything else out.
When you're playing Mickelson -- we used to play a lot in practise rounds mainly at majors, at the Masters and stuff. And, yeah, incredibly nerve-wracking when you're trying to beat him out of some money or trying not to lose too much to him as opposed to trying to win a tournament. You just hate reaching into your own pocket.

Q. What's the wildest bet you've ever had with Phil?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I can't tell you.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Mark, thanks for joining us.

End of FastScripts

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