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August 2, 2005

Rod Pampling


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us for a few means here at the media center at The INTERNATIONAL. Just talk about coming back to a place you're very comfortable and where you've won and being defending champion here on the PGA TOUR.

ROD PAMPLING: Glad to be defending champion, to have that role is fantastic. Just nice to come to a place where you have great feelings, great memories. It can only help your game, it doesn't matter how you feel, how you're playing, coming back to someplace where you love the golf course, it can only help. As I say, each shot out there today, you think about what you did last year and it's very good.

Q. How special was this win for you last year? I believe it was your first?

ROD PAMPLING: Yes, first on the U.S. Tour. It was fantastic. You work so hard to get to this level and then to be able to win is just, you know, shows all the hard work, and then seeing the benefits from it and getting into the world events, not having to qualify for majors. It's certainly been a fantastic time. As I say, it's a nice feeling, so hopefully I can do it again.

Q. Has your game turned around here? You played pretty well afterward.

ROD PAMPLING: I think I had been playing pretty good anyway, but just the confidence you get from winning, it can only help. That's why Tiger and Vijay, they keep winning, they are just so confident that, you know, it's just you don't think you can be beaten. And that's the feeling that you get and once you've won, you've had that feeling, and it certainly helps.

Q. Certainly a shot in the arm for your confidence?

ROD PAMPLING: Definitely.

Q. Did you change anything?

ROD PAMPLING: No, I didn't change anything. The game was the same. It was just your head

Q. Coming into it, though.

ROD PAMPLING: No. Oh, no, definitely not.

Q. What's your impression of The INTERNATIONAL when you're here? You look at the list and you've got guys from about half a dozen different countries, is that healthy for the PGA TOUR in terms of generating interest?

ROD PAMPLING: Oh, definitely. I think it's an event that most guys look at on their calendar and if you're not on this tour, you look at the European guys, it's an event you can get into. I think it's great. Obviously being an Australian, it adds a bit more flavor to the tournament.

Q. Why are there so many Australians here this week in particular?

ROD PAMPLING: Well, being a member of the Tour, that obviously helps. I think there's a few from The European Tour who got invites, but I think it's just ingenuous. It's a prime time for Australian golf right now. In any event you look around there are a lot of guys.

Q. Swinging off that question, before you came to America to play the Tour, became a member of the Tour, did you know about this tournament? Was this one of those things that you said, hey, I can go to America and play there if I play well here?

ROD PAMPLING: It was an event that you knew was on the schedule. Yeah, obviously you couldn't just be an Australian guy and get an invite. You have to play well.

When I got the invite to play here the first time, I had just won in Australia, so that's yeah, it's not just going to come to you. You obviously have to be playing fairly well in your own country, anyway.

Q. But you didn't have to think twice about coming to play The INTERNATIONAL when you got invited?

ROD PAMPLING: Oh, no. I had been coming over to the States for a few years before that, just driving around, playing mini tour events. And you knew about The INTERNATIONAL, so there was no hesitation coming to play here, that's for sure.

Q. Your thoughts on the modified Stableford scoring system; do you like it because you can be more aggressive, and does it give you the feel of going after shots instead of hanging back and waiting for pars?

ROD PAMPLING: I don't know. Sure, birdies and eagles are huge for this format, but I don't know if it changes you being aggressive. It just rewards more birdies. I don't think I'm changing my game plan. I think I play aggressive anyway, so I don't think you can become more aggressive once you get here. The format rewards birdies and eagles. I think it's fantastic. Just have a look at Steve Lowery a few years ago, he came from nowhere, which you can do, which formally you can't do in a stroke play event. And 17, something always happens there.

Q. Without the modified Stableford scoring system, you might not have had your first PGA TOUR victory here?

ROD PAMPLING: May not. I didn't look at what the scores were and it may not happen, but that's the way the format worked and thankfully it helped me.

Q. Down the stretch, were you thinking about 17? Did you kind of look ahead to that being a pivotal hole?

ROD PAMPLING: It's a pivotal hole for everyone. So just, the situation arose when I got there, I knew an eagle would put me in front, because at that stage, I could see what Alex was doing in front. Yeah, two or three groups in front, there was no sort of score board to see what you had to do, but, you know, I could be more aggressive and made an eagle.

Q. There's been talk about possibly moving this tournament to June, at least in the media and whatnot, because of the fact that the weather comes in this time of year, and also it's the week before the PGA. Do you think that those factors hurt the field? I know you said you're excited to come but some of the top players, Vijay, Tiger doesn't usually come here, do you think the top players look at that and that's the reason why they wouldn't come?

ROD PAMPLING: Maybe. I can't sort of speak for how they prepare for a major. Yeah, you know, so many guys play the week before, so many guys don't play the week before. Ernie always plays here. Unfortunately he's hurt himself for this event this year. Phil is here. Those guys, I would hate to second guess how they prepare for something, especially Vijay, he doesn't miss too many. I don't know if he normally plays here or not.

I don't know, if the event would be after I think the tournament stands on its own. I know it's one I would always come to. It's a one of the better golf courses we play all year.

Q. Talk about Australian golf, who are the pied pipers who got all the momentum going and where you see the future of golf in Australia?

ROD PAMPLING: Obviously there were a few guys before Norman, but Norman was obviously the main factor. I think for Australian golf right now, being as strong as it is, when you're 15, 16 years old, you're up every morning, just to see what Norman was doing, and it was great for Australian kids to see him there week in, week out. I think it pushed a lot more guys to sort of start heading to the States. It was always, you know, it was at that time deciding where to go, but generally you were pushed to go to the European Tour. I enjoyed coming here and I think now there's a lot more guys coming straight here that can play and can compete on this level and that's where it's starting to get a lot more guys out here now.

Q. Did you come over here in the winter?


Q. Some guys have, though.

ROD PAMPLING: Yeah, there are a lot of amateurs over here now, Sim just won an event at, I forget where, Western Amateur or something, there was four guys traveling together. I know there's four guys there and one of the young guys, Tom Davis (ph). I think a lot of the guys coming from Australia are coming here and it's obviously paying rewards for Australian golf.

Q. Can you talk about the golf course, what you saw out there today, compared to what you saw last year, conditions, how you think it's playing?

ROD PAMPLING: It's pretty similar at this stage to what it was on Tuesday. Obviously towards the end of the week last year, it was starting to dry out and fairways were running. I think it's pretty comparable to Tuesday last year to Tuesday this year. It's been dry but it's still pretty green. They have obviously kept a lot of water on the golf course. It's beautiful.

Q. You spoke about coming here and having some success, that made the trail different for a lot of you guys, are you and Stuart, the guys that are having success now, for the kids in Australia, are they in the same place that you were with Norman?

ROD PAMPLING: I think so. I think the biggest well, Aaron Baddeley seems to be, he has something with juniors at home and he has a really big following. He has not won out here yet. I think of the group, definitely, a lot of the young amateurs must be looking up to the Australians over here thinking they could compete as well. Yeah, I would like to think we are doing something for Australian golf at home.

Q. How different is it this week coming back here knowing that you are the champion here, and it has to be a little bit exciting coming back?

ROD PAMPLING: It's been great, just to turn up and see myself on front cover of the book, that's nice. It's great. It just gives you a great feeling coming back to a spot, and all of the staff and the volunteers and all that, they all know me and wish me good luck to repeat again. There's definitely good feelings.

Q. With the influx of foreign players coming up, do you think there will be a time where you see more foreign guys on the PGA TOUR than Americans, will it be reach that level?

ROD PAMPLING: I don't know if it will reach that level. There's 300 million people over here, so that's a hell of a lot of golfers to choose from. I think Australian golf right now, it's obviously at a high, but I think it's just a bit of a shake up. It's not just Australia, there's a lot of other countries that are coming here, so I think it's a big wake up call. Ryder Cup is proof that everybody is catching up and it's time they started to step up I think.

Q. Is there any correlation between the fact that Australians have come over at the same time Outback got successful with its steakhouses? (Laughter)

ROD PAMPLING: I think if there was an Australian coming over, they would be shocked this side of Melbourne.

Q. Last year after you won your first, about two or three weeks later, Steve Allen was basically a chip shot from winning his first in Reno and imploded on the 72nd hole. Did you talk to him at all? Are you guys good friends?

ROD PAMPLING: We're friends, we don't speak very often, but that's tough there's really not much that you can say. He knows what's happened. There's no need to get there and tell him, and it's a tough thing to get over that, knowing that he had a sand wedge or something in his hand. He's got the game and he can do it again. He's a really good player. It was a shock to see him do that, but, you know, this game, it can do funny things to you. I'm sure that he'll be fine.

Q. I don't know if you've been able to think about this yet but it's been out there that the tour is thinking about paring down the schedule and cutting some tournaments out, would you be in favor of that or do you like how it is right now?

ROD PAMPLING: Oh, I think the schedule is fine at the moment. Obviously, you know, there's other sports are getting bigger. Each sport, the seasons are getting longer and longer and it's going it come to a time where there's so much overlapping that some of events are going to falter and do you give up five events to have the others all stronger? That's for the TOUR to work that one out. It's getting tough. Everyone is looking for that dollar and, as I said, so many other sports just extending their years every year, they seem to go another month, it's going to be a tough job. But as long as I'm fully exempt, it's fine.


End of FastScripts.

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