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March 6, 2003

Rod Pampling


JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Rod Pampling in, 8-under par, 64, congratulations on a great start.

ROD PAMPLING: Thank you.

JOHN BUSH: Talk about your round a little bit, anything in particular stand out.

ROD PAMPLING: No, not really. I had a real solid day. We did everything quite nicely and made the par -- par 5s were a big key, besides the first hole, everything else was just a tap-in on the par 5s we just made a couple of nice ones, a couple of 10-footers and ended up being 8.

JOHN BUSH: Started with a birdie on No. 2. Can you take us through your birdies.

ROD PAMPLING: Yes. I hit a 2-iron down the center and then we went with 8-iron to about ten feet, made that.

5, we hit 3-wood into the first cut of the rough, hit a sand wedge to about maybe 12 foot, hit that and knocked that in.

7, driver down the center of the fairway, hit wedge to 4 foot, made that.

8, I hit driver into the fairway, 3-wood just to the right just in the light rough, chipped it down to a foot and made that.

10, we hit 2-iron to the fairway, 3-wood into the right trap and knocked that out to a foot.

And 12, driver, 3-wood to the front right trap and knocked it out to a foot.

12, 13, 14 -- what was the next one?


ROD PAMPLING: 17 and 18. Yes, 17 was a driver down the left side, just went into the first cut of rough and hit an 8-iron to maybe 30 foot, that was a bomb, made that one.

On 18, driver, 8-iron to 4 foot and made that.

JOHN BUSH: Questions.

Q. Were you in any trouble at all?

ROD PAMPLING: No, I think 14 is par-3 or 15 -- whichever one has the car on it, I hit it through the back and rolled it down to about six foot passed so I made that one. That was about the only putt that I had to really think about for par; the rest were pretty much tap-ins.

Q. There was a time when this was one of the most difficult courses out here, most feared. Are you aware of its reputation and is it like that at all anymore?

ROD PAMPLING: I think well the name says it all, the Blue Monster, so obviously it did have a reputation. I still think it has. It's one of the longest courses that I think we play out here. Yes, I think just the overall players are getting a lot better. There might have been two or three guys that would have shot a good score; whereas now a lot of guys who can play the game, it's definitely -- the scores are low so maybe it's losing its reputation. But if you are just missing fairways, that's pretty deep rough out there. It's still a good test of a golf course, that's for sure.

Q. How many holes did you get in before the wind started to get up?

ROD PAMPLING: It would have been maybe three holes. It wasn't as much as it is blowing now but it's definitely I -- there was definitely some wind out there. You are hitting it left to the pin to let the wind move it, so it was definitely enough to move the ball around. Obviously now it is a little stronger.

Q. Can you talk about your career, the few years, where have you been; you feel like you are where you should be or getting closer?

ROD PAMPLING: Well, after the British Open we were still -- we were on the BUY.COM at that stage so that would have been my first year, or actually it was the British Open and I had the rest of the year to come over and I had a few invites to Flint, to the Buick and I played Reno as well, and then I think fished and went to TOUR school and got in the BUY.COM and had a pretty bad year that year. I went back to TOUR school, back to first stage, and got through that to finals, I got the BUY.COM card again and finished 4th on the BUY.COM TOUR and we got out here, last year 89th and here we are.

Q. Can you tell us when you went home what events you played and when you came back to the U.S.?

ROD PAMPLING: We played the Australian Open, Australian PGA and the Masters, just the three events before Christmas. I come over five days before Hawaii started, so I came back to Dallas for five days just to drop a few things off there; then we started Hawaii.

Q. What did you learn at Carnoustie; you didn't play as well as the second round, what did you take away from that week?

ROD PAMPLING: Don't hit it in the rough. I didn't play bad. Obviously it wasn't great, it was such a fine line between a good solid round and 85, whatever the average score was -- I think it was 79 or something each day. I didn't play that bad. So it didn't really bother me because I knew I didn't play bad, just the conditions were just unbelievably tough. As I said, you just gradually progress in the game and learn to deal with different things. It's just nice to have one under my belt to actually lead a major after day one.

Q. Do you feel you are getting to the stage where you feel like you could win out here this year?

ROD PAMPLING: Yes, my game has definitely improved a lot this year even from last year, I know I played well last year. But I think just the mental side of the game has improved a hell of a lot which that definitely is a key. Not getting ahead of myself out there, and not getting excited about playing well and just keeping relaxed and just playing shot for shot. I think that's definitely the key that's improved a hell of a lot. And I think definitely, yes, I can win.

Q. Do you have to make a deliberate effort not to let your expectations get up and get excited after shooting a first round 64 here?

ROD PAMPLING: Sure. Everyone does. It doesn't matter who the person is. If you are doing something that you are enjoying and you are doing it really well you are going to get excited, so it's just a matter of addressing that straight away before you get to that stage of being excited than keeping yourself at a level. You got to keep and eye on it and it's constant. You are doing more mind work and body work than you are hitting a golf ball because you are keeping yourself in check all day long.

Q. What will your thoughts be tomorrow going into the round, will there be something in the swing that you are thinking about?

ROD PAMPLING: Well, yes, I do a lot of work with my swing. But it's pretty solid at the moment. There is not a lot I have to do, picking the shot I want to hit and the right club and being comfortable with it and just go ahead and hit it.

Q. Will you go out to the range and work on it?

ROD PAMPLING: Yes a little bit. I won't do a lot it's obviously getting windy. We'll hit a few, and putt a few, and chipping, and I think we are going fishing. (Laughter) There is good competition out here this week.

Q. How much of an advantage by the end of the day is there getting the early tee time?

ROD PAMPLING: It will be an advantage. The greens in the morning are fantastic. There are going to be a few little marks here and there is as the day goes on. Tomorrow, it will reverse and they will get the advantage.

Q. Particularly with the wind out there picking up?

ROD PAMPLING: It's definitely picking up, I think everyone expects the wind here, we played in it three days building up here. It's not a surprise, it's something that you expect when you come on to the East Coast early on. It's just something that you have to deal with, and definitely, I don't think -- well, maybe someone can go out and shoot an 8 -under but as I said before, the course is a tough course so when the wind does get up, I don't think it will yield an eight-under this afternoon.

Q. So you expect to be leading?

ROD PAMPLING: I would think so yes. As I said, who knows, someone could just go out there and shoot lights out. I don't think I will be too far from the lead any way.

Q. Are you going to be pumped up about it tonight or low key?

ROD PAMPLING: It will be exciting if we finish up like leading, it's definitely exciting. So it's not Sunday so there is nothing to get excited about yet.

Q. Have you had a first-round lead since Carnoustie then and now?

ROD PAMPLING: Not over here, not last year or this year but on the BUY.COM we definitely had a few, yes.

Q. This is different though, isn't it?

ROD PAMPLING: It's different but even the three weeks building up to here, at Hope and Pebble Beach, I forget one in the middle, I was one or two shots off the lead in all 3 of those, so it's getting comfortable, that's for sure.

Q. How much more Australians play on the TOUR now? Is there a comfort level because of that?

ROD PAMPLING: It's definitely nice to have more Australians over here but they are not going to do anything for me out on the golf course. It's nice to have mates off the course but once you are on the course it's every man for himself. It's definitely nice to have other Australians over here. It's a comfort zone. Anyway most of the guys are all pretty nice and relaxed guys. Whoever you play with you are going to have a relaxing time, generally.

JOHN BUSH: Anymore questions? Rod, great start, thanks for coming by.


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