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July 16, 2010

Mark Calcavecchia


Q. You have not had a good history at St. Andrews, how did you turn that around?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I haven't done anything spectacular here for sure, but I love the tournament. It's not the course's fault that I didn't play good in those other years, I just didn't play well. But you know, I've been playing decent really the last month or so, and it's carrying over.

Q. Talk about the doubleheader back-to-back, going up the road to Carnoustie next week.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, hopefully we'll get some decent weather next week. It would kind of be rough to play in the rotten weather for two straight weeks, but I kind of figure that might happen when you come over here for two straight weeks. The sun pops out here or there. It's not bad. It's actually worse looking at it out your window range and when you get out here it's not that bad.

Q. Can you explain the changes that have been allowing you to do this well the last few months?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, not really. I put a fatter grip on my putter, it's called the SuperStroke, and what it does is takes a little bit of tension out of my hands. Putting to me, when I'm putting well on my short ones, like if I'm not missing three-footers every other hole, I'm happy. That means I'm putting good.
Nobody makes a bunch of 20-footers all the time, and then you just throw in a couple of 20-footers every now and then, and you feel like you're putting good. That's what I've been doing the last months is I've been putting my short ones really well. The fatter grip takes a little bit of tension out of my hands and my stroke and that's been the big difference.

Q. You had the first shot today, did you like that experience?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I've been in the first group now probably Thursday and Friday. The R & A is nice enough to know that I like to play fast and they certainly know I'm not going to hold anybody up. But that was the first time I actually hit it first. So yeah, that's pretty cool. You know, I'm an early riser anyway, so I'll play at 6:30 any day.

Q. Was there anybody out here that early?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: My friends were out here, our six friends that are here. There was about 20 people on the first hole. That was about it.

Q. Is your game suited to Carnoustie next week, Mark?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I think so. I like Carnoustie a lot. I had a decent Open there a few years back. We'll see. But yeah, you never know. Again, it depends on what kind of weather you get stuck in, if you get the good draw or the bad draw. You know, a lot depends on that over here, and then you kind of gets through the first few days, kind of like here, and kind of see where you stand and then kind of everybody is out there in the same stuff on the weekend. But I like it.

Q. Now that you're in the Seniors do you feel royal and ancient?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I've been feeling ancient and royal for a long time. (Laughter.)
I actually feel pretty decent physically, and that always helps. You know, I've got a little bit of arthritis in my knuckles. This knuckle is killing me. But when I play, it doesn't bother me too much because you hit one shot every five, six, seven minutes. Hitting ball after ball on the range, I can't really do that. It hurts like hell. But other than that, I feel great.
You know, it's confidence. Obviously you see a guy like Tom Watson last year almost winning at 60, and you know, because he was playing well and he had confidence. It doesn't really matter how old you are if you're feeling good about what you're doing. I think old guys can hang with the young guys.

Q. Does it give you a new mindset that you're one of the young guys on the new Tour?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Sure, I am one of the youngest. J.L. Lewis I think is the next guy out there to turn 50. The few weeks I did play on the Champions Tour it was kind of interesting, Bob Tway had a kink in his shoulder, Stads has got no left hip left, and everybody is falling apart. I really do feel outstanding compared to a lot of those guys. (Laughter).

Q. Last year you said that you were helped a bit by taking a bit of Scottish beer. Has that been the same?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, just taking it easy, having a few pints here and there. Stopped at the Dunvegan for a couple on the way to dinner last night at 6:00. We eat early and get it over with. I knew I had to get up early. Had a nice dinner and was out at about 9:00. It's good.

Q. What kind of beer do you like?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: I like pretty much all of it. (Laughter.) I don't have a problem with any of it.

Q. Talk about 17. You eagled it yesterday.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Yeah, I hit a great drive and a 7-iron. Yeah, that was -- actually of all the putts I've had this week, that was probably the fastest one with the most break, because most of these putts when you have inside 10 feet, it's really not outside of the hole, and this one broke about six inches left to right and actually had a little speed to it, and I just decelerated. I was aimed so far left, I just kind of eased it, and it missed right. Really, that was the only bad putt that I hit all day.

Q. Did you still feel all right walking off that hole with a 4?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Absolutely. It doesn't matter what the wind is doing or what you're shooting. If you make a 4 there, you can never be upset with that.

Q. How much do you take out of this type of golf now? Earlier in your career you didn't really enjoy that, and now considering it's here --
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, I all enjoy the Open. Having not played well at St. Andrews in the past doesn't mean anything to me. I know the course, and I got a few good breaks out there, missed a couple of bunkers by a couple of yards, and it's a difference of a couple of shots. Your ball rolls into one of those things, and who knows what you're going to make. You need a few good breaks out here, and so far I've gotten them.

Q. When you were in your 30s would you have thought that 50-somethings would be throwing out these kind of scores like you today and like Tom did last year?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: When you're 30 I don't think you think about it. I thought 50-year-olds were pretty damn old when you're 30, or when you're a kid. Your parents are 50, you're like, how can anybody be that old? But now that you're 50, you really don't think about what you were thinking about when you were 30.
I haven't grown up any. I'm still 30. I may feel 50 or 60 but inside I'm still 30.

Q. Does your wife and caddie monitor your beer intake?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Hardly ever. I mean, every now and then. But I'm smart enough to know that a couple is enough. I can drink plenty on Sunday and Monday. I'm just going to have my usual couple and call it a day.

Q. It seems to work well for you having Brenda on the bag.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Right, right. No, we have fun together doing it most of the time. The times we don't, it's entirely my fault. If things are going bad and I start getting bitchy, and there's not much she can do to slow me down once I kind of get over the edge. But for the most part we always have a good time.

Q. She picks on you when you're not playing well or when you're down?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: No, she does sometimes. She'll tell me to just forget it, start over, just start over, calm down. Don't screw this up, calm down, just relax, it's okay.

Q. It's a good thing to remember all the time.
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: All the time, sure. That's pretty much the secret to golf.

Q. She's caddying next week, too?

Q. Do you reckon she needs to find a way to spend your prize money?
MARK CALCAVECCHIA: Well, we just built a mansion with a two-lane bowling alley in Jupiter, Florida, so there's plenty of ways to spend it. It'll take me the rest of my life to pay for it.

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