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January 6, 2000

Jesper Parnevik


JAMES CRAMER: We have Jesper Parnevik with us. 4-under par, 69, leader in the clubhouse so far. Good round today. Maybe you could get us started by talking about the conditions a little it.

JESPER PARNEVIK: It was, of course, very tough. Similar winds to Carnoustie for a while, especially around the 8th, 9th hole today. A few of the shots, I bet it was three, four, five club wind. You know, those conditions, you can't think about the swing or anything like that anymore; you just try to get the ball around the golf course and hope for the best.

JAMES CRAMER: Before we open up for questions, your card.

JESPER PARNEVIK: It was a pretty interesting card (laughter). Not too often you make two doubles and a bogey and still lead the tournament, but I managed to do that. I got off to a good start with a birdie on 1 from about 15 feet. I hit a 6-iron on 2 to about 15 feet. No. 4, I hit a 7-iron to about three feet. I hit driver, 3-iron, No. 5, to about 25 feet. 2-putts for birdie. Then I hit driver, wedge, on No. 7 to about 15 feet again. Then I had a few good chances. Holed a long one on 11. 8-iron off the tee there. I had about a 25 - 30-footer, I would say. Then the fun started (laughter). Actually, I tried to draw the ball all day. I kind of kept going pretty straight. The wind on the 12th tee, it was a little bit over your shoulder. I really tried to hook it to knock it on the green there. It just went through the wind. I hit it probably 20 feet too much to the left, hit it in the trap; it bounced up. I got a lucky break because it went into a big hole where the sprinkler was, so I got a relief from that. Then I managed to do double anyways. Wedge, short, chip, 3-putt. The next hole was just blowing so hard into. I had 150 to the front edge. Actually killed a 3-iron. Still went 20 yards short of the green. I was hitting a little bit in the rough. Hit it a bit high on the face. The ball kept climbing, and it didn't go anywhere. Then I tried to get cute with a pitch shot there in the bunker, then double. Then I made two good putts on 14 and 15. Hit a driver, yeah, pitch on the short par 4. Driver, 3-wood, pitch again to about five feet on 15. On 17, the group in front had a ruling, so we had to wait for probably 20, 25 feet. I chunked my wedge on the second shot. I hit a long drive, almost all the way down. It just cleared the bushes actually. Then I hit a good chip, ran by about eight feet. I missed that one. Then on 18, I walked up, about to hit my putt, the crowd started screaming, "Hey, if you knock it in the hole, we don't care what color pants you have." I just hit this putt way out to the right because I know it's a big swing. Halfway there, I mean, I was a hundred percent sure it was going to go in, because it was looking so good all the way. It stopped like an inch short. Still, it was a fun day, interesting.

Q. You have to change pants tomorrow then?


Q. Is this a lot of people or just one guy?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Well, because the announcer, he announces what clothes they're wearing, on the 18th hole. He goes, "In the wild red pants from Sweden." One guy in the crowd.

Q. Who was the ruling on ahead of you on 17?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Franco. I don't know what. He hit it probably 30 yards over the green. I don't know what they were doing. Stuart was sleeping on the green for a while. We didn't know what to do. We just waited.

Q. Did you leave it in the bunker on 13?

JESPER PARNEVIK: No. I was just short of the bunker, then I chipped it into the bunker.

Q. I mentioned this to you yesterday, you were talking to Sid Wilson for a while. What is your status? You had some chest pains, took some time off, whether it was stress related, and you're trying to play both Tours. Can you go through this whole scenario?

JESPER PARNEVIK: You know, last year I played both Tours, trying to get on the Ryder Cup team, trying to play as much as possible here. It's just a case where Schofield wants me to play a lot in Europe, Finchem wants me to play a lot over here. It's very tough flying back and forth all the time. It's more a little bit politics about what the rules are for each Tour, how many tournaments you have to play, so on. I really don't know what the case is yet with The Ryder Cup two years from now because, of course, I want to be on that one. I think I have to still make a decision if I want to join the European Tour full-time again and play my 11 there, or if I just want to focus on the US Tour this year. That's pretty much what I'm deciding right now.

Q. What about your health? What exactly happened?

JESPER PARNEVIK: It's something I've had for probably 12 years. It's an irregular heartbeat. It's something you get used to. It just beats, speeds up a lot of times. It just get worse this summer, especially at nighttime where it get really, you know, kind of like a heart attack feeling. You panic. I decided to take it easy in the off-season this year. Actually, after Disney, I decided not to play anymore for the rest of the year, just kind of rest up and get healthy for this year. I feel a lot better now.

Q. What was your immediate feeling when the European Tour sent that little dispatch out that said you were essentially off the Tour?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Well, I shouldn't say anything. It didn't surprise me, put it that way. The guy in charge never surprises me.

Q. Seems like they're after you. They've been making rules up that make you mad.

JESPER PARNEVIK: Yeah, I don't know what it is.

Q. Not like they have 50 great players over there.

JESPER PARNEVIK: I don't know. Ken definitely wants to try to change the rule as much as possible to get the players to stay in Europe. From one point of view, you know, you can understand him, but at the same time, you know, I think it would be better if everybody could play really where they wanted to play. I just hope it's not going to end up being that somehow I'm going to miss out on The Ryder Cup 2001 just because I played the US Tour for the last seven years.

Q. Where does your European Tour card situation stand? Are you getting a medical exemption?

JESPER PARNEVIK: No. I'm still exempt this year because I won two years ago. But that exemption is going to run out the year 2001, when The Ryder Cup is played. I don't know if I can just play a few tournaments in Europe, get my card back that way, then rejoin again for the 2001. That's pretty much what I'm looking into now, see what's going on.

Q. Lawrie is coming over here; Sergio is going to play, the long-standing philosophy is you had to come over here and play if you're going to be good, Nick Faldo. Do you think that's true? Do you think they're upset because they're losing so many top people?

JESPER PARNEVIK: I mean, of course, he's worried about losing all these top players. You know, when I decided to come over here, yes, it was more a decision that I just felt I had to make to reach the next level. You know, in Europe, I have a lot of friends, Swedish friends, probably 25 Swedes on the Tour there. You're comfortable every week, you know where you go, you know the courses you're playing. I thought it was too easy to get too comfortable finishing 20th on the Money List over there. I decided to start all over again and go over here and play, which I benefitted a lot. My game has improved a lot since I came over here.

Q. Has Paul Lawrie, for example, talked to you about this, whether he should come over, since you have done both tours?

JESPER PARNEVIK: No. That's a decision he's made completely on his own. It's a little bit different for the guys living in Great Britain, I would say, because for them the European Tour is very easy living because it's very focused around London. It's a tougher decision for them. Anytime you have a family, it's a tough decision to move everybody over here and start all over again.

Q. Are you unsure, if you don't play 11 this year on the European Tour, whether you'll be Ryder Cup eligible?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Well, no. The problem I had, I had a tough time, yeah, putting in 11 tournaments in my schedule this year, especially if I'm not going to be part of the Akron tournament. The way the rules are, if you don't play 11, they can ban you for a certain amount of years. I said that I'd rather not join the Tour this year, instead of running that risk of not being able to play in 2001. I just have to see if that's going to work out the way I want it to work out.

Q. Could you describe what it was like out there today? Some of the guys said grainy greens.

JESPER PARNEVIK: 10th hole, I couldn't get my ball to stay on the green. Even when I put it down the second time with the marker, the ball blew away. A lot of times stuff like that plays on your mind. Just picking the right club is very hard. That's the fun part at the same time. I mean, it's not very often you have to try to slice the ball 30, 40 yards to kind of keep it straight.

Q. On TV you mentioned something about the British Open. Had you two great British Opens. Is there any similarity at all?

JESPER PARNEVIK: In the wind, yeah. I mean, I wouldn't say it was Carnoustie winds, but it was very close.

Q. When you're over there for the summer, do you have a base?

JESPER PARNEVIK: I have a small base in Sweden. I stay with my sister there.

Q. You don't own a place in Europe now, or do you?

JESPER PARNEVIK: No, I don't have like a house or anything that way. I just stay with my parents or my sisters. They all live in Stockholm.

Q. You have family points, but no Marriot points?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Yeah (laughter).

Q. You seemed after The Ryder Cup pretty calm about the whole situation. In the time that has passed since, have you had any discussions with your teammates or the Europeans about what went?

JESPER PARNEVIK: No. It was just a bad thing that happened. You know, if you were there, you could see it happening. I'm not saying that it should have happened. Of course, Olazabal felt he deserved a little more respect than he was showed. If you're there and you feel the atmosphere, you feel the energy that's going on there, you can see it happening. I just know that I would freak out if I holed a putt like that (laughter).

Q. Sergio freaked out quite a bit.

JESPER PARNEVIK: Yeah, he freaked out every time there was a 3-footer holed.

Q. You played the American Tour. All these guys are your pals, yet you're playing against them. You're a little more divided than some of the other players, caught in between.

JESPER PARNEVIK: Yeah. I mean, when I got over on this Tour, I mean, everybody told me I was going to have a tough time getting friendly with the other players and so on, they were so businesslike. Ever since I came over here, I pretty much got to know all the players real well. It's been very nice, went easy, getting familiar with moving over here. I'm good friends with all of them, so I can't have nothing bad to say.

Q. When you came, wasn't there a connection with you and Gary?

JESPER PARNEVIK: I knew him when he was a little bit younger, yeah. We were about 20, I would say.

Q. Were you playing competitively or playing in college together?

JESPER PARNEVIK: He was very good friends of Johan Tomba (phonetic), which was a good friend of mine. I think he came over to Europe and played a little bit and so on. I didn't come over here because of Gary. I played with him and I knew him fairly well.

Q. Have you talked to him about his coming out this year?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Yeah. I mean, I think it's great that he finally got his card. He's always been a good player. Anyone who has to play under his circumstances, I think it's very hard to do. Anytime you have to try to step in footprints like that, it's very hard to do.

Q. Like you, if you try to do an impression in Sweden?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Yeah. It's a tough field to get into.

Q. What color slacks tomorrow?

JESPER PARNEVIK: Baby blue maybe.

End of FastScripts….

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