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November 5, 1999

Mark James


GORDON SIMPSON: Glad to see you switched off your alarm today, without pulling a muscle or anything. Well played again. How did it go today? Your comments on today's rounds.

MARK JAMES: Didn't play particularly well. I putted a bit better today. That's about it, really. That sums it up perfectly.

Q. I thought after Brookline you learned to say a bit more?

MARK JAMES: You've got to ask me clever, concise and witty questions.

Q. What would you do with six hundred nine thousand pounds, a million dollars?

MARK JAMES: I would, without question, I would go out and buy a new stereo, because I've got friends that are telling me that mine is not good enough. I may do it anyway, bugger the expense, but that would clinch it.

GORDON SIMPSON: What sort of hi-fi would you get for six hundred thousand?

MARK JAMES: Who knows.

Q. Mark, you were pretty self-depricating in your efforts yesterday. How would you compare the two rounds?

MARK JAMES: Well, as I say, I didn't play quite as well today, but my putting was a little better.

Q. If you're only two shots, three shots off the lead not playing well, does that give you high hopes for the next two days?

MARK JAMES: No, I'm not overly confident. I know what this course is like. I've been here often enough. You can be first on Friday or last on Friday and first on Saturday.

Q. Your low expectations, does that keep the pressure off of you, and what about if you're in the same position on Sunday morning?

MARK JAMES: I can answer that with a definitive no, I don't have a cunning plan. But it's nice to be thought of as maybe possessing one.

Q. I'm just curious with this being your first World Golf Championship event, what you think of them as a whole? Do you think they're good for the game overall?

MARK JAMES: I think, as I said yesterday, the jury is still out a little bit. And it may be that the desire of the top players to play against each other more than five or six times a year may have been exaggerated. But I think this is a good tournament. I think it's around a course which is similar to a major. And which does test the players. From what I saw of the match play, that course did not look to me of a high enough quality. I wasn't there, and I may be wrong, but that was my impression, although the World Series, I guess that was pretty good. That was the regular Tour, but I think this is a venue that is suitable.

Q. If you had such authority what would you tweak? Any subtle changes you might make off the top of your head?

MARK JAMES: I don't know, I think we're just going to have to see how they evolve. For some guys over in the States coming over to Spain the week after THE TOUR Championship is difficult. And if this was in North Dakota the same week, then I think some of our guys might not have been jumping up-and-down with delight. But I think there's a place for these tournaments, and I think they'll find their level, as it were.

Q. By the same token, you could probably make the argument that the match play was probably the most fascinating of the three. Isn't it fairly early in the year for most European players to have their game in good shape in February?

MARK JAMES: It is. But I think it's probably a good time. Yes, it's not great for Europeans to have a big tournament at that time in February. But you can't have them all to suit us. And I think it fit quite well into the schedule then. It wasn't really a match play type of course, was it? At least I didn't see any fireworks.

Q. When the match play goes to Australia, January 2001, is there likely to be some attrition, players not choosing to go for the chance of losing one match and flying back halfway around the world?

MARK JAMES: I would think a number of players might go. It starts from, what, the third or something? We'd have to set off in the middle of November from Europe to get there in time. So you don't really want to travel over New Year's Eve.

Q. Mark, when you set out as a professional, did you ever think you'd be playing for a million dollar first prize here in Europe?

MARK JAMES: It's not something that -- no, not really. I was dreaming of a four figure check.

Q. Mark, don't mean to look this far down the road, but have you given any thought to when you turn 50 to going over to the States and playing the Senior Tour, which offers so much money to quality players when they turn 50?

MARK JAMES: It hasn't been burning on my mind, particularly. I mean it's all very well to get on that, but you don't want to wish your time away.

Q. Come back in three years?

MARK JAMES: Four. But, yeah, I might. I don't know. But we'll see what the European Senior Tour is like. See how my game is. You just hope you're in good health and able to play when you get to such a venerable age.

Q. How about the prize money differential, Colin stands a chance of having won six tournaments and not winning the Order of Merit, it doesn't seem right somehow.

MARK JAMES: I can see that point of view. But if you're going to have these World Golf Championships, and if you're going to try to put them on a level close to the Majors, you can't play them for threepence.

Q. Between first and second?

MARK JAMES: Between first and second in this tournament, is it different breakdown than normal?

Q. First is one million, second is 400 thousand dollars?

MARK JAMES: One million and 400 thousand dollars.

Q. It's worth winning?

MARK JAMES: I hope I haven't got a three-foot putt to win.

Q. You say you hope you have or haven't?

MARK JAMES: I hope I haven't.

Q. What about the difference between the 400 thousand and the million?

MARK JAMES: Is that the breakdown in all the World Championship events? I don't know -- what's the normal breakdown on the U.S. Tour?

Q. It's about half. About 450 and about 270 for second.

MARK JAMES: It's a bit more gradual in Europe. I think it would be a million, 650, 325, that sort of thing. I don't know. I think our breakdown is probably better. But I guess they want to make the first prize that grabs peoples' imagination.

End of FastScripts...

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