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March 1, 2005

Craig Parry


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Craig Parry, 2004 Ford Championship at Doral Champion for coming back. What an exciting finish it was last year, why don't we start there and just talk about the feelings at that point, that was incredible.

CRAIG PARRY: You know, we're 12 months later and I'm still ecstatic about what happened last year. I know I was with Scott Verplank last week and we were talking about the playoff, and if his shot didn't finish on the green where it did, I wouldn't have gone at the flag, there's no way I would have gone even on that line. I would have been aiming where Scott's ball was, and, you know, it was really his shot dictated what my shot was going to have.

TODD BUDNICK: Every time you play 18 now, will you be walking by that plaque just to check it out?

CRAIG PARRY: Hopefully I'll be able to drive it up as far as I did last year. It was downwind at the time. Normally we play that hole into. It's just one of those things, I was at the right place at the right time and happened to hole the shot.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's jump to this year on the Tour a T-10, T-28 and T-17; you're playing well these days.

CRAIG PARRY: I won the Heineken which is on the Australian and European Tour; that was only three weeks ago, four weeks ago. I feel as I'm playing really well and you know, when you play well, you've got opportunities to go out there and win tournaments.

Q. We've had that trend the last maybe 12 or 13 years, you know, you won here, Adam won the players, Steve had tremendous success back here in Florida. Is there an easy theory why Australians play so well in these events?

CRAIG PARRY: Definitely out here, this is very much like Australian golf. You've got to drive the ball well. There's water that comes into play. At home we have golf courses that play hard and fast, just like this can play hard and fast. It's not really the length that makes it difficult. It's really the wind and having the crosswinds, hitting the ball into the wind and knowing the trajectory of your shot. That's why golf is so hard to play in Australia; greens are firm, fast and that's what it can get like out here.

Q. Is that why no Aussies won at La Costa?

CRAIG PARRY: Probably. Probably won't happen, either, unless Scotty wins. It's a different golf course.

Q. What's it like coming off that little bit dampness?

CRAIG PARRY: A little bit dampness, did you say?

Q. Just trying to be polite. Must be a jolt, just the temperature, is it something in the air that says, "okay, we're here and we're on our way to Augusta"?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah. This is the start of the East Coast swing obviously, and, you know, the West Coast Swing is over now.

You know, I really don't play too many West Coast events because of that reason. You know, they have poor weather and the guys are always complaining about the weather and sitting in the locker rooms and things like that. I tend to stay in Australia and then come over. Whereas last year this was my first event last year on the Tour, and you know, it's my fourth event this year, only because I've played Mercedes and Sony and then played last week.

It is guys getting ready for Augusta over these next six weeks or five weeks, whatever it is.

Q. Obviously 18 set up perfectly for you on the last day, but how overall did you feel about the setup of that hole where it had been made much more difficult than it had been in the past?

CRAIG PARRY: I actually felt pretty comfortable playing the hole and only because of, I was hitting the ball well, I was playing with confidence, and you know I could get up and actually aim it, and the ball was taking off where I was aiming it, and you know I would not like to get on that hole not knowing where it's going if I'm hitting a few left and a few right. I suppose I'll be taking the one going to the right. At least if you get up in the rough somewhere, you get a good lie, you can maybe go at the green. Otherwise you're laying up.

Q. That hole was the toughest hole on TOUR last year and it had slipped in status, I know they moved the tee back, but why is it the toughest hole on TOUR again?

CRAIG PARRY: (Laughing) it's a scary tee shot, it's a scary second shot. You know, you can hit a great tee ball in the middle of the fairway there and have 3-iron to the green that's diagonal at you. If you don't carry the ball in the right position on the green it can run off into the water. Or if you hit it into the bunker on the right you'll have a terrible bunker shot, like a real nasty downhill green going away from you. It's just a really tough hole and normally it plays into the wind.

Q. A follow-up, too, is because it's the first hole of a playoff, you've got to play that thing back-to-back, how daunting is it to go back to that?

CRAIG PARRY: Well, we were lucky. As I say, it went downwind, and because it was downwind, I think it's 270 yards to get over the water; I knew when it was downwind I could actually carry over the water. Whereas if it's into the wind, I have to go down the side and that makes it a lot harder.

Q. Does it pretty much blow upwind or downwind, one way or the other?

CRAIG PARRY: The wind normally on the tee shot comes out at the left a little bit, so you're sort of aiming over the water a little bit down the line and then you've got the other wind that goes great downwind and if it goes straight downwind you can carry the water. But the one playing into, par is a pretty good score.

Q. You've got a new batch of Australians that have appeared, led by Adam, I guess he's had the most success, but they are kind of stepping in and for you and Greg and Steve. You had been the class of that group of Australians that age group.

CRAIG PARRY: We're a bit older, yeah.

Q. What's going on in Australia that's producing so many good players? Are there sports institutes, that system that they have there, or is it just because golf is so popular in Australia and a lot of kids are playing?

CRAIG PARRY: Well, there's a couple of factors involved. Obviously, Norman was a factor, being No. 1 in the world for such a long period of time. You know, everyone watched the golf and the young kids were coming through, you know, obviously they are wanting to be like Greg Norman. You know, we've got great golf courses to play and we've got good coaches and we've got weather that people can play for 12 months of the year; they are not putting their clubs away because it's too cold or too hot. They play all year-round.

Our guys, when they go back, we play for a lot less prize money, but then the young kids coming along, they say, okay, I played with Steve Elkington, I'm not that far behind Steve Elkington, he won the PGA; I'm getting closer. You sort of judge yourself on how when you play with the other players. And obviously that's what's happening nowadays, we've got the young kids coming through like Bowditch won two weeks ago on the Nationwide and then he lost the playoff last week. You have another kid, Kurt Barnes, that just hits it absolutely miles. And he's real close to Hank and Tiger, in distance off the tee and we've got young kids coming through.

Q. Did Greg do in Australia what Tiger is doing in this country about 20 years ago?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, yeah, exactly. You know, the kids coming through today, they are all watching the golf and Sharky was winning everything back then, No. 1 in the world, great charisma, he was great golf for.

Q. How old were you?

CRAIG PARRY: I remember the Sharky playing when I was --

Q. 13 or 14?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, 13. I said to him playing the Australian Masters, "See the hole in the fence over there? I used to jump the fence and come watch you play."

He said, "You can't do it now, can you"? (Laughter.)

Q. You were probably on your way, though, at that point in terms of playing?

CRAIG PARRY: I was only 13 handicap at that stage. When I was growing up it was Graham Marsh, it was David Graham, and obviously Sharky.

Q. What about Peter's influence?

CRAIG PARRY: Peter Thomson was before that.

Q. Right, but --

CRAIG PARRY: Not really.

Q. Too far gone, older?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, he was a lot older.

Q. As a rule, would you say it's cheaper to play as a kid; does that help?

CRAIG PARRY: You can be a member at Royal Melbourne, for example, one of the best golf courses in the world, and I would imagine you only paying about 1,500 U.S. for the year. So it's pretty cheap golf.

Q. It's 1,500 a month at Isleworth.

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah. It's the same all over America, though. You know, the great courses at home, people can still play. You don't have to be a member to play Royal Melbourne, but there's a lot of good public golf courses that you can go and play and you only have to pay five bucks and the kids can go out and play.

So golf is still very affordable at home.

Q. It maybe a stupid question, but are all of the Royals private; you have to be members?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, they are, there's the Royal Golf Club in each state and there's actually two in western Australia.

Q. What are the coaches doing there that's so good, the instructors and things like that in Australia?

CRAIG PARRY: I think just getting the guys to get out and play. You know, they work on their swings, get them technically sound and then they get out and say, look, go and play, go and score.

You know, too often today you see the guys hitting the balls on the range and they are trying to hit shot after shot and just perfect the shot and the swing. Well, that's good if you get perfect conditions out on the golf course, you know, the ball flat and not above your feet and downslopes and crosswinds and things like that. Sometimes you just need to get away from the practice fairway and just go and play.

Q. Can there be an overemphasis put on that?

CRAIG PARRY: Oh, definitely. Definitely. You know, you look at the old players, they all used to play by feel. I think there's something to be said for that.

Q. The competition for No. 1 in the World Ranking is more wide open now than it's been in the recent past, who do you think is playing the best golf on TOUR these days?

CRAIG PARRY: I wasn't over here when Phil Mickelson won the two events, obviously Phil has been playing great. I played with Tiger and Vijay in the Mercedes, I said to my brother and my wife, I said, "Tiger's playing unbelievable. Vijay is putting unbelievable." So there's sort of differences. A betting man would back Tiger, the way he's playing.

Q. Is this elevating everybody's game?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, I think it is, it's great.

Q. There's obviously a lot of talk this week about most of them being here, minus Ernie. Do you think it would be better if they all played together more often or do you like it the way it is where it's six, seven, eight times a year?

CRAIG PARRY: Well, it's really just the players themselves in picking their schedule. Players try and win, prepare themselves for majors. If Ernie thinks the best way he can prepare for the first major of the year is to have this week off, then that's what he's going to do. Doesn't matter what anyone is going to say to him or tell him he's got to do. He's going to do what's best for him.

Q. If you were to put yourself in the shoes of a fan, would you like to see --

CRAIG PARRY: Oh, sure.

Q. -- these boys going at it week after week?

CRAIG PARRY: Oh, definitely. If you're a golf fan, you'd love them to play every week, to see who is playing the best and it's great competition. All of the guys are playing really well, and then you've got another crop of players that will come through any given week and beat him.

Q. Do you almost feel slighted this week with so much talk about nine out of ten; and by the way, this is the defending champion?

CRAIG PARRY: That's fine. I can sneak under the radar. (Laughing).

Q. Can't jump over the fence.

CRAIG PARRY: No, not a high jumper.

Q. Along those lines of not maybe, people not swinging by feel too much anymore, your swing is distinctive, there are not that many other swings on TOUR these days that are recognizable from a distance. It seems like all of the kids are coming up have roughly the same swing and setup. Do you think it almost takes something away from the fans where they could -- Arnie had a swing and Trevino had a swing and Hubert Green and you guys, does the instruction get a little bit too technical sometimes and it robs a little individuality of it?

CRAIG PARRY: I think with this game, you've got to have -- be sound in your technique, but you're better off having a golf swing that you can dictate what the shot you're going to play, like a Jim Furyk, for example. You can say to Jim Furyk, "hit a hook," and he's going to hit a hook every time because he knows his swing inside out. Same if you said to him, "hit a fade," well, he's going to hit a fade. He knows how to do it.

A lot of guys working on their swing, they don't know how to hit a fade or a draw, hit it high or hit it low, work the ball and be able to play in all different types of winds. You know, if the fairways get firm, they get fast, you get a few more yards out of your tee shot by making it run a little bit on the tee shot; hit it a little bit lower. The better players do do that. Like Tiger hits his punch shots when he wants to hit a punch shot. Same with Ernie, Goose, these guys, they play all over the world and they learn to hit different shots.

Q. How tragic would it have been, I guess, if somebody had gotten ahold of Jim Furyk at 17 or 18 and said, "You're doing this all wrong and we're giving you a textbook swing." It would not have worked for him?

CRAIG PARRY: Probably not and he wouldn't have won the U.S. Open.

You know, I think you're better off just letting the guys go and play. You know my coach always used to say, "Put the ball on the downslope, put it in the back of a bunker, play all of the toughest shots, learn how to play them." We weren't going onto the range to try and swing a golf club. We could swing a golf club. Now it's a matter of working out how to hit each shot. Now that's the biggest piece.

Q. Going back to the Australian success story here for a minute, how much of that do you suppose is cultural? Because I think you can probably come over here and play in the U.S. and get plugged in right quick and feel pretty much like it's at home. You've got a few words that don't translate well in the English dictionary but mostly it's pretty comparable, is it not, comfort level?

CRAIG PARRY: For the Australians it's very easy to come over here. When we're watching TV, we have all of the American shows on TV. The fast food restaurants, they are all at home, they are all over here. It's very easy for Australians to come over and play in America. It would be very difficult for the Japanese players to come and do it, someone that doesn't speak the language.

Q. Does your press think as highly of you as we do? I get a sense from Scotty last week that you still get beaten up now and then, or maybe not respected as much.

CRAIG PARRY: Oh, they treat me pretty good at home, mainly because I go back and play.

Q. Are their expectations higher?

CRAIG PARRY: Their expectations: I should go away, play hard and come back and support the Tour. The guys that don't go back and support the Tour, that's when they probably find the media aren't as generous to them.

Q. Maybe that's what he was talking about, the Skins Game.

CRAIG PARRY: They have always been great with me at home.

Q. What is the expectation level at home or even pressure from public and press at home?

CRAIG PARRY: To go back and play?

Q. To win a major.

CRAIG PARRY: Oh, we're getting hounded by it. Elkington is the last won to win a major; who is going to win the next one? I went close at Carnoustie, I missed out by a shot.

Q. Stuart was in a playoff at the British.

CRAIG PARRY: So was Elkington. Then you go to Stephen Leaney at the U.S. Open at Olympia Fields where Jim Furyk beat him. We've come close but we haven't got that next.

Q. Does it need to be a major or does it have to be a Masters?

CRAIG PARRY: Any major.

Q. Masters would be huge though, wouldn't it?

CRAIG PARRY: Oh, yeah.

Q. Just from what Greg brought to it with the number of close calls.

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, the Masters, no Aussies won the Masters. They have won a British Open and U.S. Open and PGA but no Masters, yet.

Q. You came close one year, didn't you? With Freddie, wasn't it?

CRAIG PARRY: '92. I had a three-shot lead with 16 to go.

Q. Pretty high standards for a country with what, 19 million people which is about the population of what, Florida maybe, the whole country?

CRAIG PARRY: Well, it's very much a sporting country, though. Everyone plays sport of some kind. Growing up as a kid, you know they are out playing cricket in the street or football or kicking a ball around or playing soccer. It is very much a sporting country.

Q. Is the Masters the one that you think most suits you or you're most comfortable in?

CRAIG PARRY: I'd like to think so. But no, U.S. Open or a British Open would probably suit my game more. The Masters, you have to hit it very long. The only way I can really contend in the Masters is if it plays firm and fast, and that's what it did in '92. You know, the golf course played reasonably short, and then they lengthened it. If you're hitting long irons into the greens, they are not receptive to long irons. They are receptive to short irons and then you have to putt really well and you have to -- Augusta, you've got to think your way around the golf course; that part of it I'm fine with. But hit the 3-iron off a downslope to a green that's going away from you, it's pretty hard. Most of the time, it's wet, as well.

Q. A parochial question, do you know if the Canadian Open is on your schedule for this year, and do you know anything about the course that they are playing at this year?

CRAIG PARRY: No. How's that? (Laughing).

No, I normally finish around the U.S. PGA. My wife and kids are at home in Australia, and so at that time of the year I'm at home, school holidays with the kids. I have played many Canadian Opens, though.

Q. How much have you gotten to drive the car have you won and how fast have you gotten it up to?

CRAIG PARRY: Zero. The car has been recalled. They had a recall on the car. It's a limited edition car. They found a problem with the car and they are in the process of fixing it. I was going to drive it down this week. I started it up on the 18th when they gave me the car at the end of last year, and it's unbelievable car, it really is.

Q. But you only got to drive it once?

CRAIG PARRY: I didn't even get to drive it. I got to start it up. (Laughter.)

Q. What was it?


Q. What was the problem -- Stu can probably tell you.

CRAIG PARRY: When we have a race, I'll beat him.

Q. When was the last time you had to turn around and hit a shot left-handed in competition, because that was a lie that you faced; and how often through the course of your career do you think that's happened?

CRAIG PARRY: Many once every four years.

Q. Do you just hit it with the back of a short iron?

CRAIG PARRY: Normally I turn a wedge over because a wedge has got wide a wide blade, and then you get a bit of loft on it and hit it that way.

Q. And you're usually successful?

CRAIG PARRY: No. (Laughter.) I'd rather take an unplayable.

Q. You can chip it out if you need to?

CRAIG PARRY: Yeah, I can chip it out. I can hit it probably 20 yards.

Q. Do you ever practice left-handed?


Q. Have you ever seen anybody that was really good the other way around?

CRAIG PARRY: Oh, Adam Scott swings it great both ways.

TODD BUDNICK: Chad Campbell.

Q. Mickelson's not bad. And Vijay.

TODD BUDNICK: On that note, thank you, Craig.

End of FastScripts.

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