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August 4, 2001

Woody Austin


JOAN vT. ALEXANDER: We have Woody Austin with us today. 8 points today, 27 points going into Sunday. Why don't you make a couple comments.

WOODY AUSTIN: It was a slow start. A little sluggish. Didn't make any birdies and a couple bogeys early. Wasn't playing that bad. Just hit one shot on No. 5 and was hitting some good shots. Wasn't making the putts that you've got to make. And then I made one on 7 and 8 and that turned my focus and momentum around and got me going, and I played nice solid golf on the back and made three birdies.

Q. When was the last time you were in an interview room?

WOODY AUSTIN: A little over a year ago. I've only been in an interview room once, in the last -- oh, this will be twice in the last four years. The Buick next week, where I won my rookie year, I was leading after two rounds last year, so I was in the interview room a couple times there. That's it. Been a long time.

Q. Woody, you have had a streak earlier where you missed nine straight cuts. Not to bring up bad memories, but was it something physical, just not playing well?

WOODY AUSTIN: It's just been a bad -- the last four and a half five years has not been a lot of fun. I just have not been able to get over the eye problem I had in '97. It put such a mental block on me that it is so hard. I mean, I still to this day, I don't even use a tee off the -- with a driver, because I put it up on a tee and I just freak out. To start off my career so well and just hit the absolute rock bottom just really threw me for a loop, and I'm just trying to fight my way back and I just haven't done a very good job of it.

Q. You are down pretty far on the Money List. Do you feel a sense that your career may be winding down?

WOODY AUSTIN: Oh, absolutely. These last four years have been -- I said it last year going into the Buick when I was, you know, when they were asking me about it. I said, "You know, if I don't turn it around, I've got to find something else to do," because, I mean, I'm not 22 years old. I didn't get out here when I was 22 years old. So, you know I've got two little boys , so that don't leave me in such a bad frame of mind all the time.

Q. With this format, putting you in striking range, what would it mean to win this tournament and how will you approach the final day?

WOODY AUSTIN: It would mean everything. Just not only to win the tournament -- I mean, you know, you could sit there and say who is here and who is not here, but it is a pretty good quality field of players here. There are some guys getting ready for the PGA in two weeks, so this is not like what anyone would consider this a small field or whatever. So from that perspective, it will be great to know that I have competed again. It was a question asked me last year and the beginning of this year -- the big thing is not about winning the golf tournament or playing better; it is about competing. I'm out here compete. I'm not out here to just scrape by 125 on the Money List every year. If you are not competing, then I don't feel as if I belong out here, and that's what they were asking me last year. Well, if you keep your card -- well, I want to compete. I don't want to just graze by. This is going to be the first tournament of the year that I'm competing, and it's nice to compete.

Q. Could you just refresh our memory about your eye problem?

WOODY AUSTIN: I had the wrong prescription put in both eyes. I went in for my regular checkup like I'm supposed to do every couple years, and they put two clicks wrong in the left and three clicks wrong in the right. Was not even close. So I went from -- you looked if you looked at the ground, that was the ground. When I played for the first six months of the year in '97, the ground was right there. So you try and hit a golf ball when it is an inch and a half further away than it looks; it is not much fun. It is pretty obvious. Like I said, I went from 24th on the list to missing the first 13 cuts in a row the following year, I think.

Q. You didn't get headaches or anything?

WOODY AUSTIN: The fact that it is not an actual inner eye problem or anything. It's just your prescription. It is just like any new prescription. It takes two or three weeks for your eyes to adjust. My eyes adjusted to what my glasses told them. Unfortunately, it was telling them wrong.

Q. So when you did you get the prescription corrected?

WOODY AUSTIN: I got it recorrected at -- during the Masters week, I think. I'm pretty sure that's about right. It's just been now -- it's just a mental -- it's pretty hard to get up over a shot sometimes when you've hit balls 100 yards out of bounds. Put it in that perspective, I guess. That's the part that makes it hard. If you can stand on -- if you can stand on that first tee in this golf course, and imagine hitting it right of the condos, that's where I was in '97. That's hard to fight your way from sometimes. Especially when the game means as much as it does. I mean, you know, like I said, I didn't get out here -- I didn't get out here when I was 22, I was working like everybody else until I was 31. So it means more to me because I know where I started from and where I was. Everybody used to say: "He was the bank teller." I wasn't just a golfer I was a bank teller. I don't want to go back. It just adds that much more pressure to it because I don't want to go back.

Q. Is your family here?

WOODY AUSTIN: Yeah, they travel most of the time. The only times they don't travel are in the areas where there is not really much to do for little kids.

Q. Is there pressure from the family?

WOODY AUSTIN: Oh, no. Shoot, no. Maybe some good ribbing, but no real pressure.

Q. Some of the guys on the leaderboard have had a lot of success, do you look at that as a disadvantage?

WOODY AUSTIN: Deep down inside, nobody has more talent than I do; I look at it that way. The problem is it's a mental block for me because I've gone through so many horror stories the last five years. But when it comes down to ability, nobody has more ability because I come from nothing. I look at it this way: If I've gotten this far with something, and you look at some of the people that have been up there who have had the pedigree from junior golf through amateur golf through college golf, they have all the best teachers -- I never had anything. So if I can get this far without having anything, then I look at it as they don't have anything over me; they are just obviously, more prepared, I guess would be the better.

End of FastScripts....

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